SUN-02 PDP hack: The Case of the Lunar Solution

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SUN-02 PDP hack: The Case of the Lunar Solution

Post by Seth » June 19th, 2015, 7:35 pm

Pocket Danger Patrol by John Harper
Ultra-Threat-O-Matic by Mike Wight

The Players

Karen T. as Lenora Wellesley the Intrepid Detective, down-on-her-luck private eye
Special Abilities: Attention to Detail, Incredibly Lucky, I Know a Guy
Relationship with Theo: Mentor of Modern Society

Phil L. as Theodore Argyros the Ghost Warrior, orthodox exorcist of evil spirits
Special Abilities: Walk the Ghost Path, Blade of the Ancients
Relationship with Billy: Theosophic

Seth M. as Billy Blavatsky the Psychic Agent, sixth-generation occult investigator
Special Abilities: Attuned to the Ether, Right Behind You, Family Business
Relationship with Magda: Romantic

Sam A. as Magda Shrike the Mystic Commando, reality-hopping monster fighter
Special Abilities: Multi-Planar Adventurer, Ethnobotany Shaman
Relationship with Lenora: The Sister I Never Wanted

The Threats

Lunar Mystery (GM: Phil), the origin of the Moon and its effect on the ley lines of the Earth
Strength: Daring + Battle, Guarding: Stygian Marauders

Unstable Mind Control (Seth), the strange behavior of the residents of Hell's Kitchen
Strength: Daring + Action, Weakness: Heart + Battle, Horde: Stygian Marauders

Stygian Marauders (Karen), unruly spirits consigned to a dark dimension, eager to escape
Strength: Weird + Science, Weakness: Power + Action, Horde: Unstable Mind Control

Etheric Monstrosity (Sam), an extra-planar creature preying upon the psychics of New York
Strength: Weird + Battle, Weakness: Daring + Science, Regen x2, Guarding: Psionic Vortex

Psionic Vortex (Seth), a reality-destabilizing windstorm raging from Stygia to Hell's Kitchen
Strength: Action, Countdown: 2

The Game

Flashback 1: Last episode, Theo saved Lenora from falling to her death while investigating an upper-floor tenement apartment. The tenants responsible apologized for their clumsiness but were clearly under some sort of hypnotic influence. Theo was Targeted for his interference.

Flashback 2: In a previous episode, Magda arrived from a parallel world and was briefly driven mad by the presence of our impossibly large moon. Lenora coaxed her out of the ocean and back to her office before the police could intervene, suffering Hypothermia as a result.

Flashback 3: In a recent episode, Billy was drawn into the Psionic Vortex and nearly devoured by the Etheric Monstrosity before being rescued by Magda, who drove the creature away with a surprisingly powerful bowl of geraniums.

Flashback 4: During that battle, Theo was caught off-balance when the Ghost Path twisted under his feet, threatening to pitch him into the Psionic Vortex. Billy caught his hand in the nick of time and Lenora and Magda formed a human chain to pull them free.

End of Round: Threats vs. Freedom
The Etheric Monstrosity hits. The heroes learn that it's just devoured the last of our psychic and mystic allies, and now it's entirely up to us to save the world.
The Lunar Mystery hits. After countless eons, the Stygians' plan is finally reaching fruition. They have established a solid foothold on our Earth by somehow using the power of the Moon.

Freedom Status: 4 / 6 hits remaining

Turn 1: The Lunar Mystery
Wild speculation regarding the effect of the Moon on planar travel leads our heroes to map out the ley lines of our Earth and confirm that they have been twisted into the Stygian Gate Configuration foretold in theosophic texts. A temporary tunnel to the Abyss has opened and the imprisoned spirits within are preparing to wreak havoc on the multiverse once again.

Turn 2: The Stygian Marauders
The completed ley line diagram leads to an investigation of the focal point of the distortion, a brownstone apartment in Hell's Kitchen. Ambushed by hypnotized tenants, our heroes are forced to retreat through the Gate, tumbling out into a blasted wasteland. Narrowly avoiding detection by the resident evil spirits, they quickly and explosively sabotage the Marauders' psychic machinery and dive back through the dimensional tunnel as it collapses behind them.

Turn 3: Theo vs. The Etheric Monstrosity
Our heroes stumble out into the street just as the brownstone implodes. The dimensional shockwave supercharges the Psionic Vortex and all of New York is suddenly thrown into the Ether. Theo draws his Blade and faces down the oncoming Monstrosity, nearly destroying it (5 hits), before a flailing tentacle blindsides him and casts him into the Vortex (11 danger).

Turn 4: Lenora vs. the Etheric Monstrosity
As Theo's sword falls to the ground and crazed New Yorkers run mad through the streets, Lenora draws her .38 and shoots the weakened Monstrosity in several of its thousand eyes. It shrieks and explodes in a shower of supernatural ectoplasmic energy, the force of the psychic feedback leaving Lenora reeling and defenseless in the path of a rampaging mob.

End of Round: Threats vs. Freedom
The Unstable Mind Control and Psionic Vortex both hit. "Everybody's losing their minds."

Freedom Status: 2 / 6 hits remaining

Turn 5: The Unstable Mind Control
Billy attempts to shield the crowd from the madness of the Ether, but his wounds cause him to falter and the mob batters him senseless. Staggering, he trips over Theo's fallen sword, picks it up and sweeps the ghostly blade through the horde, dispelling their insanity.

Turn 6: The Psionic Vortex
Trees bending and twisting around her, Magda steps out into the street and summons her indescribable Multi-Planar powers to silence the storm at last. Billy and Lenora watch in horror as the full moon slowly "separates out like bubbles of oil scattering across the sky" while Magda unconvincingly reassures them that it's for the best and that we didn't really need it anyway.

Freedom Status: Restored
Last edited by Seth on June 19th, 2015, 8:01 pm, edited 3 times in total.

Posts: 13
Joined: July 7th, 2011, 2:44 pm

Post by Seth » June 19th, 2015, 7:36 pm

Transcript (edited for length and clarity)

Threat / Scenario Generation

SM: Let’s line up the adjectives and the nouns like this, in a couple of columns more or less, and let’s eliminate all but five on each side. We'll pair them up to make the five Threats that the Danger Patrol is dealing with in this final episode. We’ll be determining the scope and the nature of these final scenes based on what kind of Threats we decide are most entertaining. Let’s start by brainstorming some possible pairings. So, as you feel it, just go ahead and promote or demote some of these cards by moving them up or down the column here. Let’s consider which will fit together to form a coherent story, and make sure that we have Threats that are the result of other Threats, and they’re all related to each other. I’ll go ahead and promote the Mystery, I like Mysteries. I like this Vortex, maybe a natural disaster to add a little variety. I’ll promote that one too.
P: I'm a big fan of Stygian as an adjective.
K: I really like Bandit or Marauder.
SM: OK, we could be dealing with a theft, or defending people who are being attacked?
P: I think I like Marauder more, like a horde of Vikings or something rather than tricky thieves.
SA: If we already have a Mystery, then Inexplicable becomes a bit redundant.
P: I'm liking the Lunar Mystery.
SA: I think the Vortex needs to be Unstable.
P: Or a Neuro Vortex?
SM: What's that, mind power? Life force?
SA: Sounds like Psionic.
SM: Does that sound right to everyone? OK. So, there's a Mystery revolving around the Moon somehow, and a Psionic Vortex.
SA: Let's demote Gigantic, it doesn't sound like we're dealing with big things smashing stuff.
SM: Yeah, it could be subtle. This Vortex could be invisible, a very subtle thing that's happening and spreading across the country.
P: Right.
SM: Maybe people's minds are getting caught up in it but there's no physical sign.
P: Stygian Marauder?
K: Yes!
SM: And it could be Marauders, plural, if you prefer.
P: Mutagenic is nice but I don't think we're going that way.
SM: With that Psionic Vortex, maybe Mind Control could be an issue. That connects pretty well.
SA: It should be Unstable Mind Control.
P: Lunar Mystery and Unstable Mind Control, maybe we're investigating why people go mad and commit crimes during the full moon?
SM: We’ve got Etheric over here, and we're talking about mental states and moonlight, that's sounds pretty ethereal...
SA: Which is why I kind of like the juxtaposition with Monstrosity.
P: Etheric Monstrosity? That's great.
SM: Yeah, the Creature from the Id! OK, everybody roll a d8... I rolled highest so I get first pick but must also take the last Threat that no one else wants. As owners of the Threats, we are the final arbiters. When a scene is being narrated involving your Threat, you take on that role, you describe and decide everything about it. Other people can certainly suggest things to you but you can veto them. So everyone, be sure to softball those ideas, don’t get too attached to them.
P: Sure.
SM: I’m going to take the Psionic Vortex, unless someone else is into it?
P: I really like Stygian, I really like Marauder. Or do I want the Etheric Monstrosity... Do you..?
K: I’m leaning more towards the Marauder than the Monstrosity.
P: How do you feel about the Etheric Monstrosity?
SA: I am in favor of the Etheric Monstrosity.
P: I’m going to go with the Lunar Mystery.
K: I’ll be the Stygian Marauder.
SA: Then I’ll go with the Etheric Monstrosity.
SM: So I’m both the Vortex and the Mind Control, interesting. OK, here’s some index cards, go ahead and write the name of your Threat at the top, then put an S here and a W here like this, and leave some empty space for jotting down ideas as they come to us.
P: Strength and Weakness?
SM: Exactly. Now, I’ll deal out a bunch of these cards here listing Abilities which are the potential Strengths and Weaknesses of our Threats. Go ahead pick one of these that strikes you as either the Strength or the Weakness of your Lunar Mystery. When one of the heroes uses that Ability against you, they’ll suffer a penalty if it’s your Strength, or they might get extra hits against you if it’s your Weakness.
P: I’m going to say Daring + Battle is its Strength.
SM: Sure, how do you fight a Mystery?
P: Right.
K: I’ll take Power + Action.
SA: I guess it’s Weird + Battle for the Etheric Monstrosity, that seems to be its thing.
SM: I think Heart + Battle are the Weakness of the Unstable Mind Control.
P: Oh yeah, that’s good.
SM: And Action is not so useful against the Psionic Vortex.
P: The Lunar Mystery’s Weakness is None.
K: I’ll go with Weird + Science.
SA: I think Daring + Science are going to be effective here.
SM: And I’ll take these, and discard the rest. Now we’re going to add a few special Threat Abilities to some of these. Let’s move them all into the middle and take a look. One of these Threats is going to have a Countdown, which means that something terrible is going to happen very quickly and we’re sure of it. There will also be a Threat that is guarded by another Threat, so it can’t even be addressed until the other is defeated. Two of them will get Horde bonuses, which means they work well together, they sort of synergize and if they’re narrated as being in the scene together then we suffer additional penalties. And finally, one of them will be regenerating between turns, so it may be tougher than the others. Oh, and let’s say the Countdown Threat is also guarded by something. So it’s up to us to unanimously decide all of those, and Threats can have multiple Abilities attached to them. Countdown is often easiest to start with, so what strikes us as a countdown? Maybe the Vortex reaching a critical point?
P: Sounds reasonable.
SM: And it’s guarded, maybe we can’t address the Vortex until the Mystery is solved? Or the Mind Control is broken?
P: The Mystery is definitely guarding something. You’ve got to solve it to know what to do.
SA: The Etheric Monstrosity seems the most likely thing to be guarding the Psionic Vortex.
P: Yeah, I like that.
SM: Is it a manifestation of the Vortex?
SA: I think it indwells the Vortex. It's the thing that lurks within the Vortex.
SM: How about the Horde, who works well together? Does anyone want to take one of these, does it seem appropriate?
P: The Marauders, I think...
K: These definitely need to pair up.
SM: OK, so if these two things are described as being in the scene together, then they work in tandem.
P: The Marauders and the Mind Control?
K: Yeah! If they're partnering up with Mind Control, then I want to switch their Strength and Weakness. I think that would make more sense.
SM: That's totally fine. So, what's guarded by the Mystery?
P: The Marauders could be. We don't know who's behind this.
K: OK, cool!
SM: OK, now I'm going to put a card on the table to represent the thing we’re protecting. The Threats will attack it each turn and if it’s hit too many times then we lose. Let's decide what it means if we lose, what will be lost? What's being threatened?
SA: It seems as though, with these three Threats, it's largely an internal type of thing. It doesn't seem as though we are dealing with vast realms of space in which to act.
SM: Right, this could all take place on Earth.
P: What's at stake? Maybe the minds of every living person on Earth!
K: Yeah!
SA: That seems about right.
P: The Stygians are trying to take control.
K: They're trying to invade through mind control.
SM: Cool, so should it be like "Freedom"?
K: Yeah, I like Freedom.
P: Freedom's good.
SM: OK, "Freedom" has six hits. After that sixth hit, Freedom is lost.
K: Oh no.
SM: This will be the final episode of Danger Patrol, but first we're going to do flashbacks to previous episodes. Establishing how these Threats emerged, getting some initial facts, what the connections between our characters are, maybe how we work together. So, we’ve been learning about and dealing with these Threats here, while also trying to solve this Mystery and figure out who's behind it. And like you were saying, this doesn't have to necessarily go into outer space. I've played it where we were just a pair of low-level psychics in the 50's who called themselves the Danger Patrol. And I've played it where it was the year 3000 and we were basically Starfleet. So it's up to us what year to set it in, what our jurisdiction is, what our HQ looks like. What's our mandate, what do we do? All we know at the moment is that we four are the last hope for the freedom of Earth. So, let's go to character generation.

