The many adventures of the Helping Hands Consortium, a group of mages working for the Seers of the Throne, who secretly rule the mortal world. The campaign is set in the city of Prague, noted for having three times the necromancers and one third of the diviners of any other city.
Dian Cécht: A 122-year-old ex-IRA terrorist and spirit magic specialist, from a family of faerie blooded druids. Works for the Panopticon, a Seer faction dedicated to spying on everyone and making people feel paranoid about being spied on. Looks about 25 thanks to a family blessing of longevity.
Moriarty: one of the few people in Prague who can see the future. Moriarty is a gun crazy thug from a family of mystical craftsmen, who acts even dumber than he is to make people underestimate him. Works for the Praetorian ministry, who specialize in violence and strife.
Orwell: Another Panopticon member, Orwell’s day job gives him direct access to facebook’s servers. He’s from a family of mystic manipulators, and specializes in mind reading and ESP.
Maleficent: A young woman from a family of astral explorers, Maleficent specializes in fate magic. She works for Mannon, the ministry of consumerism and capitalism.
Maslow: Our first Mannon went insane from a combination of curses, and currently resides in an insane asylum. He specialized in life magic, especially mystic drugs.
Typhon: Team Necromancer, working for the minor ministry of the Thanatoic, who have the responsibility of keeping people from finding out about the undead.
Between Moriarty and Maleficent we have a third of the city’s acanthi (Divination mages) on our team, which gives us an unprecedented ability to come out ahead and with our hands clean. Thus far, we’ve managed to make our enemies look like fools repeatedly without seeming to raise a finger. We’re also ridiculously rich in magical loot, having done some very important favors for the head of the Mannon ministry.
Typhon: Yeah, but what are you people worth?
ST: …. wow. We haven't even begun the first session yet, and with that you've already earned xp for the first "stumble across vital stuff" achievement.
Dian Cécht: When all you have is a hammer…
Orwell: Everything looks like a diamond.
A phone rings:
ST: *looks questioningly over at player*
Moriarty (OOC): My pants are all a-quiver.
Moriarty: This is why new beginning-level mages can actually have obstacles at times
We find a Norwegian body double for Dian Cécht via Facebook, as Moriarty has predicted that our enemies will attempt to kidnap Dian in the mistaken belief that he knows where the philosopher’s stone is:
ST: Sure, he might've been born & raised in Lofoten, but that's why he entered university and moved to Bergen as soon as he grew up: to get away from all that small-town stuff and live in a more urban and civilized environment.
Moriarty (OOC): And now he gets to taste the fruits of that civilization! *Chloroforms & abducts the guy*
Our enemies send a SWAT team after the guy the next day, while one of Typhon’s assets (a tv news crew), happens to be nearby. The result is an international incident, allegations of human smuggling, and a government crisis that ends with new elections being called. None of this sh*tstrom falls on us.
Typhon (OOC): So, are there any handjobs left?
ST: My first reaction there was "What?!? Handjobs are a finite resource now? How can you run out of handjobs?!?"
Dian Cécht (OOC): We have mages of Mammon. We can make a scarcity of anything.
(Mammon is the Seer department for using capitalism and scarcity to keep the people down)
Moriarty (OOC): It's Europe. It's not like you can even throw a rock anywhere without it hitting history.
When we finally chase down the philosopher’s stone, it isn’t quite what we expected:
ST: Yes, you're holding a fleshy, beating heart!
Maslow (OOC): Must. Resist. Urge. To. Eat!
Typhon: We could kidnap a Mystagogue.
Dian Cécht: That's your answer to everything.
A ghostly curse makes Maslow unable to interact with electric systems:
Dian Cécht: That's right, he can't give us money or even flick light-switches. What are you for, anymore?!?
The relative merits of an AI controlled society:
Moriarty: Why would you leave the choice up to people, when you can leave it up to cold unfeeling machines?!?
Maslow: Exactly! They're SO much easier to bribe. They don't have all those pesky ''love'' and ''honor'' things.
Moriarty is a virgin, and makes the mistake of letting the rest of us know:
Moriarty: Are you actually going to prevent me from getting laid just in case we meet a unicorn?!?
Maslow: Not only that, there's all sorts of things that want virgin sacrifices.
