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Arc 4: Qlippothic Philosophic

Killer Shrike

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Jack Maywood
Slayer / Alchemist
Lord Maggot
Joey Manegarm
Beretta Colt
Final Girl
Drew Altman
Lucky Operator
Sniper / Cabalist

King Red



Session 1:


Murgatroyd...aka Saul Jacobson (his true name was revealed for the first time thanks to having to file incorporation papers for the team's new company Unconventional Solutions LLC) was going about his routine in Boston, trying to drum up business for the fledgling firm. Cleverly, he was using magic to disguise himself as some other late middle aged business man (whom we'll call "Ira" to hopefully avoid confusion) each day when going about his day in public.


About a month after the Hunters went their separate ways, as he walked from his townhouse to his office Ira was accosted very rudely by a trio of Boston thugs who were luckily fooled by the magical guise. The thugs' leader asked Ira questions about Murgatroyd in a somewhat comical conversation loaded with subtext and allusions to mobsters movies.


The main thrust of the conversation was that Murgy was being offered a deal by "the powerful people he had made an enemy out of out west". A business card with nothing but a phone number printed upon it was pressed upon Ira to pass on to Murgatroyd and the thugs faded out of the scene.


Arriving at the office clearly shaken, Murgy fortified himself in his office and cast a divination spell to trace the card's recent past back to the most magically powerful thing it had come into contact with...the resulting vision revealed the card changing hands a few times down some kind of crime organizations' chain of command to arrive in the hands of the goon who had handed it to Murgy. The card originated from a slim, charismatic, smartly dressed vampire...handed off to a local crime lord in the back room of what looked like a classy restaurant downtown several days ago. 


Murgy, characteristically, freaked out. With Drew somewhere in Mexico, Joey in FBI training, and Beretta and Jack somewhere out west running around with SAIC Harker...Murgy wasted no time calling Killroy who was in NYC doing Killroy-ish things. Once Killroy arrived in Boston late in the day, the two Hunters began to do some desperate planning. Killroy's plan basically consisted of "kill them all" but Murgatroyd pointed out the various flaws in that particular approach. The two of them then attempted to use their new access to secured online resources available to them as Section M Special Assets but neither one of them were technical enough to figure out how to manage it.




The firm's new secretary Laverne, a nice older lady from a town north of Boston proper and a survivor of a ghoul attack many years ago which sadly left her family dead and eaten but happily made her hire-able by enterprising supernaturally active individuals such as our heroes, offered to help but as she lacks the necessary clearance Murgy thought it best to decline. 


Instead, it now being early evening, Murgy called Joey down  in Quantico and asked for his assistance. Joey was able to pull up a significant amount of data including a surveillance photo about a suspected vampire fitting Murgy's description named Allan Carr active in Boston since perhaps the late 1930's. According to the case records, it appeared that as many as seven groups of Hunters had attempted to root this vamp out of Boston and none of them were ever heard from subsequently. Also, Alan Carr appeared to somehow be involved with an international shipping and industrial services company with a major office located in Boston, called Aleante.  


Murgy and Killroy decided to call the number and find out what the vamps wanted. His first attempt in the late afternoon went to voicemail, but a second try after sunset was answered promptly on the second ring by an urbane, persuasive voice. 


Murgatroyd was offered a deal...L'Eminence Nocturne was willing to "forgive" Murgatroyd's transgressions in L.A. if he would deliver "the young man" (meaning Joey) to them and agree to consider future business opportunities for his wizardly services "at fair market prices". The other Hunters would of course have to die. 


The vampire on the other end, Allan, did not identify himself and was playing the mysterious voice on the other end game, but at some point in the conversation Murgatroyd adroitly flipped the table on Mr. Carr by revealing that he knew who he was talking to. This obviously unsettled Allan a bit, but he adapted. He gave Murgy 24 hours to decide. However, determined not to get a clean win, Murgatroyd accidentally let slip that "the young man"'s name is Joey. Oops.


