So once again I'm starting a group to play PRGs via Skype. I know I've mentioned this before, but this time we have 2 sessions under our belts and I'm reasonably hopeful.
We're using the QAGS system (as I freakin' love how damn simple it is) and my own Steampunkish setting I've road tested with my students on campus.
So who do we have this time around (NOTE: Names are avatar/callsigns from online to protect privacy until I'm told otherwise)
Thunderstep: That's me... GM as usual, and I love being the GM (Rare I know... just hope I'm doing a good job).
BadgerAngel (BA): Myra Varney, the gun slinging sorceress. GOD I love that name and feel... BA is also our resident southerner and I REALLY appreciate her help when it came to fleshing out areas of the "Former Confederacy" and correcting my geography in game. Like I told her, I'd never get this stuff ironed out without road testing it.
A note on the Sorceress bit... I really had not fleshed out a lot about"Magic" Per Se in the world yet beyond that it was there. As BA is a practicing Pagan I intend to use her RL experiences to help guide me here for a good "feel" for magic.
Zathras (Z): David Frost, Native American tracker. This character took a bit for Zath to form, both from just general concepts, but also his utter LACK of ability to do a southern accent. Several times BA heard him trying one and replied "Good GOD honey that just hurts my soul! Stop!" So yeah... no southern drawl from Zath. Thankfully he has not gone full-blown "Tonto" either.
So, our first session was a gab fest, followed by character creation. Our last session (i.e. 2/13/2011) we had our first real game, and I decided right off to start it with a bang...
Or rather, an exploding Silo. They began game in a small field in Arkansas when someTHING burst through the silo wall nearby and let loose a massive roar.
When I snarkily asked "So... What do you do?" In synch they both responded "WE RUN LIKE HELL!"
O.K. fine, I cribbed from M-Force here and used a modified beast called a "Grain Giant." It was a massive assembly of corn kernels that was trying to add onto its mass. Looking at the stats of the beast again I began to wonder if that was a good idea to pit them against something that badass... Silly me.
Myra ran to the farmhouse, talked the ol' farmer out of a jug of his best moonshine, and made a truly awesome throw to plant it between the giant's legs on the ground.
Then she SHOT it... Look I have relatives down south, and I KNOW what moonshine can do. I had her roll and she got a one... Quirky Success right?
BOOM! Moonshine goes up, bigass fireball in corn giant's crotch, all according to plan... up until the damned thing turned, looked at them, and roared... Yeah the quirk was simply that now they had the giant's undivided attention. I also got to roar while slapping my cheek to simulate an corn giant turning into a popcorn mass...
David Frost ran past, picked UP Myra, and continued to run like hell... before he rolled REALLY badly on a dodge against a stream of flaming corn kernels issuing from the giant's hand. Well he rolled a 1... so he did dodge... too bad Myra was on his SHOULDER! She went flying and had to quickly recover while David was caught by her boot and knocked down.
So... David is prone in the mud, Myra is running like hell. then this tidbit happened...
BA asked if a creek or stream was nearby... and I promptly replied "I don't know... is there?"
"Well hell if I know Thunder! You're the GM!"
"I forgot to explain about yum yums didn't I?"
"The hell is a yum yum?!?"
Yeah so, after a quick explanation she popped for a stream and dove into the water... the giant followed, but popcorn and water do not mix well. A massive fist slammed into Myra, and became a pile of dissolving goo quickly after.
David and Myra gathered their wits and watched the pile of popping corn dissolve in the stream. Hey a win is a win. That was when their "pagers" went off.
I'll admit, I ADORE steampunk and had a blast coming up with goofy little things that existed. Like the Alarm-clock and ticker-tape pagers the Pinkerton's had. It was a quick way for the home office to get a hold of them. The message read "Get to Aether Crystal for new assignment Immediately."
NOTE: Aether-tech is something I've been cooking up and has to do with the works of the Lemurians. They know how to extract, purify, and utilize Aether for all sorts of things. In essence a lot of the effects LOOK like magic, and magicians and sorcerers have used crude ways of aether manipulation for years to garner effects without really understanding what the hell they were doing. Now with the re-emergence of the Lemurians, Aether is now readily accessible, very powerful, and in the wrong hand can make a massive mess.
The Short Story I posted about Thaddeus Mainspring and crew shows were Aether comes from... It's an energy from "Between" that makes connections. Kind of like a tangible quantum foam if you will. They are some of the first explorers to actually enter INTO Aetherspace and explore. It turns out that concentrations of Aether can open rifts to other worlds. Lemurians know how to control these things and have even set up cross world trade in some areas. However... laymen magicians can also open rifts, or natural rifts can form with excess Aether... and let THINGS in.
Hence the current influx of things like Fae, Elves, Dwarves, and many other beings from a variety of worlds. Some are intelligent, some less so, and these beings are a BIG reason for the Pinkerton's Monster Hunting Agency.
Lore Dump over... Sorry.
So, Myra and David head out to a larger town that has a hotel modeled in a Victorian fancy pants style. It has a BIG Aether Crystal on top to allow for communication (This idea came from the Parasol Protectorate series of books... AWESOME SERIES!! READ IT!!)
