Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Eleventh Session: January 29, 2009

The group studied the ritual Ester showed for imprisoning Tristan, pointing out the difficult part - collecting five soul shards to use, and how to find a psychopomp to take them to the realm of Anubis to get the shards. The shards were described as foot-long, clear crystals when empty. Leaving the library, they walked into Kaigen's living room.
Kaigen greeted them and Damyun showed up. Damyun reported (from research for Bhodi) that multiple artifacts which had been used against Mad Gods have gone missing or been found destroyed. Sharing notes, the newly-bolstered group departed to a cemetary after Jilly took a side trip to gather ingredients at an occult shop.
Forming a triangle for essence boost, Kazi cast the ritual to summon the guide of the dead - a psychopomp. The Key of the Dead parted from Kazi to open a door as a key. Entering a passage beyond, the group was approached by a figure - its appearance varying based on their individual views (dragon, phoenix, clockwork cat, kitsune...). After some discussion about possible other dead to speak with, they went to Anubis first - at his pyramid.
Anubis charged them with retrieving a pup of Cerberus without harming it or its parents. The unnamed psychopomp summoned Charon to traverse the Styx to Cerberus' lair. Arriving at the gate, Jilly called to the puppies, two running over... and pouncing her. After some cuteness and laughter, Bobby explained the situation to Cerberus. Cerberus said the group could take a pup if they could get one to follow, and only one. At this point, Kachiko TK-floated one and suggested Jilly stay to distract the others. Cerberus, however, called the other puppies to the side, leaving the one carried behind the group.
Anubis had the puppy placed on pillows and turned over the shards. The guide split into two to lead Bobby and Jilly to visit separate dead... then Damyun when another way. They grouped back up as Jilly was talking to her cousins, Alicia explaining that Sunshine was the one to ritually kill them - and that Sunshine was working with Tristan for the last twenty years. After some further talking, the guide led them back to the doorway and the entrance to the real world - in the Babylon.
After retrieving vehicle(s), they group turned in for the night - some partying longer than others. The ritual required to reseal a prison takes a portion of the imprisoned being, so the group decided to approach Sunshine, confronting her to get a piece of Tristan from her into a soul shard. Prepping the crystals was determined to take a couple days, so plans were temporarily placed on hold.

Kazi finished the ritual to prep the shards in early afternoon. Plans were made for Jilly to go to Sunshine, disguised, and lure her to the woods for ambush. Jilly disguised herself up to go out... Kachiko took the opportunity to have her fireman's coat sent out to be dry cleaned. The disguise and talking went well, Sunshine inviting her over that night. After a Wiccan meeting that night, Jilly was able to arrange with Sunshine to meet and go to the woods around 11 the following morning.

The rest of the group went to the woods at 9:30 to lay in wait. Muahahaha!

Tenth Session: November 20, 2008

Introducing: Jilly - pyrokineticist, Cabal, cousin of Trisha and Alicia

Sunday night,
Exiting the building, the trio present ran into Jilly. Kazi picked up pretty readily that she was heavy on the essence, and they conversed - awkwardly. Jill noticed a car coming and it proved to be campus security. She and Kazi hid while Kachiko played with them a bit. After they left, objected started being tossed out of the window. Kachiko dodged a dresser and flew up to peek in and see Jonathan Zee leaving the room. They group decided to leave at that point.
They came across Kaigen, warning him of the dead man and calling Bobby to fill him in. Kachiko went off to talk to Fitch about the situation. They came up with the plan to bury Zee's remains in boxes and buried in concrete. Jilly went home.

Kachiko showed up at Kaigen's with boxes. After discussing the plan to tackle Jonathan, the group decided to return to the burned dorm as a start. The dorm was surrounded by police - apparently the cops that came by the night before were killed with multiple knife wounds. Bobby sensed a darkness in their room and talk led to a possible plan to re-ignite the building as a cover. Bobby went in with Kachiko carried. Instead of finding Jonathan, he saw the heads of the two security guards on the bedposts. At Bobby's asking, the heads replied verbally in Jonathan's voice, inviting him to meet at the Grey City. Jilly failed to incinerate the heads... twice. Kazi took a shot with an invocation... and missed. A series of failure left the bathroom in flames and Jilly singed. Kachiko TK'd one of the heads into the burning bathroom, fed up with the misses.
The group left. Quickly.
After some discussion, the group decided NOT to pursue Jonathan to the Grey City. Instead, they met Dimiter at the Babylon and she agreed to take them to the Bast City and possibly the Wasteland to check on the key and the condition of the prison there in exchange for some catnip. Dimiter arranged a meeting with the Queen, proving to be her daughter. It turned out, however, that the key fragment was stolen.
So, with the Queen, they were off to the prison site in the Wasteland. The crystal prison, however, was broken - another part of Tristanian freed. Queen Bast sent the group to the Library of Alexandria in a shallow, saying to speak with Ester and show a token given them to gain knowledge of binding Tristanian from the perspective of those who fought him before.
Ester, a woman in a business suit, showed up, accepted the token, and agreed to help - taking them along to show them things. Kachiko eagerly picked up a library card, even though it did require agreeing not to reveal the existence or location of the library. Others got cards as well.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Ninth Session: October 23, 2008