Moriarty: Because if you do I will shoot you. With ALL the bullets.
We’ve called in the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse to help us with the small matter of an invading ghost army:
Typhon (OOC): The angel of death is coming?
ST: No, he's sitting at your table, not drinking anything.
Moriarty (OOC): Yeah, you'll have to seduce him first.
ST: Significant discovery?
Discussing Mage Legacies:
ST: Mhm, it's variant of bioremediation, which is sort of thing where they use algae to clean up an oil spill, but with nature-spirits instead.
Dian Cecht: Active terrorists? Apply spirits: Problem solved!
Moriarty: But terrorism IS a natural phenomenon!
Typhon (OOC): I like the color of dead people.
Moriarty: Maybe I NEED a bomb. For the feng shui.
Moriarty's Player: I don't even know what that means.
ST: Interior decorating. Mystical interior decorating.
Players are visiting a bank, to get some ancient stone tablet grimoires out of the vaults. Moriarty's phone rings:
ST: It's Porlock, your mentor. He just says a single word.
Moriarty (OOC): Run?
Typhon (OOC): Duck!
Moriarty hits the deck, then there's a dramatic shootout-sequence:
Croesus: (bleeding out on floor next to them) I. Blaaaaame. Yooouuuuuuuuu…..
Moriarty rewinds time, to the turn before. His phone rings:
Porlock: …oh, never mind then.
ST: Moriarty short first.
Typhon is on a spirit quest:
ST: He's no longer entirely in the astral
Dian Cécht (OOC): Yeah, he's in Gotham.
Moriarty: You know, if you want I can shoot your dad for you.
Orwell: I think I can manage.
Orwell (OOC): It's a castle. And it's about to be stormed by an angry mob
Orwell (OOC): So, who's Frankenstein?
Typhon (OOC): Hopefully he's in another castle…
Moriarty (OOC): When you have that level of power you don't need to care about morals any more.
We accidently awaken a new mage, and attempt to fill him in on how the world works:
Maleficent: The secret organization ruling the world is…
Maleficent: …I don't understand.
Kaz: ''SPECTRE''. The board of villains in the James Bond movies.
Maleficent: Not exactly. Less organized, I suppose.
Dian: We have access to slightly better than average equipment, you might say
Typhon (OOC): We're hung
Dian Cécht (OOC): Now you will experience the awesome power of a fully operational Thyrsus mage.
Maleficent (OOC): Fully functional and anatomically correct, even.
Dian Cécht (OOC): I'm tempted to text him the name of a nice restaurant.
Orwell (OOC): A place without irish.
We’ve teamed up with another pilon, and Moriarty has already hooked up with their sexiest female:
Typhon (OOC): We also picked up that Monroe was a big player in the Pantheon of Hollow Dreams.
Dian Cécht (OOC): Mhm.
Orwell (OOC): But don't worry, we have a man on the inside
GM: So to speak….
Orwell (OOC): *grins*
Orwell, meanwhile, hooked up with Presley, at the Pantheon’s lair:
Dian: And now you know where they live and everything
Orwell: OH GOD! I ACTUALLY DID SPYING STUFF!!! I don't know how to cope with this!
The Pantheon call their lair the Hall of Fame:
Dian: No no, we need to set up a ''Hall of Frame''.
We have received epic rewards for the body parts we keep uncovering in ancient ruins:
Maleficent (OOC): Maleficent would suggest herself as Custodian of the Profane Urim
Dian Cécht (OOC): Hmmm…. Well, it is Mammon property.
ST: Mhm, true, true.
Dian Cécht (OOC): And she IS the most easily bullied member of our pylon.
In need of clues, we ask for a prophesy by Moriarty’s mentor:
Porlock: I foresee……rich wives that are more than they seem?
Dian: WHY DO I KEEP GETTING ATTACKED BY WILD ANIMALS?!?
Orwell: Maybe the animals are afraid that you're onto them?
Maleficent: No, DAMN, I can't look at the diamond with the diamond! I need more diamonds!
ST: MAMMON! «I need MORE diamonds!»
Maleficent: Could I maybe look at it in a mirror?
Moriarty: That probably leads to a bad place
Moriarty looks into the future to figure out who the mysterious Red King is:
Moriarty: Ok, guys, so…we need to kill the Earth.