Character Generation

SM: OK, let’s all "create characters with strong connections to the current situation and strong motivations to end these Threats." Here's where I actually hand you a copy of the game. It's just one page with two sides, printed off of Choose a Style from this list of eight, and a Role from that list. It's sometimes helpful to look at the Styles and decide whether we want to veto any.
SA: It doesn't feel like a robot story.
SM: I agree, it sounds Mystical. It doesn't sound very Atomic either.
P: Not really.
SM: We don't know if Aliens are involved. Sounds like Psychics are definitely involved. Intrepid can stay, since we're boldly fighting for freedom. Two-Fisted is always appropriate.
P: The Stygians are nominally alien, but they don't have to be.
SM: Did you see them as alien?
K: Sure.
P: And there's also a Lunar Mystery, which is the other reason why they might be Not of This Earth.
SA: They could be alien in the broad sense that they are not from here.
P: Right.
SM: OK, let's ditch Atomic and Robot. Choose one of the six remaining Styles and one of the eight Roles. The only mechanical effect that they have is on your Special Abilities. You'll be creating superpowers and skills and gear for your character, anything that could give them an advantage, and they'll all have to be tied somehow either to your Style or your Role. So, I'm just gonna roll... 3-1, Ghost Agent. Hm. I'll reroll Ghost... 6-1, Psychic Agent. OK, I’ll be a Psychic Agent, I'm not sure what that means.
SA: I think I want to be a Mystic Commando.
K: I might just do Intrepid Detective.
P: OK, now I think I don't want to be Alien, I think they're our enemy. I think I want to go with Ghost Warrior, but I'm not actually a Ghost.
SM: Oh, you fight ghosts?
P: Yeah.
SM: That's awesome, you're like an exorcist? That's great. OK, I'm going to choose Weird as my best Ability on the left side and I guess Cunning? There's not a lot of Science going on around here, this is all psychic weirdness and mysteries.
K: Well, based on these Strengths and Weaknesses, it looks like the Marauders are using Science with their Mind Control.
SM: Hm, OK, so it's a technology that they've brought here, that controls people?
K: Maybe. They could be harnessing weird supernatural energy.
SM: I've got a zero in Power because I'm not strong at all, I'm not good at physical stuff. In fact, Action is my other zero. Now, let's write down some Special Abilities. I like to allow an unlimited number of them. As they occur to you, just jot them down, feel free to make them up on the fly. And if you decide you don't like one and want to change it mid-game, that's fine. Basically, the way they work is, you can bring in bonus dice as long as you can justifiably narrate in your Special Abilities giving you an advantage. So, I recommend that we all start with one relating to your Style and one relating to your Role. I'm going to say, I'm a Psychic Agent, so I think I'm "Attuned to the Ether", but I don't know what that means.
P: It means we can hold you up... "Ah, it's that way!"
SM: I'm a divining rod? Hold my ankles like a wheelbarrow, I'll point you in the right direction.
K: As an Intrepid Detective, I'm wondering which ethical route to go. I could say something like, I know a lot of people who are experts in a lot of things, or I could say I've got a lot of dirt on a lot of people. Do I have friendly resources, or people I have to blackmail into helping us?
SM: You could leave it vague, like a FATE aspect, "I Know a Guy" or "Insider Information"...
K: Alright, I'll write down "I Know a Guy" and work it out as it goes.
SM: And also, I usually like to say that since this game usually ends up being pulp sci-fi Buck Rogers type stories, that it should be implied that everyone has a method of fast travel and instant communication. Everyone should always be able to easily jump in and get involved in the current scene if they want. In fact, maybe I'll say that my Agent can "Appear From Nowhere"? Eh, maybe that's going a little far.
K: "Always Shows Up At The Right Time"?
P: Now you've got me thinking, like, "Walk the Ghost Trail"... I was thinking about "Spirit Sight" but that sounds cooler.
SM: Hey, take both. Maybe I'll go with "Right Behind You"...
K: I think that as someone who's very Intrepid and always running into danger, I have to be pretty Lucky to survive all these things. Would "Incredibly Lucky" be a good ability?
SM: It would, I think, be the best ability you could take. It's the most universally applicable advantage ever.
SA: I think I'll take "Multi-Planar Adventurer". I'm somewhat unhinged between different versions of the world and occasionally go into yours.
SM: Cool, so maybe in a flashback scene, we see you emerge from the Vortex?
SA: Yeah.
SM: Just off the top of my head. Maybe Magda wasn't originally a member of the team, and then you showed up to warn us of the imminent threats? An Intrepid Detective, a Ghost Warrior and a Psychic Agent, and then we have a Mystic Commando who shows up to help us. Cool, let's talk briefly about the Danger Patrol, our first ideas about it, our roles in it, what does that organization look like? Are we secretive? Are we the secret protectors of humanity?
K: No, the world has to know!
SM: Oh, OK! So we are...
K: I have a blog! Or a newspaper, or whatever.
P: And nobody believes it.
K: Nobody believes it's real at all! But that doesn't stop me from trying to let the world know the truth.
P: We're semi-secretive, I think is where that's going. We're not like an official government agency, I think, right?
K: Yeah.
SM: OK, and it could still be any year, let's pin it down. What do we want, blog and iPhones, or 50's newspapers and fedoras? The year 3000? Maybe it's a futuristic world but we're still kinda low-level heroes dealing with these crazy cosmic threats to the city, or to humanity?
SA: I'm not really feeling the futuristic angle.
SM: Yeah, me neither. I like the past, I haven't had a lot of games set in the past.
K: Alright, yeah, let's do the 50's. It makes narrating science simpler.
SM: Do we have a headquarters?
K: I call my office our headquarters.
P: Yeah!
K: And when we meet there, I do call it an official meeting, but you guys are welcome to interpret it however you will. To me, it's our headquarters. But it's also my office.
SM: You sleep on the couch? Can you afford a secretary?
K: No!
SM: Of course not. So maybe we'll flash back to past adventures that brought us together, finding out about the Threats together.
P: I think I'm Greek. I need to get my name book.
SM: I kinda want to say that I'm a Russian immigrant, and my last name is Blavatsky because he's related to Madame Blavatsky, the psychic who wrote all those crazy books. But in fact, in this world, they're the truth!
K: I'm not familiar.
SM: I'll go with Billy Blavatsky. His real name is Russian and unpronounceable.
SA: My name is going to be Magda Shrike. And I always insist on the Shrike.
SM: You're from a different... you are from Earth, right?
SA: I am from something very Earth-like.
SM: An Earth where people are named things like Magda Shrike.
SA: Yes.
SM: OK, let's go around and do some quick intros. Tell us a little about the first image you have of your character, what they look like. And tell us why you picked your 2's, why are those your best stats? I'll go first, all I know is that I'm Psychic Agent Billy Blavatsky and maybe he's younger than I was thinking at first, since he goes by Billy. Maybe he's a teen?
SA: Well, yeah, but it's the 50's, you could be pretty old and still be called Billy.
SM: Oh, yeah, true.
K: Plus, if your name is unpronounceable, the childhood nickname might never have fallen by the wayside.
SM: OK, yeah. And he's maybe your opposite number in the psychic world. You do standard detective work and I do psychic detective work.
K: Cool.
SM: And our paths crossed.
K: Yes.
SM: I think I dress casually, I'm very ordinary-looking. I look like anybody else walking by on the street.
SA: But a square jaw, broad shoulders.
SM: Sure, let's be strong jawed and broad shouldered. Anybody else?
SA: Yeah, I think I want Magda to stick out in this world, so I think her look is kinda punk survivalist, a very weird mix of clothing, none of which quite matches, and animal furs. Some of it is, I've been to other worlds and gotten some nice clothes, and some of it is, I was stuck out there between the worlds and needed to kill a thing to make myself some trousers. I think I'm hung about with many strange fetishes. Yeah, I'm not going to be able to walk down the street in the 50's without being regarded as a freakshow.
K: You probably get questioned by the police a lot.
SA: Yeah, they probably locate me by all the tracking all the pattern of police calls and their times.
K: OK, Lenora Wellesley is the typical high-waisted wide-legged pants and silk blouses type, like Carmen Sandiego with the trenchcoat going on. But she does not have a lot of money, so her office does have a couch which is also her bed and she really tries to not let people know about that, but you guys all know about it, but she pretends like she has some other place that she lives.
SM: Maybe there aren't a lot of female detectives around, so no one ever suspects her.
K: Yeah, she's able to slip by and talk to people and use her feminine wiles to get stories. But because she's also reporting on the craziest things you ever heard of, nobody takes her seriously. When they hear her name... she does have a bit of a reputation for being a kook. And her Strengths are Daring and Cunning.
SA: I guess my Strengths are... Daring, because well, I'm a commando!
SM: You're jumping through portals, for crying out loud!
SA: I'm jumping through portals and hitting stuff, hitting stuff you could never even imagine!
SA: Yeah, I find weird weapons throughout the multiverse and hit things with them. Battle and Daring.
SM: I picked Weird and Cunning because I guess that's my bread and butter.
P: OK, we have some interesting overlaps. My name is Theo, Theodore Argyros the Ghost Warrior. I'm trying to decide which way to go with him, the grizzled old guy who knows his stuff, or the young novice...
SM: Right, are you Father Karras or Father Damien?
P: Yyyeah.
SM: Sorry, I'm pushing the Exorcist angle too hard, I'll stop.
P: I went with a lower Cunning, so I think he's a younger guy, maybe formerly cloistered, he's got this weird religious background and monk training that people aren't really sure about. He wears religious charms around his neck. He doesn't dress too outlandishly, he dresses more or less in the right style but he's also got some religious iconography that he wears that stands out a bit. I gave him "Blade of the Ancients" as his other Special Ability. I'm just trying to figure out how to justify him walking around with a sword that people won't necessarily recognize as a sword...
SM: What if it's a broken sword that has a ghost blade?
P: Oh, that's good!
K: Hm.
P: That's very good, because then he can carry the hilt or whatever surreptitiously in a holster on the side so people don't know.
K: Hm!
SM: It's the ghost of its former self.
P: Right!
SM: Against the occult, the ghost blade is as sharp as it ever was in life.
P: Yeah, the real blade was lost, but there was some kind of religious relic in the hilt.
SM: That's great.
P: I guess I'm thinking of the younger priest in the Fifth Element. The hapless fresh-faced assistant priest who's sent out to do errands.


