Game 1 (11/3/2012)

The Army:

We are in the downtown area of an unknown city.  It’s unknown mostly because we’re too deranged to remember.  Seems that whatever our character write-ups were, take that up a magnitude.  We wander around, be a general pain in the ass to the locals, and just exist.  Then one night someone from a local homeless shelter comes out and rounds us up because they’ve got plenty of soup and some cots available.  We all end up at the Inn shelter and have a nice meal and go to sleep.

Each of us has an odd dream (handed to us individually) and awaken in a glade.  Eight to ten of us awaken in a clearing in a glade.  All round are trees.  We feel less crazy.  That is to say that the max-crazy we’d been experiencing has ebbed and we’re now more like our write-ups.  In fact, that’s not all.  We seem to physically be idealized versions of us (or at least like we were at one point in our lives).  For example, Dr. Marcus is in his doctor gear and has a full medical bag, like when he was respectable back before he became a junkie.  Each of us has some item of ours that is fully realized (Such as Singing Greg’s guitar being a new, fully functioning instrument).

We don’t know why we’re here.  There’s a lot of discussion about where to go next.  There are a few figures nearby that are blurry and nebulous.  Attempts to touch them fail.

We go a short ways and find a guy pushing a food cart.  He sells “delicious food” for the price of 1 coin.  We find that in our pockets are 6 copper coins (each).  The denomination is unknown and any symbol on them is nebulous and impossible to comprehend.  (Maybe with higher Cthulhu Mythos %…)  Dorian buys himself some food and he and Dr. Marcus share it.  The guy selling the food is incredibly difficult to pin down as he has no real answers to anything.  The place we are is “the land”.  The day is “today”.

He tells us there’s a castle and there’s a church.  First Dr. Marcus tries to direct everyone to the castle and then we suddenly go all votey.  The Castles beat the Churches in a landslide so we follow that plan.  We find the castle… it’s an odd structure.  It’s about as minimalist as a castle can get.  It’s four 20’ x 70’ walls with a draw bridge and moat.  The bridge is up and so Matt makes like a spidermonkey and goes across and up and over, lowering the bridge for us.  No one is inside, though torches are lit at the walls (up high).

It’s worth noting at this point that Singing Greg is in pain.  The doctor notices that while we’re all healed, Greg is still experiencing discomfort—something he denies.  The doctor actually gives him something to help him sleep.

A look around the castle reveals..

Hannah (me) decides to draw a door on the wall and becomes obsessed with that for a while as other set up “watches”.

Well, weapons and watches seem to be useful.  Why?  Because we’re attacked by Ray Harryhausen-style skeletons!  Seven of them climb over the wall and there’s a skirmish.

There’s a pause while we try to figure out how far we can move.  Turns out while we can only move as far as we can move, there’s no measure in the book of how far that is!  And the combat system is funky.  Say you hit a skeleton with a stool—a +6 weapon… and you roll 13.  If it’s under your “Struggle” or other appropriate skill, you hit.  Then for hand-to-hand weapons you add those together (1+3, plus the 6 for the stool, and you did for 10 pts.  Your Body score is your health.)

After an initial engagement which saw Dorian quickly get injured, wisely heroism gave way to practicality and we piled into three separate buildings.  Sadly, this left the unconscious Singing Greg alone in another room, in his drugged stupor.  There was an attempt to bottleneck the skeletons, to make them come through doorways one at a time.  Cabin 1 (Hannah, Miranda, and Dorian) arrange themselves in a way where all three can attack one as it enters.  Cabin 2 (Dr. Marcus, Dickie, and Matt) have slightly more trouble hitting and Matt plays hero, trying taking up the space at the entrance to keep them from entering and attacking others.  Cabin 3 is Abbey, and not being a combatant, has decided to simply bar the way, which works out fine.  When Cabin 1 finishes off two skeletons they come out and help engage the others.  The skeleton from cabin 3 flees.  Ultimately, we’re able to get to Singing Greg after the skels are gone, and find that he is unhurt.  However, his guitar is missing.  A search of his pockets shows his coins are gone.

We pile back into rooms and try to sleep.  When we manage this, we all wake up… back in the hostel where we’d been staying before our strange trip to Narnia.  As Dorian wakes up and starts shouting about skeletons and such, the guy who drove us to the hostel/soup-kitchen is already approaching and he tells us all to come with him because we’re in danger.  We have no reason to disagree and go with him.

Outside in the alley, we see four men approaching.  He implores us to run.  Wayne (the guy helping us) seems to invoke some magic, rapping on a surface and then calling upon energy before firing his gun.  The men return fire.  He seems to have taken out two guys before he goes down.  We are now out of sight and fleeing.  Hannah, at the front keeps trying to lose followers by changing corners, since it seems the person still following has a gun.  Finally, one of our folks slows down long enough to make a “notice” roll and see it’s Wayne and that he’s fine.  His bulletproof vest saved him and some of the assailants fled.

He takes us to a safehouse once Matt hotwires a van to get us there.  It’s worth noting again that while the wheelchair bound Dickie was in a wheelchair in our world, then could walk in the other world, he is again back in a wheelchair.  We help him into the vehicle and then into the safehouse.

