Brightest Shadows

Recap: Group 1 (1/27)

Characters Present:
Lethe
Molly Singh
White Lily
Lucretia

New NPCs Met:

Critical Information:

  • Pseulak is the Maeljin Minister of Deception
  • There are 9 Maeljin Incarnae, 1 for each Vice and 1 each for Deception and Violence
  • The Maeljin are limited to the Wounds, which are “grown” by spirits called the Maeltinet

Secondary Information:

  • Sarlissa and Hastings are an item
  • Sarlissa has access to stores of Tass (in fishfood form)
  • Walks-the-Void and Londo are both powerful enough to step sideways without a Locus and hunt Abyssal Intruders for fun

Stopping Point:

  • In the Black Lodge, chatting with its owners (no downtime)
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Recap: Group 2 (1/31)

Characters Present:
Abigail Arisato
Delta
Keket Moore
Miriam Tinneth

New NPCs Met:

New Organizations:

Critical Information:

  • The daggers and flesh-bound book were sold to the same buyer
  • All of them were acquired by Aeon from the estate of a dead Mysterium mage
  • A pocket watch was also part of the estate, but was unsold and is back in Mysterium hands

Character Developments:

  • Procursu named Delta and Keket as official Consuls of the Kingdom of Diamonds
  • Aeon is owed weregild by the task force for assaulting their guard, which they have delayed collection of indefinitely
  • Keket purchased an artifact allowing her to walk in the sunlight for an undisclosed price

Stopping Point:

  • Outside Aeon’s HQ, splitting up for the night (15 hours downtime)
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Recap: Group 2 (2/7)

Characters Present:
Abigail Arisato
Delta
Keket Moore
Miriam Tinneth

The task force visited the head of the Mysterium, the mage Londo, in his extradimensional lodge. He informed them that the book and daggers were not originally a part of the dead mage’s estate and may have been added to his possessions afterwards, a feat only Aeon, the Mysterium Censors, or the Consilium official who handled his affairs could have accomplished easily. They attempted to uncover Pseulak’s overall plan but eventually decided they lacked enough evidence to confirm anything. They decided their next step should be investigating the mage’s empty mansion and Londo teleported them there.

Procursu and Keket discovered recent footprints and drag marks in the mud leading to an SUV concealed in a bush. The Princess was able to pick the locks on the crates inside and discovered surplus military hardware: grenades, rockets, and rifles. They were then hit with waves of suppressing fire from the mansion windows by individuals that didn’t register on Arisato’s living-thing-sense, forcing them to take cover. However, they were flanked by a pack of apparent-zombies with steel pipes that charged towards them. Arisato dropped four of them in the first turn with headshots and Delta killed the remaining six with a well-placed grenade from the SUV’s trunk. The explosion triggered a fear frenzy in Keket, who ran off into the woods of upstate New York.

That may have worked to her advantage as the remaining three continued to take hits from the now-advancing soldiers firing blindly. A hideously-gaudy SUV, which the group immediately (and correctly) identified as belonging to the vampire Caelinus arrived on the scene blaring the Soviet anthem. Caelinus’ leather-masked hand Boris scattered them with a pop-up minigun and Procursu and Arisato entered the SUV. Delta, still simmering from his last encounter with Caelinus, chose to assume hawk form with Life magic and fly back instead.

Much to their surprise they found the Radiant ambassador Sarlissa in the back of the SUV as well. She claimed the fish told her the group would be in danger which caused her to seek the vampire’s assistance in rescuing them. Procursu, fearing her friend had learned such through Specchio divinations, placed her under a truth Charm and demanded to know if that was the case. The Charm revealed she was telling the truth about not using Specchio but reduced her to tears. Keket, meanwhile, had come out of her frenzy up a tree and called Arisato who used her scrying to locate the lost vampire. After retrieving her, they drove back to Keket’s library where Delta had already arrived and healed Procursu’s wounds with magic (as he had already healed his own, Arisato’s artifact rendered her functional immortal, and Keket hadn’t taken any damage).