SM: So, we've got Stygian Marauders from somewhere else, we're not sure where. There's a Lunar Mystery revolving around them, so they seem to be associated with the Moon. There are Etheric Monstrosities, or at least one, there's a Psionic Vortex and there's Unstable Mind Control attacking the minds of Earth. So, are there any initial details regarding these Threats that anyone wants to throw out that they haven't had a chance to yet? I guess, with Unstable Mind Control, defeating it could represent blocking the power of the Mind Control somehow, or actually having to battle those who are under control. And I still like the idea that the Psionic Vortex is invisible and only those who are attuned to it are affected, and maybe they're actually physically buffeted by it during a totally calm day. So those were my initial thoughts, anyone else have any?
P: Given that we're pretty Earth-set here, I'm still leaning towards the Lunar Mystery being something kind of obvious, like maybe there's a rash of weird activity associated with the full moon. And while that's been true since time immemorial, it seems to be more prevalent now.
SM: So, that represents correlating the data and figuring out that it's happening during those times.
P: Yeah, because something about the light of the full moon, the reflected light of the sun is somehow connected to the strength of the Vortex or something.
SM: Right, maybe the ritual can only be done at the full of the Moon? But I guess it depends on the nature of your Marauders.
K: Mm hm.
SM: Did either of you have anything to add?
SA: I think the Psionic Vortex... So, psychics are a thing in this world, but whenever one of them has gone into the Vortex to try and stabilize it... I think Psionic Vortices are a normal thing, like they occasionally happen when there are too many psychics in an area and their forces overlap.
SA: And normally, it's very simple to go into the world of the mind and level them out. But every time people here go into this new larger Vortex, they've been attacked by the Etheric Monstrosity which has done terrible terrible things to their minds and cast them out, broken shells of themselves. Which is enabling a normally small, unproblematic maintenance problem to grow vastly greater than it has previously.
SM: Hm! Are these the kinds of problems that you have to deal with in your occupation?
SA: Um yeah.
SM: This might not be your first Vortex.
SA: This is probably not my first Vortex. I think in my explorations through the planes, I've come across many weird mind-things.
SM: How prevalent are psychics? And do we want to say that it's even those folks who just have occasional flashes of insight?
SA: Yeah, I think there are a lot of low-level latents, like maybe 10% of the population. They have really low-level psychic powers that they're not aware of.
SM: And are we in a highly populated area, then? Maybe, are we in Manhattan?
SA: I was thinking we should be in a major city where there could be enough buildup for the Vortex to develop.
SM: Maybe the steel structures of the skyscrapers have created some sort of resonance with it and the energy can't escape and dissipate in the way that it normally would.
K: Yeah.
SM: Something like that.
SM: And maybe those who have eyes to see it can see the power arcing along the steel, BZZZT, up the skyscrapers like gigantic Jacob's Ladders.
SA: The pyramids were built for the same purpose. They just weren't pointy enough.

Flashback 1: Theo rescues Lenora

SM: OK, let's do flashbacks... We'll have some quick freeze frames of these Threats, as have been seen in previous episodes. And then the logo, the DP with the lightning bolt, flashes on-screen, BAM, "Previously, on Danger Patrol!" Everybody roll a d8 please. OK, we start with Phil, and we see a clip from a scene from a previous episode where Theo saved Lenora. It's up to the two of you to frame the scene. Lenora, how did you get into a sticky situation you couldn't extricate yourself from, and why was Theo able to come to your rescue? It's best if we can point to one of these Threats as the thing that caused the trouble. And it may not have actually emerged as a Threat yet, it may be that you were still just investigating it.
K: Yeah, Lenora was investigating something that required her to climb up a very tall building on a fire escape, and she slipped and we see her shoe fall, it has a very nice heel and cost a lot of money, and I think Theo comes to her rescue either by just being there to grab her hand to pull her back up or...
P: Did you slip, or was there an unseen Stygian Marauder there pushing you?
K: There might have been an unseen Marauder pushing me.
SM: OK, a Marauder, or maybe a mind-controlled tenant?
P: Oh!
K: Yeah!
SM: They just happened to open the window at just the right time...
K: Yes.
P: Yeah.
SM: Coincidentally?
P: Yeah, the Marauders try not to act directly if they can use their minions.
SM: Yeah, maybe you're climbing and get a hold and then a window slams on your hand, (hypnotized voice) "Oh… I didn't… see you there..."
K: Yeah, a mind-controlled office worker.
SM: And did you see his face, did you catch a glimpse of..? Well, let's have the dice determine how much was uncovered about them.
K: OK.
SM: I think that's sufficient detail for this flashback round. Now, how did you save her? What action did you take? Pick one Ability from the left and one from the right that fit the description.
P: Probably... given the situation set up, I think I will go with Power and Action, just very straight-forward, I was there at the right time to catch her.
SM: OK, what's the total, three? So you begin your dice pool with 3d10. Oh, and one house rule that I like to add is, you can't use the same pair of abilities twice in a row. Next, did you bring any of your Special Abilities into the situation? You can always feel free to narrate your powers and gear and other Special Abilities into the fiction anytime and describe them being used without costing yourself anything, but it won't have any mechanical effect. Or you can add bonus dice to your pool by checking off one or more of these four little diamond-shaped boxes here, they're supposed to look like little d8's, and narrating how you're using one of your Special Abilities to assist your current action. There's only one way to recover bonus dice, you can recover two of them by skipping a turn.
P: I don't think they're applicable here.
SM: Was anybody else in the scene who was able to help? Anyone can help the acting player by simply handing them a bonus die. Check off a bonus die, tell us which Special Ability you're using to assist them, and that adds a d8 to their dice pool.
K: Well, I was there by default. But you're saying that I can only tap my Special Abilities every so often.
SM: You can tap them four times during the game. You can skip a turn in order to recover two of them.
K: OK, and that's my only option at the moment?
SM: Yeah, the only way you can help the acting player is by pitching in d8's. As the game advances, I may bring in a house rule where there's another option, but I'd like to stick with that for the flashbacks.
P: I promise I won't drop you.
K: That would be a quick game.
SM: "Next, tell the other players what's dangerous about your move, you may grab one or two d6 danger dice and add them to your pool." So, you're trying to get a certain number of hits on your target. Threats take six hits but it's only three for rescues. A hit is four or above on any die. Ones, twos and threes count as danger, except on bonus dice where they have no effect. If you get six danger in a single roll, you're taken out. Fewer than six, you suffer penalties or other consequences. Your dice pool is pretty small at the moment, and we can estimate that these dice will probably hit while this one will probably miss, so you probably won't succeed in rescuing her. You probably won't get three hits. So, is there danger to you? Do you think that you're risking yourself in some way while you're grabbing her, are you risking falling off?
P: Yeah, yeah!
SM: How much of a risk, is it worth one or two to you?
P: I think it's just one.
SM: OK, now each of us can add a d6 by contributing another danger, to a maximum of 5d6. And you can veto at any time if that's as much as you're willing to risk.
P: Right, I could probably handle a little more danger.
SA: I think it's dangerous because you're exposing us all to the Stygian Marauders who previously had not paid very much attention to you.
K: I think it's dangerous because it's incredibly windy out what with all the high buildings and wind tunnels.
P: I'm happy with that.
SM: OK, go ahead and roll those... here is what happened when you tried to catch her.
(P rolls)
SM: Set aside the ones, twos and threes... you only got one of them, excellent. Now go ahead and narrate what happened based on which dice hit and which one missed... it looks like only a small part of the danger that you were risking actually came about. You caught her, and in fact you got more than you needed, so you learned something about the Threat in the process of rescuing her. Let's see, is it the Marauders or the Mind Control that is the Threat here?
K: The Marauders are using the Mind Control.
SM: Which one do you want to say that you learn something about? I'll leave it up to you.
P: Oh, I get to say what I learned about it.
SM: Yeah, you're going to be able to apply those extra two hits to one of these Threats, and that can represent that you actually did something to push them back, or maybe you just learned something about them.
P: I feel like I should be hitting the Mind Control... I'm imagining something like, you know, the mind controlled person was mindlessly like, "oh... I have to push something out of the window..." and then I caught you and the person is still there... Um...
SM: Maybe, does another one come up behind you?
P: Sure!
SM: Maybe there is more than one mind controlled person here.
P: Somebody dropped a bucket of water on us or something... I'm trying to think of where I'm going with this, some way of recognizing that it's not just a coincidence, these people are taking deliberate action but they're not aware of it.
SM: This could represent our awareness of the Mind Control, which is definitely helpful in trying to stop it.
P: Right... and then there's a third person who sort of snaps out of it... they're sort of like, "oh..." Because it's unstable, so the third person is saying, "oh, I'm sorry, I don't know what I was doing!" But very much an obvious shift from glazed eyes to awareness, and that's how we can see that it's just not right.
SM: Cool. And you got one danger, so if you flip the rulesheet over, you'll see the Danger Results Chart which we'll be consulting every turn. One danger means you took one threat die. That's a d4 which you must roll next time on your next action. 75% of the time, that's going to be another danger for you. So let's name that something, go ahead and write down maybe a word or two to tell us what that represents. It could be just Exhaustion, it could be maybe you're Bruised and Battered from what just happened, it can be anything that makes it more likely that you will take on additional danger next time.
P: Could the Stygian Marauders see out of the eyes of their...
K: They could, yeah.
SM: So maybe Targeted? Very good. OK, so that's what happened in that scene.
P: Can we take a quick break?

Flashback 2: Lenora rescues Magda

SM: In another scene, Lenora Wellesley rescued Magda Shrike. Or maybe you led the rescue, since everyone could potentially be there helping out. Magda was in a sticky situation, hopefully somehow related to one of these Threats.
K: I feel like the way in which I could save you would be in a situation where your particular conflict resolution style of... hitting things? I'm going to guess hitting things...
SM: Hitting things happens a lot.
K: Yeah, hitting things. It isn't going to help.
SA: Yeah, I'm thinking the specific problem is with me being new to the world.
K: Yeah, OK.
SA: I was thinking specifically that being new to the world and being particularly attuned to the mystic forces, I would at least initially have been strongly influenced by the Lunar Mystery. I would possibly have gone crazy and roved off into the streets of New York to do who knows what damage... The Lunar Mystery involves the flavor of this new world which I'm as yet unused to.
P: "You have only one moon?!"
SM: Oh right, is our one giant moon totally crazy to you? You've never seen that before?
SA: Yeah, that's very rare for planets. And tides and everything.
SM: That's great.
K: We have to come talk you down.
SA: Yeah, I think I'm obsessed with waves.
K: You're at the pier.
SA: Yeah, I'm down at the pier and I think the police have been called, because I've already decked a couple of people for minor affronts.
K: Have you just wandered into the ocean like waist deep, and it's getting dark and the lifeguards are calling you to come out and you beat a couple of them up when they tried to drag you out...
SA: Yeah, and now the police have been called.
SM: We have to rescue you from incarceration.
K: Yes, we show up and try to talk you down before the police get here.
SM: Are you wading out into the water, or calling to her on the pier?
K: I will wade out a little bit, but I can tell that I don't want to get near her.
SA: And punched.
K: Yes, and I'm trying to call and talk her down probably while you guys are trying to sneak up behind her.
SA: Yeah, I think the waves are like, I'm being pulled around by mystic forces!
P: Are you a punching commando, or do you actually have weapons of some kind?
SA: I think I'm used to making do with whatever I find in the planes, because weapons don't translate very well. And most of my commando-ness is within the mystic sphere.
SM: Is there just a small range of materials that can travel with you?
SA: Yeah, I think it's mostly plant matter, very basic plant and animal matter. I think my specialty is that I am an Ethnobotany Shaman, I call upon the mystic powers of whatever random people from other planes think that their plants can do, which is potentially anything.
SM: Yeah, I like it, so choose two Abilities, one from the left, one from the right, that best represent what you've described.
K: I'm going to say Heart and Cunning, so that is three.
SM: OK, let's see, I kinda want to be there.
K: I think it's best for us to all be there.
SM: I'm going to pitch in a d8 and say that I'm Right Behind You and I'm trying to lead you to shore...
K: You swam around behind her.
SM: Right. I have a calming voice, plus I'm psychic so I have a good feel for what to say to calm you down.
SM: Anybody else? You do need to get three hits, and it doesn't look like you're going to get them. So, is it dangerous to you? Is it possible you could drown, or get too close to the punch zone?
K: It is getting dark and cold, and it is the ocean, and the police are coming, so I think any of those may add some potential danger.
P: Crazy people in the water do have a habit of drowning other people.
K: She could definitely drown me very easily.
SM: You can take one or two for that, it's up to you how dangerous it is.
SA: And I think the police have a low enough opinion of you that they'd just as soon lock up two crazy people as one.
K: Yeah, and they would throw us in the drunk tank and run our records. I think that's more complicated for you than for me, they'll have trouble trying to find your records.
SM: That looks like it might get three hits.
K: (rolls) There it is.
SM: And here we see the reason that bonus dice are so nice, they never count as danger. One danger and four hits, go ahead and narrate how it all happened based on those results. It looks like your innate Abilities mostly worked, two-thirds anyway, and the danger that you risked ended up helping you. Tell us about that.
K: I think I'm able to talk to you for a while, and we’re trying to calm you down... Are you kind of losing a little bit of that sense of like, "What is it with you humans and your world?"
SA: That is definitely part of what's going on.
K: I think Lenora is talking to you and Billy is suddenly behind you and very calming and soothing, and you can see that Lenora has gotten very cold in the water. And that touches you, because you realize this sucks for her, she's really trying to talk you down and you can see that her frail human body is suffering because she is trying to connect to you.
SA: I'm also human, you know. Just much less frail.
SM: The danger of the cops knowing you actually worked in your favor here, so maybe they looked at the situation, "Aw, let's get out of here, whatever, another Lenora case."
K: (laughs)
SM: They all know about Lenora back at the station. Oh man, maybe when a cop sees something weird and tells his buddies, they're all just, "Eh, what a Lenora!"
SA: Bloody Torchwood.
SM: And you took one danger, so 1d4. Go ahead and name it, just a word or two on that post-it note that represents what it represents, maybe hypothermia?
SA: Pneumonia?
K: Hypothermia, yes.
SM: And four hits, so you got one extra that you can apply to, what was it? The Mystery? So that will stay there for the next person who attacks it. What does that represent, what was gleaned about the situation?
SA: Did we even know that there was a Lunar Mystery at all before? Because I’m going on about... I’m very fixated on it.
P: "One giant moon!"
K: And that drew our attention to it. Exactly, if this is upsetting her so much, maybe we need to look into it.
P: "Nobody else has a moon like that!"

