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Ethereal

WoD: 13 Nights in Pleasant Glen

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Marissa, Jaegar

The air is still frosty at this time of the morning, but there's a rare sunspot out and you feel warmer in parts where the sun's rays reach the pavement on which you walk on the way to Biggerson's. The streets are sparsely populated; the Hobo is up and about again in Deserter's Road but merely affords you a baleful glare or two before going to harangue an old woman who was hobbling past him.

 

As you watch, he splashes the old woman with the liquid from his canister. She flinches, and then starts shouting at him in an unintelligible language and beating at him animatedly, if not weakly, with her walking stick in both hands. He retreats hastily and apologetically, breaking off into a sprint back towards the hostel. She mutters something under her breath, retrieves a drab handkerchief and continues along at a snail's pace.

 

At the t-junction between Deserter's Road and King's Street, you spot a small church building to your right, recognizable by the weather cross atop the stone building. It is smaller than most churches you've seen elsewhere, but nevertheless dwarfs the buildings neighboring it. You turn left and continue towards Biggerson's.

 

You arrive shortly and find the little restaurant empty. Peering through the glass doors, you see that the lights have been left on and there's a mess of some sort left on the central aisle. On a hunch, you push at the doors and it swings open easily. Looks like someone didn't lock up the night before.

 

Inside, you find that bowls of rice have been set out on all tables in the restaurant. There are several bowls that have been smashed onto the floor near a tray with a dozen more bowls set upon it. It seems like there's been a scuffle, but with whom? You call out, but no one answers. You're not sure if you want to linger here for much longer - Biggerson himself might come in any moment for all you know - , but what will you do?

 

Steven, Jiri

As you approach the the Occult Museum, you see that it's styled like an American mansion with a mini-garden of its own out front. It is half of the police station in length, but boasts a second story and an attic. You step onto the porch and knock using the ornate door knockers. Footsteps resound from within the building and a couple of minutes later, a middle-aged brunette answered the door.

 

"Good morning," she greets you with a wan but welcoming smile. "I'm Lora Warrens. Are you visitors to the Museum? If not, we do not want any solicitations. Thank you."

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"Good morning, Miss Warrens. My name's Steven, and this is my friend, Jiri. We're tourists, and we're thinking of paying a visit to this museum. Do you happen to be the curator, by any chance?"

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I walked into the restaurant without thinking, being careful not to step on the debris on the ground. Maybe there was a break-in around this place, but there wasn't any police around.

 

"Let's split up and look around," I suggested to Jaeger. "I've a gut feeling something's wrong with this place, and maybe we can find it."

 

[any rolling?]

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Seeing how the restaurant was I couldn't help but wonder what was up. But then again, everyone there last night was very strange and perhaps this isn't abnormal.

 

"You seem adventurous. Hm...maybe bringing my gun would've been a better move...well, I guess we'll be fine. I'll go check the kitchen then. It's probably the bigger area and more likely to have something." With a sigh I pop in a cherry lollipop and walk towards the kitchen.

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Steven, Jiri

Lora's eyes twinkles with genuine warmth as she says,"Do come in! It's been a while since we've had tourists."

 

She opens the doors - both of them - to admit you. You step inside the building, crossing an invisible boundary between the cold outdoors and the well-heated interior of the house as you do so. 

 

And a house this is, you realize as you survey the spacious chamber you are now standing in. It is very well-furnished, but morbidly so in parts. Your eyes involuntarily wander from detail to detail all over the space, taking in the enormous 19th century paintings depicting scenes of torture and fear, the reliefs of birds of prey carved into the white ceiling, a tall porcelain pot of plant, a porcelain statue of Jesus staked onto the cross, a medieval suit of armor and ornate, grey marble walls. The soft, incandescent lighting from a central chandelier throws shadows about the room, giving it a foreboding feel.

 

Lora picks up two sheets of paper from a shelf on the wall and hands one to each of you. You see that it is a blueprint of the building with the names of the room indicated in typewriter print.