Bobby woke with a start, having a small, coon-sized kirin - coppery-gold with bright blue eyes, and talking. He introduced himself as Yali, claiming to have been sent by his mother as a messenger and offered to provide transporation at times. He managed a good impression of a racing bike. Bobby tested the speed, making sure Yali could go ridiculously fact, outracing a police car easily.
Kachiko sized up Yali outside JT's, but didn't immediately reply to him. Going in, JT said he had a price in mind for guiding into the Seelie Court - retrieval of 13 cursed items that have to have their curses removed. After some discussion, Bobby starting bartering with offering to find seven items with the possibility of the other six. After a few more minutes, it was agreed that the items would be found after dealing with Tristanian in exchange for JT's assistance in the quest as well. Yali came in and joined to go. JT gave "Green Man" tokens to each as symbols of his protection.
JT took the group, passing through a doorway into a forest. He gave a quick rundown on social etiquette. After a little time, the group was led to a crystalline feudal city to meet the court of Oberron and Titania. Only Titania was present, but she accepted the group to speak with her. Kachiko yipped unhelpfully (but amusingly), and Bobby started in on the actual discussion about Tristanian. Titania was fairly sure the demon-part was secure, but escorted them to see first-hand. She referred to Earth as Markuth and assured that the dark essence-sink of sorts in the cell, seemingly secure. So Kachiko and Bobby gave warning of the future.
Other pieces according to Titania: 2 in the realms of the dead, 1 in the dream realm (probably in the wastelands where nobody goes), at least 1 other piece that she doesn't know about. Upon prompting, Titania described Tristanian as something of a "demi-Mad God" that was the result of a Mad God centuries ago interbreeding with a human. She also mentioned three books of power that are connected with Tristanian.
After returning and discussing, it was pointed out people can travel to the realms by other means, but the Keys allowed the opening of the prisons of Tristanian's pieces. The group also realized it was Sunday upon their return.

The group reached the college, but the Professors room had burned, his demise said to be "spontaneous human combustion." The book was missing and it appeared a pyrokineticist was responsible. Kachiko grasped at the possibility of necromancy with either the foot or the location of death. Kazi spoke up that he had a small measure of necromancy.
So they stepped back into the office and Kazi settled in to try to call the Professor's spirit to speak through his body. The ghost was called forth and appeared visibly to all instead. He had sent some further information to Damyun about binding items (about 40 items) and mentioned some books at his home that might be of use, but didn't know anything of how he died or what happened right before.
Next the group hurried over to the Professor's house. Disks and books were retrieved. Andrea, from Paladin, gave the information that three pre-teens (two boys and a girl) had been ritually sacrificed Saturday night. She also mentioned the body of Jonathan Zee disappeared and another of the books was stolen from a private collection in Chicago. There are two known prospects for the other book - one in Ontario and one in Florida somewhere.
The group then ventured off to the parks to look for Jonathan Zee. News came that the kids were sacrificed out of town at the "Old Hollensworth Homestead." They followed a trace of Zee's essence into the burned dorms. They reached the old dorm room and found Zee searching through drawers. He turned back and said "Ah, so there you are," before hostilities began.
Kachiko failed to grasp him with her telekinesis, Damyun waited, then Zee attacked Bobby - stabbing him with a scalpel and crippling his left leg. Damyun then attacked, missing Zee with a knife as Bobby swung with a dragon strike, hitting Zee in the face. Kazi's soulfire hit, followed by a TK-kick from Kachiko. Zee lunged again, Bobby parrying with katana this time, carving off Zee's hand. Damyun stabbed him, Bobby then held defensively. Kazi missed, Kachiko then held Zee immobile. Zee struggled, Damyun missed, and Bobby sliced him good, cleaving his torso in half. Jonathan Zee died again.
Bobby healed himself as Kachiko held the body. After Kazi roasted the body with soulfire, Kachiko assisted with healing and everyone regrouped.
Luckily, Bobby hadn't been hit in the face. That would have "ruined his good looks" and "hurt his chances with hitting on the computer." ...

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

"The City of Three Doors"

Welcome to yet another of our roleplaying campaigns. This game is based on the Witchcraft, Unisystem rules and setting and takes place in Canada, in a fictional city called Trois Portes.

Without further ado... the session notes so far...

First Session: Sept. 12, 2007

- Kachiko Sakurai
- Bobby Chun
- Kazi
- Damyun Sa-tin

Dalton University in Trois Portes, Ottawa, Canada. - Third week of semester. Wednesday.

