Ceteri Campaign – S1E1: Vampires and Vengeance

The New Season Beings

We had another time skip, though this was a brief one: 10 month. Almost a year. Mostly things that changed were personal. We’re “growing up and moving out,” by and large moved out of Myriam’s house, but still spending lots of time there. Gabe has taken up residence in an apartment on top of his martial arts studio. He’s still Average wealth; whatever money comes in goes right out to charity and helping the folks that need help from the supernatural.

Plus gear. And trying like hell to get rid of the white-hilted, blood-drinking sword. Yikes.

Dramatis Personae

Kamali Blackshear (18): 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 (18): 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 (19) – This boy is far from where he started out at the orphanage. His comfortable existence already gone and instead has gotten used to his new life. Not like his brothers, his talents lay more in mental pursuits and has already started towards getting a double Masters degree at a local college aiming for his goal of becoming a research librarian. Following in his family’s footsteps almost unknowingly, he exhibits certain talents towards more occult pursuits such as druidism and alchemy, mixing up herbal supplements and elixers for the team. And while he’s still somewhat still slipping along behind the group, he has become a lot more outgoing with the rest of the Orphans and have started making friends with folks outside his adopted brothers. Always showing concern for them and trying to make sure they know everything that they need to when it comes to the dangers they face.

Tag: “True alchemists do not change lead into gold; they change the world into words.”

Gabriel MacAlister (18) – Built like the natural athlete he is, he has grown taller, stronger, and more solidly good-looking. A 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. He is an expert martial arts teacher, and has been following in the footsteps of a carpenter for some time now. 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. He lost a leg fighting zombies; he got an artificial replacement and kept on fighting the good fight.

Tag: “To serve others is the highest calling; to protect the meek the noblest endeavor, and our works are judged by the effort that went into them”

Timothy I Mitchell (19): 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”

Sword Research

 

We’re at a shop on May 1, at about 5am. We’ve all met there because we’re trying to identify what sword it is that I actually have. after some money, research, etc. our contact has come up with something. We meet an antique shop called Things of the Past; even the outer store is antique. In the basement, there’s a “weird stuff” section that sells spellbooks, arcane paraphenelia, and other not-normal things.

Timothy looks about, and sees many obvious cameras and several hidden ones. He keeps his head deep in his hoodie. Amos is sort of in charge here, as the guy with ridiculous skills in this department. “Come in, boys, come in,” says Roger Friendly (yes, really), and we do. We head into the basement, and is all we smell is ridiculously good, rich coffee.

As wee move through the basement, we see photos of Gabe’s sword and post-it notes. Kamali sees some rare occult books, and is directed to the restricted section: “Don’t go in there alone. I wouldn’t.” And that’s from the proprietor. There are symbols on the floor and ceiling: probably wards.

Kamali, Timothy, and Lorenzo heave open the bar to the door, and are immediately greeted by the slowly turning head of . . . naturally a cursed doll. They engage it in conversation, and Mr Friendly says “please do not disturb the cursed objects. Please don’t go in there. Someone’s going to get possessed and I don’t have a shop-vac filter big enough for all that pea soup.”

“Have you tried sawdust instead?”

“Not helping.”

The ancient doll keeps its eyes on Kamali. We decide that the doll is racist, and move on.

Back to the table; there’s a perfect illustration of the red hilted sword. The language is Scots Gaelic; it’s more or less gibberish to me because it’s not been translated properly. It may even be middle english. He slide it over to Amos; he decides it’s old Irish, and he recognizes it because it’s in the exact same language that the old book that we picked up from the biker gang is written in.

There’s a verse, it’s not exactly rhyming, but not exactly not, either.

Three for the Kings and Queens of Summer,
Three for the Kings and Queens of Winter,
And three for the High King’s life to preserve,
The first with a blade of black and a hilt of snowy-white,
Only for a worthy man will it burn bright,
{The next two couplets are unreadable]
The fourth with a blade of starry night and a hilt of black,
Only by the clever will it protect from any attack,
The fifth with a blade of iron and a hilt of red,
Only by the loveless will the thirsty blade leave blood unshed,
[There are four more lines, but they’re smudged]
[the sixth line contains the phrase “blade of glass”
[“once dead” on the seventh line]

We’re not sure which of the swords mine is in terms of summer, winter, or high king . . . but he says that the legend is that Weyland the smith was ordered to create nine blades to help protect their own. They were some of his finest works, but something happened. Not all of the blades were true in spirit, even if they were magnificent in nature. There is a curse: whomever claims the blade is sealed to it until death.