 

"This area here," she says as she points on Jiri's map, "It's where my husband and I live, so please refrain from entering it. You're free to explore the rest of the house. I must warn you now: do not touch anything. Many of the items we keep here were formerly cursed or possessed by malignant spirits; some of them have been so severely tainted that the mark of evil can never be erased from them. If you touch these objects, you are opening a channel and inviting them into your life. You don't want that."

 

She pauses as if recalling something else to say.

 

"If you need anything explained, you can always write down a description of the object and ask me about it before you leave. Do knock on the door when you do so, will you? My husband's heart has been rather frail as of late."

 

As you look at the blueprint, you try to decide which rooms to visit. Amusingly, some of the labels appear to have been misspelled. 

 

The list of rooms are:

Asean relics

Processed anchors

Protective tailsmans

Hunters Equipment

Burials

 

Jiri finds himself starting to feel hungry.

 

Marissa, Jaegar

Having decided to search the restaurant, the two of you split up. The restaurant has the main dining area, a kitchen, two toilets, a small room that holds a lot of documents, a freezer room and a rear exit.

 
Jaegar
The kitchen looks like someone had abandoned it halfway through cooking. The chute above the stove that removes smoke had been left on and is making such a loud noise that you are surprised you hadn't heard it in the dining area. On the stove itself, a pot of glutinous rice had been left to cool. Next to the stove are several food ingredients and unwashed utensils. There is also a handbell with a thread with small triangles of paper attached to it, which strikes you as being out of place.
 
The kitchen is structured in a L-shape, so you round the corner towards the back of the room. When you do so, you are shocked by the sight of an unconscious, frail-looking man dressed in white robes. He is unceremoniously slumped against an ajar door of a cabinet, and appears to have been badly beaten up. You deduce that this must be Jhui.

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"Before you leave, Miss Warrens, I was meaning of asking you about the spirits that seem to be plaguing this town. I pointed to the section in the museum marked 'Protective Talismans'. Last night, my friends and I tried to ward them off using a salt barrier built around our hotel rooms, but that didn't seem to keep out the ghosts from our rooms. One of my friends was assaulted by a ghost girl named Mary who was located inside the bathroom.

Do you happen to know about the spirits in the area? Perhaps of Mary? And how do you normally protect yourself from these spirits?"

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The small room could have been easily missed had I not walked past it to explore. I decided that this was the likeliest place to house secret documents that might explain the state of the town. However, the door was locked. I looked around me, saw nobody approaching, and fished out a metal wire from my pocket.

 

Maybe if I tried fiddling with the lock... I wasn't too confident, but it was worth a try.

 

[shall I roll? or will someone come by?]

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As I walk into the kitchen I keep an eye out for any sharp objects or the lack there of. I don't want some random asshole sticking me with a knife. Besides that I take a look for obvious problems, dead bodies, blood, broken glass, signs of a struggle. I try to be thorough, but I don't wanna seem like I'm snooping too much. Would also maybe benefit in figuring out what I ate last night.

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Steven

"Salt barriers? You know about those? Who taught you that? Don't tell me. Someone from the Carmody parish," Lora surmises as she tilts her head and fixes you with an inquiring look. She crosses her arms and worries at her upper lip for several moments, as if considering something.

 

"I guess there isn't any harm telling you what you already know. Salt barriers work, but they can be unreliable. They can be eroded if the spirit is a particularly powerful one or, god forbid, there are many of them working together. And sometimes they don't even have to raise a finger and something else does it for them - wind, water, something gets knocked over, and other instances of bad luck. "

 

"The best way to keep yourself safe is to mind your business. The weak ones won't bother you if you don't make yourself a nuisance. The malevolent ones? Well, those are rare to come by, no matter what the movies tell you. If you encounter one, I do not advise that you try to deal with it without the necessary expertise. You may well make things worse for yourself if you do. Same thing with the charms; some of them can do more harm than good if you do not know how to tell them apart."

 

"Mary? That is a rather generic name. If your friend is having problems with a ghost, I recommend that she find someplace else to lay her bed. Do not play ghost-busters. It never turns out well."

 

She seems tired suddenly from the talking and makes to leave.

 

Marissa

The lock on the door is deceptively ordinary.

