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Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2005 2:46 am
  

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Kevin’s BTS2 game at Gen Con "In the Darkness".

When I got my Gen Con tickets, I was stoked to see Kevin was going to be running a PF game, as I am a PF nut. I also saw, however, that he had scheduled a BTS2 game. Having never played BTS2 (or BTS for that matter), I was a bit wary. I do have a background in modern-setting RP’ing, because that’s what I started with, but this was a whole new game with a setting I’d never used. Finally I decided that if I was ever going to start, there could be no better GM to introduce me to it than the man himself, so joined it as well. I’m quite glad I did.

There were between 12 and 14 players in the game (I think 12), but unfortunately I don’t remember all the classes or covers, as I’m not a regular BTS player and they are a bit beyond me still. I know we had a couple “ordinary people” in the group, as well as a Nega-Psychic professor who was quite well played. One of the ordinary’s was an ambulance driver by profession, which turned out to be quite useful to us by the end of the adventure. We also had at least one active police detective, and one PI who had left the force under questionable circumstances, but now found himself seriously hooked up with military grade hardware. There is also a pyrotechnic psychic of some sort (fire walker perhaps?).

In this game, I played an Arcanist named Isaac Mueller, who worked as an antique dealer and rare book man, both publicly and with the Lazlo Agency. My specialties were languages and lore, but I did have a concealed weapons permit for my .45 auto that I always carried. I’ll write from my own perspective, as that’s what I know best, but will try to include what the others did when my character wasn’t around whenever possible.

-----

Though we have never all worked together at once, most of us are familiar with each other, as we do all work in the greater Detroit area. We’ve come together now though, as something seems to be seriously wrong. A string of bizarre and scary incidents have been occurring over a single area in recent weeks, and the police are doing everything to make it seem like nothing supernatural is amiss. We recognize the truth though, but of course that’s not what the authorities are interested in. It’s time to do some ghost-busting of our own.

The signs are all mixed up. Children have been disappearing from a local school, where an “ugly man” of sorts has been reported. Obviously the handiwork of a Bogey-Man. Several indigents have been torn apart by “wild dogs” in the area. Hell Hounds, baby! Furthermore, some people have reported seeing a winged skeleton flying around. Final clue? Right smack in the middle of all this is an old insane asylum. The place has been mostly shut down, and only a skeleton crew of around 4 or 5 security guards and groundskeepers remain to maintain it. Some of the buildings have become havens for the homeless, and drug trafficking seems to have increased in the area.

Now, in most circumstances, these beasties would never work together, or even share territory. Now we’re looking at attacks from both, within the same small area, repeatedly, mixed during both night and day. What’s going on? A quick check on the Lazlo Agency forums confirms sightings of entities, poltergeists, and even banshees around here, and the fact that this is unprecedented. In the past, such incidents have always indicated the presence of an organizing cult or powerful evil influence directing the actions, but these attacks are all random. It’s time to investigate.

Grabbing some surveillance equipment, we decide to break into two groups. Most of us psychic and magic types don’t want to be around the Nega, and “encourage” him to go along with the police detective, ambulance driver, and some other mundanes to investigate around the school, while we and the PI with the gear go check out the asylum. Naturally, with something this crazy, we don’t even get to the asylum before all hell breaks loose.

On the way there, we find ourselves being passed by fire engines, and we can see smoke rising before we can see the buildings. We pull up as a second floor fire in one of the abandoned buildings is being brought under control. Fanning out, our fire psychic begins communing with the fire, while several of us approach the caretakers pretending to be reporters, seeking some background info. We learn that fires are not that unusual here, seeming to be set on accident by homeless folks a couple times a month. We learn that the caretakers have seen a pack of wild dogs around, but nothing really unusual. In the distance, we see the police pushing off some homeless folks, who’ve just been patched up by a paramedic… our ambulance-driving party-mate.

Our fire psychic returns to us and whispers that this wasn’t any accidental fire. It was intentionally set by a normal human, out of fear. Bad news. Realizing the need for better communication, a couple of our members depart to go get headset radios, and myself and the fire-psi catch up with the homeless folks. Twenty bucks for a hot meal and a quick story about wanting to tell “their side of the story, against these government folks trying to keep you down,” and one is spilling his guts to me. He set the fire, because he found himself suddenly running from an angry looking pig-like beast that came out of a hole in the wall in front of him. From his description, I was able to pin down that we were facing a Gormaglut; a nasty, vice-ridden lust-beast that corrupted the minds of those around it and turned them to evil.

By now the police are getting annoyed the way we keep edging towards the building, and come along to shove us off. We back off a bit, and see in the distance that a huge flock of ravens are swarming a ways off behind the buildings. We casually make our way off in that direction, just as our radios come back, and the Nega and his partners come by to join our investigation, having heard about the fire (I believe) via cell-phone. They head into the buildings, and we start to head across the fields. Only problem? They headed in without taking their radios. D’oh!