Dian’s mind has been infected with astral snakes serving the Red King, and we wonder where he might have picked them up:
ST: You mean like the ancient stone tablets? The ones where the memory of them contained more information than the actual physical tablets did?
Dian Cécht (OOC): ….that should probably have been a warning, shouldn't it?
Dian Cécht (OOC): TABLET!
ST: As in ''stone tablet'', not ''iPod tablet''.
Dian Cécht (OOC): Oh god, I'm showing you a tablet….on a tablet!
What to do next:
Orwell (OOC): We had leads
ST: And Birmingham (leads / Leeds)
Moriarty (OOC): for now….
Dian Cécht (OOC): What?
Moriarty (OOC): We have plans
A supposedly simple task would have ended with two pylon members dead if Moriarty hadn’t turned back time and avoided the encounter altogether. Only Orwell knew what we were up against in advance:
Maleficent: Ok, new policy: Next time Orwell asks us to do something, we waterboard him until he tells us everything.
Dian: Are you sure you didn't just have a dream?
Maleficent: Yes. There was also a horrible spider-monster piñata
Dian: Are you sure it wasn't just a scene from your childhood?
We need to requisition an anti-spider vacuum cleaner:
Moriarty: I guess I'll have to write an…unconventional…letter to Darth Vader.
ST: You don't have the flexibility.
Moriarty (OOC): But you DO have the spear of Longuinus.
Maleficent: I don't think I would be very good at spying on the tentacle
Dian: Why do you think I faked my death twice?
Maleficent (OOC): Damn those librarians! So persistent!
Maleficent (OOC): That's right, we have an Acanthus. We can KILL their parents!
We dress a guy up with technical toys to infiltrate the Pantechnicon:
Orwell (OOC): I didn't expect Pantechnicon to be this shallow.
Orwell needs to pay for an unusual taxi drive:
Orwell: So, what do you give an undead driver?
Maleficent: Brains? Oh, wait, you don't have any!
Maleficent: Come to think of it, do you actually swing that way? I don't think I've actually seen you with a woman yet.
Dian: Back in my day, there was no other option.
Maleficent: Or we could find Saint Patrick in the astral, and invite him into your head!
Dian: Yes! That would solve ALL my problems!
Dian: Or her. I mean, It's the 21st century: gay rights activists can be female too.
Dian: You and Presley on the other hand…..you should also keep it up. You're pretty cute together.
Owell: You're just saying that because he's useful.
Dian seems to turn into a walking corpse at sundown:
Maleficent (OOC): I will tell him after the scheme.
ST: What, you don't want to distract him with minutiae?
Dian Cécht: What, that I was DEAD last night?!?
ST: No, no, you were dead drunk.
Orwell (OOC): That explains why Batman is only active at night.
ST: Exactly: Because that's when his parents are dead.
Dian: On the other hand, can the dead meditate?
ST: Sort of like ''do androids dream of electric sheep?'', isn't it?
Orwell (OOC): Well, he's IRISH. He's sort of lost to the land of the living already.
ST: It's not like she's laminated or anything.
Dian Cécht (OOC): She could be! It's not like I know how women work.
Dian can always tell if someone is related to him:
ST: Each of the paths has something like that.
Moriarty (OOC): Yeeeah, Acanthus can always know if a woman is legal.
Dian Cécht (OOC): A century of careful planning, and then
«right, this is what Fate magic feels like».
…FUCK YOU GUYS.
Maleficent (OOC): Nothing stops you from picking up the superior magic.
Moriarty: Riiiiight, phones. They're so useful, but also so evil.
After chatting with the extremely blonde Stacey:
Moriarty (OOC): This must be what people feel like when they speak to Moriarty.
Orwell and Moriarty infiltrate a secret society while pretending to be a couple. Maleficent is providing the funds to make them seem upper class:
Stacey: So, you're the rich one, or he is?
Orwell (OOC): No, we both have a mutual girlfriend who supplies us with money.
Moriarty (OOC): That's so sad, but so true.
Orwell: I anticipated everything….except my plan succeeding.
ST: (talking about Presley) There's a reason he deals with fame and media. He's good with people, but he's not so much a brain.