Flashback 3: Magda rescues Billy

SM: OK, and in another scene, Magda saved Billy. How did that happen?
SA: This seems more like a Psionic Vortex sort of problem.
SM: Yeah!
SA: I think you were all jumping in two-fisted like, "I am going to fix this Vortex!" And you jumped in without fully realizing what had been claiming everyone else who had been going in to try to fix it. You were jumped by the Etheric Monstrosity and about to have your psyche torn to shreds.
SM: Wow. OK, so I was investigating the Vortex, maybe my contact with your mind brought it to my attention. And maybe at that point it was still small enough and confined to a few square blocks, and maybe it was only intermittent. And I investigated that signal and then got caught up in it, great. So how did you rescue me?
SA: I think attacking things in the psychic realm is sort of what I do. I think that I was camping out in your apartment since I don't have anywhere else to go. People on the street don't like me, I don't do very well outside... So, how do you go psychic? Do you prepare something, what is your body doing while you are traveling in the ethereal realms?
SM: Let's see, it's the 50's... I like those earlier portrayals of psychic power where it was kind of subtle, there was no attempt to explain it scientifically. It’s just a feeling, it's an attunement. I think he sort of spaces out, he goes into a mild trance and wanders the streets, maybe hallucinates things. And maybe when he gets into that state, that's when the wind starts to buffet him. And he follows that feeling into the center of the Vortex, that's how he can find it.
SA: OK, so you are physically walking the streets into the block where the Vortex is.
SM: Yeah, it's not visual, it's tactile but only to psychics.
P: Billy’s gone sleepwalking again, that's what the people say.
SA: And I think I've only met a handful of people in this world, so there are some resonant wossnames.
P: Frequencies?
SA: Bonds connecting us... And I'm getting a lot of horrible feedback along one of those, and I immediately know that Billy is in danger. And I don't go out into the streets after you, I sit down crosslegged and I focus and I enter the etheric realm and travel to where your mind is trapped, cornered by the Etheric Monstrosity which is systematically shredding away the layers of your resistance.
SM: I like it. OK, which Abilities did you use to go up against the Monstrosity?
SA: I think I’m using Weird and Battle which are coincidentally its Strengths.
SM: Special Abilities?
SA: I am basically using my Multi-Planar Adventurer thing, but I'm not going to tap it just now.
SM: Is anyone else there?
P: I'm walking the Ghost Trail, something about the psychic disturbance draws me to seek out the threat that I can feel, and that leads me upon the scene and I help you in the battle.
SA: What's the Ghost Trail like?
P: That's a damn good question that I didn't want you to ask.
SM: Maybe we haven't seen it visually represented yet? You keep referring to it, and the viewers are getting excited to see what it looks like.
P: Yeah, let's ignore it for now. I just have to think a little bit about it.
SM: If we like the intermittent Vortex idea, maybe you were walking the Trail somewhere at that time, and it suddenly appeared and you feel this huge psychic disturbance that draws you there?
P: Right.
K: Yeah.
P: I guess, I think along the lines of what you were saying, walking the Ghost Trail is a similar thing, it's just maybe a different word for it. So like the closet door blows open in my place but there's no closet there and I walk into it but I don't physically leave...
SA: I was kind of thinking that the Ghost Trail might be a ley-line-ish sort of thing, where you're walking it and you're... is it a physical point-to-point thing?
P: Yeah yeah, let's go that way. I can skip physical distances, but only in set paths, I can't just go anywhere I want to in Manhattan.
SA: You can definitely get to the Psionic Vortex.
P: Yeah, that much power is definitely a destination, yeah.
SM: Maybe you appear at the intersection of ley lines and can choose your direction from there, but you have to physically manifest there briefly.
P: Right.
SM: I like the idea that there's potentially a connection there, you have the potential to become a plane walker.
SA: Yeah, it's a similar force at play. If you could just detach yourself from that physical anchor.
SM: Right, maybe there are geo-physical ley lines and there are also metaphysical ley lines that break through from point to point in the different worlds.
SA: Sure.
P: So here's a d8 for that.
SM: Still not going to get three hits with those dice... So, is this any danger to you?
SA: Yeah, absolutely it's a danger to me, there's a big scary bad thing that is, well...
P: Big and scary and bad?
SA: It's a big scary monster, they aren't very common. I probably have not even dealt with one of these before, I've heard about them but, yeah, normally, things that exist purely in the etheric realm are really rare, it's not a good place to be for very long.
SM: So this is very unusual.
SA: This confirms my sense of how messed up your world is, that it's allowed one of these things to be created.
K: Sure, we allowed it, sure.
SM: OK, I'm going to bring in the fact that I'm Attuned to the Ether. The Monstrosity stopped him and went to devour him just like everybody else, but there was something strange about Billy Blavatsky, something strange about his blood.
K: Hm.
SM: Maybe something the Monstrosity recognized? Or maybe something else, we'll leave it half-defined for now. But as a result, the Monstrosity hesitates.
P: If you're Attuned to the Ether, maybe you're harder to distinguish from the ether?
K: Yeah!
SM: Oh, OK!
P: You're background, you blend in with the fog.
SM: Interesting. I just appear to it as another one of it.
P: Yeah.
SM: I appear like an Etheric...
P: Yeah, the Monstrosity knows something is there but it's indistinct...
SM: Maybe there's some sort of etheric quality to my blood. And that's why Madame Blavatsky was an Ancient Master or whatever.
P: Maybe you're a baby Etheric Monstrosity.
(SA rolls)
SM: Wow, OK, let's hear about how everything worked out for you and all the danger that you risked was turned to your advantage. Although that Special Ability didn't help you, so we can hear a little about that too.
P: The Ghost Walking didn't help, I came stumbling in after it was over, "Ah HA! ... Oh."
SA: I think that when it saw me, the fact that I was physically within the etheric realm made me a very obvious target and much more clearly distinguished and so it came right for me. But I'm used to fighting in this realm, and that's not something that most of its victims do. It's not actually fought very many things. It prefers to ambush, it's used to plucking defenseless minds out and savaging them, and I've been trained to hunt and fight things in the etheric realm as a Mystic Commando. So it was a great big thing coming right for me and I got to just wail on it. It presented a much easier target than it should have. It didn't see me coming, it'll be wiser next time.
SM: What weapon did you use?
SA: Um, I think that being stuck in your apartment without many plants to draw on, let's see... I think I grabbed a bowl of geraniums, which in the etheric realm became this vast intertangled stuff, which sort of grew out and webbed it and throttled it and thrashed it about before it was able to escape, much shredded by a wall of thorns. It makes sense in the etheric realm, I swear! It's very difficult to explain my job.
SM: And maybe it escaped just as the Vortex died down again and vanished... So, five hits, and these two extras represent what happened to the Monstrosity just now.

Flashback 4: Billy rescues Theo

SM: So, Theo, what did you get yourself tangled up in? Let's see, we met Magda Shrike at the pier, Magda saved me from the monster, you found about the Vortex while walking the Ghost Trail and tried to help. Should we keep going from there? Theo appears as the Monstrosity retreats back into the unstable Vortex, but the turbulence is still buffeting me around, or maybe both of us?
P: And if I'm getting buffeted around, I could lose the Ghost Trail. And if I lose the Trail...
K: (gasps)
SM: Magda is there, triumphant, maybe holding Billy, who's still in a bit of a trance state. And Theo is there on the Ghost Trail that's being pulled along with the Vortex, wherever it's going. And I see this, I snap out of it and I reach out a hand, I run and try to grab you before you're pulled away. So I think that's Action and Weird, is that a weird action, pulling you out of a psychic vortex? So that's 3d10. I've used two of my bonus dice already, so I'm going to say it's dangerous to me because it's trying to pull me along too.
K: Could we be helping, doing this sort of human chain?
SA: Absolutely! I'm a Multi-Planar Adventurer, this is like rescuing a kid from a swimming pool.
SM: OK, there's those, are we good? Do we want to add any more, are there any more dangers?
P: The Stygian Marauders might know what's going on now, with all these people running around.
SM: Right, we're presenting a target-rich environment here for them if they suddenly want to emerge and ruin us all.
P: OK, this is it!
SM: "Theo!" (rolls) Wow, we're rolling really well. That's one danger and six hits, so it works! That one danger will cause me a little difficulty and we learn a little bit about the Vortex, we learned how to resist it.
P: Together!
SM: Yes! It takes togetherness!
K: Friendship!
SA: Mostly it was the power of grabbing.
K: I saved you with the power of friendship. You don't have to admit it but I know it's true.
SM: I get a d4 and I think I'm gonna call it... I think... Windblown? He's Psychically Windblown? No, that's ridiculous, how about he's just Exhausted.
P: Well, that look was very popular in the 50's.
SM: It's true... maybe he has a psychic DA in the back, OK, I'm keeping Windblown.

End of Round, Threats vs. Freedom

SM: At the end of each round, all of the remaining Threats get to attack Freedom. Everybody who still has a Threat, which is still everybody, roll a d6 and try your hardest not to get a one, two or three. OK, the Monstrosity and the Lunar Mystery. (marking off 2 boxes) Boom, boom.
K: Crap.
SM: Yep. Freedom is one-third of the way gone. Go ahead and give us a sentence or two about how the Etheric Monstrosity and the Lunar Mystery somehow brought Freedom a little bit closer to the end.
SA: So, you're going through your lists of fellow paranormal people in the world, and you previously had a pretty big network of psychics and voyagers into the beyond...
K: Oh yeah!
SA: But slowly, one by one, they're being winnowed out. Madness, suicide by cop, death under mysterious circumstances, heart failure. To everyone else, there's no pattern, but you know...
K: It's an attack!
SA: Yeah, we see you adding up your columns and crossing out things and putting little skulls beside them.
K: (laughs) Marking them off with a red felt pen...
SA: And we zoom out and see there are very very few names left, these are the only people who can defend the earth. The others all claimed by the Etheric Monstrosity.
P: The four people sitting at this table?
K: Yeah, our names and some other nobodies.
SA: Eh, let's say it's just us!
K: OK.
SM: Yeah.
P: More and more, I'm convinced that the Lunar Mystery is: Why is there one giant moon? Is there a reason, and is it why the Stygian Marauders now have a foothold on Earth?
SM: Right, why are they here on this world in particular?
P: This is a really ancient conspiracy.


