Normington New World of Darkness

The Intro

The group was at Cook County General Hospital for various individual reasons when an explosion happened. Many poepl died and those that weren’t were covered in a strange substance coming from the fire sprinkler system.

Soime of the party tried to help those around them, others just tried to escape unharmed. Eventually Dr. Bradley Hill, Arty Carbunkle, Donal Bannon, Holland McCleary, and Vincent Drake were rounded up by a man named Jack who had an ambulance. He said he would take them to get help.

Jack took them to a warehouse type building. It had been set up with some makeshift examination rooms. jack showed them to a communal room, where a doctor or scientist type let them know that they have been changed. He said that they were no longer human or at least something more than human. He had each go to an examination room, where he told each of them what type of creature they had become. Dr. Hill believes him for he can feel a loss, he can feel his soul missing. The others were slower to buy in until they saw more proof, some of it violent, The scientist type told them that they were inflicted by the leaders of Normington. After some training in their new powers they were told that that the leaders of Normington may be able to help them. They were given tickets to Normington IL via bullet train.

Once they arrived at Normington they disembarked through the terminal going through security and exited into town. In the terminal Arty Heard a phone ringing in a locker. A man on that phone told them to meet at a Starbucks across the way. In the coffee house a man flagged us down. We sat at his table. He introduced himself as Cyrus and told them that they were somehow implanted with explosives. Believing that they were not suicidal, Cyrus also believed that they did not have prior knowledge of the explosives and were being used. He took them in a bomb squad van to Miller park cemetery to be de-bombed by Dr. Anthony D’Angelo, one of the leaders of Normington.

They met Dr. Anthony D’Angelo in a crypt in Miller Park. He explained to them that they had a binary explosive in their blood. He had a process that could remove it, but it was dangerous. They all made it through the procedure. Dr. D’Angelo then explained to them that he believed they were being used by the Chicago camarilla to attack Normington in a way that could possibly bypass the technicalities of a standing treaty. Since the party is not attached to any faction we would’ve technically constituted a third-party attack. Dr. D’Angelo asked them to return to Chicago and try to hold the treaty in place. He advises them to try to get an audience with the Prince of the Chicago Camarilla, which is a supernatural governing body of vampires. He said that they may be able to help them, but getting an audience may be tough. The Prince was going to be at Elysium tonight which is some kind of supernatural neutral ground, but still tough to get in without an invitation. He also gave them some goggles of special design, which could help aim our weapons and provided other features.

The party headed to the Elysium at the Chicago Cultural Center building, deciding to enter through the sewer tunnels. Some low-level vampires guarded it. The Party Used their new abilities to defeat the guards and assassins and eventually we worked their way to the gathering. Due to the protocol of the event they couldn’t attack the party. They were brought in front of Prince Annabeth (Don’t know why she isn’t called Princess). She listened to them then passed them on to some lieutenant, known as a Sheriff. During this it was revealed that the Prince’s Second in command (the Senachal) had been behind the attack. The party alongside the Prince and Sheriff dispatched the Senechal, after which the Prince and Sheriff agreed to uphold the treaty and release the odd scientist whom had been held prisoner himself.

The Party returned to Normington and again met with Dr. D’Angelo. He said the party is welcome to stay and take part in the Normington society until they figure out what they would like to do for the long haul.

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Exploring Church and Warehouse in Peoria
Let's play "Where did I leave my spleen?!"