Xian Li runs local martial arts club. Professor Fitch - late night American history class.
During class, a metaphysical "pop" was sensed by most of the PC's. Kachiko yawned. Fitch dismissed class in response. Bobby tranced to sense the details of the essence as best he could and the group (of those interested) moved toward the woods, with the fox padding along after.
Meeting up with Kaigen along the way, the group came to a clearing with the remains of a campfire that appeared to have exploded - and dismembered body parts. Bobby sensed something that left the site and pursued, Kazi, Kachiko, and Damyun following. They neared the object of their attention close to the embankment that marked the edge of the woods and the beginning of the campus grounds.
Bobby, in the lead, was the first to be attacked - smacked solidly with two psuedopods extended from a mysterious, shadowy mass. He stumbled back, focusing for Tao chi while Kazi took a shot with soulfire. Kachiko, in turn, hit the mass with a TK'd rock. Damyun did likewise, though to lesser effect.
It knocked poor Kachiko off her paws, but Kazi did better, blasting it with soulfire followed with a couple good katana slashes by Bobby. That was enough to send it sinking into the ground beyond reach. Kachiko invoked her Key of Life to heal herself and add to Bobby's self chi-healing, taking care of the wounds.
Kaigen arrived, relating body parts of at least two people, police arriving at the scene, and remains of some silver object that might have been a part of the summoning ritual. Choosing the better part of valor, the group departed the site.
The shadow was identified as a minor, mindless demon that seeks essence - Kachiko related this to Kaigen and Bobby, much to Bobby's surprise. The group decided to consult Xian Li Tong in an attempt to get to know about how to defeat the demon permanently. Underground is such a pain to deal with.
She sensed the disturbance, but had been unable to investigate. Filled in, she agreed it should be hunted. Together, they theorized baiting it with essence/chi might bring it out. It was decided this could wait until morning, so the police would not be around.
Reconvening in the forest, the group picked up the location of the demon. Bobby started channeling chi to increase strength and hopefully draw out the demon. As it rose from the ground, Bobby blurred into action... a swipe, a slash... solid hits, but the deathblow came from Kazi's soulfire blast that detonated the demon quite nicely.
Damyun continued to research the local Wiccan groups while the others dispersed, leading her to one woman named Sunshine Crofton. And he was "saved" from her by a Goth Wiccan named Trish whose sister (Alicia) may be gifted, at least. Kachiko filed a report on this incident, Bobby and Kazi reported to Tong, and things seemed to be returning to normal for the time being. Kachiko picked up some candles and a torn page from the ritual site, but wasn't able to make anything else of it.
Fitch invited the group to meet at Babylon in the evening. Drinks were served as the group met. Kazi brought up the possibility of consulting necromancers and Fitch mentioned Nick Stormcrow as one and Ramses MacLeod as another chance. Kaigen stayed behind while the PCs went to see Nick, meeting his boyfriend Gabriel on the way in. Deciding to check the site out that night, they went back to the woods.
In one of the college buildings, Nick set up a circle of salt and began his ritual. A female face appeared in smoke and Kazi began his inquiries. The group of casters were using an old book from the library in a circle of seven (only four were dead): Natalie Carlisle, Dan Roberts, Bobby Faye, Roberta Jenkins, Erin Shoemacher*, Jonathan Zee*, Topher MacElroy* (* survivors). Jonathan led the chant, Erin provided a silver object, but no one seemed to have knowledge of what they were doing. "Everything just fell into place for us to do this."
The group decided to look for Jonathan Zee first. All three survivors, however, had cell phones and didn't answer. Aiii. Something must have befallen them.

Second Session: Oct. 23, 2007

Discussing what to do, the group decided to adjourn for the night.
Friday, the group went to check the student housing where Jonathan Zee (apt 421) lived, deciding the pawn shop Shoemaker got the silver item from wouldn't be opened. Without Damyun, the rest went up to Zee's room, Bobby opening the door forcibly. Kazi found a wooden box hidden in a vent that had some vague essence signature. In the box was a silver athame, a silver pentacle, a couple other little items and a small book in a Crown Royal bag - his Pocket Book of Shadows. Bobby had a look through the book, finding a number of rituals/spells Zee had recorded - toward the back, the spells became more self-oriented.
Zee's day planner had reference to the other kids in the ritual and a meeting with someone named Tristan at the Bell, Book and Candle (an occult shop downtown). The computer booted, but required a password. Kachiko disassembled the computer and internal parts were collected as no one there knew a hard drive from a CD drive. Bobby then made the place look like it had been robbed to cover the break in. He left a note and the group departed, heading to check out the pawn shop.
JT's Pawn Shop... the source of the silver locket. Upon entering, Bobby saw a wakizashi that matched his katana and Kachiko noticed a fan that looked like one she owned back in Japan. Eerie. Bobby put fifty dollars down to put the sword on hold. Kachiko merely made note to talk to Fitch about the fan at first, but in the end they bought it. Then he got to asking about the silver locket. JT knew about it, giving a general description and referencing Erin (a guy) having purchased it Friday. He didn't have any clues as to where it came from, though.
To Bell, Book, and Candle... Michelle, the clerk on shift, said Tristan was someone who came around, but he wasn't in. Not sure what else to look for there, the group left to find where Erin Shoemacher lived... Given the Paladin Security stickers, Kachiko tested security - opening and closing windows repeatedly to trip the alarms until one woman stayed behind and proved able to sense the telekinesis. She talked to Kachiko, saying the president of the company was investigating Erin's disappearance too. With contact information, the group went to look for Topher.
At a trailer park, they arrived just in time to see someone set off a propane tank and detonate the building. Kachiko gave direction and Bobby ran the fellow down with his bike, trying to keep him from escaping. Pounced by Bobby, he said he was Topher - trying to fake his death to hide. Convincing him the group was there to help, everyone made their way away from the scene to talk. He blamed Tristan as the one instrumental in setting up the ritual, and seemed very, very afraid of him and anything that might have been summoned even after assurances their summoned demon was destroyed. Having run off as soon as bad things started, Topher had virtually nothing useful to offer on the others or what happened. Bobby's senses discerned a tiny metaphysical strand around Topher's aura.
Bobby contacted Xian Li, and she recommended taking Topher to Club Babylon as it's neutral ground. They left Topher there, going to seek help (and catch Fitch's class). Bobby made a quick look through student registry for Tristan, but came up blank. They filled Fitch in before class. Afterward, discussing plans, Damyun showed up and was given computer bits. He also relayed that Erin Shoemacher had made credit card purchases away - having fled the province.
Note: Sonja Dallion - owner of Paladin Security.
Kachiko dropped off the fan at Fitch's place on the way to the Babylon. Venus, the bartender, was able to fill in some details, painting Tristan as a mage with dark tendencies who shows up once in a while to speak with others in the Babylon, but rarely stays. Fitch showed up and, queried about magic, recommended talking to Ramses. So off they went.
They went to the house - appearing haunted at first, then updated when the gate closed. Ramses wasn't present, but Cymbree entertained them after wrangling her kids. She provided a book that would offer some insights into the aura mark, but then they went back to the Babylon. Bobby secured a place for Topher to stay there. The mark seemed to be the sign of having made a deal with a "medium-powered" demon - more powerful than the lesser demon we finished off. According to the book, the link could be severed by death of either party or mutual agreement - but tracking it would require a special talisman. Also, the demon would normally be able to feed on the person's essence or from their area.
Damyun would be set on talking with Bhodi about getting a tracking talisman. On trying to wake Topher, his ankle crumbled in Kachiko's mouth - body desiccated after having been cut off from the demon. They called Andrea Salazar about Shoemacher, guessing she and Zee were also bound to the demon. Andrea reported that Erin had bought two round-trip bus tickets to New York.
After much discussion, the group arranged to go to New York on behalf of Paladin Security in an attempt to close in on Shoemaker and whoever she was with. After signing some contracts, the trio mounted up and got ready to take the Paladin jet to New York City Friday night.
New York City?!