 

[Extended action. Roll Dexterity + Larceny. 6 successes required.]

[Once you get in, you'll likely want to search the following: office desk, filing cabinet, book shelf, safe with combination lock]

You should state the order in which you'll search the furniture. For each furniture, roll Wits + Investigation. Each roll represents 5 minutes of searching. You decide how much time to spend searching each furniture and roll accordingly. However, if you are searching the safe, roll for Dexterity + Larceny with a requirement for 10 successes instead. Past a certain period of time, you may be interrupted.]

 

Jaegar

You decide that you need to do something about Jhui's limp body. He seems to be alive, to your relief, but is unconscious. You'll need to awaken him before searching the rest of the kitchen, but how?

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Unconscious man blocking my way. Not the first time this has happened. Gotta find some water to splash in the guy's face since I doubt he'd like me slapping him awake. I figure there might be a leftover cup of water or something around the restaurant. If not, I could probably pour some from the bathroom.

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Jaegar

You grab a big metal pot from the nearby shelf, fill it with icy water from the tap and pour it over Jhui's face. Surprisingly, he fails to awake. You decide that more water probably isn't going to do any good. On a hunch, you check his breathing, and discover that he has abruptly stopped breathing.

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[rolled Dexterity + Larceny = 4 dice to unlock door

8 rolls required in total]

http://sheetgen.dalines.net/wiki/WikiDiceRoller?hash=eecc3faa

http://sheetgen.dalines.net/wiki/WikiDiceRoller?hash=1277f070

http://sheetgen.dalines.net/wiki/WikiDiceRoller?hash=91aae5c7

http://sheetgen.dalines.net/wiki/WikiDiceRoller?hash=49821c59

http://sheetgen.dalines.net/wiki/WikiDiceRoller?hash=affdf4cb

http://sheetgen.dalines.net/wiki/WikiDiceRoller?hash=da5564d4

http://sheetgen.dalines.net/wiki/WikiDiceRoller?hash=e24d6d32

http://sheetgen.dalines.net/wiki/WikiDiceRoller?hash=2e0a25f2

 

Ages passed. I was perspiring profusely by the time I managed to enter the room, my hands tainted with the smell of metal. I tried to hold back thoughts of washing them. Concentrate. You didn't break your way in here just to go out again.

 

There was an office desk, filing cabinet, bookcase and a safe with a combination lock. I wasn't ready to hack into another lock just yet, so I decided to try the filing cabinet first.

 

[Wits + Investigation = 8 dice]

 

First try: 6 Successes

http://sheetgen.dalines.net/wiki/WikiDiceRoller?hash=a968fcda

 

[office desk next]

 

First try: 1 Success

http://sheetgen.dalines.net/wiki/WikiDiceRoller?hash=4434d1a9

 

Second try: 1 Success

http://sheetgen.dalines.net/wiki/WikiDiceRoller?hash=279c6cb2

 

[if there is still time, bookcase]

 

First try: 2 Successes

http://sheetgen.dalines.net/wiki/WikiDiceRoller?hash=2274ec1b

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"After it seemed like I could gleam no more information from Miss Warrens, I turned to the map in my hand and examined it with interest. Unfortunately, Warrens didn't give me any information I didn't already know, so I decided to take a look at the Protective Talismans section of the museum. Are you going to follow me, Jiri? Or do you want to visit some other part of the museum? I guess we could cover more ground in a shorter period of time if we split up."

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"I'm not particularly interested in this occult business. I had imagined they may be taking a more historical approach, addressing the role of such superstitions and rituals, but it's patronising to be spoken to as if this sort of thing is actually real. I'm rather hungry anyway, so I'll leave you to it. See you back at the hotel, most likely."

 

I exited and headed toward the nearest eatery.

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Marissa

Your search of the filing cabinet is an exceptional success. It seems that Biggerson, or whoever manages his accounts, is a meticulous person. A file with the title deeds to the land and the license for operation shows that the restaurant has been operating for almost a decade now. You also find documents suggesting that the restaurant has been making losses, year after year, right up until five years ago, when it stabilized. It has been gradually increasing its profit margins ever since.