After agreeing to split up to investigate the 3 suspect Sabbat locations in Peoria – church, nightclub and warehouse – (we’ll have to recap what’s happened from the first adventure to now elsewhere), our heroes (minus Dr. Hill) all show up at the church together. From the outside, it appeared a normal – if slightly gothic – Catholic place of worship. Sunday morning seemed a perfect time to take a look around without causing a disturbance. Finn, Arty, Holland and Drake entered with various types of enhanced perception up. There were LOTS of ghosts in the place, the Father appeared slightly off and the communion wine and bread gave off a slight glow of power. The impression of Death was noticeable in the church – beyond what could be expected. Ghosts were interrogated and Finn did a quick check at a second Catholic church to compare the sacraments and feeling of death. Something was definitely off. Drake made himself seem inconspicuous and went exploring and found a secret room and odd behavior. One ghoul was identified. Out in the parking lot, Holland made a connection to the actual church building and was driven slightly mad. Now able to pierce the illusion covering it, he saw the angelic frescoes, gargoyles and bas-relief statuary were actually demonic perversions performing horrific acts. With Holland mumbling about burning the place to the ground, the group decided to postpone the act of arson until a time that WASN’T the middle of the day and instead check out the warehouse.
It was a large, fenced location with nearly a dozen pieces of heavy machinery outside (dozers and augers and excavators! oh my!). All were well used. With visible “workers” patrolling the scene, there was a need to explore undetected. Holland again performed his “connect with the building” trick and was able to make Finn and Drake appear to be harmless squirrels. The world’s 2 most uncoordinated squirrels clamber over the barb-wire fence and begin poking around. They found half of the warehouse was behind a large locked door and 6 armed guards. The ungraceful duo both got hung up on the trip back over the fence but managed to avoid any serious injury. Arty stealthily cut a hole in the fence and began sneaking around the building to see if he could get into the protected part of the warehouse but was seen by a couple of guards. One phantasmic dragon induced pants-wetting on the part of the guards quickly deteriorated into a gunfight with Finn, Drake and Holland rushing the scene. The guard ghouls were quickly taken out as were the cameras and the team set to exploring the area in detail. Some of the heavy equipment had a taint of death and blood on them and a link to one of the ghosts in the church was discovered. The lock in the warehouse was bypassed and exploring showed 2 things of note: an ominous Sabbat book and a heavy case. Holland retrieved a home-made explosive from his ride to level the place after the heroes were finished with it – not wanting to leave it in the hands of the Sabbat and returned with it to the warehouse to further look at the briefcase. Finn and Drake began a sweep outside the warehouse to remove evidence of their presence and the fight. Inside, Arty and Holland decided that after defeating the expensive lock on the warehouse door, the little lock on the case was too difficult. Using a crowbar is a MUCH better solution… for setting off the C-4 booby-trap inside. So Arty and Holland are ground zero of the C4 explosion. AND the explosion of Holland’s home-made home wrecker bomb. Both are saved by a little body armor and supernatural reflexes allowing them a second to dive for cover (and some liberally-used ectoplasm apparently). Drake and Finn are knocked off their feet outside but relatively mobile (Finn not taking a scratch due to his mystic armor). They retrieve their grievously wounded companions and the book and retreat to the Morton casino for a little mysterious Vampire healing. This gives Arty, Holland and Drake a little more knowledge about secrets among vampires but could incur a debt they must pay later. Finn was last seen in the Casino bar staring at the completely unharmed book retrieved from the rubble of the exploded and flaming warehouse…

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But DAAAAADDD!!!
Why do we have to go to church if it's not Sunday?

After our heroes recovered in the Morton Casino on “Dress like ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’” night (yes, literally) and the good Dr. Hill showed up, everyone gathered in the bar to discuss what Finn had managed to discover about the mysterious book. The Obrimos mage was able to sense the tome was extremely powerful (roughly equivalent to a 6-dot artifact) which could be used to create various portals between the world and an alternate plane and transfer energy and beings across. Vile, tainted energy and horrific beings…

Arty felt this, along with what everyone had managed to find out at the corrupted church and the warehouse, was enough for him to complete the task he had been given by Normington’s vampire Prince Christine, so back to Normington all merrily went.

The group invited Dr. D’Angelo to the meeting/artifact display and everyone met at T’Zers to discuss what the Sabbat in Peoria were up to and what we should do next. The book was giving off a noticeable magical signature and everyone felt the Sabbat would know it had been stolen and would likely be coming for it very soon. It was decided that the book needed to be destroyed. Since there was no handy Mt. Doom, the best person to help destroy an unholy artifact was Normington’s beloved Sister M. M. C. Janine.

Much deliberation was given to HOW things were going to be explained to the Sister without breaking the Masquerade/spilling the beans about the awakened world and potentially giving the Hunters a brand new extremely powerful recruit. A plan was hatched and the Sister was approached. She skeptically let the group know their not-QUITE-lies and evasions were pitifully easy to see but once she understood the group just wanted her help destroying something unholy, she was willing to give it a try.