Wayne is “Hermes”.  Is he the actual greek god?  Well, no.  He is someone who, like us, may have had certain delusional problems and overcame them and has tapped into “Avatar magick”, wherein you emulate someone, go by their name, show up at comic-cons, be called by that name wherever you go, and ultimately you take on some of their properties, becoming and avatar of them.

He introduces us to Merlin.  But we’ll get to that in a moment.  First let’s talk about a segment we’ll call “the keystone crooks knock over a sporting goods store”.

The Keystone Crooks knock over a Sporting Goods Store

Matt and Dorian, our two most physically “able” individuals, want some weapons and protection.  They head out to find a gun store to knock over, ultimately deciding on a sporting goods place (a la Big 5).  Matt defeats the push-bar alarm on the door and they get inside.  Then, as they are searching, one of them not-so-stealthily causes a guard to show up.  “What’s all this then!”  Spotted, Dorian decides to play like a drunk, apologizes for thinking they were open, mumbles some stuff and staggers out of the store.  Matt remains hidden.  The guard is radio-ing the issue to others when he spots Matt.  He takes out a baton and the two fight, at which point Matt tries to stick him with his knife and Dorian, hearing the struggle, comes back in.  The duo manage to put him down and take off with a few things.  There is grainy tv footage of two burglars in the dark, one staggering and going in and out and the other wrestling with a rent-a-cop.

When they arrive home, which is now difficult due to an attempted robbery of a local sporting goods store in the neighborhood, they knock.  It eventually wakes someone up—Hannah, who fails her notice roll with doubles (sort of an exceptional fail) is certain the skeletons are here!  She and the ladies run upstairs.  They finally shout “let us in” and are let in.

We have decided that such video footage needed to be transferred into black-and-white, sped up, and put to old-tyme keystone cops music or Benny Hill’s “Yakety Sax” theme.

Hermes/Wayne calls on Merlin for us.  He cautions us not to laugh at him as we chuckled when he told us the name, so we steel ourselves against impulse.  Merlin shows up, resembling Nicol Williamson from Excalibur.  (I had to look up the actor’s name.  Huh… Did you remember Helen Mirren played Morganna?  I did not realize that.  Anyway…) He’s basically the other type of magick user… an adept.  He explains to us that he will help us try to find our inner mage but that we should never fully trust anyone.  Also, the coins in our shared dream were “charges”… bits of magic used to power spells, and that you should never give them away without careful consideration (Rat stew, or whatever it was that Dorian bought, might not be a good use).  He also explains there are rituals… magick that simply requires knowing the steps involved, carrying them out correctly, and being a “Duke”.  Duke is the term for people with latent magical abilities, whether realized or not.  We are Dukes.  A normal person without magic following a ritual of some sort will have nothing happen.  If it’s a valid ritual, a Duke performing it, whether they knew it was valid or not or that they themselves were special, might actually summon a demon or turn straw into gold or whatever.

Hermes comes back later and talks to us about something he needs help with.  “The King” (whom Robert/Dickie correctly identifies as the Fisher King) is missing something that Hermes had given him; an object of power.  It went missing the night we were awakened (for lack of a better term).  He says the object is what allowed the Fisher King to bring us down from our total crazy state (to our current merely crazy state).  He needs to find it.  It is an object that he’s seen in three different forms…

Our leads include:

  1. Seeing if the guy who had it first (and died) knew anyone who would have recognized and coveted it.  Perhaps search his apartment, which by now may not be his any longer.
  2.  Checking on other people at the shelter.  We had those other people who were grey and nebulous—perhaps they were still “asleep” Dukes.  If You’re a Duke, you can have an attraction to a magickal item without realizing why.
  3.  Checking with various contacts to ask questions.  The contacts are Hermes’ people, but they have not helped Hermes.  That doesn’t mean we couldn’t convince them to help if they know something.

Game 2

We do a bit of backtracking.  All the stuff from the last game is true, and it’s presumed that all that info has been given to us, except for the part where the cup is stolen—we don’t know anything about that.  The time frame is the evening AFTER our last game’s journey into The Realm of Dreams™.

Matt, Hannah, Marinda and Edwin awaken and find themselves in the dream world again, in a familiar clearing.  Anyone who was with us last time but not present at this game is still “grayed out”, though we can recognize them.  Matt and Hannah decide on a direction and go north.  Oh, look, it’s crazy food guy from last time (Albert).  He’s still selling pigeon gumbo, rat-kabobs, etc.  Matt calls him out for taking one of Dorian’s coins, saying he took advantage, but Albert contends his food is well worth it.  We get directions to the church and go.

The church is a southern-style single-builidng structure (kind of like this, but no steeple or religious symbol), with a white picket fence around it.  Matt counts the pickets and decides 207 is bad so he takes one picket off to make it 206.  There’s a stained glass window.  Since stained glass is much more vibrant on one side (inside the building) than the other (outside), Hannah is enthused to see the inside and runs in.  The stained glass depicts angels fighting with other angels and with humans.  Hannah notes that any angels that are losing are brighter than the ones that are winning.  Matt counts the pews and doesn’t like 63 of them, so he’s not happy to be here.  He searches the place and finds vestments in one room.  Another room has a “weird green” door, which Hannah says probably means there’s something valuable in there, though the shade is a bit unsettling.  We’re in the middle of using a pew to break down the door when a man shows up.

