Ceteri Campaign: S1E8 – A Simple Wooden Cup

What Happened Before

The team had tracked down a whole mess of stuff in order to sort out who was perpetrating all the badness over the last three days. We figured out that someone was likely using Babel Stones to help naturally force the Mist to help provide cover for the supernatural activities and even the mundane ones. We tried to take the fight to the enemy, but Kamali fell down a well or something and broke stuff. We healed him up, but discovered we were adjacent to the Labyrinth, the extra-dimensional space that The Conclave uses to test their members and also keep Bad Guys in jail. We meet the Lady of the Lake . . . or one of them, anyway . . . and trade in some of our problems for others. Including giving up the cursed sword to a lady with long experience in caring for magic swords. And Amos gave up his slingshot. He’s still long in the face about.

Dramatis Personae

Kamali Blackshear (18): Kamali is a young man in his late 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 table 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 wielding freaking Excalibur carrying a faith nobody believes.”

Lorenzo DeModouco (18): A man with movie star looks and a voice that belongs on the radio. Slowly coming to grips with the fact that he isn’t exactly human, but a “Lupus Dei” – “Wolf of God” – otherwise known as a Benandanti. He’s still cheery and always trying to make others happy, but has become a shrewd student of human behavior, which he uses for the benefit of the rest of his team. Lorenzo’s recently joined the Boston Fire Department as a volunteer as a means to get access to places he normally shouldn’t be able to go as well as medical gear and information that might not be available to the public. He’s become a master of spear fighting and like the rest of his brothers is a highly capable combatant.

Tagline: “You can take me to the gates of Hell, but I won’t back down and I won’t be turned around.”

Amos M. Humiston (20): The Linguist and Librarian. He is the brains to the rest of the group’s brawn; but by the same token, he’s slow and cautious compared to the other Orphans, preferring not to charge forwards until he has the answers that he’s looking for. Those same answers that he more than happily provides the rest of the group when they turns to him about the more esoteric aspects that they’re working with and against. Recently Amos has nearly completed his double Masters in Library & Information Science Archives and History and has also managed to get a rather special job lined up. He has also learned from others that he hold the potential to be a Sorceror which if unlocked would be able to enhance his already considerable talent with ritualistic magic.

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 is tall, strong, and solidly good-looking, but deeply scarred from much combat. He’s missing his lower leg, which he lost fighting zombies. It is capped by a carbon fiber prosthetic that doesn’t seem to interfere much with his activities. A quiet and hard-working man, 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 was cursed to carry a magical sword for a while, and gave into its Wrath before it was parted from him magically. He’s since given it up, in exchange for unknown burdens.

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”

Hey . . . Where Do These Stairs Go?

Dates: Starting Date: May-4-2000 (2030 hours) ends on May-5-2000 (0030 hours)

After we gaze at the Lady of the Lake’s departing . . . back . . . a set of stairs opens up and we follow them down into a very large cavern that seems to be made of natural-ish crystal formations. There are random objects here and there. Ancient stuff, mostly weapons and jewelry, armor and other wearables. We look around and get the feeling we shouldn’t be there.

We added another player today. Rob, playing Devin Broadhurst. We realize that he’s actually been there our entire lives. But our memory of him goes away as soon as we stop looking at him. Apparently we’re all either Dory or Fifty First Dates, Ceteri version.

Kamali calls out for Vivien, the “good” Lady of the Lake. She comes around the corner and her eyes are wide. “You shouldn’t be down here – you need to leave before she comes.”

Yeah, that’s the sister we want to avoid. Time to Bomb Squad this locale (“if you see me running, you want to be ahead of me). We beat feet out of there. Vivien follows us up the stairs . . . and a wooden old-style chest is, well, following her along. Bobbing and floating. She walks over to us, chest in tow, and Devin asks “what’s with the chest?”

It opens, and Devin peeks in. Swords, and all sorts of things. She reaches in, pulls out a sword, and hands it over to Gabe. And then she hands me a shield, made of all white metal, with a red cross decorated on it. It bears an uncanny resemblance to blood. “Ma’am, the last time I handled a weapon coated in blood, it didn’t end well for me.” “This is the shield of Josephus – the Shield of Evalach.

She pulls out the sword from the scabbard, and the blade is also white. “What’s it made out of ?” says Devin. “Faith,” says the Lady. “How do you make a material object out of faith?”

“With faith. This is Arondight, the sword of Lancelot du Lac.”

Kamali says “Devin, if you keep interrogating the nice lady with the weapons I’m gonna roundhouse-slap you to the face.”

She pulls out another sword, and dubs Kamali a knight with it. And hands it to Kamali. He looks at it . . . one side says “Take me up; the other says Throw me away.”

Oh. My. It’s Excalibur. 

“Are we taking up a quest?”

“All in good time.”

She draws a spear out of the chest. She hands it off to Lorenzo. It’s Arthur’s spear – Rhongomiant.

Kamali whispers to Devin: “Does this make me king?”