Caught in the middle of what amounted to an exorcism of a book (bound in human flesh with words written in blood), the ghosts attached to the group were forced out of the room where the Sister was deep in prayer. Holland McCleary had a difficult time trying to keep up with his partner in death as it fled the room and Dr D’Angelo had a similar, if not quite as dramatic, experience.

The exorcism appeared to work and, with the sound of 100 screaming souls, the book was burned to ash. Dr. D’Angelo thought that the Sabbat would now DEFINITELY be coming to take revenge. The now-purified ash was being worked into a charm of protection for the Normington church where the Sister stayed and the group chose to head back to Peoria to assault the Sabbat-corrupted church there with the hopes of setting the Sabbat plans back years if not wiping them out entirely. On the drive a few seemingly demonic bikers were seen going the other way and Dr. D’Angelo was warned of the incoming baddies. The group arrived at the corrupt church in Peoria, now stripped of any attempt at hiding it’s true nature where they got their battle faces on and…

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Adventure? Bah. Excitement? Bah.
A mage craves not these things

Our miscreants er… heroes are asked to investigate another area in the country that is supposed to be similar to Normington with regards to cooperation between the various supernatural factions, To be found there was a Necromancer – Giovanni – who may be able to help cure Cyrus (I think) with his slight case of death. Off to the Northwest they fly, to a little town on the West Coast in Oregon. Upon their landing, they find things SLIGHTLY different than they were lead to believe. IN town, there was cooperation between factions (mainly Sabbat and Camarilla vamps with a couple of lone straggler Mage/Promethian/Geist) but anyone supernatural was prohibited from leaving the town by a 200-strong werewolf pack. This dictate includes the guests from IL, but not local mundanes.

Everyone spent some time exploring the town and meeting supernatural residents making sure they got the local rules before any breaches of etiquette happen. Residents of note – The Baron: Camarilla leader and resident for 60 years, Mother – Sabbat leader, Solomon – Geist who has lived in town since 1850, Auntie – old Mage with high Death arcana, The 3 Brothers – monastic and secretive vamps, Dennis – a simple but STRONG vampire and a rare werewolf child allowed to visit town.

“Voluntary” mandatory attendance at a weekly midnight ceremony at the local church was explained and participants were “requested” to partake in a congregation-wide bloodletting/communion. Quick scans showed the ritual did include some real power and the group’s mages (Finn and Drake) ensured their protections were up before drinking… which did absolutely nothing to protect them from the effects of the blood… everyone felt a subtle “connection” with another random participant. The only connection of note was Arty’s link to one of the 3 Brothers – Ezekiel. Seemingly only a feeling of good will and trust.

After finding communications with the outside world were being monitored/censored by spirits under the control of the Garou, the team starts poking around and asking questions. They were unable to learn exactly WHY the supernatural residents were forbidden from leaving, but they did learn of a mysterious “dead” zone in the nearby woods where spirits and animals wouldn’t go. Finn, Drake, Dr Hill and Arty (Holland McLeary was busy drinking Irish Whiskey) drove out to the woods to investigate.

Magical sight shows the taint of death and Death sight reveals that all life in a small area is being drained away. Sucked inward to something underground. Animals and spirits have all abandoned the affected zone and all nearby plants have died with a ring of yellowing/dying plants extending out in about a 40 yards radius. Footprints are visible in the dead dirt a few days old – 3 sets: 1 barefoot, 1 pair of sandals and 1 pair of moccasins. Finn, Drake and Arty stay outside the area as Dr. Hill moves in for a closer look. Due to his Promethian nature, the Death field has very little effect on him. He wants to dig around to see if anything is buried here. About 6 ft down, he encounters a stone slab. Further excavation shows it’s rectangular – very coffin-shaped. Finn levitates over the hole in the ground (wanting to stay out of the anti-life area) and can see that the source of the field is WELL below the coffin – by 30 yards or so.