Third Session: Dec. 4, 2007

Friday still, 6pm-ish.
The humans got pre-paid credit cards and hotel reservations. Having arrived four hours early, they made plans to go to the bus depot in Manhattan and arrange to have a rental motorcycle for pursuing Shemacher and Zee. The phones they were given had a number for Caine Investigations. After confirming they knew about the supernatural, they called to find out about the local supernatural scene. Victoria there said a demon coming to town might go anywhere, the occult underground being very widespread. They met a Bast named Amon and Victoria showed up as they all reconned the bus station.
Kazi put up Essence Shields on himself, Bobby, and Kachiko before the bus arrived. Shoemacher and Zee disembarked, met a matronly woman, and went off in her car. The group followed, sending the license number and a picture of the woman to Victoria to check out. They arrived at a ranch house in the suburbs at Barbara Klondike's (a retired elementary school teacher) house. Kachiko went to have a look, but when crossing the gate, she was shunted to Bobby's coat.
There was a great deal of discussion over what to do. Kachiko staked out the house, perching in a tree, and the others went for some means to watch in a less conspicuous fashion than being two guys on a motorcycle. The settled on a Suburban from another Honest Fran's. Kachiko tossed a rock over the threshold, and even a cat, but could not affect the cat on the other side, setting limits of the ward. Bobby even proved he could step across it - apparently only supernatural creatures are affected immediately by the ward.
Barbara got in her car and left after a few hours, Bobby pursuing on motorcycle. She only went to a grocery story to get things delivered to her by a helper there. They saw another young man help to unload the groceries, but nothing else unusual. Victoria confirmed the teen to be Barbara's grandson. Bobby called Andrea to report in. Andrea asked him to keep an eye on Erin for 24 hours and check on her.
Around 10 pm, the three young'uns went out in the car, the group following into a club (though Bobby had some difficulties convincing the bouncer he was cool enough to get in). The teen went into a back room, Kachiko following to hear him talking to someone in a suit about a tribute due in three days. The suit (gifted) talked to a teen (gifted) saying he won a backstage pass to a concert (by Disturbed). He has to pick it up within three days - before the club opens on Monday. They repeated the process with other gifted folk. Discussing the options, Bobby called Victoria for any information regarding the owner of Club Deviants - Roger McClure who turned out to be a gifted psychic. Kachiko TK-pickpocketed one of the tickets given to a "lucky winner." Zee, Shoemacher, and Klondike all left in separate directions.
Kachiko went after Klondike, Bobby went after Jonathan (and two women) and Kazi went after Erin (with two men). The boys had to coinflip to see who went where, and ended up following to two separate hotel rooms. Klondike visited a total of five club, repeating his demands for tribute. Kazi, the pervert that he apparently is, used project soul to watch Erin and her male companions for the night. Kachiko transformed to human to make a call at a pay phone to report in with Bobby before going fox form back to the tree to sleep.
Around seven in the morning, the guys heard Erin leaving and pursued. They followed back to the Klondike house, having confirmed that Erin killed the two men. Zee arrived too (probably having killed the women with him). Andrea relayed that demonic possession terminated Erin's contract, leaving her fate up to Bobby and Co. They picked up sushi breakfast and went back to the hotel room they were given for rest.
Bobby planned to turn in the ticket at the club. Victoria, when called, said it was a "bad idea" ... then said she'd be over there to meet the group. Plans continue. Evil abounds.
And the best plan everyone has is a "bad idea."