Murgy, getting even more nervous, called Jack for vampire hunting advice. It turned out that Jack and Beretta were getting settled in to a highway motel somewhere south of Chicago, having just completed a armed delivery of cargo to a Section M facility in the region. Jack, hearing the promise of a vampire to kill, rousted Beretta from her room and convinced her to ride with him overnight to Boston to help Murgy and Killroy out. Beretta sensibly wanted to fly, but Jack pointed out his van is a rolling armory full of vampire killing  stuff. It was also recently repaired and detailed, and he's keen on putting it back into service in his vampire slaying hobby. The two rolled eastward and arrived late afternoon the following day at Murgy's house where the wizard and Killroy had holed up for the night.


Beretta, showing that Harker's field craft had been paid attention to, almost immediately spotted a couple of goons watching Murgy's house front and back. Various magic-facilitated shenanigans later, the team eluded the dopes staking out Murgy's sanctum townhousum, followed the trail of Murgy's scrying into and around downtown, and eventually arrived at a upscale condo highrise with heavy magical wards on it, where Allan's trail ended. Going off residual energy, Murgy was able to guess that either Allan lives in the building or visits very frequently. Murgy was also able to tell that the wards on the building were very old, and had been maintained and extended over the years by several practitioners. It was entirely possible that part of the reason Allan had been able to survive as a vampire in the city for so long without major detection was the anti-surveillance protection the wards on this building would have conferred to him. 


Surprisingly, Murgatroyd received a call from the number he had called Allan at the day before. A different, deeper and more menacing voice was on the other end. Even over the phone, Murgy felt an unpleasant tingling in the back of his neck. The thought crossed his mind that he might be talking to a master vampire...


This conversation was short and couched in less friendly language. Murgy pointed out he had a couple more hours before 24 hours had fully elapsed, but the entity on the other end of the phone was not swayed and demanded an answer. Murgy politely declined and the phone simply went "click"


Killroy did some leg work and found a boutique upscale hotel on the opposing street, catercorner but within view. The team relocated to a room with a view of Allan's roof and settled in for some surveillance. Joey, back in Quantico, was reached out to again and he was able to do some hacking and get a plan design document for the Boston City building department with the details of a fairly serious security-related upgrade to the top two floors of the building, including schematics and floorplan. Things got busy, particularly for Murgy...he teleported around a bit and retrieved Joey from Quantico. Then, back in the hotel once again but with plus one more meatshield, the Wizard patiently concentrated and began to bore a hole through the wards encasing the building. That took a while, but paid off, and Murgy was then able to scry into the building and get a tactical assessment. Finding three armed guards and Allan in the top two floors, Murgy described the layout and the positions of the guards to his teammates. 


Despite the sun having just gone down, the team (minus Drew) opted to press an assault, and raid the building. Using teleporation, Murgy moved the team to the roof of Allan's building. Moving down the fire escape to the floor below the top floor, Joey kicked the firedoor in and then everyone except Murgy assaulted inward to take out the vampires guards, one after the other. Shots were fired back and forth, blood was sprayed, a guard's leg was severed by Killroy's hand cannon of a pistol and a max-damage roll. 


Murgy  had been maintaining an anti-scrying anti-video surveillance spell to cover the teams advance into the building and shield them from any street side cameras (metagame commentary: this was a very smart move by @Durzan Malakim). Once the Hunters were well inside the building and the lights had been killed, Murgy dropped that spell and quickly prepared a new one to make himself invisible to sight and hearing. 


This proved to be fortuitous, as while the other Hunters were clearing the lower floor and assaulting up the staircase to the vampire's lair on the upper floor, the vampire himself had dropped down to the fire escape from a balcony and was stealthily coming in behind the Hunters and the trailing far behind Murgatroyd was isolated and in the vampire's path. 


The vampire very nearly bumped into invisible Murgatroyd, coming to almost the same spot to look through a doorway from the back side of the condo to the front where the other Hunters were advancing. Seeing the situation had turned against him, with his guards taken out and a team of confident and well equipped Hunters leaving a trail of the odor of vampire repellent behind them, Allan decided to cut his losses and escape.