They get access to the Hotel's Crystal and get to speak with their commanding officer... no name, just CO and looked like Jack Pallance with an Eye-patch. (I did a bit with a REALLY BAD Lilly Tomlin impression before connecting them to the CO... I was asked to never do it again... *Sighs* Critics)
The CO filled them in on a rash of disappearances from a small town on the Southern edge of Arkansas... A town named New Hope and was being built by a mix of races and people come together for their "Utopian ideals." New Hope is an Iron Mining town (BA told me the only US diamond mines are in Arkansas... WHOOT! Random state draw worked!) so fae presence is VERY low there. But Many other races are present, even some Lemurians!
The major problem is the disappearances are all children! That got Myra and David riled up and ready to go right then and there... Until the second issue came to light.
The second issue arouse when the fount of this information to the Pinkertons was disclosed. One Reginald Wainwright... possibly Lieutenant or Lieutenant Colonel formerly of the Confederacy, and a known Klan Sympathizer. (BA Kicked my butt here when I siad he was originally out of Oklahoma... And she nicely pointed out that Oklahoma was NOT a Confederate state. So... He's from Kentucky. DHOT! And I quickly got this map into my mind so future screw ups won't happen):
Wainwright is a real piece of work and the CO has no damned idea how such a bigot like him got placed in a position of power in this new town. Basically take the most racist person you know... up that by ten and drop him in the ghetto in Chicago... and give him lots of money and voting power. Yeah someone dun screwed up there letting Wainwright fly under the radar like that.
Wainwright does not really CARE about the kids, but just wants this mark from his public face removed, and he's convinced that its the strange carnival that has parked outside of town.
So with all this in mind Myra and David set off and get to New Hope with no problems. They know they can meet LtCln Wainwright in the locak inn/tavern named the "Fuzzy Quarterstaff" (Old joke for me here... the Fuzzy Quarterstaff was a joke from my AD&D days... when we, as adventurers took our spoils and made, not only an inn, but a franchise of inns... The Fuzzy Quarterstaff chain was born... See what reckless Aether Crystal use has let in?!?)
Myra said quite simply that she was in no mood to deal with morons, and they decided to check out the Carnival outside of town.
The Carnival turned out to be much more than a few tents! There was a massive ferris wheel, a merry-go-round, and a diving pirate ship ride. There was a lighted midway full of shops, a carnival midway for games, and tons of food vendors. The power was obviously steam and gears, but Myra did a quick spell detection and found the Aether-tech power lines running throughout the grounds.
David and Myra went to the back of the carnival to meet with the "main office" which was in a horseless carriage of Lemurian Make! It was then they found they were in the Carnival of Doctor Lao! Of course it's not the movie version, as THIS Lao is a Lemurian, whom Myra goes to after passing her badge to David and posing as an itinerant worker looking for a job. She quickly grew to like the Dr. (Whom I played in a bad "Charlie Chan" voice... just like Tony Randall did! Steal from the best Damnnitt!)
Meanwhile, David was watching the grounds making sure things were safe for Myra when he was shoulder bumped by an exotic beauty... covered in DEADLY SNAKES and little else in the way of clothing. She winked demurely at David before rushing off. Suddenly he felt a tug at his sleeve (which he took to be a pickpocket) and looked down into... Well combine a rhesus monkey, a Cheshire cat face, give it blue fur, and two thin tails and you got it. The Cat-Monkey was wearing a Fez and a bright vest and was staring intently at David...
Taken off guard David looked at the thing and said... "Um... Hello?"
And he was met with:
"COR! BuggermeforatwitthatIamyousegottalottaleathertherepalandwowlookitthatthemtherebadgeitssoverySHINEY! Ooooooo Shiney..." in a really bad cockney accent... (I was going for the dialect of the nac Mac Feegle from The Wee Free Men but it came off more like a Feegle on a caffeine bender... Wow what a scary thought that is...)
A Human rushed up to David and apologized profusely for his "partner" whom he called Winxie. He pushed Winxie away and stuffed a free voucher for the show into David's hands... Which announced several shows such as:
Satha, the Priestess of Yig and snake charmer! (Ladies lock up your men from this show!)
The Comedy Sty-lings of Winxie and Dangle! (Kids welcome, but we're not responsible for any new vocabulary learned!)
The Great Magician Thrystam and his Menagerie! (Petting Zoo free! Come pet the k'ilin!)
Mr. ? (NO CHILDREN ALLOWED FOR THIS PERFORMANCE) [NOTE: the picture of this showed a "person" half covering his face with a Doll's Mask but there was a totally BLANK FACE behind it. No Eyes, Ears, Mouth... NOTHING]
Obviously this last note really caught David's attention...
And there we ended, Myra trying to figure out if she should just admit to Dr. Lao that she's a Pinkerton agent trying to help find the lost children, David wondering what the heck Mr. ? was and if the snake woman was free later...
And BOTH of them are firmly convinced that this Carnival is BAD...
*Wicked Grin* Well I'm not gonna tip my hand on this one as I have PLANS.
We play again next Sunday and I'm curious... would anyone want to hear a recording of our session? I have the stuff to record off skype but there are so many actual play pods out there... What do you all think?
More from the Pinkertons next Sunday!