Friday, March 7, 2008

Previously, On Scion...

Ash (CIA agent),
Alyssa (Federal Prosecutor),
Omar (sort of a bounty hunter / hit man / international vigilante)

Campaign started in Seattle, Washington. PCs were each independently pursuing the same criminal/giant. They met, killed him and most of his henchmen, but spared the life of one henchwoman, who is now their sidekick. A few sessions later, they similarly convert the minotaur of the Market into a minor ally.

As a result of all this intelligence gathering and creative problem solving, they became aware of a big plot on the part of Mr Caponeson, an even bigger Giant, who's trying to free an Ogdoad / Titan / Cthulhoid that buried under Downtown Seattle and Puget Sound. To prevent that, the Dwarves told them they'd need a few things to fashion a titan-proof diving suit. Dragonfire, a nemean hide and a sea-gods toga.

But first, they had a gripping chase sequence through the Seattle underground, and then had to fight some terrorists, who probably weren't connected to the whole muspelheim mafia thing. Still, it gave them a chance to look bad-ass because they were trouncing mortal evil-doers and zombies and lived through a pretty scary gas attack.

They decided a Benu/Phoenix was close enough to a dragon, so they climbed up the Space Needle, and rescued the Wheedle from Caponeson's harpies.

From there they went to Albuquerque, to meet with Hercules. As fate would have it, they stepped on board a plane that was being sabotaged by a little gremlin in a nazi uniform. Totally unrelated to the main plot, just the impact of fate. They save the commercial airliner full of people, and land it in the midst of a busy highway.

They finally get to New Mexico and meet Herc. He looks like Steve Reeves, but runs a demon-beset gamestore in Alb. He climbed up into the ceiling storage space of the game store to find his old Nemean hide for them, but no luck. He did however, find some other tools and armor that could be helpful in hunting a Nemean, so he gave those (and complimentary copies of the players handbook and a starter-level magic deck) to the PCs. Since Nemesis (mother of one of the PCs) had cursed him to never leave the game store, he sent the PCs on their merry way to battle the Nemean Bat in Carlsbad.

The PCs outwit a bat, and get close enough to grapple it. They skin it (using it's own teeth as knives) and head back to Seattle.

They're still a bit uncertain how to get a Sea God's toga, so they start nosing around Caponeson's operation again. This results in an argument with Ivar. Trying to avert a major war between Loki and Hel (Loki's related to several of the giants in question, but his daughter Hel is the mother of one of the PCs), Caponeson offers a truce. The PCs accept it, but start moving secretly against his agents anyway.

They get a lead on a sea-god's toga. The PC with Prophecy has a vision about talking to a nixie who lives in the fountain near the space needle, and carrying a mermaid away from the Hiram Chittendam Locks. A quick stop at the fountain introduces a nixie whose mermaid friend was supposed to visit today, but is a couple hours overdue. "She's never late, and I'm starting to worry about her".

They bushwack the wackenhut-meets-innsmouth guys at the lock who had the mermaid pinned in the fish ladder. But there's this other guy there who's a bad-ass. He's dressed in barnacle-encrusted gladiator armor and riding a nautical chimera (part gigantic angler fish, part gigantic lobster, plus a few tentacles and a stinger for good measure). There's a pretty fancy battle, and while two PCs escape with the mermaid, the third PC is kidnapped by the gladiator guy.

She awakes in a watertight internal chamber of an ogdoad. It has two fairly gross exists - one opening beneath Puget Sound and one opening onto the shores of the river styx. The gladiator takes off his helmet, and says he'll unchain her if she promises not to attack or escape for one hour. He just wants to look at her, and to talk.

For the past several thousand years, he's been fighting a guerilla war against Poseidon. His full name is Julius Quintus Nautico, but no one's called him anything but Tethysion since the fall of Rome.

