We rejoin our heroes in the aftermath of their little excursion into Mad Cowz territory, as they decide that, to speak to someone who can give them the name of the warlock conjuring the shadow spirits, they will need to speak to the Council of Ghosts. Midnight finds them at the door of the Vaughn Street Jail, trying to talk their way past the guardians to speak to the Tribunal. When that didn’t work so well, Rowan used a secret word entrusted to her family to gain an audience – a one-use phrase that was technically her father’s.*
Inside, they made their case to the Tribunal, who agreed to help them in exchange for a single favour from each of them. After some waffling, they agreed, and the Tribunal brought out the ghost of one of the warlock’s victims. They persuaded him to tell them the name of the warlock (Demissie), and the fact that it was a man, before the Tribunal declared the audience at an end.
On the way out, one of the ghosts solidified enough for Legion to see that it was one of the muggers who had murdered his girlfriend. The dead man told Legion that their story wasn’t over, yet, and that he knew where to find Legion.** Legion kept his cool and headed outside.
Out on the street, our heroes were attacked by more shadow demons – Rowan had said the warlock’s name, making sure she knew it well enough to use it for magic, and he apparently heard her. She was almost torn apart by the first demon, while another kept Legion tied up. Rowan barely managed to get a shield up around her in time to keep the thing from tearing her throat out – it still savaged her shoulder – and Gerhardt used his kinetomancy to pull the antennae off all the parked cars in the area and pin the thing to the ground long enough for Rowan and Elaine to take it out. He then unloaded with both his shotgun and pistol on the one fighting Legion and put that one down, too.
They decided to spend the night behind a threshold, and Rowan didn’t want to invite a half-vampire and a guy full of demons into her parents’ home, so they all camped out at Gerhardt’s place.
In the morning, Rowan went off to do some research and perform a Thaumaturgic ritual to find the warlock, while Gerhardt and the Operation Clean Sweep folks started canvassing Mad Cowz territory with a written copy of the name. By the time Rowan had her locater compass, Gerhardt had narrowed down the area to a single block. They picked up Elaine and Legion, and went to take care of business.
Using the compass, they were able to identify the correct house, but Rowan was very leery about using the Sight to check for wards. She knew enough about the magic from Demissie’s part of the world to know that the wards would need fetish bags buried at each of the four corners of the house to protect it.*** They dug the bundles up, and she used the Sight on one to determine the nature of the wards, which left her vomiting on the ground, and knowing that they were designed to tear the soul out of people.
At this point, several of the others noticed that the streets were starting to fill up with a couple dozen Mad Cowz with baseball bats, and time started to become important.
Rowan tried to use her Thaumaturgy to deactivate the wards, but couldn’t control all the power they contained, and it splashed out****, tearing at the minds of everyone in the area. Our heroes weathered it fairly well, but nearly half the Mad Cowz collapsed. The rest started charging at the characters, who decided to charge the house.
When they burst into the house, they found a magical circle scribed on the floor in the front room with a doll in the centre. Rowan figured that this was what her compass was focusing on, and spent a few moments to examine the circle, seeing that it was created in haste, and that if the doll was acting as a decoy for the name, it would also be a good magical link to Demissie. By this time, the Mad Cowz were battering on the front door, and trying to climb in the windows while Elaine and Gerhardt held the door closed and Legion kept others from climbing in the windows.
Under the time pressure, Rowan didn’t spot the magical trap in the circle, which caused the ceiling, floor, and doll to burst into flame when she smudged the circle to break the decoy spell. Now trapped in a burning house with angry gang members at the front and back, having lost the doll, they decided to cut their losses and run for it.
Elaine fired her shotgun through the door and she, Rowan, and Legion made a break for it, while Gerhardt laid down covering fire. Legion took out the three remaining gang members at the front, and they made a clean getaway.
They followed the compass, now pointing (they hope) to the real Demissie, and it led them right to the Legislative Buildings, and the secret Temple of Hermes it contains.
Next week: Boss fight at the Leg!
- As the players gain familiarity with the system, they’re willing to try some neat things. It took a while for them to start getting used to the co-operative narrative aspects of invoking for effect and making declarations and using Fate Points to add things to a scene, but once they got it, they used it.
- Magic use gets faster with practice. This is a good thing.
- Everyone is worried when combat starts. This is also a good thing.
*Mechanically, Rowan’s player invoked her Heir to Secret Knowledge Aspect for effect, and said that her father had a special password that would – once and once only – allow the person who used it to obtain an audience with the Tribunal. Now there’s a good follow-up story hook.
**Mechanically, I compelled Legion’s Marked Man Aspect – not terribly functional in the short playtest sessions, but I wanted to see how it could be used to set up longer term stories in campaigns.
***She used her Lore skill to make a declaration to that effect, and pulled it off.
****Thanks to a compel of her Wizards’ Mistakes Are Big And Messy Aspect.