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[personal profile] innocent_man
OK, so! I finished God-Machine Chronicle yesterday. Now Michelle just needs to get the last edits done and it's officially out of my hair for a while. What else is going on?

Well, lots of things. I gotta say, I lament the death of LJ. I really miss being able to post something and get a lot of responses and comments. I can do it on Facebook now, of course, but that's not the same. It's too public, too open, and I can't control the discussion enough (which for certain topics is necessary). But at the same time, it's too impermanent. Once something's off your timeline, you'll probably never see it.

I think sometimes about porting this over to blackhatmatt.com or something, but I dunno. I like the interface here. Ah, well. It is what it is.

Stuff I gotta do:

  • Get edits back to Road to Hell on Earth authors: this week.
  • Get Demon outlined and to authors: As soon as I get the bible.
  • Get my bit of Tragedy done and to Michelle: this week.
  • Do write-up from the game last freaking Monday: momentarily.
  • Notes for tomorrow's game: today.
  • Make a character: today.


Let's get started!

Last time the characters were in Detroit, but got word at the end of the session that there was another killing, in Erie, this time. The characters get on their plane and fly to Erie, and are met at the airport by Sgt. Justine Berry, police officer, parkour practitioner and, in her spare time, monster hunter (you can see Justine's stories To a Dark Place, Jumping Off and Time of Our Lives, which I apparently didn't put on RPG.net).

Justine pretty much got saddled with this because the Erie PD needed someone on it and she was just coming off a big case. She drives the characters to crime scene and fills them in on the way.

Victim is Peter Brauer, age 43, killed out in the open, stabbed multiple times in the throat. At first blush, it didn't seem like their unsub's MO - but for the note.

They arrived at the scene and got to work. The body was near the entrance to an alleyway. The victim had walked from a bodega on the corner, across the street, past the alley and was preparing to cross to get the empty lot where his car was parked. He was attacked from behind, and stabbed three times in the throat with something long and thin (the body had already been removed). In the alley, someone had written "1 BAG" and "untied shoe" in black marker on the wall. There was also a handprint - and the same circle pattern in the middle. There was no evidence that anyone had come from a door into that alley, and it was otherwise closed off.

The characters interviewed the dude at the bodega, who said Brauer came in fairly often, but not on any kind of schedule. Justine talked to him and broadened the question, and he remembered a guy coming in a few days ago, asked the date, then got flustered and left. Justine had him find the guy on the video cameras and showed the picture - a young man in a hoodie - to the other characters. Mallory ID'd him as the guy who'd escaped from him in Detroit.

Khandi, having worked the scene, went to do the post. King went with her. Brauer, she found, had been jumped - he had bruises that indicated someone had clung to him, someone about his size. He had three firm stabs to the throat, and blood spatter in the area indicated that unlike the previous victims, someone had been caught in the spray. But there were no tracks leading anywhere, which wasn't really possible. The wound also was similar to the others (though made much more forcefully) and, no surprise, rust in the wound.

At the scene, the others opened up Brauer's car and worked it. The car was messy, but in the trunk they found a bunch of machine/car parts and a post-it note with: "216. VCR broken heads??" on it. Lundy, working this, felt a shiver - he'd tagged that post-in Detroit. He called the evidence room in Detroit and had the guy send over a picture of the item in question. The one in the trunk was identical, just a little more frayed and torn. But the one in Detroit hadn't left.

(This was almost a breaking point for Lundy and Mallory, but I let it go based on how they were acting.)

Justine, for her part, heard all this and realized that something supernatural was going on. (She's seen some shit, man.) But she also knew that the others wouldn't take her word, so she just told them, "Wait and see. This is going to get worse."

And, indeed.

Lundy, Mallory and Berry went out to investigate Brauer's house while King and Khandi worked the body. King activated his Mind of the Madman Merit, but that just gives him 8-again (and bad dreams). Khandi got a fuck-ton of successes on the autopsy, and gave King the Inspired Condition (which he still has, I think). She found skin under Brauer's fingernails, and a hair that didn't come from him. Longer, and brown.

At Brauer's house, the character's approached and found a dog in the yard. Lundy made friends with it, and they approached the door, but heard someone inside. Then they heard the back door slam. Berry and Lundy ran around the house, while Mallory kicked in the door and ran through. He saw the guy in the blue hoodie, and this time he kept up. Combat!

They both stated intent. Mallory just wanted to stop the guy, the guy wanted to render Mallory prone so he could get away. They grappled, and Mallory held him in place. He couldn't restrain because he doesn't have the Police Tactics Merit, but Justine was right behind and she does. They took him into custody and asked him who he was and what he was doing.

He said his name was Bobby Cohen, and he confirmed that he had indeed just gotten in from Detroit (he drove. Fast, but the timeline checked out). He said he was here to try and help the characters, and went quietly. The inside of the house had refrigerators and AC units in various states of repair, but nothing that suggested why Brauer was dead.

Cohen was strange. He talked about events as though he knew what was going to happen, but that certain things hadn't happened yet. He told the characters that when they went and saw Peterson to make sure to bring "him" (nodding at Mallory). As it happened, the characters had a lead on a guy named Peterson, an Army vet who was a bit of a paranoid gun nut. Justine, well aware that something wasn't right, indulged his seeming crazy and asked if he'd seen someone vanish into a gateway of thorns (in fairness, she has her reasons), but nope, he hadn't. Lundy took her aside and said her tactics were good; she said she thought he was telling the truth, but said again, "you'll see."

They got in the car, and Lundy called the dog. Bobby said, "Oh, you brought the dog. That changes things." They decided to stop by and see Peterson.

Justine waited with Cohen and Lundy and Mallory went up to Peterson's big ol' privacy fence. They knocked, and after some grousing, Peterson let them in. He stepped down off the porch and Lundy and Mallory managed to put him at ease enough (talking military and guns) for him to say what he saw.

He said he'd seen a man appear behind Brauer. Not step out of the alley, just appear. He'd jumped on Brauer's back, stabbed him in the throat, and then dropped him. And then he took a step and his clothes were clean again, like nothing had happened. He was 6'2'' or so, lean, shoulder-length brown hair.

At this point, Peterson focused on Mallory and pulled a gun. Mallory responded instinctively. He drew his own gun and emptied the mag at Peterson. He fell, dead, and Mallory looked helplessly at Lundy.

Justine came over the fence (parkour!) and saw the scene. She glanced left and saw a figure, much like the one Peterson had described, vanish. She reported this to Lundy, and Lundy found something on the ground near the fence - a black marker. Still warm.

System notes: Folks seemed to be more comfortable with Conditions this time, and handing them out after an exceptional success. We also got a test of the new "Morality" system; Mallory failed and lost a dot, and got the Shaken Condition, which he promptly lost to fail a Perception roll. I think it works fine. Oh, and some combat. New Grappling system works. Also, I like having "one-roll combat" in play, because under the old system Mallory couldn't have killed Peterson, but with this system it worked just fine.

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January 2013

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