Dian Cécht (OOC): (singing) it's pinky and the brain….
Orwell (OOC): No, not Hollywood fake. Real fake.
Moriarty: Now you see what it's like being ME. Well, having to deal with unhelpful undead things.
Maleficent: Like Dian?
Dian is infiltrating a religious cult:
Tobias: So, you believe in witchcraft now?
Dian: Well, I'm Irish.
An angel has taken an interest in Dian’s infiltration attempt:
ST: Actually, your raven-familiar isn't the only one out there anymore. The guardian angel of the cemetary is also hovering outside the window, right behind him, also looking in, and still scowling disapprovingly at Dian.
Diaval (Maleficent’s familiar): So….come here often?
Orwell (OOC): Roll seduction!
Orwell: Have you read ''le mis''?
Presley: Oh, there's been made a book of it now?
Dian Cécht (OOC): AUGH!!! shaking fists at them
Dian Cécht (OOC): That IS a question: Does your imaginary raven poop?
Maleficent (OOC): You know, I haven't checked.
ST: Ah, the high-brow philosophical and metaphysical questions that only show up in Mage.
Maleficent (OOC): I'm starting to suspect that for the panopticon, if nobody's watching then it didn't happen.
Maleficent (OOC): Blackmail or it didn't happen.
Dian Cécht (OOC): Bah, boundaries are for people with something to hide.
Orwell: He's backed up by two acanthi. What's the worst that can happen?
Dian Cécht (OOC): Same thing I do every night.
ST: Turn into an undead abomination!
We have a new mission. We’re to make sure the public takes an interest in the elections and keep believing that it makes a difference who wins:
Moriarty (OOC): We're ready to defeat…..politics?
ST: Not really. Rather like you're gonna help with making sure liberty remains defeated.
Moriarty (OOC): Kicking it while it's down.
ST: More like "help keeping the boot firmly placed on its neck".
Moriarty (OOC): Ah, yes, it's time for the annual boot adjustment.
ST: You don't need a demonically-empowered hormonal teenage boy on a lust-driven rape-rampage to ruin a relationship, but it helps.
Dian: I was busy watching spirits.
…And talking to spirits.
…And talking to people with sprits.
…And drinking spirits.
GM: Is there anything in the charter that forbids you from waterboarding each other?
Maleficent (OOC): No. INTENTIONALLY.
Maleficent: Dian, please don't rouse Moriarty's hat.
Moriarty: Praetorians! We can always find an excuse to shoot something!
Dian: You have my permission to shoot yourself.
Dian explores an ancient cave with paintings in Maleficent’s head:
GM: But you do notice that not all animals are represented. There's certain animals that Dian knows about which aren't anywhere on the cave-paintings of all the ways animals can kill and die.
Dian Cécht (OOC): Like Penguins?
GM: …..yes. That would also be one, true. No penguins.
But more interesting, perhaps, is that there's also absolutely no dogs. At all.
Moriarty (OOC): Maybe dogs don't kill people…?
Orwell: I think we must have fucked up somewhere, if the worst thing that can happen is people giving us what we ask for.
Dian: So….come here often?
Moriarty (OOC): Seduce the darkness!
You're in the astral.
There's a wolf.
It's armed with a gun.
GM: You still have Death Sight active, right? So you can see how much someone has been around Death. You see something like that out of the corner of your eye.
Dian Cécht (OOC): I turn around
GM: It's your shadow. Stretched out on the ground behind you, and it registers to your death-sense like a black hole registers for gravity.
Dian Cécht (OOC): *groans* Oh no, Dian actually jumps at his own shadow, flinching backwards.
GM: And given that you were standing right in front of the rock face so the birds on your shoulders could read the carved text, you'd now have the rock wall at your back, so you'd jump back into it, probably hitting your head pretty painfully.
Of course, if you're now standing with your back pressed up against the rock wall, how can your shadow be stretched out in front of you?
*the 'shadow' begins to stand up, and soon resolves itself into a hovering skeletal specter wrapped in a black shroud that flaps in the non-existent wind, holding a scythe in one hand.*
Creaure: (points a bony hand at Dian) I have come for you!
Dian: Who are you?!?
Creaure: I am your death!
Moriarty (OOC): So, is this an ideal time for my character to finally get back to the group?