His wife, bless her soul, was a Scion of Nemesis who was raped and murdered by a Scion of Poseidon. For political reasons, Nemesis couldn't strike the rapist down directly. Julius became disillusioned with the Goddess, and turned to Tethys for empowerment. He drowned the Poseidon-scion in vengeance (imagine how happy I was when Scion: God came out months later and said Tethys drowns her enemies) and then started working his way up the ladder. Polyphemus nearly killed him, and he decided to tackle things more his own size, hence his pursuit of the mermaid, great-grand-daughter of Poseidon. His failure to keep upping the ante is what stuck him at Legend 5 but not yet a Demigod for all time - an important thematic lesson for my players - raise the stakes or be left in the dust.

Then comes the big bombshell (stolen straight from Dracula). The captive PC is the very vision of his long-dead wife. Perhaps she's reincarnated? He tries to woo her, but she sticks to business and logic.

Tethysion becomes convinced (by his reborn love) that Tethys is a villainess, seeking to destroy mankind, and that it's wrong for him to run around killing and raping mermaids. He decides that in order to regain his honor, he must fall on his own trident. But first, he gives his old centurion locker to Alyssa (the PC who was his wife in a previous lifetime). Inside is their wedding clothing from ages ago - a beautiful stolla and palla for her, and for him a toga that was a gift of the gods.

The other PCs show up to save her, but she's already ready to go. They take a stroll on the shores of hades, then head home. She needs a couple days to just sit and think.

During those days, they deliver the toga, nemean hide, and benu to the dwarves. They're reluctant to build the diving suit, because the dwarf leader's wife is being held hostage by one of Caponeson's luitenants. Apparently, they aren't the only ones paying lip service to the truce.

Then a building blows up. It was the 30-story building whose penthouse served as home to one of the other PCs. Ivar had rigged it to explode in vengeance for the way the PCs had treated him previously. In a cool series of super short cut-away scenes, he learned about Caponesons truce and rushed to the building just a minute too late. The whole building collapses, and Omar (one of the PCs) is barely able to save the life of Cleopatra.

Crap! I forgot to mention Cleopatra. Famous Queen of the Nile - it's a long story, but she's his girlfriend. Everyone's a little unclear how she ended up in the slave auction beneath the Pike Market, but Horus had paid for her on his son's behalf. It all started really uncomfortably, but has grown over time. That was back in the session where they converted the minotaur.

Anyhow, the "terrorist" bombing downtown is enough to wake Alyssa out of her "did I just talk my soulmate into committing suicide?" funk. She takes part in the rescue efforts at ground zero. Since Dubya was trying to replace AG anyway (Alberto had had a nervous breakdown when Alyssa confided in him that some of the criminals she prosecutes aren't exactly human), and Alyssa is a Federal Prosecutor with a primo photo-op, she get's sworn in.

That's the moment I did their assenscion to demigodhood. Big fancy montage of divine intervention scenes, with each visitation plucking them from the real world and returning them changed. Barbarella (the NPC sidekick Scion of Tlazlteotl) is left out. She's been a bit unreliable, running away once or twice 'cause the PCs sometimes use manipulation instead of charisma when motivating her. Anyhow, she's feeling "second class" and is none-too-happy.

Getting ahead of myself. Somewhere between ground zero and being sworn in, the PCs fight Ivar, who barely escapes with his life. Then they kidnap the right-hand henchman of the luitenant who kidnapped the dwarf. The hostage exchange goes poorly at first, with a PC incapacitated in the opening round of combat. But then a different PC has two ridiculously unbelievable rolls back-to-back and one-shots a higher-legend Undead she shouldn't have been able to hit.

Anyhow, a side tangent on Ash. She's been playing both sides of the fence. Loki visits frequently, and Hel does every so often, too. Ashilda's had a couple non-violent interactions with the dreaded Mr Caponeson, who has offered her a position in his army come ragnarok. So her visitation ends with a big party at the Jotunheim Bonfire, Mr Caponeson's nightclub. This will matter further down the road, but not in this post.