Character Developments:

  • Procursu’s statistics have been reassigned
  • Arisato purchased an artifact from Aeon that renders her immune to death
  • Procursu has been locked-out of the Fuoco Invocation until she makes amends with Sarlissa

Stopping Point:

  • In Keket’s library with Caelinus and Sarlissa (no downtime)
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Recap: Group 2 (2/14)

Characters Present:
Abigail Arisato
Delta
Keket Moore
Miriam Tinneth

New NPCs Met:

The task force, still in Keket’s library haven, listened to Sarlissa and Caelinus explain how they managed to rescue them. Sarlissa heard that fellow ambassador Procursu and her friends would be in grave danger from the fish and also that Caelinus would be interested in dealing with their foes as well. She went to Caelinus who agreed to assist with the rescue. Caelinus explained how one of his revenue streams was control of the black market arms pipeline into New York. The weapons the group found at the mage’s mansion were not sold by him, however, but a shadowy competitor who has been muscling-in on his operations. Considering he was convinced of the loyalty of his people (through equal parts vampiric magic and bribery) as well as the Principles’ control of the police, he determined that only someone with supernatural power or backing could possibly have brought those weapons in without his assistance.

Unsure of what to do next, the group debated their options. Returning to the mansion was pointless as Delta had seen emergency sirens approaching it from hawk form and that meant either the Accord-controlled police had the situation under control and were investigating or the ATF or Homeland Security had taken over and were outside the Accord’s influence. Sarlissa suggested she could ask the fish for advice once again which Procursu agreed was a good idea, having established that “the fish” was not a euphemism for “Specchio Charms” in the last session.

Caelinus left at this point, leading Procursu to remark on how much she disliked him while Sarlissa encouraged her to be less judgmental. This eventually led to the topic of Sarlissa’s boyfriend, the Tremere mage Hastings, and Delta harshly criticized his diet of souls. Sarlissa retorted that Delta was a thug who put people in danger more often than protecting them and claimed he and Dr. Arisato had been actively plotting to kill each other. The two began arguing back and forth while Procursu attempted to calm them down without success. She appealed to Dr. Arisato who immediately did the opposite of helping by stating she had plans to kill everybody, not just Delta. The situation was finally defused when Keket suggested trying some of Arisato’s blood to see what effects it had on her undead physiology.

Arisato, being immortal, was perfectly willing to donate some of her lifeblood to science. As a Diamond, Procursu was equally curious to see the results. The sip of Genius blood gave Keket IDEAS. Visions of theoretical Coils, Disciplines, Bloodlines and the like filled her mind. She immediately began scrawling on a notebook and searching for books, evidently inspired to do something. Sarlissa and Procursu left for the aquarium to consult the fish; Arisato remained to see what breakthrough Keket was making and Delta refused to ride with Hastings’ lover.

Sarlissa and Procursu had a heart-to-heart discussion in Arisato’s corporate limousine. Back at the library, Keket had the inspired idea to taste some of Delta’s mage blood (previously established to cause powerful hallucinations) while still under the effects of Arisato’s. He agreed. After a sequence of experiments including attempting to walk through a wall (supposed to turn to mud) and dodging book bats (that were supposed to store blood), Keket announced she was close to discovering a highly-mathematical form of blood sorcery.

At the aquarium, Procursu met Sarlissa’s associate Mr. Swordfish. And it is totally up to her if she wants to reveal the details of that conversation or not! Suffice to say, she learned that Aeon was not the culprit in the case of the dead mage’s tampered-with estate, meaning either the Mysterium lied or missed something or that he’s not actually dead.

Character Developments:

  • Keket has invented a new form of blood sorcery
  • Procursu is no longer locked-out of Fuoco

Stopping Point:

Whoops, we forgot to decide on this!
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Recap: Group 1 (2/17)

Characters Present:
Lethe
Molly Singh
White Lily
Lucretia

New NPCs Met:

The task force finished-up their conversation with Walks-the-Void and Londo, deciding (much to Lethe’s chagrin) to attempt to track the mysterious black wolf the cultist spoke of to its lair in the Shadow. Simply leaving through a door in the Black Lodge, they found themselves in the spiritual reflection of Central Park. Their trip was uneventful at first. The White Lily attempted to cow some spirits into revealing the wolf’s location but they ignored her. However, something else took notice.

The ground shook and out rose a powerful spirit. Appearing as a giant, metal snake/worm hybrid, it demanded to know why they trespassed in its domain. Lily identified it as a snake spirit that had, over years, devoured all of the subway spirits of New York City and claimed their purview. Once they assured it they were not after it but instead the black wolf, it informed them the wolf had been intruding upon its domain as well. It offered them transportation to the wolf’s lair which they accepted. This involved being eaten and riding in its stomach, which appeared as a dilapidated subway car plastered with anti-Maeljin propaganda posters. They arrived after being coughed-up by the spirit, which Lily decided to name “Footlong” after convincing him it was a title of great respect.