We ask about the blood-drinking curse. That’s where it gets kind of . . . poetic? The more you use it, the more attached you become to it, and the more bloodthirsty one becomes. We’re guessing this is an unseelie blade.

that’s consistent, we note, with the unseelie trying to claim it back.

How to break the curse? Well, death. Does it have to be permanent? Gabe gives Amos the sideeye as he feels Amos at least mentally reaching for defib paddles.

There’s an account from Camelot. Yes, that one. Two knights, two brothers: Sir Balan and Sir Balin. Balan was gifted the blade, and he used it to great effect until he started to turn. He eventually broke the curse by, naturally, killing his brother.

Friendly offers up a complimentary curse impediment. He also says that he wouldn’t leave the sword behind, either. There’s a connection there; it’s like removing a vital organ. He brings out a white silk scabbard cover/wrap, and incants in a funky language (Amos says it’s flawless Den’a, or Navajo). He does some more ritual, peace-ties the blade, and then hands it back to gabe.

Timothy looks around, sees, naturally, a knife. A dagger, actually. It’s got a price tag of a dollar. Oh, hell no. Another magic dagger. Kamali asks for it and detects retrocognition. He now wants to practice his stabbing. He hears a demonic voice in his head saying “GIVE ME BACK TO THE OTHER ONE NOW!”

“There’s a demon in the blade that wants to speak to you.”

“Shit. There’s always something; I don’t have time for this shit. Are we done here?”

We head off to breakfast. Timothy notices that knife tucked into his belt. “Kamali – bad news.” He holds up the bronze knife. “I don’t think it’s talking to me, though . . ” he starts to draw it.

“No no no no! Don’t pull it out here!”

Here we go. It’s the magic dagger from Aeon again. Kamali decides he’s going on the prowl, looking for babes. Great – this is how we wound up fighting fae in a bowling alley.

We head over the the park for a BBQ with the extended family. Desiree, my sort-of girlfriend, is there. Christian A Herter park, which also happens to be holy ground (says Kamali, who rolled an 18 on Occultism).

Desiree shows at 5pm; she’s not sure she’s in the right place until she sees Gabe. She’s wearing a yellow sundress with a floppy hat. Gabe is a firm believer that sundresses are one of God’s greatest gifts to man.

The GM asks about loadouts, of course. Gabe’s got his concealed pistol and his sword cane. I figure he can get away with it pretty easily, since he has a prosthetic limb.

Desiree and Gabe talk about her work, since she’s having trouble making small talk. She’s been moved to field work – an active unit. Because of the way she “successfully handled the Ifrits.” Also, her hard-ass trainer Olivia is moving her through what’s usually a very long training program in six months.

Kamali asks, somewhat caustically, somewhat tongue in cheek, “oh, what part of being rescued made you qualified for field work? What’d you tell them?”

She replies: “I told them that a bunch of crazy guys came in and killed a bunch of folks.”

This doesn’t make Gabe happy at all. Advanced, accelerated training that she didn’t really earn, and a position in the field she didn’t really want. This reeks of a setup.

All of a sudden, Kamali shouts out “EVERYONE GET DOWN!”

Battle in the Park

A spray of gunfire goes over our heads. Timothy covers Carl; Gabe covers Desiree. Both Gabe and Kamali, at least identify the fire as a fully automatic 5.56x45mm. We have someone coming from the north (source of fire) and some others to the south (likely the targets). Bystanders are running.

Timothy detects someone crawling through the bushes four yards away; he fast-draws his knives while kipping up to standing. He makes a Disappear roll, and so can go with a run-around to the guy’s rear hex. This won’t last long. He seems like a gang-banger or something; looks human.

The rest of the team is either tracking on bad guys or moving to protect folks. Even more people start rushing into the park, heavily armed and armored.

We come to the quick conclusion thanks to Streewise skills that while these folks are dressed like bangers, the lack of colors and any identifying marks suggests something else going on.

Timothy uses some special wet-work abilities to knife the guy in the spine; the guy drops like a switch has been thrown. Which, technically, it has.

Gabe Heroic Charges at a nearby guy, and hits him in the skull with his sheathed sword-cane for 8 points; 24 points of damage and he’s out hard. Lorenzo is attacked by a guy who tries to butt-stroke him with a shotgun, but Lorenzo Judo-parries him.

Something moves nearly fast enough to be hard to see and tries to bite Timothy; clearly a vampire. Timothy cross-parries with a pair of silvered weapons and does massive damage to the vamp.