At this point, the PI figures perhaps we need some heavy weapons, and decides to go back to his office to get them. He won’t be gone long, he promises. We continue on without him.

Ok, cut the action to: Inside the building (party I’m not with)

Sneaking around the inside of the building, the group sneaks into a basement. With them is a devout priest, armed with a blunt weapon he calls “God’s Paddle,” to check around. The priest catches sight of something in the darkness, and senses horrible evil. Scared out of his mind, he warns the rest of the group, and tries to get them to flee. The Nega/Professor was, at this time, on the phone with his assistant (in the outside group), and the screaming in the background caught all of our attention. The prof says something along the lines of “I’ll call you back” and hangs up. Annoyed by the interruption, and making comments about wild dogs, the prof and other none-the-less begin to exit. As they approach the stairs, one of the watchmen (having heard the noise) comes upon them. Furious, he demands they get off the property immediately. He begins threatening to call the cops, while the Nega begins trying to negotiate a contract to clear out the wild animals in the basement. Finally, as they leave, the frustrated Nega calls animal control on his cell-phone and demands that they show up at the asylum to do some cleanup work. The watchman laughs and tells him they never come anyway, and promptly boots them out.

Cut action to: across the field (party I am with)

We were two thirds of the way across the field when we heard the screaming in the background of the phone call and got hung up upon, so we immediately turn and begin running back. Partway back, one of our members fails a save against demon poop, and steps directly in a pile of it, still warm. Besides being totally nasty, this does scare us some, as our crypto-zoologist is able to quickly identify it as waste from a Hell Hound, which is quite fresh and no doubt in the area. Our psi-sensitive confirms the presence of supernatural in the area, and we draw our weapons, expecting trouble. About this time we do get a call back from the other half of our party saying they’re sending a person out with a map of the old steam tunnels that they acquired before being kicked out, and that they’re all ok, so we relax. When the map arrives, we head back towards the mess of ravens again. We do know that ravens tend to swarm Bogey Men, and that Bogey Men would find steam tunnels to be delightful place to live, so we know what we’re about to face.

Map in hand, we approach the entrance, and peer in. Pitch black. After some debate, our female assistant professor gets tired of all the stupid men around her, and heads in. I quickly cast a rolling globe of daylight in front of her, and join her at her shoulder with my gun and cross at the ready. The rest follow close after, with an ordinary and our shotgun-packing ambulance driver in the rear. We manage to follow some shuffling tracks to a fork in the tunnel, where we hear the sound of distant crying, like that of a human child. We proceed towards it with all practical speed.

Cut action back to building group.

Not about to go home with their tales between their legs, the building group sneaks off to another building, and starts peeking in windows. Eventually, they find themselves looking in at the head caretaker (named Gus I believe) chewing out another, and discussing something… something of interest. He begins talking about how their “zoo” will be ready soon, but how unfortunate it is that some of the creatures seem to have escaped. Recognizing that these folks have unleashed certain unpleasant creatures into the neighborhood, the party bursts in and demands their surrender. The assistant takes off running down the hallway and is pursued by part of the party. Gus draws his own gun though, and is about to fire when he is shot by the shotgun of one of the players. He staggers back and is able to avoid further gunfire until suddenly he catches a massive crack upside the head from God’s Paddle and is sent to the floor. The Nega, not believing in weapons, steps on his hand to pin it down.

Cut back to the outside group.

Just as this barrage of gunfire is unleashed, we have our own to deal with. Our attention is drawn suddenly by the screams of our rearguard, and the sound of shotgun blasts echoing in the narrow tunnels. Whipping the globe of daylight onto them, we find an unhappy Bogey Man locked in combat with the two rearguards at the fork in the tunnel. As we run back, the ambulance driver unleashes another massive shotgun blast, hitting the Bogey Man, but also drilling his partner at point blank range! As the partner staggers, myself, the fire psi, and the assistant professor run up, while our last two members continue to the sounds of the children. I begin unloading my .45 into it at point blank, and the assistant prof fires several slugs from her .38 revolver as well. Being so outnumbered, it begins to retreat, but with a tremendous Wumph! we all find ourselves suddenly quite warm. A fireball hurtled into combat, incinerating the Bogey Man, turning it into a hordes of squeaking rats that fled from our noise.

The Bogey Man dead, we're rejoined by the two party mates that continued on, who have returned with a pair of terrified children that had been locked up down below. Our paramedic stabilizes the guy he just shot, and along with the kids, brings him to his waiting ambulance to be rushed off to a hospital. As we head back across the fields, we get the news that the inside party has successfully subdued the guards, and discovered a sort of supernatural “zoo” in the basement, where they were summoning and trying to cage all manner of nasties. A few had escaped, causing the problems in the area. The Hell Hound was recaptured, and the Gormaglut was nowhere to be found.