“It is up to you to knight your fellows.”

Amos is offered a 14″ knife and a leather thong (not that kind of thong; a sling); “I don’t think I’m worthy of anything in that chest,” say Amos. Gabe offers to be custodian

She then reaches into the chest and pulls out . . . a wooden cup. She bids Amos drink from it after dipping it into the lake.

A. Wooden. Cup.

Amos is staring and muttering. Gabe suggests that Kamali, wielder of Excalibur, offer the cup of water to Amos. He starts to resist, and object, and Kamali pours a bit into his mouth. He recovers a bit, and she speaks with Amos quietly for a while. After he recovers a bit more, we are all offered a sip from the Grail. We do not decline.

“I charge you to re-assemble the Round Table and to save Boston.”

“The entire round table?”

“Did I stutter?”

Suddenly, we all see double, it seems. Similar to Vivien, but with a crueller, harsher cast to her face.

“I accept this burden.”

The new lady speaks: “You finally gave these mortals what they wanted; you realize there’s a burden associated with this?”

“If there weren’t, it wouldn’t be a burden.”

She smirks at us so starkly it nearly draws blood, and disappears beneath the lake again.

“What price?” asks Kamali?

“None that you must pay. The price is freedom.” “Whose?” “Not more I can say.”

We are to save Boston from one man. She takes a vial of water from the lake and hands it to Kamali. “What’s this for?” To communicate with me. Pour water in a bowl, and we may speak.”

We start to leave; an apple falls into Amos’ hand. He puts it in his haversack. We remember a few other stories with apples that didn’t end so well. We depart.

Back to the Basement

We return to the basement. There’s stairs going up. They weren’t there before. We are all healed and robust. We climb up; Kamali bids us all kneel. We do so.

“Gabe MacAlister. Do you swear to uphold valor, to defend those who cannot defend themselves, to speak no word that is not true, and to respect all regardless of their station?”

“I so swear.”

“Then kneel.”

Gabe gets down one knee; two knees are reserved for the King of Kings. “I dub thee Sir Gabriel. Knight of the Round Table.”

“Devin? Where’d you come from.”

“I’ve always been here. Keep moving.” He offers up the oath to Devin, and he accepts.

As each of us kneels and takes the oath and repeats “I so swear,” we rise and feel tangibly different.

Amos refuses to take the oath. “What difference would it make? We’re going to save the city anyway, what matter that we’re charged with it?

This is serious, but we need to move on. We’ll deal with this later. Save the world after a nap or something.

We enter the town center in formation; we hear wings coming from above. Everyone makes their Per rolls by lots . . . except the dedicated combatant, of course. Gabe only makes it by 1.

We instantly decide that some cover would be handy, but there’s ruins, not roofs. Gabe invokes Protection from Evil, just in case we’re dealing with Malign Supernatural Creatures.

A creature swoops in and grabs Lorenzo – clawed and something actually lifts him off the ground. This is Pitch Black, monster version. He’s basically gone before we can do anything about it, suffering quite a bit of damage in the process. Lorenzo stabs the creature with his new spear for lots of damage; the thing drops him, and an acrobatics roll later, he just lands.

“Lorenzo. Quit playing around. There’s monsters here!” says Kamali the observant.

We form up; Kamali actually uses . . . hey, where’d Devin come from, and why does he have a force field around him?

Kamali slams his shield into the ground, and then crouches behind it; Gabe steps up next to Kamali and Waits.

Amos tries to draw his slingshot from muscle memory . . . and pulls out a leather thong instead. He discards it as being not what he wanted.

Lorenzo tries to regain the group, but is attacked by two . . . somethings.

Devin (“where’d he come from”) takes aim with some sort of stunning beam weapon, and the thing (manticore?) dodges him easily.

We discover that these creatures are physical, have been in our world for a long time. Don’t get hit with the flung spikes (save vs death!). Big piles of hit points, and can’t scare them away. Sorcerers like to bind them to their service, because they’re useful and powerful.

Gabe gets seized from behind for 3 pts of damage, but manticore can’t lift 300-lbs of Gabe-and-Gear. That triggers Gabe’s wait; he swings around and lops off the thing’s wing, and the blade sinks into the torso. Kamali was aiming. Gabe’s turn comes up, and he takes a swing to the torso, hitting for 11 base damage; the thing gets sheared in half.

Nice sword.

Devin (where’d he come from) stuns one, and then we get manticore’d. We dodge, block and otherwise fend off the spikes, which either plink off or are embedded in shields.

Lorenzo throws a spear at a manticore, and it completely shreds it. Kamali lets go with his assault rifle, with Aim, and hits with six bullets. Shreds it. Combat over.

The manticores all have some sort of blue mark on them – a binding spell of some variety, and we notice a glow approaching from the western horizon.

Devin has to pull himself out from under one (Devin, where did you come from?) with a mighty heave. The manticore pooped on him.