SM: There's one last house rule that I've used in the past, now that our characters have interacted a bit, let's put an index card or a post-it note in between everyone and jot down their relationship. And put a d8 on it, for whoever can justify throwing it in as a bonus die.
K: Sure!
SM: Is that fun? I like it, I was Smitten with the PC on my right last time. So maybe just a word or two that describes the relationship between us. Let's see, I think we seem to be comrades-in-arms, I don't know... we walk the same path, but I guess we all have that similarity.
K: I want to say something like, Lenora feels like we're sisters somehow and you don't like that at all.
SA: You're the sister I never wanted?
K: Yeah... no 'cause if we're, we're fellow women against the world! We're women defenders...
SA: (gently) That's... maybe that's the problem with your world?
K: And us ladies gotta stick together!
SA: (baffled) Why?
K: We're gal pals! We can have mimosas.
SA: I think I am going to end up relying on you as my support network even though I may...
K: Her Women's Lib stuff rubs you the wrong way because it seems so... you can't believe that we live in a world where this could be a problem.
SA: Yeah, pretty much.
P: And you blame it on the Moon, and she's like, "What are you talking about??"
K: Yeah.
SM: "Everything's the Moon with you, Magda!"
K: I think there's frustration that the two of us will never truly understand the other one.
SA: I think that is likely.
K: Yet Lenora keeps saying that the two of us are exactly the same!
SA: If we get drunk enough, it'll be fine!
K: Let me braid your hair!
SA: What?
K: Let's have a slumber party, it's supposed to be fun! I don't know, I never went when I was little because no one would invite me... (sad sigh) They said I was too weird.
P: Initially, I was thinking Theo has this cloistered monk background where he learned his ghost-fighting techniques, and you're the savvy, street smart sort of person, so I'm thinking maybe you're kind of...
K: I take you under my wing?
P: Yeah!
K: OK. I'll show you how to get a coffee.
P: Right.
K: You put a quarter in here and you lift this thing up and then you got a sandwich.
P: So, Modern Mentor?
K: Yeah, I like that.
SM: I don't have any ideas, I'm open to...
K: Can you... can we throw in a little bit of romance?
SM: Oh, interesting!
SA: We could...
P: I was just thinking about the Blavatsky Russian Greek Orthodox thing, there might be something there. The Blavatsky Theosophist Society. I think we have a scholarly connection?
SM: Yeah!
SA: Do you have long theological debates?
K: Oh man. I walk the other direction when they get going. When the Bobcat and the uzo start flowing, you just really want to back away and close the door.
Last edited by Seth on June 19th, 2015, 8:04 pm, edited 4 times in total.

Posts: 13
Joined: July 7th, 2011, 2:44 pm

Post by Seth » June 19th, 2015, 7:37 pm

Turn 1: The Lunar Mystery

SM: Alright, so the show starts, "Previously on...", and we saw the rescues, the catch on the fire escape, the situation on the pier, and the Monstrosity, and pulling Theo out of the Vortex just in time. We know Freedom is being lost, we know we'll have to defeat the Monstrosity to stop the Vortex, and the Mystery is disguising the true identity of the Marauders. Then it fades to black, "And now, the final episode of Danger Patrol!" So where are we at the beginning of the episode?
K: My headquarters! I mean, our apartment! I mean, our headquarters!
SM: OK, I see a big map of the city with pins in it...
K: So many pins, lots of strings.
SM: Lots of concentric circles radiating out from a certain building maybe?
P: "Doesn't the Moon look pretty tonight?"
SM: I've still got the Windblown d4, so I'm still kinda, I'm trying to get my hair under control. And there's psychic static electricity messing it up too. I’m trying these hair products but nothing helps.
SA: Some sort of pomade, maybe?
SM: I'm distracted, maybe there's a creepy feeling of static electricity on my skin that I just can't get off, I keep washing my hands and I can't get rid of it. Where's Theo?
P: Theo is contemplating, he's running through his rituals in preparation for dealing with the Threats, he's praying essentially.
SM: Did you clear Lenora's desk, are you sitting cross-legged on it?
K: Possibly.
P: Nah, do you have a closet?
K: Yeah, a small one. It's messy.
P: Well, it isn't anymore because I moved everything out to set up a little prayer booth to sit in.
K: "Those clothes are, um, just storage because I ran out of room in my other place. I don't wear those... clothes..."
P: It's mostly a pile of shoes, I just need somewhere to sit.
SM: The niceties are lost on Theo.
K: Lenora has a messy bun of hair with like three pencils sticking out of it, she's been up for a long time, the sink is filled with coffee mugs and none of you guys drank any. She's on the case.
SM: Billy's standing at the window, kinda mesmerized by the Moon.
K: "Billy?"
SM: And he says, "Something's wrong...."
SA: "Get that..!" and I pull down the blinds. "Stop looking at that horrible thing!"
SM: "What..? What was I looking at..?"
K: "You said something was wrong, you were looking at the Moon and you said something was wrong, what's wrong Billy?"
SM: "The Moon..? The Moon!" OK, so, the way the game works, there is no initiative system, whoever feels like they have an idea for an action that they can take against one of these Threats, just call it out. So. "The Moon!" And I collapse onto the couch...
P: "Could you keep it down out there? It's hard to meditate."
SA: "So, explain this to me, you've always had this moon up there? It's not a new thing?"
K: "It's really rather old."
SA: (foreboding) "How old?"
K: "Let me go get an encyclopedia." And I look up Moon.
P: Of course, it's the 50's, so we don't know... we think the Moon is as old as the Earth.
SA: "You mean you've had this for the entire lifetime of your species??"
K: "Yes!"
SA: "Wow."
K: "It goes around our planet and it goes around the sun and there are other planets too..."
SA: "No wonder your brains taste so..."
K: "What?!"
SM: Uh...
SA: "Sorry! Bad turn of speech."
K: (gasps) "And you didn't even want to go to sushi. I can't believe you."
(Everyone laughs.)
SA: "No, what? What, what's strange to me... apart from the concept of eating fish raw which can lead to parasites... is how your society managed to avoid this so long. What has been taken away that's been protecting you from this awful thing? Or it might be a population density thing?"
SM: Oh! Hang on. Billy sees something, he has a vision. "Does it say anything about the Moon once being part of the Earth?"
SA: "It doesn't say anything about that in the encyclopedia..."
K: "No, no it doesn't, I know it doesn't say that. Really? No?"
SM: "I thought I saw... I can't be sure."
K: "If the Moon came from the Earth, there'd be a giant moon-sized bite taken out of it! Well, where is that? Unless it's..."
SM: The Pacific Ocean?
K: "The ocean!" (laughs) "Genius!"
P: "It's really hard to meditate in here with you people making all that noise."
K: "We're not making noise, we're solving a mystery!"
SA: "You know, you can skip all that meditation stuff if you just look at it right. Don't you?"
SM: "Atlantis! I must consult the theosophical texts!"
P: "What? Atlantis, that old myth?"
K: "Theo, we need you!"
SA: I flip through the pages, "I'm pretty sure Atlantis, wasn't it in the Atlantic? Isn't that... But maybe I'm being over-literal with your quaint texts?"
P: "Ah, but there's the modern theory that the continents have shifted over the millions and millions of years, so what was once the Atlantic could well be..."
SA: (with distaste) "Doubtless dragged about by your 'tides'... which would mean that... wait, so do you mean that your landforms move around all the time?"
P: "Very slowly."
SA: "But the immense force it would exert on your ley lines! Is there anyone here in charge of..?"
P: "They'd all be twisted out of... well, they'd certainly have changed and shifted over the years, yeah."
SM: "Theo, have you mapped the ley lines? Have you mapped the Ghost Path?"
P: "There are... I have not mapped it. There are said to be ancient charts of the ley lines..."
SM: "Look, here!" And I open a book! Bam! Over the past month, I've been bringing over some tomes from my family's private collection.
P: Right.
SM: What was left after the emigration. And there's a big full-color hand-painted mandala on one page.
K: Hm.
SM: And we see it as with new eyes. The lines appear to be a map.
SA: "Of course, if we moved these around, it's the form of the mother continent... this is a stabilizing pattern, but its form now is essentially a gate into the underworld."
SM: "The underworld? Is that one of those planes you've been talking about?"
SA: "Stygia. Are you not aware of the underworld? Oh, sorry, sorry, right. No. It's a land of..."
P: "It's just a myth, everyone knows that."
SA: "I've been there once, it wasn't fun. It's a land of trapped spirits, creatures too unpleasant to be allowed into the outer realms."
P: "We've got something like that here called Australia."
SA: "When spirits are too unruly and too unpleasant, they are herded in the general direction of Stygia and the ways of the multiverse realigned to prevent them from breaking out into unprotected realms. Clearly, something has been going on here that has been letting them out."
SM: "And look, here!" And I find another page with another mandala, which appeared to be just another religious decoration, but we compare them and it's been a hidden chart all this time...
SA: Mm hm.
SM: Maybe there are some religious connotations, maybe it's a piece of art and the title has "Stygia" in it, and it shows some sort of... they're not ley lines... in the same way that ley lines and the planar lines are kinda two aspects of the same thing, I think this mandala is colored slightly differently and it has a totally different geometrical shape and you recognize it as a map of the multiverse.
SA: Mm hm.
SM: And you see where Stygia is, and you get some kind of information from it regarding what's happened with the plane of Stygia.
P: OK, and maybe the lines don't matter per se, the lines exist because they're connecting the nodes.
SM: Mm hm.
P: As a Ghostwalker, I can enter through a node and come out another node. So when the nodes are in one particular configuration, you've got lines in certain directions, you've got the first mandala. And that would be like the unaltered Earth. But the single large moon causing that unusual force upon our Earth rearranging things, it's rearranging the nodes.
K: Hm.
P: So you get a different pattern of lines.
SM: Yeah.
P: The Stygian Gate Configuration.
SA: "No, this all makes sense, your plane, your world exists as a sort of knot holding in Stygia, you are a gate, if you are overrun by Stygia, the Stygians will be loose upon the multiverse, and then we'll all be in trouble."
K: "Do you think they might be trying to get in?"
SA: "Um... Yes..?" I say, trying very hard not to be patronizing...
SM: "They shattered the world to create this, to create our Earth? Jerks!"
K: "Right?"
SA: "Yes, if you set up a world with one moon, it will take a very very long time but eventually..."
K: "Eventually, everything would line up."
SM: "As it has now." Dun dun dun.
SA: "Yes, the Psionic Vortex is merely a minor symptom of the vastly greater problems we will soon face."
SM: OK, it sounds like we've established some things about the Lunar Mystery.
SA: Yes.
K: Mm hm.
SM: Who wants to take it on? Who's leading the charge?
SA: "In order to fully understand how, the structure of how this problem is set up, we must fully map the lines of power running through this Earth with greater detail than this crude religious text has approximated them at."
P: Ooh, that means I have a role to play in that since I can pass through the nodes and get us an accurate map.
SA: So we cross-reference.
P: And I just do the walking and then you do the actual mapping.
SA: I do the triangulation and the, yes.
P: OK.
SM: That's great.
SA: "Right, you must start here, in Queens. This is where all the nodes are interlinked to form the Psionic Vortex, this must be the navel of the Earth."
SM: Cool, so there's a map of the city and the ley lines, or is it the whole world?
SA: It's the whole world.
K: Mm hm.
SA: So, we are going to prize the Lunar Mystery by exploring the lines of power. How do we do this?
SM: Pick two Abilities.
P: And you're not supposed to use the two you've already used, ideally?
SM: Yeah, I'm disallowing it.
SA: I'm using Daring and Science.
SM: OK, so start with those three dice. And this d8 on the card which represents what was learned previously about it. Does anybody want to bring in bonus dice? I've only got two left...
P: Clearly, I have to give you a bonus die for Walking the Ghost Trail as something I'm doing to help.
SA: And clearly, this is a Multi-Planar Adventurer-y sort of thing.
K: I'm not sure how my Special Abilities would apply to this...
SM: I'm gonna, I just wrote in "Family Business", the Blavatsky family deals with this sort of thing, and the tome that I brought in, I'm going to give you a die for that.
P: And you can, likewise, make up a new Special Ability right now...
K: Oh I can?
SM: You can have an unlimited number of Special Abilities, as long as they're tied to your Style or your Role.
K: Well, I think that my very detailed maps on the wall helped a lot, I don't know what that would be.
P: Attention to Detail?
K: Sure!
P: "No no no, it's on Sixth, not Fifth!"
SA: How about danger, are there dangers? We are kinda transgressing the lines of the etheric realm here and there is a critter roaming around who's got my scent.
K: Hmm!
SA: We're definitely risking the Etheric Monstrosity in doing this.
SM: I like it.
SA: Anything else?
P: No, I think that's good.
(SA rolls)
K: Yeah!
SM: OK, it's strong in Daring which means any ones would have counted as double danger but you managed to avoid that. OK, six hits, you defeated it!
K: Yay!
SA: We understand the Lunar Mystery.
SM: Right.
K: Nice.
SM: One danger, so in some way one of your inherent Abilities caused you a little bit of consequence. A couple of the bonus dice didn't help, which were those? Maybe my Family Business, we had to redo the map, so it gave you an idea but the book didn't really help that much. OK, go ahead and narrate how that was defeated, the resolution of it. And Phil, if you have any final words you want to put in for the Lunar Mystery.
SA: I think I kinda want a speeded up version of multiple days of the two of us sitting in the middle of your floor with more and more coffee cups piling up around us as we... actually, I guess we're both physically travelling the realms, aren't we? So we sort of flicker back to the apartment and back... and it's interspersed with...
P: She's got all the coffee cups and the map.
K: Yeah.
SA: And then I reappear and consume more of the coffee, then we flash back to it.
P: Is coffee something that you have in your..?
SA: No, I'm very impressed with the power of this plant. I'm going to need some seeds for that.
SM: Now you've got to save this world.
SA: No, just some seeds.
SM: I like this subtle investigation, you're just appearing on street corners when no one's looking and then you're gone.
SA: Yeah, a great big montage of us appearing in different parts of the world.
P: We spent a lot of the episode budget on it...
SM: We all went on vacation to Europe under the pretense of getting on-location shots. So, is that it for the Lunar Mystery?
P: I think we solved the Mystery, but part of the resolution is that we've still got a giant moon and it's not going away. We can't permanently eradicate the problems that it's caused for our Earth, it's always going to be an influence.
SM: And it was Guarding the Marauders. Now that it's gone, the Stygians are exposed.
P: Because we figured out that the Moon has drawn the nodes into the Stygian Configuration.
K: And they'll be able to come in.
SA: Right, and we now know where that gate is and we can go, we can enter it if we want.
SM: Cool.
P: The gate is in Hell's Kitchen, of course.
SM: Nice. Yeah, maybe for generations, latent psychics have grown up suffering in overcrowded ghettos, resulting in high child mortality rates?
K: Hmm.
SM: Maybe that enters into it? I don't know. But Hell's Kitchen is a great place to set this.
P: I have no idea where that actually is.
SM: And one danger, so 1d4, is it maybe physical exhaustion from days of labor?
SA: Um, yeah, I think so.
SM: Your arthritis is acting up from drawing the map?
SA: I think I've drunk too much coffee without any time to get accustomed to it.
K: (laughs) Caffeine overdose?
SM: "You have bathrooms where you're from, right? It's right over here, just in case you need it."
SA: "Why don't you just go off into the woods?"
P: I'll bring the ficus into the bathroom so she'll feel at home.
SA: I'm really more fond of geraniums, they're more useful. The ficus is kind of an ass, full of itself.

