Last Monday’s Part-Time Gods game was very distracted and ‘bitty’. We don’t seem to have quite settled into our stride yet and the session was composed of two in character scenes and a lot of out of character distractions.
Wednesday’s Exalted game continues strongly, however. Despite having two players missing (leaving me with just three) we managed to progress the story quite nicely and I was able to end the session on a good strong cliff-hanger; a cliff-hanger that I need to finesse with one of the absent players if I don’t want him to get too annoyed with me…
In the previous session we ended events with the Lost Egg sparring with the patrician’s son, the Airhead spending some time with the patrician’s daughter (having found out a key secret in what’s going on in the town) and the Bureaucrat and the Arrogant interrogating the patrician himself to try and get to the bottom of matters.
You may recall that the Scion had left early in the previous session to recover the horse taken by the Black Sheep when he rode off from the group.
The missing players were the Airhead and the Lost Egg, both of whom had managed to find out some fairly critical information and were now right at the centre of the plot. After a bit of quick thinking I came up with a reasonable way to write them out that would hopefully only increase the overall dramatic tension of the story (more on that later).
At the start of the session we finished playing through the conversation between the two bureaucrats and the Patrician. While they took pains to appear unthreatening to him the conversation took a darker tone and he began to feel quite strongly threatened by their investigation. They, in turn, were convinced that the Patrician was well aware of what had been occurring in his city.
The Arrogant went off for a brief look around the town and encountered the Scion riding back into town with the Black Sheep’s horse. Smoke and flame were visible somewhere in the distance, showing how he had blockaded the Black Sheep and apprehended the stolen horse.
The Arrogant updated the Scion on what had been happening and they all returned to the Patrician’s second home to sleep, thinking that they would proceed to investigate further in the morning.
I thought for quite a while before proceeding with the next scene. I reasoned that the Patrician would be feeling pretty nervous by now with this troupe of Dragon Blooded immaculates investigating his town. He must know it would only be a matter of time before they could ferret out his secrets. But what to do? Should he abandon the town and make a run for it? Or should he use his supernatural allies to try to put an end to the threat?
Attempting to kill three Dragon Blooded when one is a mortal is both heretical and extremely dangerous and I felt that he would be reluctant to try. On the other hand if he did so it would both make the game a lot more interesting and also raise the stakes for the player characters.
So I gave the players a chance to roll their Perception + Awareness. All of them succeeded to one degree or another and so I told them that they woke up to thick smoke and the hellish flicker of intense flames.
Thus played out a scene of high drama as the characters strived to free themselves from the burning building. On attempting to leave they found themselves rebuffed by an invisible presence, making things a lot more complicated. The Arrogant was quite badly burned before he activated his Air anima ability and leapt the other way, trailing a vortex of air and flame behind him as he jumped all the way across the building and out through a window on the opposite side.
Assuming, for some reason, that the Patrician was behind this attempt on their lives the group stormed off to his house – though not before pausing to don their armour and gird themselves for a fight.
On arriving at the Patrician’s house they found that there was no sign of him, his family or their two missing Dynasts. They pressed one of the house staff however and managed to scare him thoroughly enough that he revealed the patrician’s whereabouts.
He was in the catacombs, he said, beneath the family cemetery on the outskirts of town.
So they went to the cemetery and therein found the family tomb of the patrician’s family, decorated with the stern likeness of his father. They could sense with their Earth senses that a trio of human-sized targets were waiting with unnatural stillness just inside the door and that a stairway led down from there into the earth.
After a while spent picking the arcane lock on the door the trio burst into the tomb and leapt into action, fighting the three animated corpses that awaited them in the splendour of grisly decay.
The Scion made fast work of one with his Phoenix Gem, streaking in a fiery form into the tomb and tearing it to pieces. The Bureaucrat struck next, lashing out with his Jewelled Peacock Fans but failing to inflict a serious wound as yet. The Arrogant meanwhile ran to the back of the room and turned his enemies’ blows against each other. He ignored the rest of their clumsy attacks and instead spent his time searching for the mechanism which would open the way down into the catacombs.
The fight was over quite quickly, continuing for only a few more seconds. As each corpse fell noxious spores flew free to saturate the air near their bodies. Only the Bureaucrat got a good lungful and was infected with an unknown disease.
So our intrepid Dynasts went deeper into the earth, the Arrogant having found a way down through a dusty tomb.
As they reached the next passage they were met by a hooded, black-clad figure. Standing ready to fight and to block them from the passageway the warrior was of startling and disturbing familiarity: this was none other than the Lost Egg.
He turned his hand over and beckoned the group forward, ready to fight them all at the same time, his stance cold and ready and somehow alien.
And that’s where we called it a night.