Matt (innocent_man) wrote in newwod,

Actual Play - All Cats are Gray

The Characters:

  • Liz Markham (Cypher): Mastigos of the Mysterium. A reclusive, somewhat agoraphobic mage who chooses to live in Cleveland as a solitary, collecting information on occult doings in the city and cataloging them against the inevitable return of the Awakened.
  • (noodlegirl's character, whose name I don't have because she took her sheet with her, but I believe her Shadow Name was Scully): Moros of the Mysterium. An investigator from the Erie, PA Consilium, assigned to find some of the mages of Cleveland and find out why they've been so coy the last few years.
  • Lydia Jackson: The Moros' Proximus bodyguard. Jealous of mages in general.
  • Kelly Clark: Thyrsus. An EMT who Awakened on the job and discovered she had a knack for healing people, but has no idea what really happened to her and hadn't met another mage until the game.
  • Thomas Quill: An ordinary man taking care of his four-month-old son while his wife is out of town. No supernatural experience or powers (apart from the Unseen Sense Merit).

The game was set in Cleveland. Now, regardless of what the werewolves and vampires of the Mistake by the Lake are up to, the mages are few and far between. There used to be a Consilium in Cleveland, but it hasn't existed in several years now. We the readers know that there's one cabal here (Untold Stories, Billy Pilgrim's cabal, based out of Strongsville), but that's all.

The game was set on 10/30/04. The last few months the SIDS rate has been abnormally high, something that Kelly has noted as an EMT. She noticed a touch of magic around the last unfortunate baby that was brought in, but had no other information.

As the game began, Lydia and the Moros were out tooling around looking for some clue as to where all the mages had gone. All of their leads had turned up nothing.

Meanwhile, Thomas went in to check on his son, and found a strange cat perched on the crib. As he watched, the cat's jaw unhinged and a fog-like mist rose up from the baby's mouth. Thomas launched himself across the room and tried to kick the fleeing cat, but missed (rolled a dramatic failure, in fact) and wrenched his hip. His son was breathing, but barely. He called 911 and the ambulance (containing Kelly) was en route. It nearly smashed into Lydia's car on the way (bad Drive rolls all around), and so the Moros followed the ambulance, needing something to do.

At the house, Kelly used her Life magic to scan and then heal the baby. He was physically fine, but when she first saw him he was dying, as though the life had just been sucked from his body. She saved him, and drove Thomas and the boy to the hospital. En route, Thomas told her what had happened (Thomas' Unseen Sense kicked on around this EMT). At the hospital, the doctor told Thomas that the baby would be fine, but he was staying overnight for observation.

Meanwhile, Cypher was online, as usual, and saw a friend of hers posting from work (an orderly at the hospital). In a flagrant violation of HIPPA law, the orderly told her about the cat story that he'd overheard. Cypher did some digging and found the old legends about cats sucking breath, but also noted that a nursing home nearby had lost five patients inside three nights not too long ago, and that the SIDS cases were largely confined to the western suburbs (Breckville, Broadview Heights, etc). She decided to track down this most recent victim and see what he knew.

The Moros and her bodyguard, by this time, had identified Kelly as a mage and approached her and Thomas. A lot of talking past one another followed, since Thomas and Kelly don't know "order" from a hole in the ground, but the gist of it was that the cat was probably still in the house and the mages wanted to catch it. They went back to the house and looked around, but found nothing.

Cypher left her house for the first time in a long while and, having tracked down Thomas' address (scary what you can do with the Internet), took a cab out there. She knocked on his door, he opened it, and just then the cat bolted.

The Moros managed to throw a towel over it and Lydia cracked it in the head with her baton, knocking it out. Thomas let Cypher in, and the characters puzzled over the cat. It was magical in some fashion, but not by any means that the Moros could identify. Cypher used Postcognition on the cat and saw it drinking breath from patients at the nursing home. She decided that she'd use the Finder spell on it, and then let it go, so they could track it to its master.

Doing that, they traced the cat to a house in the next suburb over. Using Scrying, Cypher saw the cat being stroked by an old lady. She told the cat not to worry, and opened a little box. The characters walked up the driveway, but saw a giant shadowy figure there. They felt dread creeping up their spines and, as a hundred cats watched from the shadows, did battle with that figure. In the end, the cats tried to attack Thomas, but Kelly put them to sleep with Life magic. Lydia kicked open the door, but the figure (a nightmare-spirit) pulled her into the room and started to strangle her. The other characters showed and engaged it, but eventually the only way to beat it was to stand up to it without fear.

Doing that, they searched the house and found the old woman. When they confronted her about the cat and the baby (and with guns), she started babbling in Latin. A hideous cat-like spirit materialized and attacked them, and probably would have killed them, but Lydia shot the old woman. Now on the verge of death, she lost her control over the spirit, and it sucked out her breath and vanished into the night.

The Moros masked her cause of death and the characters left. Thomas went back to the hospital, Kelly exchanged information with the Moros and Cypher, and Cypher took the old lady's books of spirit summoning into her progression. The Witchcats, according to her notes, would lose their powers gradually now. Also according to her books, she was looking for a way to grow young again - by making a giant Witchcat that could hold enough life to reverse the aging process.

I'd like to run more in Cleveland, I think. I've got some interesting ideas about the backstory and what happened to the Consilium.
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