After the demigodness, I switched gears, trying to give each PC a look at how much simpler and meaningless their day-to-day life is now that they have all that divine power.
Alyssa gets scenes in the courtroom and before congress, and she outperforms the leaders of the free world.
Omar gets a job to overthrow a petty dictator in Africa. I expected him to use his uber-strength and magic armor to just walk in and crush him.

Instead, Omar invites the others with him. Their African vacation involves overthrowing 3 different warlords, converting one of them (the one most acceptable to Ash's CIA superiors) to worship the three of them, and put him up as a puppet state of the US. PCs dodging law rockets and heavy machine guns, then using Sekem Barrier to humble the militants, and massive social stunts to restructure the region. When all is said and done, they've improved the lives of a good hundred thousand people in central africa. But they've also fatebound themselves to the wartorn country they are in.

After some research, they deduce the only way to untie themselves is to exit to the underworld so that some portion of mortal fate will slough off them. The best Terra Incognita route to do this is guarded by an Adze and his buggish minions. They best him, and head into the unknown. There's a chase by a dinosaur, lots of Fenrir, and even Garm.

Somewhere along the way, creepy little twin girls tell them that the relic ring Ash wears, which she took from the corpse of the Undead back on Ballard Bridge, once belonged to the Adze she just fought. Loki had traded four Lindwurms to the Adze for it - and then presumably arranged the situation to make sure Ash got her hands on it. Whose side is Loki on, anyway? He showers his grand-daughter with gifts, while at the same time putting more and stronger foes in her path.

Eventually, they manage to punch through to Helheim, and accidentally walk in on Hel and Balder in an intimate moment. Balder expresses an interest in Ash, and implies that Ash's daughter's father is not that no-good mortal Ex of hers. This all gets really uncomfortable, which is a big plus for dichotomous Hel. Eventually, the PCs catch a ship back to midgard.

A big storm blows in, and a the longship full of PCs somehow ends up in a viking display in the British Museum. This is all for the best, the PCs had long ago considered researching in the Egyptology section here to learn more on how to fight an Ogdoad. Apparently, Hel or the Fates had heard their idea, and decided to be helpful.

But an old enemy, Caponeson's wife (before the truce, they mailed her photos of Caponeson having an affair), is waiting outside. She's been lead here by Sisyphus. Ol Sis outtalks the PCs, and convinces Maia Zipacna Caponeson to attack the PCs. She grabs Cleopatra's Needle (all 160 tons of it) and chucks it through the crowded front of the Brittish Museum, taking down most of the building. The PCs manage to avoid most of the publicity here, and Mrs Caponeson ends up fighting British anti-terrorist forces on a live BBC feed. She's fatebound to London, they aren't.

They scavenge some relics they need for the Ogdoad battle from the ruins of the museum, break up a local ring of titan-worshipers, and head to Cambridge.

En route, Hel calls Ash. She says Balder took a liking to her, and since Balder's birthday is coming up, she'd like to treat him to a threesome. This was a throw-away comment intended to reinforce how inhuman Hel is, asking for a menage a trois with her own daughter. I wasn't expecting the player to say "Hell yeah - Ash'd do anything to sleep with Balder! He's a hunk! He's the best-looking god in my whole Pantheon." There was no die roll involved, but I rewarded her spunk like it was a 3-point stunt.

Backing up a moment or two - in the museum was a temporary exhibit about the work of Iman Wilken's, a scholar who believes The Illiad and Oddyssey predate the greeks, and are in fact proto-celtic in origin. He places Troy in Cambridge, and Odysseus's voyage as being across the Atlantic. Prophecy (and a couple NPCs) had hinted the PCs would retrace the first half of Oddyseuss's voyage, so the PCs take a chance and head to Cambridge.