However, before doing so, he muttered "Well played, wizard."


As he was standing nearly shoulder to shoulder at the time, Murgy assumed the vampire could see him and lost his $#!^ (failed his freak out complication roll) and started screaming and gibbering uncontrollably. Fortunately, his invisibility covered sound and no one witnessed this and his dignity was retained.


Allan Carr escaped down the fire escape and faded into the night.

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The first real session of Arc 4 occurred yesterday. It went in a different direction than planned (the scripted adventure was in Shreveport , LA, but the session ended up being about interacting with a vampiric presence in Boston), so it was almost entirely improv, but it was fun and hopefully people enjoyed it. It was entirely my own fault; I was trying to seed story elements as bait for future adventure to be re-visited later after the team returned to Boston from Shreveport, but I messed up the timing of it and the group jumped on the hook early. It may actually work out better this way in the long run, but I was under-prepared in the moment and had to wing it. The players rolled with it and made it work; they're great and a pleasure to game with.


Everyone got 4 XP, and @L0rd_Magg0t was voted the MVP due to taking charge of the situation when the group decided to assault a vamp in their own lair (at night), and empowering the team to succeed with his alchemical acumen. It was the first episode where Jack really got to  shine, and neither the character nor the player disappointed. Honorable mentions, Murgatroyd also had a lot of great scenes, and @Durzan Malakim carried a lot of the weight of the emerging story for the group. @WilyQ ended up running all the bad guys as Drew was off camera the entire session, @Steve made up and ran Laverne, the team's new secretary and a big hit at the table. @King Red stepped up and demonstrated that Killroy is more than just a guy with a big gun...he was putting Killroy through his paces and using a lot more of the character sheet. And @Scything 's skilling up of Joey's computer abilities paid off as he was able to get a lot of information and keep the team moving forward with good intel. 


There is an XP spending freeze in effect.


I'm looking forward to next session when we may find the Hunters in Shreveport as expected...if the loa's be kind of course.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Session 2 of Qlippothic Philosophic was played last evening...the Hunters traveled to Shreveport, LA to take a job at a casino having problems with someone cheating...with some kind of magic!  Joey & Killroy were awarded 2 XP each. Beretta, Drew, Jack, and Murgatroyd were each awarded 3 XP. Jack, played by @L0rd_Magg0t was voted MVP for the second session in a row. It was communicated that there was an XP spending freeze in effect until the Hunters resolve Act I of the arc. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sorry to be lagging behind...a lot going on in real life currently. I'd really like to be doing the session write ups but I just don't have the time currently. If someone else wants to take a stab at it on this thread, I don't mind at all.

We played last Saturday night, ending Act 1 of the arc. As it was a significant session and a milestone, 5 XP was on the table...King Red got 4 XP, Lord Maggot got 6 XP due to above and beyond play as a possessed version of Jack and also taking on running Daryll and his zombies in the nights big fight scene. Everyone else got 5 XP. 


Scything and Steve had a split vote for MVP and they both did great things in the session so rather than break the tie I awarded it to both of them. 



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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...

Running about a week behind on this, but the last session went off without a hitch, with the Hunters extricating themselves from the swamps. Murgy and Drew smoothed the waters w/ Mr. Timothy Ladoux at the El Dorado Casino, their employer, for the mayhem and alchemical glue bomb residue caused by Jack's possession and escape in the previous session. Before that Drew was able to dispose of the car he had "borrowed" to pursue Jack by posing as a valet, depositing it in the valet parking area of the casino and placing the key in the key box. No need to borrow trouble, as they say.


Meanwhile, Beretta decided to follow up on a hunch that the perpetrators might have something to do with the rival Margaritaville Casino directly across the river, following the age old rubric of "follow the money"; she talked Killroy into going with her and everyone thought it best if Jack did not show his face again around the El Dorado. Checking in, Jack got cleaned up while Killroy unpacked his sniper rifle and did some routine maintenance in preparation for possibly needing it. A little more goal oriented than her male counterparts, Beretta showered and got dolled up to forward her plan of going down to the gambling area and doing some recon work. In between she put in a call to her "friend" back at Section M, Analyst Eric Cohen, and pumped him for info on the Cult of the Red Hand and any historical details of the area in general and the casinos specifically. Upon hearing that not only was the Cult of the Red Hand but also Albert Armos was involved, Eric became audibly distressed and implored Beretta to immediately leave as her life is in danger...multiple times and quite strenuously. Beretta was unmoved...she is `Fearless` after all.