 

The purchase reports shows that ingredients are sourced from global MNCs whose names are familiar to you, with the exception of meat. Five years ago, Biggerson switched over to buying its meat from a party whose initials are MAL. The face that the dates of this switch and the reversal of the restaurant's fortunes coincide does not escape your notice. In addition, this MAL, whoever he or she is, is selling the meat to Biggerson at suspiciously low prices - nearly a tenth of what he had been paying to his previous supplier.

 

Lastly, you find a series of receipts that indicate that MAL is a local, independent supplier. Finally, you find an address on Rook's End written on the back of one of the receipts.

 

The office desk doesn't yield anything particularly fruitful. The photo frame on the desk features a younger Biggerson in some kind of a wrestling ring. You go through it a second time and this time, you do find an English-Chinese dictionary tucked deep inside the bottom-most drawer. It seems that Biggerson has troubles communicating with Jhui as well.

 

You are about to start on the bookcase when a shadow passes over the doorway. You look up and see Biggerson himself there, a grim expression on his face.

 

"What THE FUCK you're doing in my office?"

 

Before you can speak, a sound is heard from the kitchen. Biggerson stiffens momentarily, then recovers quickly and slams the door shut. You hear the lock click into place, and then the sound of an object being placed over the door. 

 

"I'll deal with you later!"

 

You're trapped!

 

Steven

Protective Talismans is a medium-sized room on the ground level, roughly the same size as your hostel room.  A small window admits in sunlight that exposes the particles drifting about the quiet room. You can hear your own footsteps on the floorboards as you move about.

 

The first thing that draws your attention is a rather unwieldy tome lying on the tabletop nearest to the entrance. It's entitled New England Society for Supernatural Research Vol 3. You scan through the introduction briefly and note a paragraph:

Most charms derive their protective powers from faith. Rather than conferring protection upon the bearer, charms act as a conduit through which he can channel his will to resist the malicious forces that are attempting to break his spirit. The more fearful a bearer is, the stronger the charm is by virtue of the faith he vests in the object.

 

The rest of the tome are pages explaining the powers exerted by the various charms and their origins. You anticipate that some of the charms held here in this room will likely have its own entry in the text. They have likely been gathered from all across the world by the Warrens.

 

The trinkets, however, are haphazardly arranged all over the room. There are artifacts hung upon the wall, strewn about on the table, and sealed away in glass displays. Why, this is a veritable treasure trove of charms! However, they are simply too numerous in number. You recall what you just read, and let your eyes roam about the room, trying to snag onto an object that has significance for you.

 

[Roll Intelligence + Occult.] 

 

Jiri

You stumble back out onto the streets, massaging your rebellious stomach. You recognize the tall building that is Bedlam hostel and maneuver towards it, figuring that you'll come across a place to eat along the way. Sure enough, the minute you round the corner, you're right in front of a bakery. The sign reads 'Malcolm's Meat Pies - Pies To Die For!'. You feel vaguely turned off by the cheesy advertising, plus the storefront looks filthy from what you can see. Do you really want to eat here? Some part of you really wants to though...

 

[if you would prefer to eat elsewhere, roll Stamina + Resolve, with a -1 penalty from your mysterious affliction. If you fail, you are compelled to order from here regardless of your wishes. If you succeed, you resist the temptation and continue along your way.]

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"Hey!" was all I could say before the door slammed shut, with the sound of something being put against it. I ran up to the door and pounded, but as expected the door wouldn't open. Should I try picking the lock again? It was probably going to take ages again, and I still had the object on the other side to contend with.

 

Then again, people usually pull doors to get out of a room. It wouldn't matter what's outside, would it?

 

With that more consoling thought, I decided to go back and ensure that I had all the information I needed first. I noted down the address of Rook's End and the initials MAL. Since Mr Biggerson wasn't back yet, maybe I could still have one check of the bookcase?

 

I was sure Jaeger could deal with him in the kitchen by himself.