GM: Ayup. So, Dian, you see the wolf emerging out of the fog and mist on your left, the gun still clutched in its jaws.
Dian Cécht (OOC): Ah, now it makes sense.
Dian: Everyone, meet my new familiar.
His Death: so…what's up?
Dian Cécht (OOC): I swear, this will end up as some sort of children's show.
Orwell (OOC): Dian the explorer?
GM: (as Dian) Death! How could you betray me!
GM: (as Dian): I will never trust Death again!
Moriarty (OOC): In that case, I'm going to shoot down the fruit.
Moriarty (OOC): I brought a gun, and I'm going to use it!
GM: It is… (dramatic doom-voice) the garden of enlightenment and understanding!!!
Moriarty (OOC): That has to be an evil place.
Dian Cécht (OOC): Well, the "garden of enlightenment and understanding" does sound like the sort of place the Seers would burn down pre-emptively.
Moriarty (OOC): Bah, why would we burn it down? Imagine: a McDonalds on every corner.
Dian Cécht (OOC): Don't worry, I have some books that might help.
Maleficent (OOC): Bible fight!
Orwell: I think I'll just retreat behind here and do mountain lion things.
Maleficent: Ritual magic!
Dian can sleep in the astral, even while his real world body is a corpse:
Dian: Interesting thing: I can't sleep when I'm dead, but I can possibly sleep in my head.
Dian: Besides, I don't think I can die here.
His Death: I'm sure we can figure something out.
GM: That's actually really weird: Diaval can also speak in a language everyone can understand, but nobody tried to do telepathy with him so he could tell stuff to the whole group.
Moriarty (OOC): Because he has a sense of humor.
GM: Yesss, [sarcasm] how horrible! [/sarcasm]
Dian Cécht (OOC): Wait, and I don't?
Moriarty (OOC): Exactly!
Dian discovers he can choose whether to appear as a corpse in the astral:
Dian Cécht (OOC): I'll spend the time trying to switch back and forth between being alive and being dead.
GM: You want to toggle?!?
Dian Cécht (OOC): We are chasing the worm.
Moriarty (OOC): Heh.
Dian Cécht (OOC): That is not a euphemism.
Moriarty (OOC): It sure sounded like one.
Dian is currently the human, as the rest have taken the form of their spirit animal:
Dian: *intensely waves double middle-finger* I HAVE HANDS SO I CAN DO THIS!
We find a pool of blood which appears to belong to a supersized version of Dian’s cardiovascular system:
Dian: I would prefer NOT to swim into my own heart, thank you!
Diaval: Why? You're afraid it's made of stone, and will crush you?
Maleficent: At least we know it won't be made of gold.
Maleficent: I like the suggestion that we should get to the heart of the matter.
Maleficent receives the negative effects she encounters in the astral in the real world too. This makes her a bit more skeptical than the rest of us when it comes to taking gigantic risks in the astral:
Dian: She drowned.
Pyramid: In what?
Dian: IN MY BLOOD!
Maleficent (OOC): With Moriarty and Orwell and Maleficent, we went into their minds, but with Dian we went straight into his heart.
ST: Sadly, Poland is not submerged in blood plasma.
Dian Cécht (OOC): YET.
Maleficent (OOC): So, first part of our invasion plan: submerge Poland in blood-plasma.
Maleficent: I feel we're learning lots of stuff here.
Orwell: Just not the stuff we came here for .
Dian: My blood could invade Poland with sufficient effort!!!!
Orwell (OOC): Looking for thrones in all the wrong places.
Maleficent (OOC): The exarchs were within you all along.
We find a throne in the supersized body:
Dian: I hope there's not a throne in me.
Maleficent (OOC): Is there anyone on the throne?
Dian Cécht (OOC): MINE!
Maleficent (OOC): MINE!
Orwell (OOC): So apparently the first thing we do is argue about who gets the throne.
ST: Thyrsi never have problems with premature ejaculation. Unless there's something occult going on.…did I just say that?!?
Maleficent (OOC): Maybe you're the town bicycle.
ST: Of the universe?!?
Moriarty (OOC): That's one thing we can brag about to our superiors: we're expendable
Orwell (OOC): Our number one selling point!
ST: Soul infection
Moriarty (OOC): He has crabs!