Waiting for them is The Maltese Falcon, an enormous luxury sailboat with a Legend Rating of 1. They hop aboard, write the world's best classified ad, and hire some crew. The ship was prepaid by Horus (just as he'd cryptically prepaid for Cleopatra many sessions before) so the PCs took it in stride. The made some rolls to weed out crew that would have mental issues in the event of attack by sea monster or cyclops, and head out to sea following Wilken's map.

First stop - the land of the Ciconnes, a place Odysseus sacked because the natives had sent troops and supplies to support Troy. Wilken's identifies it as the sunken city of Yves, once rival to Paris. Yves is also important in grail lore.

The PCs don the armor Hercules gave them oh-so-long-ago, and fly overboard, using Terra Incognita to enter the realm of St. Yves Ciccones. There are mortals there, 6 large villages and a monestary who have been cut off from the world for countless generations. For the past 20 or 30 years, they have been plauged by ghosts. Aten has torn three rifts to the underworld, to places matching the trisociative nature of Yves. There's ghosts of proto-celts, trojans and achaens, crusaders and arthurian knights, and even a couple frenchmen on penny-farthing bicycles, all pooling up here. The titans intend this to be a staging ground for bringing the war to earth.

The PCs do some exploratory probing of the rifts, outwit a Hekatonakhiere, and kill 3 angels and 4 cherubim. They seal the rifts, and convince the people of Yves that everything they previously believed is false. The turn them away from God (aka Aten) and start them worshiping the Norse, Greek, and Egyptian (sans Aten) Pantheons - or, more specifically, just worshiping themselves. Large-scale rituals are cast to shore this place up from further ghostly or angelic intrusion. They build some aqueducts and printing presses and such to improve the quality of life for their new worshipers, then head back to the ship.

They find it adrift and looking deserted. Below decks, they are ambushed by one of the crew they'd hired back in Cambridge, by the name of Wendy-Lou Smith. A PC throws everything he has into his very first attack, and takes her head off. Despite her awesome armor, she couldn't survive the 35-levels of lethal the PCs dumped on her in one action.

Later, they learn from her ghost that Wendy Lou was the daughter of Weyland Smith, aka "The Norse Hephaestus", what's more, she was Hercules's common-law wife. They'd kinda broken up over a Nemean Schnouzer. Wendy had moved back to Europe till the Nemean puppy passed away naturally, but was now ready to get back with Herc since he wasn't going to mistreat her dog. She'd been sent below decks before the PCs changed into the armor Herc had given them. They'd left their Aztec sidekick behind, who also changed into her armor from Herc. Turns out all that armor belonged to Wendy, gifts from her dad or suits she'd made herself. She'd assumed Herc was robbed by her new employers, so she beat up the rest of the crew and passengers and tied them up.

Somewhere in the midst of all that, Nemesis shows up and says she's proud of Alyssa for the whole converting Yves thing, and wishes she'd spend more time dealing out justice and less time being moappy about reincarnation. Right, I forgot to mention the part where, after chasing off the Hekatonakhiere, Alyssa was nearly raped by Hades, and had to Social her way out of it. "The Unseen" is now holding that over Nemesis's head - "as a favor to you, I didn't take your daughter's virtue or feed her pomegranite, so you owe me". The greeks are a sick and complicated lot. Nem actually said "Next time, just have faith that'll extract vengeance for whatever evil befalls you" to her daughter.

That's about where we left off. We play again this Saturday. On the itinerary:
  1. Cape Malea and/or Cape St Vincent, Portugal
  2. Land of the Lotus Eaters and/or Senegal
  3. Land of the Cyclopes and/or Cape Verde Islands, Atlantic
  4. The Aeolian Isle and/or Saba, Netherlands Antilles
  5. Lamos-Telepus and the Land of the Laestragonians, and/or Cuba

After that, presumably they'll step off Wilken's Oddyssey map, through the Panama Canal, and back up to Washington State to stop an Ogdoad.

1 comment:

Amy said...

"did I just talk my soulmate into committing suicide?" funk.

Ha! That's clever.