Turn 2: The Stygian Marauders

SM: So, the map has been completed? We now have a clear map to, what is it?
P: The Stygian Gate.
SA: Now we have a great big patchy world map which takes up most of the room in your apartment now.
K: Right.
SA: Connected together with bits of string, and pencil lines and flags. It looks like a crazy person did it but to the two of us, it makes sense.
K: Mm hm.
P: Right. The cat won't go anywhere near it.
SA: No, it's creepy.
SM: Let's see, I'm still Windblown, even days later. So I'm still kinda edgy, but helping with the map, putting in pins and threads. "Well, that's it, it's complete! But what does it mean?"
SA: "Well, here's where the Stygian Gate is getting through and this is the structure which is..." And I explain the general drift of it. "Everything is drifting this way due to the lunar influence and will continue to tangle up more and more tightly in the Psionic Vortex until everyone with even the most marginal hint of psychic power will be under complete Stygian control at all times, at which point they'll take over the world."
SM: "So these lines all come together here in this neighborhood, what does that say, Hell's... Kitchen? It looks like they all intersect here, at this brownstone."
SA: And I'm like, "Yes, we should go and check that out," as I usher you out of the room rather hastily.
K: "Do you want us to..." SLAM. "Never mind, we'll stay here."
SA: I've been trying to get some time alone with you since I got here.
(Everyone laughs.)
SA: This one-bedroom apartment is not... Do you even have a bedroom? Or just the couch?
K: There's the couch.
SA: This studio apartment has not been conducive to me getting my mack on.
SM: "Uh huh, your, your mack, right. What's, uh..."
SA: That's, that was out of character.
SM: Oh, OK, I thought maybe that was multiversal punk slang.
SA: "So, uh, we're going to go check out this... brownstone? It's a building?"
SM: "Yeah, it's an apartment building. Looks like it's on 49th and East 7th."
SA: "What are the sexual customs on your world?"
SM: "The... which customs?"
SA: "You heard me."
K: Oh, if only she had told me! I could have coached her.
SM: "Geez. I guess... I don't know!"
SA: (laughs) Oh, perfect.
SM: (curious) "What are they? If it's a piece of the Stygian puzzle, we should find out!"
SA: I sort of look at you like, oh poor boy. "I... Absolutely. Yes. We really must, as soon as we've dealt with all this. And without Lenora hovering over my shoulder."
P: Cut to Lenora and Theo sitting in the apartment, not talking to each other. Because they don't really have anything to say to each other. Oh wait, we have this relationship card, I guess we do have something...
SM: Maybe you guys are working on your relationship over there while we're working on ours. What was it again?
P: Mentor of Modernity, she's supposed to be wising me up. Oh, so you're explaining to me what's going on with these guys.
K: Yeah. "They LIKE each... Well. Maybe they both don't know they like each other. But Magda is definitely into Billy."
P: "I guess they wouldn't be able to arrange a marriage because her parents must be somewhere else."
K: "No, I'm pretty sure that she's, um..."
P: "Because we have a matchmaker in my home village and they make sure that these things..."
K: "Yeah, no, they don't need that. I don't think Magda would even like the idea of it. So maybe don't even bring it up..."
SM: ... Cool, should we move on to the brownstone?
SA: Yes.
K: Yeah.
SM: OK, maybe while we were completing the map, the Vortex has become more and more irregular and unpredictable, it appears at strange intervals and causes problems and vanishes.
P: There are continuing weird traffic jams in that part of New York City, that part of Manhattan is like... it's not quite flashmobs yet, where literally hundreds of people show up and do something weird and leave, but it's getting to that point. People are gathering.
SM: I'm seeing a street at night, and I'm seeing a strange light in one of the windows on the top floor of one of the buildings and it's blowing my hair back.
P: A violet light?
K: Mm hm.
P: Violet is definitely not a conventional color for Earth lighting.
SM: Very good, it has a sense of deep ultra-something-or-other...
P: Right.
SM: So, I think we're looking up at it and I say, "Maybe that's it?" And then we notice that traffic on the street is stopping. And people are getting out of their cars.
SA: Yeah, I think we're at a complicated 5-way intersection and everything's stopping in a circle, at which we are strangely at the apex.
K: We should get inside.
SM: Are you with us, did we all go?
K: Yeah, I assume that we did, we caught up with you.
SM: "We should get off the streets..."
K: (scared) "Let's go!"
SM: And I'll go ahead and say, as the Unstable Mind Control DM, that people are getting out of their cars, they open the door and step out and stand frozen, looking at us. Someone wants to get a good look at us from multiple perspectives at once.
SA: "Ignore that, we're here for this."
K: "I think they are this."
P: "Who are 'they'?"
SA: "And what are they protecting? That's Stygian Mauve if ever I saw it."
SM: And again, the light flickers and Billy's hair blows back and he's almost knocked off his feet.
SA: Alright, I'm going to grab your shoulders for stability.
SM: Nice.
K: Mm hm. "OK, let's go!"
SM: OK, do we want to keep going? Up the stairs?
K: Yeah.
SA: Yeah, let's do it.
P: Or does the horde try and stop us? No? Alright.
SM: OK, let's proceed.
K: Hm.
SM: Um, yeah, maybe it's an abandoned tenement building, the tenants were long ago mind controlled to leave? Or no, maybe the doors are all shut and it's just silent. There's an unnatural silence in the building. It just seems like no one lives here.
K: Hm.
SM: But maybe they're all just being very very quiet. So we walk up the creaky stairs.
K: Mm hm.
P: I have an idea of what we see when we open the door at the top of the stairs, I just don't know... are we opening the door at the top?
K: Yeah, I mean do we have a plan for how we are going to fight this?
SA: With punches!
P: Yes.
K: You're going to punch the Vortex?
SA: I think we're after the Stygian Marauders... or is it the Vortex right now?
P: Ultimately, the Marauders.
K: OK.
P: So we go upstairs to see what's up there, to get to the light and I think when you open the door, it's like a Doctor Who effect tunneling off into the infinite, with the purple light shining down at the end of this dark tunnel effect. And there are no obvious walls but you still have that sense of a tunnel into the infinite.
SM: Yeah!
SA: "Wow, I thought they might have established a beachhead but this is... this tunnel leads direct into the Abyss."
K: "Oh... I... don't want to go. In there. Um, ever."
SA: "We're going to have to go through."
(Everyone laughs.)
K: "No! What! Why?"
SA: "In order to cut them off, to sabotage their attack at its source."
SM: It looks like we're pointing towards your Threat, so you can go ahead and establish facts and push back on our ideas regarding how to approach the Stygian Marauders. They could come out right now if you like.
K: OK, to make sure I'm on the same page, this is a hole that's been created that the Stygian Marauders might come through.
SM: Maybe? It sounds like there's a tunnel leading through space into the multiverse straight down into the underlayer.
K: So this is the source of the Psionic Vortex?
SM: Right... the path has been opened and the Vortex, maybe I'm standing... the tunnel, the door opens, it goes "creeeeeak..." and suddenly Billy's hit with a hurricane wind.
K: Yeah.
SM: Maybe that's where the Vortex is coming from, the wind is whipping up the psychic power of our world which then spirals out of control around the new steel skyscrapers of Manhattan...
K: Mm hm!
SM: And forms the Vortex that's been plaguing us. OK, so Billy's barely standing, and Magda's helping him out, "Thanks! Whoa, easy there!"
K: "But don't you think we should look at, like, what type of... is there a ritual or something? Are we going into their world on the other side??"
SA: "It's straightforward, I could lead you through."
K: "I mean, what's the best way to sever the mind control, should we do it here? If we go over there, then we're in an alien world filled with creatures that probably want to eat our brains."
SA: "Yeah, I really don't recommend Stygia as your first time in another dimension, but needs must."
SM: "If you say so, Magda. I trust you."
SA: "Good."
K: Alright, so we leap in?
SM: "Do we... do we leap in?"
SA: "I think we'd better hold hands."
SM: "Maybe we should go back and get some equipment. Maybe I should bring a gun." And then the tenants walk in.
K: (gasps)
SM: They've been slowly marching up the stairs and now they're entering the room and it's the only way in. We can go out through the window to our deaths, or... the tunnel.
K: And Lenora grabs at least two of you.
SM: Should we be forced into the tunnel? Maybe it makes more sense, that's kind of a brash action for us to take. Well, not you two, but for Lenora and me. Maybe you guys say, "Yeah sure, let's go in," and we're like, "No way, forget about AAAHHH!!!" And suddenly they're coming at us and clawing us.
P: Yeah.
SA: Alright.
SM: So we're battled back into the portal and find ourselves falling into an infinite tunnel.
K: Alright.
SA: OK, so we're flying through the tunnel and the three of you are all tumbling and I'm standing, like flying over the two of you with great wings extended made of coffee beans which are the last plant I had contact with.
SM: Wow.
K: Hm.
SM: I'm floating and buffeted by the winds that may or may not be affecting you guys... We're all tumbling through space and my hair is all crazy.
SA: What do we see on the other side?
SM: Are there any other details of the Stygian tunnel that we want to include? Maybe it changes from the sort of corridor that you would see in a brownstone with wood paneling, stretching away forever, but as it goes on, the wood paneling fades away into just sort of the idea of wood paneling? And everything becomes more abstract and mental until we get to the Stygian level, and then it looks like what? What does the tunnel change into?
K: I think it gets rocky, and the rocks are veined with a kind of purple gemstone maybe, or something, and they're silvery, there's a kind of weird ambient light and it's catching all these purple veins through the rock, and we find ourselves in a rock tunnel.
SM: OK, are we spat out of that tunnel?
K: Yeah.
SM: Into appropriate surroundings.
K: Right.
SA: "We can't linger here long, we must strike fast and decisively."
K: "How?"
SM: I look up at the night sky and count the moons.
K: "There's no time for that!"
SA: "See, that's normal!" I feel a lot more relaxed now, I disliked being in your universe.
SM: Relaxed, yes, hm. So are there maybe horrific creatures crying out in fear and hunger all around us?
SA: Well, there should be, but perhaps...
SM: It's unnaturally silent?
SA: Hm.
SM: Sorry, you're the Stygians, we should ask you.
K: I think as is typical with these kinds of things, we end up on a rocky hillside with a perfect view of the giant Stygian city gleaming and very futuristic and advanced but with this more sort of rocky (inaudible) around it. So we're not in the middle of where people could walk by and be like, oh hey, humans, eek! But they're advanced enough to get over here quickly if they needed to.