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Great. Stopped breathing on me did ya. What should I do about it. It's not like I can really help the guy after he's done whatever to himself. "Sigh...." Kneeling down I look over him and wrap my arms around him from behind to pick him up and get him standing before performing that German guy's maneuver. Adolf or something. Who cares. This better be worth it though. 

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I feel the name of the pie shop is ominous, but damn I'm hungry. While the filthy storefront is unappealing, as a man of reason I conclude that no store could survive in a small town if the food made people sick or such - word of mouth would be instantly damning among the community. I'll go in and get something.

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[intelligence + Occult: 1 success.]

 

"Well, this is interesting. Some of these things might be useful in helping Marissa out tonight. Let me see what I can find..."

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Marissa
The bookcase houses several personal possessions. You note in particular a photo frame with a twenty-dollar bill encased within. On the bottom right corner of the frame, the following line is scribbled: First bill of first pay-check!

You also spot an innocuous black opal, signet ring lying on the shelf in a small cushion case.

Jaegar
Your Heimlich maneuver somehow causes the old man to awake. He stirs in your arms and is about to say something when you hear someone yell behind you, “Hey! What the fuck are you doing to him?!â€

You turn your head around to see Biggerson charging at you with a fire extinguisher in his hands, his eyes lit with anger.

[Roll double your Defense to dodge the hit, with a -1 penalty due to being encumbered by Jhui’s body. If you’re not hit (in the head), decide the next three seconds of how you’d react.]

Steven
You recall that touch pieces are coins or medals that can confer good luck, cure diseases, or even ward off evil spirits. In order for the power to be obtained or transferred, the touch pieces must be touched or kept in close physical contact.

The coins in the room have either been bent or bear ominous designs, giving you a bad feeling about them. But where have you seen one of these ‘good’ touch pieces before…?

In addition, you spot an ancient-looking contraption that you recognize as a camera obscura. It’s a piece of spiritual technology that is able to dispel spirits caught in its flash. You’ve always want to try one of these things out.

You figure you might have time for one more room before you should look for the rest. After all, it’s much more fun coming here with the rest.

Jiri
A couple of houseflies buzz by your ear as you enter the little shop. The interior of the shop has a rather yellowish pallor, perhaps due to the candescent light-bulbs bracketed along the walls. You approach the counter where there’s a glass display of several rows of pies.

A middle-aged brunette with rather frizzy hair emerges from the doorway behind the counter as if on cue, wiping her hands on her murky green apron. She eyes you with a grin as though you’re delicious meat.

“Ah, tourist! A big man! Feeling a little hungry, aren’t we? How may we serve you?â€

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Jaegar

You deftly evaded Biggerson's clumsy charge and find yourself a small, three seconds opening. You may close in for an attack of your own perhaps, or take any other course of action you deem appropriate. 

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Stinking oaf trying to knock me out while helping this guy? Geez...what could I do...I could jump onto something and try and reason with him, just drop the guy, but that would be bad...if I put the guy between us it could provide me with a little extra time. Yeah, I'll do that. After the careful thinking, I lightly push the man I was helping between us and aim for a higher spot to avoid the clumsy bastards ire while trying to get him to stop. "Oi! Why're you trying to hurt me after I saved that geezer's hide?!"

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"First bill of first paycheck... $20?" I mused aloud, noting also the ring. I had no idea what the opal ring was supposed to represent. In fact, I couldn't associate it with someone as rough as Mr Biggerson at all. Mr Biggerson seemed to be a sentimental person, considering the kinds of things he encased. But what importance could a dollar bill have? I decided to shelve this question for later.
 
I had expected Mr Biggerson to come back much earlier. It was getting unnerving being locked up for an indeterminate amount of time. Did it mean that Jaeger was having trouble? Should I search for another escape route? There was a familiar humming sound in the air, the kind that happened when the room was too silent. Without knowing it, I was wiping my hands nervously against my trousers.

 

Something spurred me to find an alternative escape route. I looked around the room another time, this time focusing on anything that might be a clue to a possible exit.

 

[investigation + Dexterity: 6 dots

1 Success

http://sheetgen.dalines.net/wiki/WikiDiceRoller?hash=4a1e724c]
 

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