Curiosity ALMOST prevails, but the cat remains in a Schrodinger-esque limbo and Finn convinces everyone to hold off on unearthing the coffin until a little more research is done about the history and local folklore for the area . A day or two at most. Initial queries reveal the area is part of a wildlife preserve set up around 1955 by the Pentis family. Held in trust by the Suty Society as no family members are alive. They all lived in the area but died off fairly quickly and mysteriously. Finn, Drake and Arty head back to town to question the towns oldest residents and those who would be most likely to know about things. Dr. Hill stays to re-bury the coffin.

Auntie tells the group a little about the town’s history but is unaware of the details of the dead zone. She had seen it briefly years prior but was unable to make use of the anti-life field so left it undisturbed. She was very surprised to learn the team had detected a mind deep underground. She thought the area was simply the Pentis family graveyard. She did recognize the 3 footprints as belonging to the 3 Brothers (big surprise there). Dr. Hill rejoined the group and everyone went to speak with Solomon (the Geist). He informed the group that the only other unusual activity in that area was a cargo ship beaching nearby in 1955. The crew were all dead with no suspicious marks. Internet searches showed the cargo ship’s itinerary: Philly, Algiers, Cairo, Bombay, Hong Kong, L. A. and finally (it beached before it arrived) Anchorage.

The team now goes to visit the 3 Brothers at their chapel. They are invited to join the Brothers in a ritual of their church – Arty and Dr. Hill agree and drink from a golden chalice that mysteriously filled with liquid as Ezekiel was chanting in an unknown language. The 3 Brothers agree to come back to the Dead Zone in the woods but give vague responses when questioned about why they were there previously. They then ask if we want to see the caves leading from the nearby beach to a place directly UNDERNEATH the Dead Zone. Of COURSE we do… and Arty (connected with and trusting Ezekiel after the initial church ceremony) sees no reason not to think the best of his friend.

Nobody should be surprised to learn that the cave contained an ancient Egyptian sarcophagus holding a vampire in Torpor and slowly draining the life from the area. 2 Brothers (Samiel and Galadriel… yes, I think Galadriel is a girl’s name, but ignore that) leap to the sarcophagus and strain to lift the stone lid, Ezekiel commands Arty to freeze and Arty happily complies. A wild melee ensues with Finn and Drake throwing attack spells at vamps who attack them in return, Dr. Hill Hulking out and picking up the entire sarcophagus and trying to run out of the cave, the jostled Elder (whom we assume is Set) beginning to stir and commanding Dr. Hill to put him down, remove the lid and hold Arty still so Set can drink. Dr. Hill responds with the quick, witty repartee of “yes, Master” and obeys like a good blood-bound thrall. NEVER drink anything at a party if you don’t know how it was prepared. Galadriel and Samiel are dispatched, Ezekiel is furious, Drake and Finn are almost dead and the enthralled Dr Hill is holding Arty as an Egyptian Capri Sun for a thirsty and feeble Set. Everyone then notices a shadowy figure watching quietly from the back of the cave. The team pleads for assistance and a figure they had seen only briefly in Normington emerges and quickly makes a potion with the blood of Arty, Dr. Hill and himself. Once the two thralls drink, it replaces the bonds on Arty and Dr. Hill and they are free to act. Ezekiel is quickly dispatched. Multiple attempts/methods to kill the weakened elder fail, so Set’s sarcophagus is filled with quick-drying cement, anti-Set graffiti is scrawled on the outside of the sarcophagus and the caves are collapsed behind the team as they head back to town.

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...we order you to return forthwith to your place of origin
or to the nearest convienent parallel dimension.