SM: And is it a scientific technology? Or like a psychic technology?
K: It's a little bit of both because those are their Strengths, Weird and Science.
SM: Right, you were saying before that they were scientifically using supernatural energy to control minds.
SA: "We must find someone who knows about their plan, like a general or a scientist. We need to execute a kidnapping."
K: "Of a Stygian. Kidnap them."
SA: "Yes."
K: "And make them close the Vortex."
SA: Hm.
K: Close the... tunnel?
SM: Hm, we came through the tunnel and the wind is blasting through it... they're creating the Vortex by sending psychic wind through the tunnel?
K: Mm hm.
SM: So, are we spat out of the tunnel some distance from the tunnel?
K: Yeah.
SM: Where they have set up their technology?
K: Mm hm.
SM: And they are... channeling psychic wind? Somehow? They've set up a turbine?
K: A turbine, yes. That's exactly what they have.
(Everyone laughs.)
P: I'm seeing a giant obsidian arch with blades spinning, voom voom voom.
SM: Wow.
K: Hm.
SM: It's a psychoactive mineral?
P: Yeah.
SM: Maybe this place is full of that weird purple stone and I'm getting weird signals from the ground. It's weirding me out. OK, so we're spat out and we get a view of what's going on, we see the city... maybe, is there a beachhead, is there an armada of some kind? Are they getting ready?
SA: I think they've been planning to come through and enter our world when the time was right.
K: Mm hm.
SA: So I think there has to be a camp or a beachhead or something, some kind of staging area up there.
K: Right.
SA: Where their unholy legions are lining up.
P: Are there lots of them or just a few?
K: There's only a few of them. They're relying on getting to Earth and then using us as their mind controlled army.
SA: By a few, you mean five, ten, twenty?
K: Um, like thirty.
SM: So maybe these were the strongest... I'm imagining this partly as a prison? You were saying it's trapped souls, right?
SA: Yeah, like a whole mix of nasty stuff from across the multiverse gets herded here.
SM: So maybe many of them are disincarnated, they're still spirits? Maybe these thirty were the strongest, they seized power and were able to take strength from the psychoactive minerals and actually craft it into this tricky escape plan.
K: Yes.
SM: Maybe this is like a prison break.
K: Yes! It is.
SM: "We've gotta stop them!" "Shhh!"
K: "It looks like the best thing to do would be to break that giant fan for starters! Then we need to destroy this tunnel."
SM: "Easy, right? What do we do, Magda?"
SA: "I... I've ever seen anything of this kind. This is very very weird stuff."
K: "OK, so there's a cave here, right? There's this small band of Marauders planning to go in. They would have weapons. One of those weapons might be an explosive." Magda would know what that looks like because she's very experienced.
SM: Maybe they had to do some blasting?
K: Of the rock, yeah, to make the fan! "So we find some of that. And blow it up?"
SA: "Alright." So, let's do some sneaking and infiltrating... Who's best suited for that?
P: The Psychic Agent.
SM: Yeah? OK!
K: Yeah.
SM: "... Me??"
SA: "Yeah, you'll have to create a shell around yourself to manifest as a Stygian, or you'll be detected at once."
SM: "A shell? How? Show me!" And I reach into your mind.
K: Ha!
SM: And see how.
SA: Mind meld!
SM: Yeah, mind meld, and you show me. And we look into each others' eyes, and we think there's a spark of something there but, well, there’s no time. And I used Weird and Action before, so let's see, I have to sneak in there...
P: Weird and Science would work. Or maybe Heart.
SM: I'm trying to trick them into thinking I'm a Stygian, so I'm going with Weird and Cunning, that's 4d10... oh and 1d4, that Windblown hair is going to give me away. Do these things even have hair?
K: I'm going to tag my Attention to Detail for recognizing that they would totally have explosives because the obsidian fan was (inaudible) and carved out of the rock.
SA: And when we were staring into one another's eyes, deeply, we absolutely have to tap Romance.
K: Yeah! So, you need six...
SM: If I don't get six, those hits stay on there as bonus dice, but it would be nice if we could take them out as quickly as possible so that they get fewer attacks. Plus we only have about forty minutes left, I'm afraid.
SA: This is dangerous because you're on another world, trying to change your form.
SM: Yeah, I've never done anything like this before.
SA: You could turn into anything and get stuck that way.
K: (gasps)
SM: Mm, OK... Oh hey, is the Unstable Mind Control in this situation, would you say?
K: No.
SM: No, so the Horde bonus doesn't apply.
K: No, that's Earthside.
SM: Yeah.
P: (adding a d6) But the Stygians are masters of psychic power...
SM: Oh, of course! How dare I think that I can match their powers and trick them? They've been doing this for eons.
K: Yeah, they're totally in it for the long game here, with this whole moon thing. It's been a long plan.
SM: I think I need another die...
K: It's also dangerous to pretend to be another creature. Not only could you get stuck that way, you might start thinking that way.
SA: You could betray us all. It would be very easy for you to give us all away, then we'd be exposed, we're on their turf. Without the element of surprise, we're done for.
SM: I'll put in one more d6, I have to find the explosives, plant them, trigger them and get away before I die in the actual explosion.
SA: Oh yeah, you're working with high explosives, those tend to be inherently dangerous.
SM: (shaking the dice) "Hello, my fellow Stygians! Doesn't the Moon look lovely tonight? D'oh!"
SA: "The appointed hour approaches, my dark brethren!"
SM: "Indeed it does! Carry on!" (nonchalant whistling)
SA: "Soon we shall feast upon the essences of lesser beings!"
K: Speaking of which, hey, where are the explosives?
SM: (rolls) Oh, I didn't even check to see if I'm hitting their Weakness or not.
K: Its Weakness is Power and Action, its Strength is Weird and Science.
SM: I used Weird, so that counts double, so four Danger. But I take it out, seven hits! That's overkill so I get this d12 and I get to name it something.
P: That d4 came up friendly.
SM: It did! Windblown... OK, so I'll have to narrate that somehow.
P: "Brother, what have you done with your tentacles? It looks so fetching!"
(Everyone laughs.)
SM: "Ooh, I should go try that!" and the guard goes off to coif his... hair?
K: His weird hair.
P: "Four danger: player gets three Threat dice."
SM: Well, I'm no longer Windblown, and I'll figure out what happened there in a moment. So, seven hits, it looks like my Weird Cunning paid off except for this d10 here, so I wasn't as Cunning as I thought, and it resulted in additional Danger. Plus they're wise to Weirdness, so my psychic power got me past them and right into their midst, but then they...
P: "Wait, how many of us were there again?"
SM: Right, and this d6, maybe it turned into a physical brawl?
K: Yeah, one guard had wandered off to see if he could get his tentacles to look like yours, how they kinda moved in the breeze a little bit, and another one comes up and is asking him like, "What are you doing?" "Oh, I just wanted to get my tentacle style to match... hey, who is that guy anyway?" So they come lumbering back.
SM: Ah, and they catch me in the act!
K: Yes, they catch you in the act...
SM: I've set the detonator...
K: Mm hm.
SM: And I run for it, and they see what I'm doing and they try to stop me.
K: Mm hm, yeah, you're still able to detonate the device, but you weren't able to perhaps get quite as far away from it as would have been safe. So, in addition to being tackled by at least two Stygians, there's a hail of obsidian rubble falling down as the giant fan is destroyed.
SM: Ooh, OK, so the tunnel is collapsing.
K: Yes.
SM: And we have to act fast.
K: We need to get back through the tunnel and it's collapsing behind us.
SM: Right, the fan cracks, and then maybe some Stygians are behind us, looking up, "AAIIEEE!!!" and the fan crashes down on them.
K: Yes.
SM: They're hoisted by their own psychic turbine.
K: Yeah.
SM: And we manage to dart among the rocks and get through, yes?
K: Yeah, because the fan is basically right by the mouth of the tunnel and collapsing the tunnel.
SA: So we sweep down the tunnel, I'm enclosing all of you in my coffee bean wings. As the tunnel crashes and collapses just on our heels, and finally we pile out of the brownstone, and fall onto the wooden floors as the whole building just sort of settles slightly.
K: And we realize that there are the slumped bodies of the previously mind controlled people there, that link having been severed.
SM: Well... maybe that's what we expected, but unfortunately the Unstable Mind Control is still on the table, it hasn't been defeated.
K: Oh right.
P: Maybe there's still a Stygian presence somehow?
K: Maybe there's one still here!
SM: Oh, I like that, one of them escaped.
K: And followed through behind us.
SM: So maybe the tunnel collapsed... there's a shot of us being carried away, I'm nearly dead from the beating I took and the collapsing rocks... maybe the explosion hit me too so I'm Beaten, Battered and Burned, 3d4... and we sweep along and the multiversal tunnel is collapsing behind us in this very strange fractal eye-bending way...
K: Mm hm.
SM: And we fall out of the tunnel into the top floor apartment, and maybe there's wind and obsidian rock billowing out...
K: And it's still filled with tenants trying to kill us!
SM: And maybe the wind, the explosion causes the Vortex to whip up again...
K: Yeah.
SM: ... and it's totally out of control now, at least when there was a fan, it was like there was a steady current...
K: Mm hm.
SM: But now it's gone completely crazy.
K: Yeah, even if we killed the last Stygian, the Vortex could still be causing psychic trouble for people. Like people could now just be going mad.
P: Now it's even more Unstable.
K: Right.
SM: Do we want to ditch the idea of the survivor then? And say that this is just the fallout of the Vortex?
K: Yeah! Let's say...
SM: ... Or, we could have him just about to emerge from the tunnel, but then we kick him back in just as the whole thing collapses?
K: Yeah yeah.
SM: Who wants to do that?
K: I think that's you.
SM: Oh, OK, right, "cough cough" and I turn and see him, "No!" and I tackle him, I body-check him back into the abyss and almost get pulled through myself but somebody grabs me and pulls me away from non-existence.
SA: Clearly me.
SM: Of course.
K: Clearly, but it was very...
SM: You catch me and I fall into a faint in your arms.
K: But it was very impressive.
SA: "It's OK, I'll get him home."
K: "But who's gonna get us away from all these crazy people?!"
SM: The tunnel's collapsing, how about now the whole building starts collapsing?
K: Yes!
SM: It starts imploding, Poltergeist-style.
K: Yep.
SM: The wind was blasting out, and then maybe it starts rushing back in and there's an implosion, and everything starts collapsing inward.
K: And we need to escape.
SA: Also, it's like 8:00, do you want to take a break for a little bit? Is this technically when the shift ends?
K: 8:30.
P: We've got about half an hour.
SM: We can also take it to what I call the Sudden Death round, where we stop narrating quite so much and just work it out mechanically as a sort of epilogue, and just say what happened at the end of the episode.
K: I feel like we should move to that soon, so that we finish in time.
SM: Right.

