No point in posting Matt-stuff in this space, because it's filtered. With that in mind, let's get to Hunter
Last time, the characters killed a vampire in Argus' first hunt with the Abbey. They got some Practical Experience out of it, and so the first thing we discussed tonight was spending it. The group really wanted the Harvest Tactic, but were having trouble with the pre-reqs (which doesn't stop them having it, just using it).
I think, BTW, that this is going to be a good check on the problem of "getting PXP and loading up on Tactics", because making sure that everyone has the necessary pre-reqs is going to require spending PXP or normal XP on those traits. Bears noting also that tier-one and tier-two hunter cells are going to get Tactics more often, because they don't need to buy Endowments, and all
hunters are free of that pesky Blood Potency/Gnosis/Wyrd/Prima-Urge/Azoth thing.
Anyway, moving on. With that intention (Harvest) on the table, the characters trekked up to an Abbey mansion for Argus' coming out party. Lots of congrats, and Katerine O'Boylan was there (see under the cut for the fic that nearside
wrote to meet Katherine). Julian had warned Alice about Katherine, but tried to stick near her (Alice) anyway, just to keep her safe.
Katherine talked with Lex and then Alice about the future of the cell. Dinner is served, and the cell is seated near Katherine. They mention their desire to get scientific data and samples and whatnot (and drugs to give the Abbey; remember Julian's looking to destroy the Abbey from within). Katherine tells them that Lt.-Col. Colhurst down there (the gruff-looking fellow missing his left eye) pretty much pioneered that trick, so he'll teach them tomorrow.
Katherine finds them and says that she has a good assignment for them. Marcus Ogilvy, the founder of the Abbey, was supposed to have died in 1855 in a fight with (she opens a book and shows them a sketch of a three-armed goblin) this. But now, we've got a photo from Toronto taken a few days ago that indicates he's alive and well...or at least walking around. If it is him, as Julian thinks, he stands to do a lot of damage or provide a lot of information to the Abbey. If not, as Lex thinks, he's still wandering around with our founder's face on, and that's not cool. But we don't know where he is, so no point leaving now. Go rest up.
Tomorrow rolls around, and we try out the "learning a Tactic" system with some RP thrown in (allowing me to do a quasi-John Cleese in Eric the Viking
for the Lieutenant). The characters practice all day; meantime, Argus has bought Occult 2 (normally I don't allow going from 0 to 2 so quickly, but we've only got three sessions and it'd be nice for them to have a useful Tactic, and Argus is really best suited to be the primary actor). At the end of it, Julian, Graham, Argus and Alice can participate in the Tactic. Argus can be primary actor and Graham (now with Occult 4, since Occult is an Asset Skill for him) can be the secondary who calls out what to cut off.
After the training, we make the "finalization roll," and the player comes up with 7 successes. The Tactic costs a whopping 6PXP, plus all the points spent on getting individual folks' traits up to snuff, of course. That leaves enough left over for sundries later.
Katherine finds the cell and tells the hunters that Ogilvy was spotted heading for Traverse City, MI, but no one's sure why. The hunters spring into action, getting flak jackets and various weapons geared up and chartering air travel to the city (remember, two of these people have Resources 5).
The cell, drained and wasted from being thrown to the ground 1000 times, goes to freshen up. Alice goes and gets a massage. Katherine comes to visit her, and gives her a taste of her special port (see fiction). The two of them wind up, well, doing what the Abbey does best.
Julian, meanwhile, is doing research with Graham, Argus and Lex. They discover that Traverse City and the surrounding area have a weird pattern of missing people. Folks go missing, and then return a few hours or days later, but with "lost time." This especially seems prominent from a now-defunct summer camp called Innisfree (now, where
might I have seen that name before?). In fact, the camp director went missing once a few years back...and is missing now.
That's the only lead the cell has, so they follow it. Gearing up, the hunters fly to Traverse City, rent a couple of vans, and truck out to the camp.