Fourth Session: Jan. 23, 2008

Thus the group waited until Victoria arrived. Damyun called relaying that his employer told him to tell the group not to do what they were going to do. This created a great deal of confusion about how someone knows what they were thinking. Kachiko realized this was Bhodi and they group decided to trust this link and proceed to the offered address instead of going ahead with the plan.
This led the group to a gypsy-ish community near Central Park. They were greeted by a somewhat reluctant girl named Anna. They began to relate their tale. Anna seemed familiar with Barbara Klondike, explaining that she wasn't human and had dealings with demons and works for some Mad God, attempting to break a barrier between the worlds.
She also explained the gateways in Trois Portes. Three Doors: One guarded by dragons, one guarded by an inhuman wizard, one guarded by the Medusa statue.
After some discussion about possibilities, Anna looked into her crystal ball... She foresaw a conflict with Klondike in the future and said the others needed to get into her house somehow - that a doorway would open up somehow.
Getting up to leave, Bobby spotted a reptilian eye looking at him from the crystal ball. In short order, he was guided to touch the orb - initiating contact with the spirit beyond. He fell to his knees, communicating silently with the dragon - his mother, "from long ago." She told him to go back to the house, that an "unsavory" path would be open to him. Bobby then was eager to go, and Anna bid the group farewell, telling them to relay to Bhodi that he owes her.
Back to the Klondike house! Nearing, they saw Erin walking toward the house. She pricked her finger on a rose bush, allowing her access past the wards. Testing with a cat proved it did not have to be their blood specifically. The group made their way onto the lawn, feeling an oppressive weight upon breaching the wards. They heard a yapping dog out back and retreated around the side, someone tossing out food (of an unknown type) a moment latter to silence the dog.
Bobby led the way into a knitting room - with the scent of dog, proving that the dog comes inside sometimes at least. Kachiko moved ahead, checking out the livingroom - no one was there, but there was an unpleasant odor. She reached the kitchen before retreating at the sound of the dog approaching the doggy door. Kachiko attempted to throw it out the window, but it grew to rottweiler size, failed to fit through the window, and attacked.
Kachiko dodged and slammed it with the washing machine. Bobby channelled, both men rushing into the laundry room. The dog breathed fire, scorching the kitsune. Kachiko hopped to the window and forced the dog to dodge a pebble while Bobby rushed up to slash it. Kazi attempted to ice it, but missed, freezing the washer. The dog pounced Bobby, biting into his shoulder. Kachiko then hopped on, invoking the Key of Life to share healing. Bobby jabbed it in the throat with minimal effect. Kazi slashed, but the dog dodged. Then the dog pounced Kazi, mauling him a bit. Kachiko finished the dog off, telekinetically beheading it with Bobby's sword.
In the noxious aftermath of the decaying demon dog, the group fled - climbing out the laundry room window and scrambling away. They fled in the SUV - still on the street - to regroup. Bobby found a way to converse with his mother. They discussed a new plan to get the family out of the house in order to sneak back in and examine it. The idea, then, was to foul with a gas main to have the block evacuated.
Victoria arranged the problem. Authorities came by to get people out. Barbara, her grandson, Erin, and Jonathan were all seen leaving with two new dogs while the group watched from the neighboring roof. Kazi put essence shields around each of them for further hiding. Kachiko floated everyone over to their house after the coast was clear. They dropped into the back yard and crept into the house. Buffing up, they moved toward the door to the basement.
The door opened with a purtid rotting smell - or sense of corrupt essence. Two dog seemed to be guarding a black tome. Bobby lept in and slashed one to pieces in short order, but was then stunned by the noxious cloud of spores left in its wake. Kazi blasted the other with light soulfire. Kachiko drew Bobby back out of the cloud, then telekinetically parried the dog's lunge - slamming it back in mid-air. Out of the cloud, Bobby recovered and went after the second dog with his sword, but missed. Kazi ran around the cloud and hit the dog with his blade. Kachiko then attacked with a large knife borrowed from the kitchen, nailing it between the eyes.
Path clear, Bobby approached the tome, feeling out nasty magics about the book. They dumped the tome into a Hefty bag with a flash of light. Opening a meat locker of dead bodies, Bobby and Kazi decided to ignite the basement as they made their way out. They roof-hopped over to meet Victoria and ducked into a van. Kazi shielded the bag/book and the group returned to their hotel.
Kachiko unbuckled the bindings on the book and the other two opened it without touching it directly. Bobby and Kazi began to read through it - as best they could, given the unknown language. Kachiko reluctantly joined in examining the diagrams in the book, at least. They deciphered enough to determine what twenty pages seemed to be the ritual, and that it appeared the "tributes" would help anchor and siphon energy into the Mad God in order to strengthen it to draw it within.
The group made arrangements, returning rental cars and making their way back to the airport to fly back to Trois Portes. They arrived at Ramses' house, Cymbree saying he was present upstairs for once. The group filled Ramses in on the details, showing off the book. He explained the demon/Mad God involved enjoyed being involved as things as possible, feeding on the "deadly sins." Ramses agreed to study and destroy the book while Bobby started talking about how to track the demon locally. One possible location mentioned was The Lost Tale, a bar near a shallow that seems to be associated with torture.
Bobby went to buy the wakizashi from the pawn store, happily retrieving part of his "holy" family set. Andrea with Paladin was informed of the situation. And it was only Sunday.
And thus life returned to normal, if only for a brief time, with talk of rent and missed classes. It can't last.