Uncertain about what to do with Set-in-a-box, it was decided to talk to the one whose rules we may have broken by killing the 3 Brothers. The head of the Sabbat vampires in town – Mother.
Mother agreed to meet the heroes and she arrived with Dennis in tow. She used an unknown vampire ritual to lead everyone on a walk through an alternate plane and emerge in the cave below the dead area. Arty wasn’t familiar with the strange plane and it was different from Twilight and the land of the dead. We told her the story and she investigated the room. Finn analyzed the still-burning torches on the walls and discovered the sconces were magical. It seems that anything put within the holders would burn forever. Which made him wonder out loud about nuclear energy and unlimited Tass.
Mother determined that we were telling the truth and hadn’t broken any rules since we were acting in self-defense. She recommended speaking with the Garou and trying to get their help in finding a place to hide the Antedeluvian far away from living things. Somewhere like the Dead Sea, Utah salt flats or a volcano.
Back up to the surface using the Vampire ritual for the phone call. We used Mother’s Vampire-Garou hotline reserved only for emergencies.
The Garou shaman Twisted Arm agreed to come inside the barrier to meet and warned of the consequences if this WASN’T a real emergency. Once the Garou contingent arrived, everyone went BACK to the cave using a Garou ritual path through the Umbra where the story was told again and the scene was inspected. Twisted Arm agreed that a powerful Vampire resided within the cement block/sarcophagus and that it would be beneficial to the town (and the Garou) to have it removed and hidden far away from other life.
The 2 torch sconces were pulled from the walls and one was given to the Garou as a goodwill gift.
Back up to the surface. (we travel through more dimensions before 9 A.M. than most people do in their entire lives) Twisted Arm aranges for all of us to meet with The Baron in an hour to include the town’s other supernatural leader in the decision. We make our way back to city center. The story is told yet AGAIN and the Baron agrees that everyone acted in self-defense. This time explaning the story, the team included additional background information like how we found multiple areas of weirdness – the Dead Zone where Set was resting and also a second area behind the Baron’s office building where an unknown power was felt and only spiders wanted to stay. Arty then mentioned that when he talked to the spiders last time, they said they were eagerly awaiting the coming of the “Mother Spider.”
(OOC note – true fact: at this point one of the players noticed a real spider trying to crawl into his dice bag. He freaked out and I swear I heard the GM chuckle menacingly /OOC)
Everyone FELT a thrumming of power, tiny spiders began to pour from cracks and drop from the ceiling. Arty looks panicked and announces “They say ’She’s here!’” EVERYONE (vamp, garou, geist, promethian and mage) pours out of the Baron’s cramped office and rushes outside the back door to see 2 large and one HUGE faintly glowing spiders. (think VW bug and SUV size) These are not REAL spiders but seem to be some kind of idealized Platonic scary spider forms. Arty disappears from everyone’s perception, Dr. Hill and the vamps rush to engage the critters and Drake and Finn start throwing magic hoping to hurt the beasts. With various forms of Mage sight, it is determined that the spiders are able to ground out most of the magic through some kind of order power. Powerful blows from the Dr and the vamps are reduced to minor hits that disolve spider chitin into swirls of chaos. There is an open portal beyond the spiders with things in the distance inside moving closer.
Surprisingly, the Garou all do… NOTHING. They hang back unwilling or unable to join in.
Holland McCleary uses his Geist power to create a boneyard and try to influence the situation and gather information. Drake tries to give a spider a psychic headbutt. Finn skirts the aracno-melee and tries to approach the portal with the hopes of closing it, joined by Drake, Arty and others. Dr. Hill and the vamps continue to trade blows with the spiders- the Dr getting slammed repeatedly. He is very grateful for his ability to be healed by lightning and the presence of MULTIPLE people able to give him a few joules.
The portal appears to be connecting to a plane of Order and Finn starts the process to dispell the forces holding it open (incorporating chaos expressed through a game of rock-paper-scissors with a very confused vampire lady). Holland chucks in a grenade hoping the resulting chaotic explosion will help.
The spiders fall to blade, spell and club. The portal is closed but the feeling of strange, twisted power remains. The garou argue among themselves for a moment and then Twisted Arm quiets the others and explains what he knows to everyone present. THIS is the reason the town has been quarantined. A corruption has infected the Weave and a portion has been somehow severed. HERE is where it is trying to spill into our world. The Garou can not directly affect it due to their relationship with Gaia somehow. They can detect it’s influence and need to prevent this corruption from spreading. It has the ability to infect supernatural beings and in order to make sure nobody infected can further taint the world, the Garou put up the quarantine. The leader of the Garou Runs with a Purpose tells us that if this portal was sealed permanently or the taint removed from the Weave, the quarantine would be lifted and we would be free to go (provided we were not infected by the corruption). The presence of Set appears to have been acting as a catalyst to whatever is affecting the Weave so his removal may slow things down but will not fix the problem.

Next time we try to find a way to clean a dimension-wide toxic chaos spill.

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