He is “Tommy”, a blonde man with brown eyes, black leather jacket, cheesey gold chains, faded blue jeans, and introduces himself as the caretaker.  We (sort of) apologize for breaking the door and Matt comments on changing the number of pews.  Tommy says now that he’s there we won’t be able to do that.  We ask him about where we are (the Realm) and he says we’re early for the sermon and that we should stick around because we can learn how to use our magics, but we’d have to do things his way.  He describes it as giving over your body for his gods to use and in return gaining power.  “That sounds like Possession”, Hannah says.  “It’s a lot like possession,” Tommy says.  “I’m outta here” we almost unanimously decide and that’s when an enormous flock of crows show up.

“Quick, count them,” Darren says to Joe, joking.  “You have to count them now,” Alan points out.  Joe makes a Soul roll and so Matt doesn’t have to count them now.

They’re some-ethereal, becomign solid when we successfully strike one (which Hannah does, causing a splat) and when they hit one of us (which they do to Marinda and Edwin).  Marinda freaks out a bit and tries to leave, which is fine since we’re all trying to leave.  Edwin however freaks out, having minimal resistance to this madness and runs further into the church away from the mob and he gets circled by pretty much the major group of crows.  A few stragglers come after us but we make it outside and away.  Tommy points out to us that if we give in it will be less painful than if we resist.  Edwin stops making noise inside the church and we know that he either was defeated or gave in.  We think he might have returned to the real world or more likley, his body may be possessed.  Hannah threatens Tommy as they flee saying that she’ll be coming back and Tommy points out that we’re welcome any time.

We head south.  Matt points out that if he sees Albert he’s going to kick his butt.  We do find Albert and Albert says he had no idea what was in the church because he’d never been there.  We ask him some things about his job and he says he was hired to do it because he’s good at it.  He has a “boss” but can’t remember what he looks like.  Every other question is talking in circles and so Matt threatens to knock over his cart.

We decide to head further south because we know the King lives in the south.  An old, gray Owl appears.  Matt asks it something like “Who are you” and it speaks in return—“Is that your question?”.  Matt changes his question… but I can’t remember exactly what the question was.  I think it was probably about Edwin or the Church or what happened to Edwin because the owl said that Edwin is no longer there.  Hannah asks where he went and the owl says, “Back”.  We think he’s back in the real world.  There comes an instant concern that if he’s possessed and awake, Edwin could kill us or anthing while we’re asleep.  Marinda asks it about where the hell we are and it tells us we are in the Realm of Dreams and that it exists because of the King.

We head south further, hear a wolf and decide that we should hide.  Best place we can find is up a tree.  We sit on a limb for hours and hear the wolf in the distance twice more before dawn.  After that we get down and try to sleep (and hopefully wake up in the real world) to no effect.

That’s when Jeff and Robert come in so Dickie and Dorian join us.  We meet at the clearing and explain everything.  A gray owl shows up and they each pose a question to it.  I don’t recall getting anything more practical than we already had.  We continue south and find the wolf who is indeed, a werewolf!  Full-crinos werewolf threatens us to go back.  Dickie decides he’s had enough and that this is all about defeating this thing to get the next piece of the puzzle and he goes berserk on it, whereas Marinda has frozen with paralysis and Hannah has fled in terror.  After any negligable damage fails to happen to it and it slams Dickie pretty hard (breaking ribs), the group retreats and it lets us flee.

I think at this point we found a place to sleep and crashed successfully!  We wake up in the real world and find that Edwin has left and taken all the guns with him.

HOLD THAT THOUGHT… Something occurs to me here… In the dream nobody had their guns.  We chalked that up to the rules of the world we entered.  But if the guns were taken while we were unconscious, but before we entered the dream world, that would explain why they weren’t with us AND why they were gone when we woke up.

We go check a few places for Edwin (under his better known name, Singing Greg).  He’s not at the civic center where we all used to reside.  Matt and Dickie go to a shelter and find that he’s not been there, but someone has been looking for Dickie; a woman named Deena, whom he does not know.

On the more comedic level, Dorian and Hannah go to the Hostel, which was where we had our first dream encounter.  The place is normally women and children only (catering to abused women escaping their absuers) but had allowed us there on that one night—probably a favor to Wayne/Hermes or the King.  On the way in Hannah spies a van sitting outside (white) with a man in it and it feels suspicious.  She continues down the street and lets the fightning angry man, Dorian, go up to the van from behind.  He confronts the driver and asks him why he’s there.  The driver says it’s none of his business and he should go away.  After a few seconds of arguing the driver drives away, but Hannah can see from where she is that the guy has stopped down the street.  She relays this to Dorian who goes off and makes faces at the guy who gives him the finger.  Meanwhile Hannah uses the diversion as the opportunity to go in and ask questions before Dorian gets there.  She doesn’t get enough of a head start.  She only has opportunity to scan the crowd and not see anyone she recognizes.  The lady at the desk doesn’t want her to go in.  Hannah makes up a woman and asks if she’s in there and gets a no and is told she can’t go in.  Hannah comes to the conclusion that there’s no way that Singing Greg would be there because he’s a lone man and they would never allow him.  Dorian shows up now and looks menacing (which happens whether he likes it or not).  Even his attempt to be smily and cheerful comes across creepy.  He has adopted a new phrase that puzzling enough goes “Singing Greg seeks Dorian”.  The woman looks at him like he’s crazy and Hannah waves her off.  When his back is turned she mimes as to whether she should call the police and Hannah waves her off.