In the other room Killroy took a phone call from Drew, and in the course of conversation casually mentioned that he had noticed, thanks to his new spec tech contact lenses, noticed a supernatural emanation coming off a chair in the lobby and maybe Murgy should come over and take a look at it before the aura fades completely away. Some consternation ensued but Drew, Murgy, and Joey got in the rental SUV and headed over after grabbing their teammates stuff from their rooms at the El Dorado to take over to their new rooms.


As Beretta was getting ready to go down to pursue her passive surveillance plan at the Margaritaville gambling hall, Drew, Joey, and Murgy showed up and eventually everyone ended up in the lobby where Murgy and Joey used their differing forms of supernatural senses to hone in on the fact that indeed, the female sorcerer who had been with Albert when they encountered him in the swamp had been recently sitting in this chair...and had even left a half empty iced margarita in a plastic cup tucked away under the chair. Joey tracked the scent back to the valet stand. Waiting for their own cars to be brought around by the valet service, Jack struck up a conversation with Roy the helpful valet and eventually it came to pass that Albert and the mysterious sorceress they were tracking had been staying at the hotel all week along with `about a dozen` other `friends`. The lot of them had left about an hour ago. According to Roy the group seemed rushed and out of sorts.


The Hunters took to the streets spread across two cars, the rented SUV driven by Drew and Beretta'a souped up Mustang. Using Joey's nose to trail their prey, the Hunters found themselves wending through streets a relative hop skip and a jump away to some kind of civic museum in a restored antebellum building. Murgy's arcane perceptions of mystical energies seeping from the upper windows of the two story building were sufficient to inform him that a demon summoning of some kind was already underway...this information was relayed to the other car via cellphone and with no hesitation Beretta peeled out and surged ahead leaving the slower SUV in her wake. Tearing into the nearly-abandoned parking lot of the museum and roaring to a hard screeching stop, Beretta and Joey piled out of the car and assaulted the museum while Killroy got out and calmly began assembling his sniper rifle. Joey busted open a locked trellis gate between the parking lot and the museum, and Beretta pushed forward....directly into a `BIG HERO MOMENT`.


Beretta unexpectedly took pistol fire from two cultists hidden behind windows to either side of the large double doors, but while most people would have been put down and into shock or trauma upon getting shot not once but twice by 9mm pistol rounds, she shrugged off the bullet wounds [using Heroic Recovery] and proceeded to vault over a broken window into an Atomic Blonde style take down of the two cultists with some tight, mechanical close quarters tumbling and shooting. It was a very cool sequence.


Joey, close on her heels, blew thru the locked double doors with his superhuman strength and followed his nose directly up the grand stairs into the midst of a summoning circle on the second floor gallery where the ritual was occurring. Joey took in the scene with his preternaturally sharp senses...young girl laid out on a cleared off display pedestal in the middle, the goth sorceress Joey had been tracking next to the 'victim' leading the ritual, a circle of other cultists arranged geometrically around them, a couple more lay cultists armed with pistols at the head of the stairs and a couple more by windows, as well as the big bad Albert who was observing the proceedings from the far side of the room...and charged directly in with a brutal move through on his quarry...the female sorceress...propelling her directly across the room to smash into the far wall with bone crunching force. 


Joey, in the middle of a 'touchdown dance' over the unconscious body of his target, abruptly took a bullet to the temple which scrambled his brains and dropped him to the floor. His regeneration immediately started repairing the damage, but the young Innati was seeing stars and was at dire risk of being focused down and killed before he could heal. 