A vampire tries to shoot Lorenzo and his child bystander with a shotgun; Lorenzo does the right thing and covers the kid with a sacrificial dodge as a man should. He takes the thing at a distance close enough to be considered a point-blank shot. He gets hit. Hard. For 19 damage. Lorenzo’s turn: he draws a knife and stabs his assailant in the leg, but his knife glances off the vampire.

Kamali draws his machete and Feints, making his Feint by 3.

Carl the Valiant NPC pulls a Natasha Romanov and goes full on acrobatic attack on a vampire. He’s dangling from the vamp like a piece of young mobile jewelry, but at least manages to disarm him. Bonus?

Gabe gets shot at; he dodges. A bystander gets attacked and hit badly.

Amos pulls a charm to cast a warding; it explodes outward. Four failed (and must flee) and three succeeded, and the ward’s power drops by three as well.

Desiree proves she’s useful in the field and tosses a bolt of fire at a baddie; she hits a vamp, and the thing just starts melting like a wax candle; it perishes.

Timothy goes full Sir Shanks-a-lot. Hits occur, to the kidneys. Impaling damage is fun and distracting.

Gabe does committed attack to the face; knocks out the target with only six points of damage.

Lorenzo’s turn comes up; he goes for the grapple on the vampire. Low-percentage move, perhaps.

Amos is getting attacked by  a baddie. A shot whizzes by Desiree’s head. Gabe dodges a bullet, literally. Kamali dodges a few things, as does Carl.

Amos whips out a charm, with the itch spell on it. Heh. He targets a hex (+4) but over some rafters (-2). Still, he makes it by a lot, and six bad guys are suddenly hit with a tremendous desire to scratch like a puppy with fleas.

One vamp just drops, as if he broke out in hives. -4 to DX and terrible pain (crit fail). Desiree hits Gabe with Haste or Great Haste or something awesome. He moves like the wind at 32mph, and hits four vamps with 8 points of burning damage each with Smite. One bursts into flames and dies. The rest are just unhappy, but aflame.

Timothy takes brutal advantage of his Smitten targets, dropping two more hard, and the final one is still alive.

Timothy is getting shot at twice by vamps that can’t enter the warding. Dodged. Kamali as well, to his consternation, but dodges as well. Lorenzo is up.

Kamali grabs a foe to use him as a bullet shield; Carl slides a gun across the table to Gabe and another to Lorezno. Gabe now has a fully-loaded AR. Lorenzo gets a .40S&W pistol. Bad guys shoot at Gabe; he dodges. Someone comes up to Kamali and tries to shoot him in the back with a shotgun; Danger Sense warns him, and Kamali dodges in time to have the guy he was grappling get hit by the stray fire. Red-on-red is tough.

Kamali gets a spell flung at him by Desiree; presumably Gabe is not jealous. Carl’s dad stabs the crap out of a guy with a switchblade. Gabe opens up with his rifle on full-auto for suppression fire, two hits to the closest target, and blow-through hits a spare. So fright checks on the five other folks caught in the blast, and if they start their turn in the zone, they get nailed again unless they avoid it. Suppression fire is good that way.

Kamali grabs a shotgun and opens up in a line who are conveniently lined up. No room to spread, so 4d6+4 to the near guy; more attacks. Two fall.

Timothy take note that Gabe has his back to two vampires, so feels that’s something where those vamps need to die. He resists the evil influence of the bronze knife of Zephyr, and then takes care of the situation. He acrobatics over to the burning vampires and goes to stab ’em both. He hurt ’em both; not dead tho.

We continue to make good efforts at our foes; the blow-by-blow isn’t critical.

We finish off a few more, and eventually they break and run. Now it’s medic-time, and duct-taping the two who are wandering around looking like they’ve been maced in the face.

Home Endangerment

We get an interrupted phone call from Myriam – interrupted by an explosion. Someone has driven a truck into the house, and exploded it. Imogen and Gracie are in the basement, frazzled but OK. We search the house for Myriam, but another explosion is coming. Kamali goes Astral; he looks through the house and see a really burned corpse. By the phone. Burned beyond recognition.

We get the living out; Desiree casts an (illegal) glamour to conceal the burning house, and we invoke some Druidism to make it rain. We beat feat away from the destroyed house.

Kamali works his streetwise magic to look for a safe house. We find one – a large warehouse in the meat district, in which is located a Chop Shop. We’re away in room.

Desiree has to leave about two hours into the night. Four hours into the night, there’s an explosion in the harbor we feel in our bones. More than physical; it was psychic and emotional as well.

We end there

*************

So major changes, and in true first-season spectacular, we probably lost our mentor. I see

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