The black wolf’s domain was the Shadow reflection of Battery Park, littered with artillery shells that had originally given it its name. The one clear path led to Castle Clinton which, in the Shadow, appeared as an actual medieval fortress. They discovered a side gate that had been torn-off its hinges, its spirit guards sliced in half. This trail of spiritual wreckage continued throughout the castle until they came to a central chamber. A man lay in the center, bleeding-out from multiple claw wounds. Lucretia immediately went to help but Lily held her back, suggesting he was probably a werewolf and would heal quickly.

Sure enough, the man was indeed a werewolf. Introducing himself as Alexander Heartbreaker, an Iron Master, he said he and his pack assaulted the castle and split-up to cover more ground. He located the black wolf first and did battle with it, although it managed to seriously wound him and escape out a window. The rest of his pack was nowhere to be seen, which worried him greatly as he assumed they had been slain or trapped somewhere else in the castle. He pointed-out an idol the wolf left behind before fleeing which Lethe analyzed and discovered held a potent resonance of Sin.

Alexander believed the black wolf had too much of a head start to chase down. Furthermore, he was still wounded and needed to search the castle for the rest of his pack. However, he informed the party that the wolf was actually a spirit and not a werewolf as they had originally assumed. This in mind, Lily suggested taking the idol and using it to draw the black wolf out of hiding after discovering its Ban. Molly offered the Autumn Court’s archives and Lethe the Mysterium’s Athenaeum as places to research.

Character Developments:

  • Lily shuffled her Merit dots around
  • Molly learned something about Lucretias future she didn’t disclose

Stopping Point:

  • In the main chamber of Shadow Castle Clinton (no downtime)
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Recap: Group 1 (2/24)

Characters Present:
Lethe
Molly Singh
White Lily
Lucretia

New NPCs Met:

Picking-up in the main hall of Shadow Castle Clinton, Alexander Heartbreaker agreed to assist the party in baiting the black wolf if they helped him find the rest of his pack. Lethe used a combined Mind/Space spell to determine that there was only 1 other lifesign in the castle so they headed towards it.

The first delay came when they noticed a door that hadn’t been torn off its hinges by rampaging werewolves. Inside, they located the castle’s library and study… and a member of Alexander’s pack, a shaman, dead with a silver knife stuck in his neck. They determined it was a fetish (a spirit-imbued object)though not what its power was and took it to analyze later. The shaman was seated at a desk with a book open in front of him: a tome listing several werewolf legends, including accounts of the Maeljin.

Leaving the body and planning to return later, the group set off down the hall once more following Lethe’s spell. The signal was not moving, indicating it was likely unconscious or trapped. They stopped once again, however, when Alexander noticed his hand covered in drops of blood. Lethe suggested it was a reaction to the fetish’s presumed anti-werewolf powers but, looking up to the ceiling, the true cause was revealed: another member of the pack, dead and pinned to the ceiling with silver pikes. Lily and Alexander removed the pikes and brought the body down though, again, they decided to return for it later.

Finally, they reached the source of the mind signal. A spacious tower towards the top of the castle contained the final member of the werewolf pack, captured and hung from the ceiling by silver chains. Alexander immediately rushed forward to rescue her… and was ambushed by a chitinous black spirit with scythe-like claws. Molly, thinking fast, managed to hold the rest of the party back and so avoided being ambushed as well.

The spirit was fast and leaped at Lily immediately. However, it failed to actually hit her. She fired her revolver point-blank and only did minimal damage to the spirit. Lucretia drew her rapier and charged, though the spirit effortlessly rebuffed her attack with a flick of its tail. Lethe hit it with a Mind assault with minimal effect. Molly called upon her Contracts to determine the spirit’s worst memory which I will again leave up to her to reveal or not. The spirit attacked Lily again and managed to land a solid blow. This time, however, she used Lucretia engaging it as a distraction to retreat and get a better shot. It was enough and the spirit exploded into shards of glass.

Molly picked the lock holding the chains to the floor and the werewolf was released. After regaining consciousness she introduced herself as Maggie Silverfang, a shaman-in-training and the greenest member of Alexander’s pack. She claimed to have been ambushed from behind by the spirit, though not before hearing there was someone else there giving it orders whom she could not identify. They returned to the locus outside the castle that the werewolves had originally used to enter; Walks-the-Void, Maggie’s shaman tutor, was waiting and brought them across the Gauntlet. The werewolves returned to the castle to retrieve the bodies of the fallen as well as the black wolf’s idol, which they would deliver to the party later.