We head home, taking different turns that usual just to try and see if anyone is following.  A wonderful and timely botch causes Hannah to think that a young man is following them and is a problem.  When he gets close enough he goes past Dorian and tries to hand Hannah a Flyer.  Hannah has her hand in her bag of cans and on the knightstick so she pulls it when he motions toward her with a flyer.  He calls her crazy and moves on.  She makes note that the flyer was yellow—likely a warning of some kind.  It MUST be relevant!  She runs up the street apologizing and catches up with him and with trepedation he hands her a flyer.  It’s to a BYOB party.  She’s certain she’s being warned about the party but she doesn’t know if it’s a warning that she must go or a warning to stay away.

Merlin trains us some more.  We were 1% magic skill in the dream earlier and now we’re at 5%.  He tries to answer some questions for us.

So the night’s festivities were:  A 19-year old woman, a 16 year old boy, an elderly black man in a wheel chair, and an intimidating commando homeless guy going to a party.

The bouncer lets Hannah in, since girls always get in free.  The others have to bribe or give alcohol.  Hannah wants some extasy so she tags along with some girls who head to the bathroom.  She takes some and comes out and immediately collapses.  (I fumbled 00.)  Turns out the guys who gave the girls the extasy actually gave them some roofies.  So Hannah is immediately swept up by the team as no one else seems to care that she’s collapses on the floor except maybe a few predatory guys.  For safekeeping she’s put on old-man Dickie’s lap, which prompts some thumbs up from a few guys and some weird looks from of the girls.  “Don’t worry, that’s her daddy” assurances from Matt sure don’t help.  Eventually a couple girls are concerned enough to maybe call for help so instead the group has the bouncer call a cab and send Dickie and Hannah home.  At home, the doctor (as NPC) discovers she’s been rohypnol’d and he pumps her stomach.  She’ll be fine.

Back at the party, Dorian is too scary for anyone to dance near him so Matt convinces a girl she should go hit on him because he’s “a hero” who has done a great service to our country.  She goes over and endlessly hits on him until he directs her back to his “little brother”, Matt.  At 1am, the folks leave the party and Matt goes home with the woman (who was 23).

So obviously the yellow flyer was a warning NOT to go, Hannah notes.

Asleep/unconscious, we end up in The Realm of Dream™ again.  Even those present at the game who were on watch end up in the dream.  We follow Albert around for a while becoming complete pests to him.  After a while he doesn’t even want to talk to us anymore.  But when we follow him we end up at The Castle from the first dream.  The bridge is down.  Inside are many, many… GNOMES.  Yup.  Thing Garden/Roaming style gnomes.  They are hard at work but take a moment to come buy food from him and take it back to their little desks and continue writing in the books.  The writing seems to be just the same thing over and over again.  SHEEP 62.  Followed by SHEEP 62.  The gnome will write something, it will vanish, then he’ll write it again, and this all seems fine to him.  They talk to one another voicing concern that they may not be done with their work on schedule.

Attempts to question the gnomes yield little info.  But some of that includes the fact that they were hired by a boss and that they can’t remember him/her.  We ask how to get hired and they say to “see the boss” but can’t tell us where he is.  We do a few of Dickie’s “Tests”.  You see, one piece of info we got earlier from Tommy was that the reason those pews counted 63 was because Matt was the one who counted and he’s the only one who cared, so that’s how many showed up.  So this created in us some ideas about influencing the world and unconsciously changing things.  Hannah suggests it might be collective unconscious and that if we came to a concensus on where the boss was or who they looked like it might come true.  Instead it’s suggested that she should draw what she thinks the boss looks like.  Her understanding of who the Boss is, is that the boss is everything inside the moat—in other words, the castle, the huts, etc.  A “cherry” result on the drawing means that she came up with a great representation.  Thing is, her art is about color.  So the combination of colors that maybe vaguely shape a person are in fact a representation of him.  Showing it to the gnomes they say, “that’s just a bunch of squiggles”.  The next test involves trying to contact the boss using our own special skills.  The only person who succeeds fully on the roll is Dorian, who criticals.  Now his form of communication involves shouting for him to show up.  The message we were trying to convey to “the boss” was for him to show up at the Transamerica tower (the only landmark that seemed San Francisco enough that wasn’t a bridge—since Dorian hates bridges) at noon the next day.  Dorian feels a rush of energy release from him, though none of his coins are gone.  He knows it succeeded.