Beretta had her second `Big Hero Moment` of the night...despite being injured, seeing Joey in jeopardy Beretta tumbled into the room into a flanking position and put down the cultist who had shot Joey, with punishing return fire.


Albert was in a position to finish Joey off and visibly considered it, but with a grimace he instead moved into the ritual circle and took up leadership of the proceedings to finish the summoning. Beretta struggled to survive in the face of incoming fire from the remaining pistoleers, while Joey lay insensate, his head visibly and rapidly regenerating. 


>>> MORE TO COME <<<



The roleplaying was, in my opinion, strong this session. I felt like all of the characters had at least one focus scene or exchange where their player was particularly in the pocket and fully "in character". I think the players have really settled into their roles and begun to inhabit their character's personas.  I had a lot of fun, and I walked away from the table feeling like it was one of the best sessions we've had.  Everyone received 4 XP, and despite several strong showing by other players, the table voted Jack MVP again (mostly for things that happened towards the end of the session). 



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I liked our big reveal this last session. If Chthonic elder things can't be number one in your life, then L'Deux on you. I think we set a record on party splits this session, but fortunately no one in the party was actually split. I look forward to the written recap. Here are my favorite highlights of the night:

  • Drew's magic bullet against the Innati/demon
  • Joey subduing the demon as only he can
  • Jack being a big damn hero, rescuing Baretta, and giving her a healing potion
  • Jack going down fighting in the El Dorado stairway
  • The Drew and Jack buddy cop action movie. Drew: "Come out to the coast, we'll get together, have a few laughs..." [I know you used another quote, but I forgot the exact one]
  • Murgatroyd's discovery of Keyser "L'Deux" Soze. "The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist."
  • Kilroy's "Ask me about Belfagor" phone call to Section M. "Is this about Belfagor, Mr. Kilroy?"
  • Murgatroyd having to drag Baretta to the teleportation gate so Joey can keep "subduing" the demon. Murgatroyd: "Baretta is surprisingly muscular."
  • The gunfight at the Quantico corral. "Was that Albert Armos?"
  • Joey taking a bullet for Murgatroyd and then asking for a raise
  • Idris the wizard throwing sass at the hunters. "How were you restraining the demon?" After hearing the explanation: "Of course hunters would use such crudely practical means. I've got this."
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Session went off without a hitch last night. @Steve was unable to make it due to a family obligation, but it worked out as Beretta was rendered comatose at the end of the last session. Jack the valorous bravely lept from banisters and scaled balconies to thread his way past obstacles to get to her and force one of his healing potions down her throat to save her from deaths door, but she was still affected by some kind of infernal infection and remained unconscious. 


Meanwhile Drew, Joey, and Killroy worked together to pummel the Red Hand's daemonsoul into unconsciousness. Murgatroyd took control and ordered the team to flee before the rest of the Red Hand cultists could free themselves from Jack's alchemical glue bomb, amid out-of-character riffs around the table on the Gandalfian "Flee you fools!" moment. Jack loaded Beretta into the back of her Mustang and fished around in her pockets for the keys, he drove the Mustang with Killroy in the passenger seat. Drew drove the rented SUV with Murgy in the passenger seat, and Joey in the back with the daemonsoul administering Haymakers at a regular cadence to keep the daemonsoul knocked out.

Killroy knew of a rundown and vacant warehouse near the municipal airport that he had assessed as a possible location for a field office, and the group went there. Murgy created a mystical warding circle around the daemonsoul, sure that it was only a matter of time before the Red Hand attempted to find her via scrying. Joey stayed in the circle with the daemonsoul and continued to periodically punch her.


Beretta was unresponsive and Jack's healing potions had done all they could; she needed medical attention. However, given the unnatural nature of her injuries, they team could not just take her to the hospital. The decision was made to pull out to Quantico via Murgy t-port, but the team had left luggage at two different hotels. Drew and Jack took the SUV and headed out to the first hotel...the one whose management had hired the team in the first place...the El Dorado...with the intent of Drew gathering up all the stuff the team had left in their rooms there, then driving across the river and repeating the process at the other hotel...the Margaritaville...and then returning to the warehouse so that the team could teleport out.