Character Developments:

  • Molly learned of the spirit and, due to downtime, is no longer crazy

NPC Developments:

  • Walks-the-Void is the nominal leader of the New York werewolves
  • Alexander and Maggie survived, although the rest of their pack is dead

Stopping Point:

  • Splitting-up after crossing the Gauntlet (downtime)
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Recap: Group 2 (2/28)

Characters Present:
Abigail Arisato
Delta
Miriam Tinneth

New NPCs Met:

  • The Fang of Vengeance

The game resumed in Keket’s library, although she herself was not present. Dr. Arisato was nonchalantly levitating books when Procursu snuck-up on her, causing the doctor to pelt her with said books. They debated morality until Delta arrived.

Once the mage was situated, Procursu revealed both that she was leaving temporarily to join the Embassy to Fortune and the details of her visit to the aquarium: Sarlissa’s fish friend was a sentient, ensouled swordfish that she called Mr. Swordfish although he referred to himself as Xiphias. He was also a Proximus, possessing limited Awakened magic of divination and telepathy. Furthermore, the entire aquarium the built on a Hallow of incredible power flavored with calm and clarity of thought.

Procursu saw that as the manifestation of her Queen’s Invocation, Acqua, and the Queen agreed. She gifted her ambassador with a bequest capable of allowing her to guide others into the Dreamlands and tasked her with bringing Xiphias there. Delta was unimpressed with the idea of an ensouled fish, especially when she compared the Hallow to Atlantis, but eventually agreed to come along. Dr. Arisato was eager to join them as the Queen of Diamonds realm could fairly be called a kingdom of scientific progress.

They drove to the aquarium and were met by an ecstatic Sarlissa, whose mage lover Hastings had recently proposed to her (at Procursu’s urging). Although still not happy with Delta from their last meeting she escorted them into the aquarium to Xiphias’ tank. Normally relying on Sarlissa to translate for him, he spared her the difficulty of translating for three people at once and used his telepathy to communicate. He agreed to meet with the Queen of Diamonds and Procursu produced the enchanted abacus the Queen had bequeathed to her. Delta, however, decided to remain behind to defend their sleeping forms from possible intruders.

Once in the Dreamlands Procursu, Sarlissa, Arisato, and Xiphias climbed a mountain and traveled through a narrow pass to the bottom of the sea. There they followed a school of luminous jellyfish and surfaced at the Danann Archipelago, domain of the Queen of Diamonds.

Meanwhile, in the physical world, Delta was alone in the darkened aquarium. He heard footsteps and used Life magic to grow claws and cat eyes. The footsteps belonged to a hoodie-clad, katana-wielding vampire calling himself the Fang of Vengeance. He announced his master had ordered the deaths of the party and challenged Delta to a duel. The duel commenced, katana versus claw, sardonic taunts versus horribly-broken Japanese. Both combatants involved were heavily injured, although Delta proved the victor and the vampire was sent into torpor. The power of the Hallow allowed Delta to heal his grievous wounds with great ease.

Back in the Dreamlands, the travelers were brought before the Queen of Diamonds for lunch on a balcony. She and Procursu had a bit of amusement at the others’ expense by playing-up the formality of the court to ludicrous (and Queen of Hearts-esque) levels, which made Dr. Arisato look fairly silly when she announced herself as the “undisputed ruler of the Fellowship for Manifest Direction”. Xiphias stayed to converse with the Queen while Procursu took the others out to see the city.

Out in the city they encountered Jack of Diamonds, the ambassador from the Court of Spades who masqueraded as a jester. Their conversation revealed some interesting rumors including the sabotage of the Charming Engine to run Tempesta programs, the disturbing company Sword ambassador Lucretia had fallen-in with, and the apparent coziness of Hearts ambassador Corso with the vampiric heads of the Circle and Invictus.

Character Developments:

  • Arisato traded in her Apokalypsi 4 and 5 dots
  • Procursu has left for training to join the Embassy to Fortune

NPC Developments:

  • Sarlissa and Hastings are getting married
  • Mr. Swordfish calls himself Xiphias after the scientific name for swordfish

Stopping Point:

  • Returning to the aquarium from the Dreamlands (no downtime)
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