When we return home through the ringing of the alarm clock with Marinda set for us,

We tell Merlyn about all this and he is able to relate some of the dream info to things in the real world.  The Realm of Dream™ is likley analogous to the Tenderloin section of SF where we live.  The “food peddler” could be a dream representation of the Mac Attacks (The fast food conspiracy), Tommy could be TJ, the head of the local church of Satan, and that he’s not sure what the castle represents here.  He also says he will not participate in our contact with “the Boss” because that’s our thing to do, he has his own things.

We go to the Transmerica Tower and keep watch at noon.  A man in a suit approaches Dorian and bids that he should get in the nearby limo.  Dorian lets us know what’s going on and we try to converge but he will only accept one passenger.  We let him go.  We try to pull some cell-phone listening in, but he’s ordered to turn off his cell phone when he gets there.  So we try to perform something called a “Tilt”.  Merlin says we can do these by figuring out a number of factors involving how to represent when the effect should take place, what the effect is, etc.  So here’s what craftsman Dickie comes up with… and this IS a work of art.  We take something that he recently owned (A $20 bill he gave to Matt), rub ear wax on it from each of us, Hannah draws an ear on it, and we rip the 20 in two.  While we don’t fully understand the concept of Tilts, Alan thinks this is funny enough to merit a roll.  Joe and I make very good rolls of 09, which while not quite enough to succeed, he handwaves it.  Robert missed his roll so he doesn’t get to hear, but apparently taking both halves of the 20 and rolling them into cones and sticking them in the ears of the two successful rollers allows them to listen in.

What we hear:  Dorian is taken to an office building and brought upstairs to meet “The Boss”, who declines to give his name.  He’s in a suit, naturally.  He’s NOT the king.  Seems they are two different people.  He’s concerned that somehow this crazy homeless man appeared in his dream telling him to show up at the tower and he wants to know how this happened.  Dorian shares *some* info with im about being in the dream.  He seems to have some issues with being contacted by crazy people.  He leaves for a few minutes and not long after this returns with Hermes/Wayne.  He also offers to employ Dorian.  Dorian says he’s not interested and that he intends to do the things he promised to do with our cabal.  Fine, he says, but we should NEVER bother him in his dreams again.

Hermes seems unhappy that he had to come down there and indicates it was a “close one”.  We’re lucky he didn’t take too much offense at all this and let Dorian go.

We tell Hermes about Edwin and he tells us he can take us to TJ and the Church of Satan’s HQ.  He says if he has to get involved it might turn the situation more volatile.  He gets us some weapons and stays on backup outside.  We force our way in, threaten the three people there and make them retrieve TJ, who shows up shortly thereafter.  He cusses a lot and tells us that we need to get out of his temple.  The temple, incidentally, seems lke a half-assed homage to horror movie satanists, with every bit of evil memorabilia they could muster being pinned to the walls or lying about.  Their emblem seems to be a metal pentagram with an inverted cross pinned to it with a metal skeleton welded to that.

TJ shows up, but as Hermes told us straight out earlier, he’s a puss.  He’s not nearly as “together” as the guy we met in the The Realm of Dream™.  There’s a standoff where he doesn’t seem to know who singing Greg is, and likely does not actually know.  We call in Hermes, who convinces everyone to stand down and we leave.  We note that of the people there, the people who fled this alteraction (during a moment where Matt faked calling the cops) were two of the lower minions and TJ’s girlfriend.  I didn’t have time to stick around and voice this because I had to leave, but I tend to think that maybe TJ’s girlfriend is using TJ’s likeness in that world.  Or the dog.  It seems their tiny pet dog seems kind of angry and actually is unexpectedly intimidating as it barked at Dorian.


Game 3

If we are to form a cabal, we need to select a name for our little band.  It’s hard to get something that fits us all.  We don’t worship, think, or act the same way.  I’d like to suggest that maybe since we are searching currently for the Shard of Infinity, maybe we are the Infinity Watch or The Infinite or something.  This should appeal to our number cruncher (since the symbol for infinity is basically a sideways 8).  I’ll be fine with whatever we choose as long as we have a logo in the right color.

Proposed idea (Probably in Green or Blue)

So we do a few things outside the dream world, then we go to bed.  We wake up in the dream but as happened last time we were in, the dream world is becoming less “warm” to us.  That is to say, we may be losing connection.  We think this could be the last time in.  We still have to find Edwin, since we can’t find him in the real world.

We start by checking out the church.  It seems unattended currently and we can’t get through the locks to get us into the back room where we suspect TJ might be keeping something useful.  The stone lion is not out front either.  After spending some time trying to ruin the place (Matt tries to set the curtains on fire, but they do little more than “pretend” to burn, their edges staying lit for a while with no actual destruction taking place), we leave.  Food guy is out there in the forest selling klav kalash and crab juice, but he’s essentially useless as usual.

We come to a realization that the only time we actually get anywher is when we focus on where we are going.  So if we wander, we find nothing.  If we think of going to the castle and walk, we get to the castle.  Dickie suggests we think about finding Edwin (aka Singing Greg).  We then try to develop some sort of ritual.  Failing to come up with something we can do as a group, we try to find him in our own way.  Hannah wasn’t finding any color cues out there in nature and her paints no longer are in the world with her, so she tries to find pigments and the closest she gets are some violet flowers.  She tries to develop a ritual to find Edwin and during her searching for signs for a direction of Edwin’s passing, a strong wind blows the petals from her hands and she knows she succeeded.  We head that way and find Edwin slumped against a tree.