Turn 3: Theo vs. the Etheric Monstrosity

SM: OK, we solved the Lunar Mystery by mapping the distorted ley lines, we used the map to find the tunnel to Stygia and stopped the Marauders, and now we're running down the stairway out onto street level as the brownstone is collapsing, falling apart and falling into the sky, right?
K: Mm hm.
SM: Into this point of violet light...
K: Let's call it Stygian Mauve.
SM: It looks like there's still a Monstrosity to be defeated, which has Regenerated since last time, so these d8's go away, it's recovered from the geranium attack... And the Vortex is still roaring out of control.
SA: But it's protected by the Monstrosity...
P: And I still have the Blade of the Ancients, so that's waiting to be used.
SM: Nice.
K: You should go after that Monstrosity.
P: That's what I'm thinking.
SM: So we stumble into the street.
K: Mm hm.
SM: Let's get straight to the Monstrosity manifesting. What does it look like? We walk out and maybe for the first time, the Vortex is visible.
K: Mm hm.
SA: Yeah, we are actually within the Vortex now, it's stabilized to the point where the veil between the waking world and the ethereal world is completely gone, so the entire city of New York is now within the Ethereal.
K: (gasps) That's bad.
SA: And coming down the street towards us, filling the entire street, is a swirling thing that sort of distorts the very nature of matter as it moves through the world. With unblinking eyes studded across its entire form.
SM: And it's coming at us, it's ready to feed.
SA: Yes.
SM: It is ready to consume the entire world, starting with us.
SA: We have kind of made a lot of mess and drawn a lot of attention to ourselves.
SM: Mm hm.
SA: In addition to being the only surviving psychics in the world, which are kind of its food.
P: You're not psychic, are you?
K: Nope.
SA: You're an honorary psychic.
K: Thank you! Honorary Psychic!
SM: Nice. We'll get you a badge.
SA: It's OK, it means it will eat you last.
K: I always know who's calling when the phone rings! It's my mom, every time, she's the only one who calls me. My life's a little sad.
SM: It's never occurred to you that it's been a psychic flash every time.
K: And it never will unless someone else tries to call... That would be a really funny character to explore.
SM: I had a thought about the Etheric Monstrosity, is it possible that there's a hint that the Stygians somehow sent it here as a tactical move?
SA: It may very well have been an artificial creation.
SM: Cool. OK, so, Blade of the Ancients?
P: Yes! With Battle, definitely. And of course, it's strong at Weird and Battle. Power and Battle would be the strongest but I almost feel like I need to represent the Heart. I think it's Heart and Battle. That's three dice.
SA: I think I'm sapped from having to guide you back-and-forth through the vast tunnel between the worlds. I did shepherd three people, which is kind of a big deal. And which is why I'm not leaping into battle to save you.
SM: I've got one bonus die left.
P: Well, I have the Blade of the Ancients, I'll mark that off. I'm definitely Targeted by it, so that d4 goes in.
SM: And is it a dangerous battle?
P: It's super dangerous.
SM: Is it the most dangerous battle of your life?
P: Uhh... yes.
SM: This is the one that's gonna make you. This is the battle that's gonna get you an honored membership in the Theosophy Society.
P: Right. I have to call on all my training and background in Theosophy as part of it.
K: Cool.
P: Can you give me two danger?
SA: I'm gonna throw one in and say that being deep in the Psionic Vortex means that the ley lines are totally disrupted. They're just fluttering all around you so it's kind of like being on the deck of a pitching ship.
P: Right.
SA: Your footing is very unstable.
K: Yes.
P: I can't walk the Ghost Trail, the Ghost Trail is...
SA: You're having to dodge the Ghost Trails as they're sort of like flying past you.
P: Right.
SM: And if the ley lines are pitching and heaving, utilizing them may let you win against the Monstrosity but you may find yourself lost somewhere.
P: Well, yeah, I might get thrown into the Psionic Vortex.
K: Yeah!
SM: Oh, OK! I meant on Earth, but yeah, that works too.
P: Alright... (rolls)
All: Oooh...
SA: Three ones...
SM: Wow.
K: This is not good.
SM: The Monstrosity! It cannot be defeated!
P: Five hits...
K: Aw, bummer!
SM: So, based on the dice that hit and missed... these d10's failed, so regardless of your Power and Battle...
P: Well, it was strong in Battle.
SM: Right, so that's 9, 10, 11 danger and you're Taken Out, which just means you need to be rescued. The "Rescue Theo" card goes on the table.
P: I'm totally thrown into the Psionic Vortex.
SM: Yeah!
K: Crap. What happens with these?
SM: So, five hits, damn. 5d8 are placed on the Monstrosity. It was almost destroyed. Go ahead and give a quick... [checking time] Or I guess we could just leave it at that, and move on?
K: Mm hm.
SM: So, there was a horrific battle, we were all cheering you on, "Yes! This is it, this is... oh no!"
K: "No!"
SM: You slashed and hacked and nearly destroyed it? It was nearly cut in half...
SA: And at the last moment, at its last ebb, a hideous tentacle-like thing - because, you know, Monstrosities have tentacles - it snakes out, and you're standing above it, about to deliver the final blow...
P: Right.
SA: ... when suddenly, it absorbs you and you find yourself sucked into the Vortex. And I think I'd like your sword handle to drop onto the street?
P: Yeah, I was going to say that it goes flying off in another direction but that's better.
SA: I think I want it to drop onto the street, smoking and lifeless.
K: (gasps)
SM: Wow. OK, it's up to you, Lenora.
K: Why is it up to me??
P: You're the chosen one.
K: What!

Turn 4: Lenora vs. the Etheric Monstrosity

SM: So, I don't know, should we just wrap it up? Should we just do a quick epilogue or do we want to...
P: That's a pretty dramatic spot to leave it hanging...
SA: It's a good cliffhanger, but you haven't had a turn, so...
P: Yeah, you should get a turn, at least.
K: OK. Alright, so...
SM: So, you saw what happened to Theo, the sword clattered to the ground, the monster is clearly weak. Now is the time to strike if you're going to. Maybe you pull out your .38? And shoot it?
K: Yes.
SA: Yeah, it's weakened to the point that physical attacks can harm it.
SM: Awesome. OK, so is that Battle?
K: Um, yeah. And I'll call it Daring.
SM: Battle and Daring, which are its Strength and its Weakness! So start with that many d10's.
K: And I'm going to play this one [Mentor of Modernity d8], because I was supposed to take care of Theo, and I failed.
P: Oh, yeah yeah yeah!
SM: And unfortunately, your Hypothermia d4 comes in...
K: I might also have walking pneumonia! From like two weeks ago, I've had this cough.
SA: And the "Sister I Never Wanted"... I don't feel that we've had that moment yet...
K: Not quite, no...
SM: And you get these five bonus dice from Theo nearly killing it.
P: And it didn't Regenerate yet.
SM: Not yet, but it will if this fails. OK, so, danger? Sounds dangerous, it might eat you.
K: It is dangerous.
SM: Is that worth two?
K: Yep, it's very dangerous. OK, do the odds look good to you guys? I have no idea.
SM: Let's see, these will probably hit... It's close, it could go either way, I would take more danger.
K: Can I tag my own Special Ability?
SM: Totally.
K: I am kinda Lucky.
SM: You can bring in all three of your d8's if you want. How Lucky are you?
SA: I'm going to say it's dangerous because no one has ever killed one of these things, you don't know what might happen. Its psychic force might feedback through you.
K: And I was unloading a revolver into it.
SM: Is that 5d6? That's all then, that's the maximum.
SA: That's very Arkham Horror, taking on unearthly horrors from beyond the multiverse with a gun.
(K rolls)
SA: There we go.
K: Wow.
SM: ... 10, 11 hits... and 8 danger, you are Taken Out.
K: Damn.
SM: So, I'm going to go ahead and bring in the Sudden Death rule where you can spill those extra hits over onto another Threat. So with the first six hits, you defeated the Etheric Monstrosity, you shot it...
K: Mm hm.
SM: And then five extra hits, so that's 5d8 that you can place on whichever Threat you want.
K: "NO, THEO!!!" Blam blam blam! (inhuman shriek)
SM: Yeah, you shoot it in its thousand eyes!
K: Yeah!
SM: And it explodes.
K: Ugh.

End of Round, Threats vs. Freedom

SM: Alright, that's the end of the round and I'm the only one with Threats remaining. (rolls) Argh! Both of them hit! Bam, bam!
K: No! Freedom!
SM: OK, everybody's losing their minds. Who's next?

Turn 5: Billy vs. the Unstable Mind Control

P: I'm out.
K: I'm out.
SM: Oh right. OK, I take on the Psionic Vortex! It's gotta stop! You shot the Monstrosity, it exploded, you were Taken Out. Just briefly, what does that look like? Were you lost in the Vortex as well?
P: Maybe she's lost to the Mind Control.
K: Ooh.
SA: I can go with that.
SM: OK, it exploded in a shower of weird ectoplasm and psychic energy...
K: Yeah.
SM: ... and it washed over you and you dropped your gun and you became part of the mad zombie horde in the street?
K: I, I think, just because I don't want to feel like I've lost all my agency, perhaps I'm just more like comatose?
P: Sure! Interesting interpretation of loss of agency, but yes.
K: I don’t want to be trying to kill you guys. Now I'm not part of the problem.
SA: It's merely neutral agency rather than negative agency.
K: Yes.
SM: OK, I’m going to try to break the Mind Control, with the Vortex raging around me, "Lenora!" It's Heart and Action, plus the 5d8 on the Mind Control from the Etheric explosion, and it's dangerous to me because I'm opening my mind to it and I could be lost to the madness as well.
K: Mm hm!
SM: Oh crap, and here's 3d4 for my wounds from the battle with the Stygians. Anyone else?
P: Speaking of wounds, the zombies could just punch you out. Not only could you lose your mind to it, they could just tear you apart. And there's lots of them.
SM: Great. OK, I'm out of bonus dice...
P: (passing his last d8) Well, the Blade of the Ancients is just lying there.
K: (gasps) Pick it up!
SM: Yeah yeah, I'll take it! Yeah, I'm being battered by the crowd and my ankle hits something and I see it and I reach out and it flares to life...
K: (gasps again)
SM: ... and I sweep it through the crowd and they're all back to normal!
P: Right, yeah!
SM: The ghost blade sweeps through them, dispelling the madness. (rolls) And it's gone.
K: Nice.
SM: Two danger to me, eleven hits on Mind Control! So that's five overkill dice on the Vortex, so close!

Turn 6: Magda Shrike vs. the Psionic Vortex

SA: OK, I'm going to grab onto Daring and Science, and also Multi-Planar Adventurer.
K: And you might as well take this one [Sister I Never Wanted, d8]... because you saw me get hurt? And it made you angry?
SA: Uhhh, OK, fine.
K: And you just realized how besties we really are! (dreamy whisper) "We're totally friends..."
SM: You saw her shoot the Etheric Monstrosity, you saw her face the horror!
SA: And if that little girl can do it, then I need to step up.
P: You just don't want her holding this over you.
SA: That's true.
K: Yeah, that's true, you don't, because I'm definitely gonna remind you about that time I killed the Etheric Monstrosity.
SM: Another danger, maybe the Vortex might sweep you away?
SA: It absolutely might, I’m testing the very powers of time and space here. (rolls)
SM: Only two danger out of all that? Fantastic, OK, only mild consequences to you as you finally shut down the Vortex.
SA: I step out into the middle of the street, the trees bend around me and twist in the power of the Vortex... and above you in the sky you see the full moon, sort of... separating out... like bubbles of oil...
K: Oooh! ... Uh... Oh God.
SA: ... and scattering across the sky...
K: What did you do to our moon!?
SM: Uh... OK...
K: Wait, I...
P: Yyyeah... You know how our world works, right? Because it's gonna...
SA: It's gonna change a little.
(Everyone laughs.)
SA: You're gonna have to face some minor adjustments.
K: Oh, Jesus Christ! Our planet will pull itself apart now!
SA: Some limpets might be unhappy.
SM: Yeah sure, what could happen, right?
SA: ... And then everything is suddenly very still...
SM: ... And only we know that the world is... saved?
K: Because everyone is a little distracted by the fact that the Moon is gone.
SA: But in next week's episode!
SM: Yeah right! "Next time..."
P: "My god, how can we put the Moon back?!"
K: Yeah, we need to go and get another moon!
SA: "They stole our moon!"
SM: "Next time, on Danger Patrol!" Alright, thanks everybody!
P: Thank you!

SA: I'm kind of amazed at how well that actually cohered from all the totally random (inaudible)
SM: Yeah, good job everybody! Before we go, I should mention that I like writing up these games sometimes.
K: Yeah, you can do that!
SM: And I actually recorded this game, and I'll delete the recording right now if anyone feels at all weird about that. No? Cool, occasionally I get to write these up and it's so helpful. Sometimes I even find time to transcribe them. I really want to play this character again, I want to go back to 1950's Hell's Kitchen and rescue the folks who need to be rescued!
K: Yeah!
SA: Yeah, we did kind of leave Theo lingering in the Vortex which we then shut down.
SM: We're gonna need them both if we're gonna get the Moon back...

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