We boost Kamali into a tree, and we see a translucent blue dome, within which we see a large stack of stones. We wonder if there are many stones? We see maybe 30-40 stones, stacked in a very specific pattern. They’re glowing blue as well. What we’re seeing is one part of a ritual triangle someone has created to use the Babel stones. The shield is a physical magical barrier. Amos consults his grimoire, speed-reading to see if he can figure out a way to do stuff.

Devin (what’s he doing here?) reaches out with a stone, and a thrown knife basically vaporizes on the screen. Touching = bad. Amos finds out something similar enough. Kamali tosses rocks at the field; it bounces back and hits him in the head.

It’s a massive protection spell. It’s also a sphere. Kamali burns a card and checks the astral plane. Hrm. We’re on a ley line too.

Kamali sticks freakin’ Excalibur into the shield; it creates a doorway. Gabe runs through. Amos runs in as well, and then taps into the ley line; he tingles with its power. Amos tries to set the tap so we can get into Bad Guy’s communications; the insertion goes perfectly. The ritual that was used allowed them to communicate, but also muddled the comms of others.

We can either knock the stones over, and that will weaken the spell, or leave it as-is.

“If we leave it, (hi, this is Devin I’ve been here all along), we can monitor without being seen.”

We decide to leave it, but Amos wants to use the power of the ley line to find the locations of the other two wards. Kamali loves this plan (Leadership roll) and Amos tries. Amos disappears into a fine blue mist; he’s become part of the ley line. He easily discerns the location of, well, everything. Everything. There are 108 babel stones in use. There are guardians at the other two location. Every supernatural being in the area is known to him. Devin is snarled in the mists as he probes it with technology.

He manages to re-corporealize fairly easily, which surprises everyone.

“What day is it? Thursday?”

“How do you feel (this is Devin; I’ve been here the entire time)?”

He can actually remember stuff. Kamali lets us out with the sword of power; and this time it doesn’t hurt. Something’s different.

We exit the field, leaving it intact. We do, however, leave a switch so that when the time comes, we can reverse it, so that the bad guys’ comms are screwed up, but ours are fine.

We decide to bribe the manticore with the super-hot chicken wings, and try and bind the manticore to our service instead. A roll of 17 on the Reaction roll . . . turns the giant supernatural lion/scorpion into a big fluffy kitty with bad teeth and a poison tail. Naturally. He buys it as an ally. And rides it home.

We pretty much end there.

Gear Modifications:

  • Amos M. Humiston (Chris D.): Lost Slingshot and accouchements (session 7); gain sling of David (Session 8); gained mysterious dagger (Session 8); gained apple and branch from tree by the Lake (Session 8).
  • Devin Broadhurst (Rob K.): Gained Stone of Giramphiel (Session 8).
  • Gabriel F. McAllister (Douglas): Lost the Red-Hilted Sword (session 7); Gained Arondight (Session 8); Gained Shield of Evaloch (Session 8).
  • Kamali M. Blackshear (Merlin): Lost silver-coated katana (session 7); Gained Excalibur with scabbard (Session 8); Gained Pridwen (Session 8).
  • Lorenzo J. de Moduco (Christian): Lost the Strings of Uaithne (session 7); Gained Rhongomiant (Session 8); Gained Shield of Joesepha of Arimathea (Session 8)

Christopher Commentary

Truth time: This was NOT where I was heading with this campaign at ALL. But
at the end of last game session I chatted up all the players and a few of my
go-to sounding boards and asked simply: “How do you feel about the Orphans
being charged with being the new Knights of the Round Table?” Results were
“meh” to “BEST. IDEA. EVER.” Everyone got on board and I starting planning a
bit. First thing was figuring out what from the mythology could be brought
to bear to help the characters in their quest. Excalibur was a given. Other
stuff took longer.

This was also the first appearance of the new player – Rob – and his
character – Devin Broadhurst. In order to provide a more seamless entry
point I concocted an excuse for Devin to have been with the rest of the
characters since the Lorna Road Massacre: he’s “snarled” within the Mists.
An artificial supernatural construct within the game world itself. He did
this by activating a device that glitched *BADLY*. Basically, no one
remembers Devin as soon as they cannot see him. The exceptions are those
he’s spent a lot of time with who remember their interactions with him, but
only as long as they can see him. Myriam was unable to fix the problem and
in turn encouraged him to have the others keep videologs they could watch
until they were affixed in their memory. Devin meanwhile has been along on
many of the adventures the boys were on, they just can’t remember that until
they interact with him. Overall, I thought it a clever – if borrowed (thank
you Fringe and Doctor Who) concept.

Session Soundtrack

Good Morning Starshine” by Oliver (opening song)
Widor Toccata from Symphony V” by Charles-Marie Widor (Kamali gets knights)
I Remember” by Deadmau5 & Kaskade
Lullaby for a Stormy Night” by Vienna Teng (Amos gives up his slingshot)
Strange Days” by the Doors (closing song)

 

 

 

 

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