You see, in the real world, in the papers, he had vanished with our guns, having likley been possessed by the demons from the Church of Satan.   We suspect from what we see in the papers that he may be causing some mayhem by turning gangs aganst one another and shooting at cops and such.  Well, this is semi-confirmed when we find him in the dream with a bullet hole in his leg.

Then comes the idea of finding a healer.  Dickie suggest we think of the free clinic back in the real world.  We travel and we come to a foreboding hut with a small low fence around it with skulls on it.  There’s a doorway and the hut has a shadowy interior.  Knocking gets no response.  Hannah wants to go in but it’s too dark and she has issues with the dark, so in goes Dorian, who vanishes.  Attempts to call into the hut don’t even echo back.  It’s like he warped away from us.  As we’re discussing who should go in after him, he comes back and tells us about how there’s a lady in there who is a nurse name Cheryl and how she’s reading a copy of A Tale of Two Cities (in fact, her entire library is copies of A Tale of Two Cities).  She says he can heal our friend if we bring him in.  Dorian and Dickie do, then are ushered out since she doesn’t want them contaminating the area (read: probably witnessing whatever ritual she’s performing, which since she doesn’t think she’s in a dream, probably resembles real world magic).

He does indeed return to us from the hut.  Once outside he tells us he doesn’t remember anything after being attacked by crows.

We go back to “sleep” and wake up in our world.  He’s not there of course.  We make an attempt to find him in our world but eventually he makes his way back to us anyway.  This attempt however gives us the opportunity to re-introduce facts already in evidence:  In a bit of revisionist history, we not are able to use the information about the King’s cup being missing.  And our run-ins with the white panel van and with the woman looking for Dickie are now modified to have taken place not at the nearby shelters but at the clinic, where we’ve gone hoping to see if Edwin has turned up.  Also, the guys (Dickie and Matt, I think) want to thank Cheryl for helping the injured Edwin in the dream world, by taking her a real copy of A Tale of Two Cities.  She doesn’t look like the Cheryl we saw, but she accepts the book graciously enough.

So now we know that the King’s cup is missing and we are enlisted to find it.  We try some investigation of the place where the detective lived who owned the cup.  A complicated diversion is worked out involving the cleaned-up Dorian pretending he wanted to rent a place, so he could keep the manager busy while the rest of us break in.  Second-story man Matt gets in and then lets us in.  A few combined search rolls net us a few things.  First off, EVERYONE has been here.  A lot of people have looted this place, whether for conventional $$ items or for magical whatever and info.  Matt finds, hidden in the container of spoiled milk, some notes.  Hannah spots an air freshener that was knocked out of the wall when folks were moving the fridge about and it had in it a listening device.

The notes seem to be about the “Shard of Infinity”, which seems to be analogous to our missing grail/coke bottle/jade tea cup/tin cup, and there’s mention of the year 2000’s new years “Festival of Light” which seems to be some kind of major metaphysical holiday that occurred.  We have very little info on this.

We know where the grail last was when it went missing, so we go and start asking people in the area about it.  One guy is a paranoid conspiracy theorist type who thinks Matt is a government spook and won’t tell him much.  Another lady is a full-on drunk but remembers drinking from the guy’s cup and can describe how he looked (apprently some of this matches up to what Hermes knows about the King’s occasional attire).  Hannah talks to a guy who burned his hands by accident when a fire to keep warm actually lit his box on fire.  Seems the damage should have been much worse.  He’s injured, yes, but we think the healing properties of the chalice linger.  This brings us to what we feel is a truth:  We no longer can go to the dream world because the effects of the chalice wore off of us.

On the appearance of the cup:  Normal people just perceive it as a normal object, and it appears in the context they would expect.  A homeless guy offering them a drink from it would obviously have, in this case, a battered tin cup.  Next level up are the ‘dukes’ who even if their magic hasn’t yet awakened would percieve it as whatever it looked like for the possessor (say, a coke bottle), but they would have an unexplained attraction to it, and if they take it, it begins to transform phsically to the context of that person (say, a king’s chalice) over a course of days.

The upshot is it could look like anything right now, though we would probably feel an attraction to it when we come across it.

Which brings us to the fourth guy.  He’s a kind of bipolar homeless guy who is incoherent often but can be very violent and scary.  This day he’s okay, to some degree.  He remembers “Father Christmas” giving him a drink from his cup.  When told someone took Father Christmas’ cup and if he saw anyone do it, he seems to think HE has the cup.  He tears into his stash of cans and doesn’t find the cup!  He seems panicked and slowly becomes angry.  We back off after taking a quick look and not seeing the cup (with an exceptional roll).  It’s important to note that he often gives away his cans to the local collectors and that he could very well have done this and not remember it.  We have one of the local homeless keeping an eye out for a time when this guy is settled and calm again so maybe we can find some information and figure out where the can went.  He indicated, by the way, that Father Christmas gave him the cup.  Hermes says this is something the King might have actually done, feeling the act of kindness was necessary.