Now reunified, the party was prepared to banish the beasts and call the cops, when our PI finally returned, packing enough weaponry to vaporize a city block, and take-out from McDonald’s to boot. He was disappointed when we let him know we’d dealt with the menace, and instead of leaving, he took a B.A.R. and tripod, and most of the food, and went to setup camp up on the second story where the Gormaglut had last been spotted. The rest of us dealt with the beasties and guards, and went home, feeling successful.

Epilogue.

The PI and his anti-tank rifle spent 3 sleepless days and nights up on that second story, subsisting off cold fast food, before voices started whispering in his ear. Voices telling him we were the ones who’d betrayed him, and that he could gain power through our destruction. It focused on the priest, who was of course a beacon of good. Twitching with rage, and carrying his giant rifle, the PI went to the apartment of the priest and demanded entry. Highly concerned, the priest turned invisible and called 911. The PI blew the lock off the door with a single 30-06 shot, and entered the room to find the phone off the hook. Listening for a moment, he then held a highly animated conversation with the 911 operated before ripping the cord out of the wall. Finally coming to and realizing the Gormaglut was using its aura of corruption to influence him, he fights it off and tries to make up for what he’s done. He re-plugs the phone, and apologizes to the priest as he rematerializes nearby. The priest passes off the break-in to the cops as a prank by kids, and we all move on with our lives.

Sorry it isn't the best write-up in the world, but hopefully it helps get a handle on the insanity and complexity of even this short one-off at the hands of Kevin. It was an awesome adventure, and I was on pins and needles most of the time, culminating in our deafening steam-tunnel gun battle. To those players of BTS who've expressed concerns that TG and Arcanum might not come out? Have no fear! Kevin loves this line, and excitedly talked about both those books, verbally selling us all on them as we played. I have no doubt they'll both be seeing the light of day just as soon as he possibly can have them ready.

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Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2005 8:48 pm
  

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Sounds like it was a blast.

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Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2005 10:51 pm
  

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Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2005 11:08 pm
  

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Its almost as if his game was an exclusive sneak peek of both the Arcanum and Tome Grotesque...which I think it was sort of meant to be).

If you played in that game (I didn't) you were lucky. Sounds like it was a blast.

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Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2005 12:27 am
  

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I believe I also played as Isaac at penguicon, but walked in towards teh tail end of teh adventure.

Our group had managed to infiltrate this demon summoning cult's mansion, and caused an attack as a distraction to take out the cult's leader and his Darota assistant. The inside team didn't have guns at the time, so it was a brawl in the kitchen, with a whole lot of stabbing going on.

Did you at least use his "Shjadow Meld" to ransack some booty and slip past any cops?

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Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2005 1:01 am
  

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Josh Sinsapaugh wrote:
Its almost as if his game was an exclusive sneak peek of both the Arcanum and Tome Grotesque...which I think it was sort of meant to be).

If you played in that game (I didn't) you were lucky. Sounds like it was a blast.


Aye, indeed it did feel like a sneak peak. Playing an Arcanist, I wasn't familiar with some of my spells, being as the magic book doesn't exist yet. Maybe BTS1 players will know these, but a couple spells I didn't recognize were Impression, Mystic Eye, and Read the Mystical. Impression turns out to be sort of like a magic version of Object Read. Mystic Eye is a form of See the Invisible. Read the Mystical allows the caster to read and understand magic.

Also, I had a magic form of Meditation, and had an ability called Demon Strike that seems a bit like a Demon Death Blow. 8 P.P.E. I believe, for a punch that can strike the supernatural doing 3D6 damage, or adding 3D6 damage to a melee weapon hit. I had 28 P.P.E. prior to multipliers, which were similar in nature and size to the I.S.P. multipliers.

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Only person ever to kill another player in KS's "Secret Enemy" game.
"Julius is convinced Evan Cooney was born to play Weasel Man." -Kevin


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Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2005 3:04 pm
  

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Now that I think about it... Isaac's day job is running an Antiques store....

Antiques......


...You think he's gay? I mean, a Florist would be more obvious, but... alot of teh geh yaoi bois are into selling old furniture, too it seems.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2005 12:45 pm
  

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I'm sorry I missed this, sounds like it was really awesome. Thanks for the writeup!

da Nerdbane


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Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2006 1:31 am
  

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Wow. Sounds like fun. I especially like how he took a large group of at least 12 people and managed them by splitting them into 2 groups, and having that as part of the story. Very great GM-ing skills. Then again, that's to be expected by K.S. since he's the one who is greatly responsible for creating the company, the books and this forum. Hats off to a great GM; maybe I can be in one of his groups one day. What a way to make a living!!

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