Due to complications from a prior session, when Jack was possessed by a Guede Loa and made a rather public scene of himself at the El Dorado casino, Jack waited in the SUV while Drew went up the back elevator to the teams rooms on the 3rd floor. To pass the time Jack cleaned his pistol and fiddled about. After a while, it dawned on him that Drew had been gone awhile. He waited a little longer...but eventually he had to admit something was wrong. Drew should have been back by now.


Jack called Drew's phone but it went to voicemail. Without pausing to call back to the rest of the team, Jack left the SUV and entered the hotel from the garage entrance and headed toward a bank of elevators. No one else was in sight, but Jack did notice a couple of bubble-style security cameras in corners...he was definitely on camera. He pushed the button for an up elevator and after a few seconds one arrived with a "ding" but as the doors opened Jack felt a deep sense of unease, a cold tingling reptile brain dread, the hairs on the back of his neck standing up. He opted to try the stairs instead. Feeling no such emanation in the stairwell,  he ascended to the 3rd floor and found it empty of any people.


Getting a bit of an Overlook Hotel feeling, Jack took a pause to remember which room was Drew's, then walked down the silent empty hall to knock on that door. Receiving no answer, he looked both ways...noticing a couple of security cameras along the wall, shrugged and kicked in Drew's hotel room door. Entering the room, Jack couldn't tell if there were signs of disarray per se because Drew is notoriously a bit messy...nothing obvious like a overturned lamp shade stood out. Jack looked back out the door down the hallway...still no one. Not even someone poking their head out to see what all the noise was from Jack having kicked in the door. Very odd.


Jack took out his cell phone and called Drew again...and heard the rhythmic buzzing of a phone on vibrate from under the bed. Allowing the door to close, he walked over and peered under the bed and found Drew's cell phone. Looking to the other side, he saw Drew's pistol underneath a chair in the corner which he retrieved...finding it to be in working condition but with some kind of ichorous slime residue on it. Pulling back the drawn curtains Jack discovered a rounded crack in the side of one of the window panes like the half-impression of a head. Eyeballing the physical geometry of the bed, chair, and window it kind of looked like maybe someone...perhaps Drew...had been knocked off their feet while standing on the window side of the bed...perhaps with pistol drawn and in the process of trying to call an ally...and slammed their head partially into the window's jam and partially into the glass before falling unconscious onto the floor...phone and gun tumbling away from the impact. 


On high alert, Jack tried to call Murgy...but his phone suddenly had no bars despite having just had a good connection a moment ago. Jack heard something moving around outside the pushed closed door...he had kicked in the latch so anyone or thing could just walk in by nudging it open. Glancing at the window and down the three stories to the ground Jack briefly considered jumping and hoping for the best but was unsure if he could survive. 


A knock at the door was followed by "Mr. Maywood? Please come to the door sir.". Taking one last glance out the window and not liking his odds, Jack grimaced and headed over to the door.


>>> More to come <<<


Everyone present had a strong night of roleplaying, and as the group separated and headed in different directions, most of the players had a chance to chew some scenery in focus scenes; each of them received 4 XP, and the group voted Drew MVP for the session.

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21 hours ago, Durzan Malakim said:

Murgatroyd having to drag Baretta to the teleportation gate so Joey can keep "subduing" the demon. Murgatroyd: "Baretta is surprisingly muscular."


She's got a gymnast's physique. I believe her height and weight was based off the fitness model being used for her portraits.

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  • 3 months later...

Starting to do the bump on the character files heading into Act 3 of Arc 4.


JoeyManegarmPowerup_t.jpgJackGreyscale_t.jpgMurgatroydClassic_t.jpg      BarettaSolemn_t.jpgKillroyGreyscale_t.jpgDrewGreyscale_t.jpg


Accepted versions of JoeyJack, and Murgy are up, and proposals for @Steve / Beretta; @King Red / Killroy w/ Weaponmaster [Firearms], and @WilyQ  / Drew are proffered. 


I will update this post as final versions shape up and are accepted.

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