Now there was another encounter.  Dickie went to meet the woman who is supposedly an insurance adjustor who was looking for him.  Well, it turns out that upon their second meeting, in which we find out our safe-house is blown and she knows all about us, that she’s a member of the “New Inquisition”.  This is a group attached to the Catholic Church who, Hermes says, would likely keep the cup if they found it first.

Another encounter was when we reviewed the detective’s notes from his apartment, we found mention of a store, Fitzhughes’ Dream Shop (or some such).  Turns out that Fitzhugh is a neutral.  He knows of the King and various other factions, he’s heard OF the Festival of Light and he did meet with Jenkins (the detective) about finding the Item, but Hermes says he’s been kept netural because he’s useful that way.  He helps the king without knowing it.  It was a surprise to him to find out that Jenkins had found the Shard of Intinity.  He tried to put Jenkins up recently while he was sick to keep him hidden from folks.  Jenkins was supposed to come back the night he turned up missing.  Hannah asked him if he was working agains the king and succeeded in one of her magic formulas, confirming that he is not.

I’m sure there’s more.  These games get pretty heavy on the detail. 

Game 4

This is going to almost be stream of consciousness as I’m remembering things in the wrong order.

Dr. Marcus helped make angry/crazy guy, Elijia, clear and calm enough to answer a few questions about “Father Christmas” (His interpretation of the King) and his magic cup. He vaguely recalls two things… A shadow crossing the alley the previous night; he called it a ghost and it seemed to really unsettle him. Secondly, that there was a kid near his basket of stuff.

Looking around for surveillance cameras, we find that a nearby convenience store has a view of the street nearby. While Hannah distracts the (lecherous) desk clerk, Matt sneaks in and takes the CDs with the recorded images from the main office. However on his sneaking out he flubs enough for the clerk to notice him. He flees and gets away with the discs. Hannah wanders away. At the library Hannah can’t find any more information on the subject of the Festival of Light, but Matt’s review of the discs shows a kid on a skateboard outside the 7-11. We take this to a few local places and don’t get a hit from anyone until Hannah finds out about a kid named Fred who hangs out locally. When he’s finally contacted at a local spot where skaters hang out, he admits to taking a small glass cup from the cart and selling it to a glass merchant downtown where they set up a marketplace.

At the marketplace, the glass seller tells us it was sold to Fitzhugh, who comes by regularly looking for odd things for his shop. Fitzhugh does not like our inability to explain why we keep bugging him and want the item he had. He also suspects that we’re responsible for STEALING it from him. Yes, he had it at his house and someone broke in and stole it. Before we get to that…

SIDETRIP #1: We tried to investigate the Church of Satan again. An attempt to search the place by Matt in sneak-mode ended with a brief standoff, Dorian holding the thugs at by with intimidation tactics and everyone getting out of there.

SIDETRIP #2: An attempt to tap into Dickie’s (finally decided upon) powers, he has us each find a pair of glasses that fit us and bring them with us that evening (So, for example, Dorian grabs a pair of mirrorshades, Hannah finds some rose-colored glasses, etc.) and we assemble on a rooftop that is the “right height” for this experiment. Dickie performed a ritual that infused our glasses with magical energies that allowed us to see lay lines, if only at night. It used up all his minor charges. We could see paths of energy running through the city. They didn’t mean much to us non-layline specialists and the colors are nonsensical (says Hannah’s Chomamancy), but since they make sense to Dickie we go look around the city, following paths. At one point we come across an area where fog rises. We make a check against the Unnatural and notable failures were Hannah (who was paralyzed), NPC Marinda (who flees into the night) and Dorian (who rages, hurting his hands on stone). Once we recover, we cannot find Marinda.

One thing we DID find during this little segue is that the paths of power in this region seem to run through an old church (NOT the church of Satan). This prompts Wayne/Hermes to come visit us the next morning as, apparently we did in fact find where the King lives.

SIDE ACTIVITIES: Edwin (Singing Greg) is listless and depressed due to his actions when he was possessed. He spends most of his time searching for more stuff to bring home to fill his emptiness. Hannah re-tattoos his shoulder where he had a mutated gang tattoo, mostly to try and erase the badness. The Doc is working toward setting up some sort of underground (not literally) hospital facility.

Now back to the investigation. No, wait, I’m wrong…

SIDETRIP #3: One of the things we found in the Church of Satan was a bible. Hannah makes a critical Gen Education roll and figures out that something is different. The passage on LUST as a SIN has been altered so that apparently Lust is no longer a sin. Hannah has a trick to figure out things about an artist. It requires eating the page. First she writes down the text of the change and then eats the original page. As the colors swirl around in her mouth she fails the attempt and gets nothing. When we decide that maybe Merlin could help us with other information, Wayne takes us finally to the Church where the King is. We meet: Lancelot, Jaans (SP? Pronounced Yaans), Merlin, and the unconscious King. Showing merlin the book’s passage, he tells us that it was likely modified by a man called “The Biblemaker”. It’s likely that he took this personal possession and changed the passage so that its owner no longer is sinning when they perform the sin of LUST. We seem to feel it belongs to TJ’s girl, not TJ himself. I’ll have some conjecture at the bottom of this email.