Fifth Session: Mar. 12, 2008

Bobby and Kazi attended classes, planning to visit the Lost Tale after Fitch's night history class. After class, they asked her about the Lost Tale. She warned of the dark nature of the shallow in the area, though didn't have any specifics. Along with Kachiko, they rode over to check the place out.
Kazi placed essence shields on the group and Bobby located the shallow in the alley behind before proceeding inside. The place showed its oppressive atmosphere immediately, though the shields prevented the feeling of hostility infiltrating people. Drinks were ordered and the group settled in, looking subtly for anyone matching Tristan's description of a tall blond. Asking a waitress about anyone by that description, she indicated knowledge of one - usually seen leaving and having access to a special back room that "if you don't know about it, I can't tell you about it." Kazi brought up the possibility of soul projecting to the back.
He successfully left his body and drifted toward the back as Kachiko TK'd his body, holding it up. Unfortunately, he hit a ward and returned to his body - before Kachiko could get his body out on the dance floor. Awww. Kachiko, instead, took to the ductwork under the floor. She found several dead rat bodies where the ward seemed to extend, finding it electrifying anything pushed physically into it. After reporting telepathically, she turned back around to check out the other (non-special) rooms. Bobby noticed the vampiric goth chick he spotted earlier going to the "special" back room, but this didn't open any doors for them.
Staying for a while, Bobby passed on going to the back rooms with a pair of twins (because he felt his mom might be spiritually watching). Reminded of the back exterior, Kachiko went out to find a perch to watch from. There, she spotted another figure watching the back door, one with a "hole" in their essence makeup. He moved after the goth vampire when she came out, and the group fell into pursuit.
Bobby warned her about the man following, he saw it and backed up for room to potentially fight as the vampire rushed at him. The man readied a crossbow and sword as everyone came to ahead. The vampiress climbed up, Bobby behind. She wasted no time in lunging at the man, who successfully dodged and returned with a crossbow shot which she dodged. Whee. The two kept at one another as Bobby tried to get in and break them up - "No one has to die tonight!" He tried to stun the vampiress, but she still dodged that and his follow-up kick. Kachiko levitated the unknown man up 20 feet out of jumping range of the vampire as the vamp rounded on Bobby with a martial arts strike knocking him back and through a door. The floating man pulled a gun, shooting at Kachiko who hopped back to avoid.
Bobby declared he was on the side of the man with the gun, charging out at the vamp. Kazi was still bounding up the fire escape. The vampiress jumped off the roof. Bobby asked for a truce with the man, who finally put away his gun, though Kachiko chose to dump him over the side of the roof rather than on it. He managed to snag a clothesline, minimizing his damage. Bobby hopped after, following the man and talking to him, trying to sort things out. The man said the vampire was evil, but refused to be helpful beyond that. After much pressing, the man finally gave his name: Joel (who left in his dark-colored truck).
Kachiko retrieved the crossbow and bolt (with silver tip and holy symbols), and the group went to Taco Bell for a late dinner. Talking with Fitch, she at least knew of Joel, saying he was a vampire hunter and a friend of Gabe's. She made plans to meet with Gabe the following afternoon, "apologizing" (without really apologizing) in order to smooth things over with Joel and avoid any true hard feelings.
Tuesday to Thursday of the next week were spent gathering information and going on with normal life. The group was no longer welcome at the Lost Tale due to the fight. The Bell, Book, and Candle reported an absence of Tristan over the last couple weeks. The college Wiccans reported a person contacting the coven by email with plans to show at a meeting - Tristan. Bobby then went to walk to Trish, among the Wiccans - she has a better feel of concern about Tristan, and Bobby filled her in on his connection with the ritual he was presumably behind. She agreed to keep Bobby aware of when any meeting with Tristan might take place.
In talking, Kachiko remembered she saw Erin a couple days earlier at Cafe Undine, a coffee shop. They went to have a look, though none of the employees remembered seeing her. Bobby conversed with Andrea at Paladin about it, Kachiko went to check out the security tapes for the cafe. She made a break from the cafe with the DVD, attracting attention and foiling a brief chase. They returned later to stake out the cafe, finding one employee to be gifted. They investigated more closely, finding some faint trace of essence on the back door. Kachiko faked her way in the back door, finally discerning the doorway itself was some sort of shallow. Shawna Sotello was the employee/student.
They decided to head over to speak with Ramses regarding the shallow, talking to Cymbree instead. Without Ramses there, they left a note and went to check with Nick Stormcrow's place to see if he had input. Then Bobby decided to attempt to contact the spirit of his mother. She and Nick both stated a key is generally necessary, though shallows can be forced. At her suggestion, they went to JT's pawn shop, asking for a key... to a shallow... at Cafe Undine. He was unphased, but said no such key had come in yet. He did, however, know the shallow led to a nightmare pocket realm.
They got back in touch with Nick about doing a spirit quest to locate and get into the realm. Plans were made to do this Saturday night. In the meantime, Bobby started planning to set up a spy camera to watch the door in Undine's to watch for any use of keys.
Friday night/Saturday morning... Plodding along between classes, Kachiko felt followed. She spotted two helldogs. Fleeing, she ran into another three. ... Bobby, riding his motorcycle, was suddenly hauled to a stop and thrown in front of a semi by skeletal hands. ... Kazi was walking along, suddenly dragged up in a noose. ... Then all three woke from their sleep.
So, they're influenced by nightmares in their sleep and planning a trip into a realm of nightmares. Go figure.