Weirdness ensues almost immediately. They find a lot of cars parked here, from all over the country, but no one's gotten into them in a few days. Graham finds a bizarre scrap of paper, reading: "KEY: 12, 3, 6, 9, step forward, turn around, step back". Graham, Dyson and Lex track people's movements from the cars, while Julian, Alice and Argus walk down to a house they spotted on the way in. That house belonged, apparently, to Eric Schultz, the now-missing onetime director of this camp.
In the house, Argus finds a swath of discoloration on the doorjam. Looking closer, he realizes it's from a gigantic tongue
. Alice finds that the room upstairs has been broken into from outside (Larceny 5, remember) but nothing's missing and the only damage is from the wind. The phone's off the hook, so Argus redials, and gets a woman who hands the phone to her daughter when she hears the word "Innisfree." When Argus says something about investigating missing people, the daughter hangs up. Also in the kitchen, the trio finds bloodstains as though someone entered bleeding, but no blood on the doorjam or outside. Julian and Alice hotwire some of the cars and move them to block the road, just to deter others from coming in.
In the lodge, things are just as weird. There's evidence to suggest that people left their cars and walked up the hill to the lodge, but in the dust in the main room, there are only a few sets of prints. And
, it looks like someone climbed straight up the wall. There are notches in the doorjam going out, at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o'clock.
The hunters regroup and discuss this "key." Finally, Julian taps at the four points, and steps forward. Alice sees the room behind him get muted, as though fading away. He takes a step back, and flies up into the air, trapped by a snare. The hunters start forward, but he stops them and cuts himself down. He steps forward across the threshold...and vanishes. The GPS doesn't find him. He doesn't answer his radio. He's gone away.
Meanwhile, in a land of briars and thorns, Julian hears something horrible and heavy trudging around in the background. "Redtooth, Redtooth, has two teeth," it says. "Redtooth, Redtooth likes to eat." Julian converses very politely with Redtooth, Redtooth, and he reveals that he has seen Ogilvy (not by name, but by picture) and that yes, he can help Julian find him - if Julian gets him a meal before the next full moon. Julian agrees, and the giant creature tells him that the door will reopen in an hour, as long as the sky stays blue.
The cell, meanwhile, is going nuts. They can't find Julian, and now it's starting to cloud up. Alice, in desperation, performs the knocking key backwards, and is rewarded by a thump and a ripple, like an earthquake. She feels it, and Julian, now checking out the carnage in the field (remember that?) feels it, too. Redtooth, Redtooth shakes its head, and mutters that Alice is in trouble.
Finally, the portal reopens, and Julian steps out. Redtooth, Redtooth is standing behind him, and everybody makes a quick Morality roll to keep their heads on straight. Argus fails, and gulps down his entire stash of pain pills in an attempt to get the image of the giant toad-beast out of his head. He collapses, stoned to the point of being comatose, and Dyson (who as a professional athlete knows a little about medicine) gives him a shot to counteract the effects. But he fucks up the dosage, and Argus goes into shock and starts convulsing.
Frantically, Alice goes to get one of the cars they used to block the road. As she hotwires, a man taps her on the leg. It's Ogilvy. He warns her that now his master has been alerted, and will come for her to lock her away in the labyrinth for 100 years, just as happened to him. Alice asks what that did to him, and he shows her - he's wrinkled, yellowed, jaundiced and gray-eyed, but only for a moment. He hands her a thorn and tells her to jam it into her wounded friend's palm, and then he runs off.
Alice does this, and manages to do it without drawing any notice...except from Julian, who lets it go for the moment. Argus wakes up (the 6 lethal damage he took converted to bashing), and feels nauseated but alive. The hunters retire to their hotel room to discuss it.
What has happened to Ogilvy? What is happening to Alice? And why, whenever anyone says "Redtooth," does she hear the correction "Redtooth, Redtooth?"
In the bathroom, Argus lifts his head from the toilet and sees the shower door open. A man with a hook-like nose and claws steps from the shower, and behind him Argus sees the thorns. They fade, and the man becomes normal-looking. He holds a threatening finger to his lips and sends a text message with his phone.
There comes a knock at the hotel room door.
We'll see who's there next time.( Julian's Meeting )