With some convincing, Fitzhugh lets us look around his place. We find that the item is the ONLY thing that was taken, it was removed from his safe, the thief (thieves) came in the window. A lay-line investigation shows that a path of magical energy led from the room down to the streets where it vanished abruptly at the street where it likely would have entered a vehicle. This means someone drove it away and we need to figure out where to.

SIDETRIP #4: We need info. Matt wants to meet with Deena (New Inquisition) to exchange info. Only info we can offer are the notes made by Jenkins, the detective. She gets to have a copy, in exchange she tells us about the Mac Attacks and how they are the ones who broke into Fitzhugh’s place. She tells us where they are.

Now we can get back to our narrative. We go to the location where the Mac Attacks/Thieves are holed up. There are two up there arguing. We’re ready to break in but instead Wayne (who, among the king’s folks is actually known as Gawain) suggests he goes up and talks to them. He requests that we not then immediately start beating them up because he has to go in under a sort of “truce” to deliver his message and smacking them around immediately after would go against his ethics. His message to them is going to be: Return the stolen item to him or else. The “or else” is him having to contact his armored friends to come kick some @$$. Anyway, what the two folks in there are arguing about is that their third friend (Not present) apparently LOST the item between when they took it and when they got to the safe house.

THIS IS WHEN I HAD TO LEAVE. I do not know what happened next or what we found out.

My suspicion about the item: As some suggested it either it was stolen in transit by DEENA (who knew enough to know where they were), or to me it’s more likely that someone else got it before she could, otherwise she wouldn’t have bothered to put us on their track. She knew we’d investigate further and figure it out.

THE BIBLE: I *do* think it’s the girlfriend’s. However, since when do Satanists worry about sinning? It seems to me that whatever TJG is, she’s someone who is hampered by having sex with TJ. Someone who needs to have that extra barrier. If it’s hers, she’ll probably come looking for it, because not having it is impairing her ability to work toward whatever goal she has with TJ. Of course since I ruined it, it won’t help her anyway. Anyway, I’m thinking TJs girl could be someone who under normal circumstances has direct opposition to him.


Game 5

Last game we found the two women from Mac Attacks who had been assisted by Hector (another Mac Attacker) in stealing the Grail from Fitzhugh.  We try some lay-line tricks in trying to locate the grail.  We try stealing surveillance tapes since they had to stop for gas on their way back to the safehouse.  We’re not having much luck.

Deena, the Inquisitor, butt-dials (or probably was trying to quietly dial when she got discovered) Matt.  Her abduction can be heard over the phone.

During some of our staking out of things, a figure in an alley tries to lure away Dorian from his partner by being loud.  It almost works, but Dorian and the man get into a fight, during which the man, who it seems is Hector, gets the worse of the injuries and flees.  His path is covered by a magic trick, implying perhaps he’s a duke.  Also, since he’s sort of a shadowy figure, maybe he’s the guy who has been spotted a few times among the homeless.

Marinda wakes up!  She remembers very little, all of it jumbled.  She can re-order her mind but she’s pretty injured.  She tries once and blacks out.  It’s the next day that she’s in condition to try a second time and she sees a basement, a checkerboard, a velour chair, some street lights that are distant.  Some detective work brings us to the most likely location: A building that was a record store.  The person who is holed up here has been preparing for us:  The floor is a red and black checkerboard (Hannah won’t walk on it), and the door  which it turns out leads to the interrogation area has 3 3’s on it, to mess with Matt.

After Dorian forces the door to this back room, inside is a velour chair and the body of Deena, tied to a folding chair.  She’s been tortured to death.

A search doesn’t find anything.  But there’s a trap door, under which is a dungeon of sorts with a prone (dead) Mac Attacks girl, the second one is standing and tied to a pillar.  Guarding them is Hector.  A fight ensues.  It’s complicated by casting of a spell that causes everyone down in that room (who is alive) to suddenly look like Hector.  So now we’re tackling Dorian because he looks like Hector and occasionally taking a swing at Matt for the same reason.  Eventually we luck out and do a little damage to Hector.  The spell drops, we hurt him some more, he tries to flee, and gets sealed in downstairs with us when Matt climbs the ladder first and squats on the trap door.

While all this is going on, Dickie has found the grail!  It’s back in coke bottle form and he and the doctor are trying to get it out of there and to the king.  Once we subdue Hector, Dr. Marcus heals the living Mac Attacks girl and he takes off with Dickie to deliver the grail.

What happens next is a matter of waiting for the grail to refill (at midnight) and the king to awaken.  We have a discussion of Hector being killed vs. imprisonment or turning over to the authorities.  Marinda wants him dead for what he did to her (and rightfully so).  Dr. Marcus’ vow to do-no-harm is keeping him from allowing that.  Finally enough accord is reached to where we turn Hector over to the king, who hears arguments and then cuts off the head of the offender.

Dr. Marcus and Matt are offered the opportunity to become “Knights” alongside Merlin, Ga(wayne), Lance(elot), Jans, and the king.  They have not given their answer yet.  Becoming a knight would mean detaching from our loose affiliation of lunatics (also a good name!  The LAOL assemble!)