Sixth Session: April 9, 2008

Kachiko called Ramses, arranging an appointment to discuss the dream realm and how things are there. Then she went off to Bobby's to get he and Kazi. When they arrived, Ramses was making spagetti - lots. Ramses explained that in dealing with a nightmare realm, Nick would probably give a guide (possibly a lucid dreamer) and that the realm itself would likely tailor in some way to the dreamers connected to it. It was noted that the group doesn't really know what they're looking for, other than trying to figure out why the demon's "minions" were going there. He advised to not get separated.
Upon being asked, Ramses offered that JT was a member of the fae courts who specifically finds lost things. He recommended training under a lucid dreamer, mentioning in the process that Fitch was one.
Bobby called, getting Gabriel, who said he would probably be the lucid dreamer guide in question. So the group went over. Gabe gave a brief tutorial on visualizing oneself to determine how they will appear within the dream realm. Bobby went to help practice and teach a little, Kazi did homework, Kachiko sent in a report and spent most of the day vizualizing and meditating.
Around 5, the group went to Nick's, meeting up in advance of the ritual. Bobby detoured by Ramses' place, looking to borrow a set of armor. Kitted out in samurai armor, he made his appearance and they began their visualizations. Kazi decided to go back and get his sword real quick, too. Nick positioned everyone and started drumming to a heartbeat, slowly drawing everyone into synch and toward a relaxed pace.
Gabriel manifested as a black panther while Bobby and Kazi showed as flashier versions of their present selves (including lighted runed samurai armor and glowing magely aura) while Kachiko formed herself as a large, golden fox with seven tails tipped in fire. No ego stroking there, nope. Gabe led around the evil cathedral representation of the Babylon, around the gate in the park, to the lake and waterfall that represented Cafe Undine. They went to look at a tunnel behind the waterfall, expecting the gate to be there. It led, at least, to a trio of doors with keyholes.
The leftmost had footprints leading to it, probably belonging to a woman. Kazi was able to visualize up a key that succeeded in opening the gate. Passing through darkness, they seemed to step out of a sewer and gazed out upon a dark shanty town of some sort. The inhabitants appeared pale, drawn, huddled over in modern, but dulled and muted colors, clothing. Bobby suggested trying to blend in, which they did - Kachiko having the most trouble with this, though she managed to shift back to "normal" fox form and hide under his cloak, refusing to change her sense of self to match the downtrodden humans. Gabriel took the form of just an indistinct shadow.
Kazi spotted Erin, dressed as a noblewoman, walking purposefully down a street. They followed to a large townhouse. Going to look, they detoured around the wall with gargoyles, shifting to bird forms to flap up to a balcony and peek inside. Kachiko, alas, failed to transform herself, relyingon Gabriel's assistance. They looked, seeing Erin settle a book and "summon" Tristan.
Tristan: "No, we can't go after that key, because the wolfen has it."
Erin: "... the other key... Jonathan swears he knows the location ... it's at the fae's place."
So they're apparently after the keys to the three gates. And they seem to have one of the three. Tristan placed a key fragment (half of one of the Portes keys, the group believed) on the mantle, guardian toy soldiers forming up around it. Tristan noticed the pigeon (Kazi) and walked over to check the window. The group retreated to the gate. Bobby changed to a rat for disguise, though Kachiko utterly refused to become a rat. She followed Gabe's view to change into a raccoon. Kazi shifted to a spider.
After what felt like a few hours, Jonathan showed up, coming into the realm bearing a "skeleton key" on a cord around his neck. Bobby bumped into him, Gabe running between his legs, Kachiko TK-snagged the key off and the group scampered away. Gabriel led the way back and Nick woke the group, revealing it to be 5 am Sunday.
They went up the street to Ramses' again to talk about the situation with the keys. Ramses explained he had the Key of Life and Death. They had part of the Skeleton Key of Dreams, accessing multiple dream realms, the other part presumably being in the City of the Bast. "The fae" might, according to Ramses, a fae gatekeeper to the Unseelie Courts. So the group adjourned to sleep.
Ramses called Kachiko. Callon Tristanion is the name of the demon in question, enjoying forming cults for power, feeding off the members and he's after the three doors. Freeing the cultists usually requires killing the demon. So they made plans to hit the Babylon come night to meeting with possible Bast and Fae. Stopping at JT's, they delivered a message for the Fae and Kazi picked up a silver, Chinese-runed ring (that granted a rank of Essence Channelling and 15 Essence of its own pool).
So to the Babylon they went, enjoying an early dinner before the place shifted to supernatural-only. Bobby "Jackie-Chan'd" his way up to the rafters to talk to the Bast (one named Spiral), conversing about the key they're after. Kachiko decided Spiral is a bum and wouldn't relay anything, instead referring to Bobby to the Bast named Dimiter as one to talk to. As discussed, the duplicate key taken from Jonathan (while only a duplicate of the partial key) might be able to access people's dreams with personal objects. With that out of the way, they partied a little for the night...
Monday morning, there was news of fires - at Erin's house. Then Bobby smelled smoke, riding off to find his apartment building on fire. Bobby spotted Jonathan and took off after him. Bobby clotheslined Jonathan from his bike, knocking him down and dazed in the middle of casting. Then, with the accusation of arson, Jonathan was taken into custody as the police swarmed in with questions galore.
Meanwhile, Kachiko plots how best to see to it Jonathan has an "accident" before getting a chance to cast or refute the charges.

Seventh Session: May 7, 2008

Police everywhere! Okay, mostly confused college-goers, but some police nearing too. Jonathan was pinned under a few football players. Damyun showed up in time to be mentally filled in. Kazi went and used his soul projection spell to have a look around in the burning building trying to find the source. Bobby made a report while Kachiko went to check out and keep an eye on Jonathan in the ambulance.
Kachiko dumped out the scalpel tray once the ambulance was in motion for chaos, then used one to repeatedly stab him, spraying blood all over and sending the paramedics into a panic. Jonathan was pronounced dead upon arrival and Kachiko slipped out. She noticed Kaigen there and asked him to check Jonathan's body for any magic-related items.
Bobby, Kazi, and Damyun showed up at the hospital as Kaigen snuck Kachiko in near the autopsy room. At which point the kitsune checked the area and pulled a fire alarm to get in and collect items - a crystal key, a notebook (with Latin?), a medallion, and she took $25 in cash from his wallet. The trio left, going to the police station in advance of giving their statements (so as not to be around another "fire").
Informed that the police officer would be delayed (by the activity at the hospital), the statements were rescheduled for the following morning. Bobby received the $25. They discussed options, but headed back to the torched dorm first. Bobby talked with emergency services about arrangements, though the dorm itself seemed pretty much a total loss. Damyun made plans via Bhodi, Bobby and Kazi planned to stay with Kaigen. Then the group went to meet Doctor Forester - Latin teacher and dabbler in magical arts. He decided the language wasn't so much Latin as a pre-Latin language and offered to make an attempt to translate, exchanging contact information.
Kachiko took the crystal key for examination to Ramses' while the others went to check on the financial aid situation. Damyun headed out of town to check in with Bhodi and see about getting computer backups. Kazi and Bobby settled in at Kaigen's place. Kachiko ended up leaving the key for Ramses to look at when he got back (presumably later Monday night). The group finished out the day, catching Fitch's class and settling back in. Ramses called, saying the crystal key was part (one-third) of the fae-realm key, connected to the Seelie Counts. Bobby called Gabe, scheduling a lucid dreaming practice for around 2pm the following day.
Know uber-keys, to the Three Doors?
Bast/Dream Realm key: half held by Tristan, half still in the Bast city
Fae Key: 1/3 the crystal/Seelie key at Ramses' for study, 2/3 unaccounted for. (Jonathan's is the key, black crystal is the unseelie, green crystal is the wyld).
Third Key: Ramses?