Maleficent (OOC): Soul crabs?!?
Orwell (OOC): But this was a civilized dog: it had a gun.
Maleficent: How can I make it up to you? What do you want? Anything!
Moriarty: When we're done here, you. Are getting. THERAPY!
Dian gets lost in Maleficent’s memories of Jurassic Park 3:
Dian Cécht (OOC): I vaguely seem to remember that cars are dinosaur-proof
Maleficent (OOC): Apparently Ireland was more awesome than I was aware of
Dian: Let's go save a dinosaur's life. It's not the stupidest thing I've done today.
Orwell: I didn't really have a choice in the underage boy thing/fling
Dian Cécht: Suuuure
Orwell (OOC): That was that happy childhood marriage
ST: Well, it WAS happy
Orwell (OOC): Then you ruined it. Just like your parents' marriage
Orwell (OOC): Are my eyes still there?
ST: They seem to have melted
Orwell (OOC): Wow. I really want to poke my finger in there
Orwell: I think what we've learned is that things can always attack us, even if they're dead
Dian: Or imaginary
Orwell: We should never come across Dracula
Dian: Or we should. We really shouldn't, but we totally should
Orwell (OOC): I'm bleeding from the eyes, so your argument is sort of valid
Moriarty: Ah-ah-ah, you all look alike to me, puny humans without awesome abyssal powers!
Moriarty: The watchtower has shown me so much. I think I maybe should set it down eventually
Dian: Yes. Something should surely be put down, yes….
ST: She may be walking around, but she IS legally dead
Dian Cécht (OOC): That's easy enough to arrange
Maleficent (OOC): We're not killing her
Moriarty (OOC): Now, let's not say things we can't take back
After scrying on Marquis de Sade and catching her interest:
Moriarty: Why did you do that?!? It's like the Eye of Sauron, only sexy.
Moriarty: You think you can do bad choices in life?!? Watch THIS!
Dian: And you know, SEERS of the throne, not THINKERS of the throne
Dian Cécht (OOC): That might be better if the corpse is also there
ST: One of the few times that phrase has ever been uttered
Orwell (OOC): But we'd need a magically enchanted hearse
ST: When you said that, I imagined it like cinderella, with the pumpkin into a carriage, but with a hearse!
Orwell (OOC): You really must be back before midnight
ST: Yes Voldemort, you SHALL go to the ball!
Dian: I'm not too dead to DRINK, I'm too dead to GET DRUNK. There's a difference!
We debate whether to attempt to break through an illusionary wall that the construction workers set up in our lair without informing us:
Dian: In order to avoid 'Canadian girlfriend' we should NOT look at the wall. Is that our conclusion?
ST: Mhm, "Norma Jean", the actual birthname of Marilyn Monroe.
Dian Cécht (OOC): ….she was born?!?!
The Pantheon of Hollow Dreams stock ice-cream with narcotics for dealing with traumatic events:
Moriarty (OOC): Ah, the Pantheon. Then again, not like we're any better.
Dian Cécht (OOC): We are. We have absolutely NO coping methods whatsoever!
Dian: A friend of mine just got a promotion like that. Well, I should say "colleague".
Orwell (OOC): Freudian slip!
Dian Cécht (OOC): So, get Pinocchio.
Orwell (OOC): Then, make a table.
Moriarty argues that Monroe is the best girlfriend of the pylon:
Dian Cécht (OOC): I'll agree with the claim of "best girlfriend", if only because these two have boyfriends.
Discussion about assassin's guild as business model:
Maleficent (OOC): First hit's free
Maleficent: Your shadow is a bit pale. Maybe you should see a doctor?
A cursed instrument kills Cobain when he tries to play it, and brings him back as a ghost mage:
Maleficent: Oh god, the question I didn't expect to ask today: Does anyone have anything we can keep my boyfriend's ashes in?
Dian: So, Presley…..did you bring a lunchbox?
Presley: ….yes. I did.
Dian: SEE? The panopticon KNOWS!!!
Dian, already dead for the night, is about to get himself decapitated to cheat his way out of a faery deal:
Maleficent: I'm counting on the duct tape.
Dian: I'm counting more on the ghost (Cobain) being able to change the cause of death to something I can live with.