Tuesday morning news mentioned two students dead in the woods near campus. Kazi went to fly by astrally at the space and check things out, then they dropped out Kachiko for a physical look. Looking didn't turn up much, she found out more by listening to the cops - that two girls died due to "heart attacks" (ie. essence loss). The place had a metaphysical black hole of sorts, as if something had transitioned to another place from there rather than coming through.
Kazi went into the morgue with soul projection, finding the bodies looking aged - one of them from the coven. After some discussion, the verified the deceased were Trish Malcolm and her sister, Alecia. Bobby called Sunshine and found that the coven was planning something the coming weekend near the gymnasium.
The group went over to Gabe and Nick's in advance of the dream-training and Gabe showed off some imagery from surveilance on the cafe. In chi sight, Bobby was able to see Erin and another woman going into the dream realm using the skeleton key fragment. They went through at about 2 am. There was much discussion, and Kazi went back for more information on the deceased girls. Apparently, they were marked as if, perhaps, bound - hands, ankles, neck. There was also mention of the case being of interest to Chase Security - a private company in competition with Paladin.
More waiting. No knowing. There's a lot of theorizing over who the new woman may be, but no plans of next action as going directly to the dream realm seems dangerous and Nick is out for a few days.

Eighth Session: June 6, 2008

So the group discussed what to do without Nick present. And electronic option seemed sketchy as it'd be limited to a fixed timer rather than having someone able to "drum up" the group to wake them. Kachiko asked Gabe about Chase, turning up that they frequently use psychics.
Third Key: Key of Life and Death - three pieces of an ankh. Leads to the Underworld. Ramses dropped this off for the party to keep while he runs a mission for 'an aspect of Kali.' He also gave Kachiko a ring to augment her abilities and returned the Fae Key shard, explaining it could open multiple doors around town.
With a lack of answers, Damyun called Bhodi for an appointment. Bhodi directed him to make dinner reservations - so he arranged to meet them at a high-end Itallian restaurant at 5 pm. Bobby called Dr. Forester to ask about the book Jonathan had - he had little information other than ot say the book might be Atlanean-ish and seems involved in opening a portal to unknown planes.
So the group went to Parelli's, led to a private dining room. Bhodi explained that Tristan(ian?) had gathered five pieces of himself - he was just a part of a demon that is scattered across multiple realms. Tristan's already quite powerful, particularly in the area of manipulation. Bhodi did some Sight-ish stuff, saying if the group were to defeat Tristan, Bobby would need the rest of his sword set and Kazi and Damyun would need to work on their abilities some more.
Kachiko suggested siccing Chase on Erin and the other woman while following the Seelie leads. They arranged a meeting with Rachel at Chase to discuss the matter and headed over there after giving thanks.
So... to Chase Security they went. Rachel met by teleconference. Bobby filled her in on a number of details, urging the corporation to help track down Erin and Co. Mutual trade of information was agreed upon. Then Rachel asked a favor: to ask a mysterious psychic to report for interviewing - Kaigen. Rachel also revealed that she's just a computer. *gasp*
Then the group went back to Kaigen's place, relayed the invite, he said no. Bhodi called, offering a meeting with Rhea Wednesday night in the park at the gazebo for possibly leading them into the Seelie court. Damyun called Bhodi, arranging some money for Bobby and Kazi in their situation. So the two picked up some new clothes and supplies to head back to Kaigen's place.
So Wednesday, the group started back into classes, keeping an eye out on campus for demoniness. Sunshine was seen posting posters about the Wiccan meeting Saturday. Damyun received some further notes from Dr. Forester, regarding Tristanian and his divided nature as well as some rituals for summoning and restoring him. It even had sketches of the various keys, how they fit together, and possible locations to use the keys - Cafe Undine (dreams), a location in the woods (fae), and the Babylon (Underworld). After Fitch's class, they filled her in before going to the park.
Rhea was waiting in the gazebo. She offered to play guide and protector - at the price of a memory from each of the group. So the group decided to think about it and headed to JT's. JT had Bobby's tanto (which fit with the katana), and offered it in exchange for something important to Bobby. After some discussion, Kachiko left, took Bobby's bike, and ended up leaving it on an outgoing ship (after removing the license plate). Then they got to discussing JT as a possible guide, which he considered, saying they should talk to him tomorrow.
Thursday, Bobby showed off his swords to his teacher who gave him a scroll with a ritual to awaken and bond with the blades. They planned to go to JT's in the morning.