Monday, August 29, 2016

Divine Blood - Wasps Among Butterflies - Session Nine - The Hudson Hawk Milkshake

 This session includes four characters:
  • Arianrhod Monica Trengrove (aka Aria), the succubus and Perfect Yandere of War who believes Psyche is Doing the Right Thing and is Lost Outside the Hierarchy
  • Sophia Ecks, Voyeuristic Visionary and Virtual Apex Predator who lives on The Bleeding Edge
  • Sarah Gow, a Napoleonic Werepanther from an Urbanized Tribe who's a Practiced Shapeshifter
  • Katherine "Katie" Lally, a Psyche Vampyr with a Sensitive Side who is a Former Police Officer exhibiting Fidelity, Bravery and Integrity and has troubles with Things with Buttons. 
Following the Compact's fall

Aria is on duty in the ready room playing the DaVinci story mode on the headquarter's Medici console as the team waits for Sophia to return from her training retreat. Katie is reading a vintage book on a couch nearby and eyeing Sarah who has taken up a perch above the door just waiting to pounce the Visionary when she arrives. Katie inquires whether she's fine as she had been up there for a full hour already and Sarah assures her that she's fine while cricking a joint carefully.

Meanwhile, Sophia has decided to arrive in dramatic fashion with donuts and a quartet of, you guessed it, chocolate milkshakes with shots of frangelico. She comes into the door calling out "What's up, bitches!" just moments before Sarah leaps from her perch altering her trajectory for the pounce aiming at the donuts below with her own cry of "Donuts!" Unfortunately, an alarm goes off just at the same time further disrupting her pounce.

The milkshakes went flying in the air, one of them landing in Katie's face as she looked up and also splattering all over her book. Meanwhile, between a flash of desperate grace and Sophia flexing her newly worked telekinetic skill, Aria managed to prevent one of the milkshakes from landing on the console and also somehow managed to catch it all within the cup. She was just about to lift the straw to her lips when Mr. Ryujin burst into the room and calling for them to get ready to move. He paused briefly to take in the scene and then tried to push it aside moving to the TV to switch to the news. 

Aria sighed and reluctantly set down her milkshake.

The TV showed a number of various gates being opened and dropping off hundreds of men and women, mostly with blue facial marks and occasionally with red facial marks. Some of these people seemed to be walking out of thin air or appearing in bursts of smoke. He points out that one of the focuses of this exodus seems to be near the Himiji Shrine where they had the battle with the biker Van Helsings.

Getting into Aria's van they make an attempt to drive through the chaotic traffic and get within sight of the shrine's parking lot when a fifteen foot tall wooden vehicle looking something like a bipedal whale glowing a bright blue. They slam into the vehicle and sweep out into the shoulder. Sophia turns to Aria and notes "I didn't break the car this time."

Stepping out of the van, Aria presents her credentials as a Psyche Intern and calling for them to dismount their vehicle and surrender their weapons. Almost immediately, the vehicle turns to look at her and says "one of the demon-wrought whores? I thought you were all dead." Then it generated a mass bolt of blue mana into a blast directed at the car and the people in it. Aria raises her defenses trusting in her arm and telekinetic potential to protect her and the people behind her as the others struggle to quickly get out of the van.

Aria weathers the attack as Katie's dive disrupts her attempts at aiming her pistol and Sophia moves to cover and works to dive into her Visionary perceptions in order to analyze this thing they're fighting. Sarah charges forward and agilely leaps upon the top of the vehicle, looking to distract it as Aria steps forward raising illusionary pincer like arms rising from her shoulders and backed by telekinesis to bind the vehicles arms.

Katie notes that Aria's vintage van seems to have never been converted to a hydrogen fuel cell engine and moves to collect some of the gasoline and Sarah makes an attempt to annoy the pilot with a rendition of "Do you want to build a snowman?" The vehicle bursts in an aura of mana which Aria again resists while it tosses Sarah clear of the vehicle. Sophia realizes that strange upright's only weapon and defense are based on acting as an extension and magnifier for a psychic pilot and also that it has been in mothballs and poor maintenance for an unknown period of time. 

Aria slams her demon-from scorpubus tail in through the protective aura, which had been raised mostly for dealing with incoming Life-Force attacks. She just barely managed to push through the aura with the illusionary tip, but it was enough contact for her to biokinetically generate a voracious poison in the organic device to eat its mana and body. The wooden exterior started to rot and the aura started to collapse. 

Sophia uses her own newly found telekinetically influenced technopathy tricks to hack the alien neuron based vehicle's computer to force the pilot to eject, forcing the man into a gate of some kind just as Katie tosses a crafted molotov into the whole Aria's poison rotted through the structure. The upright explodes spewing fire everywhere and lighting the trail of gasoline leading to Aria's car on fire. 

Katie then watches a bit confused as Aria, Sophia and Sarah run around in a near panic trying to put out the fire and save the old van, which looks like it's just barely functional now. They manage to succeed and move up to the shrine calling for Kiki amongst the dozens of other blue-marked faces that were still appearing at the shrine. 

Still in a analytic state of mind, Sophia pauses as she realizes that every person here is built along the same manner as a Visionary, a body formed by the subconscious and unconscious mind rather than by genetic replication. Only each of these people is incredibly more stable and interconnected than the nascent Visionary network. She has a brief bit of awe at the discovery of this organic network when Kiki shows up looking a bit panicked.

The girl rambled about people showing up all over the place and that they were saying that Tartarus had been emptied without even a consideration that the people she's talking to might not understand. When asked who is in charge she notes that it should be her parents but her brother got sick, or something, and so she thought it was her. When pressed she tried to focus on telepathically contacting an actual authority despite the attempted warnings of one of the people nearby not to go into the mindscape. 

Immediately Kiki seems to go into a seizure as blisters start appearing all over her body. Katie's Life-Force viewing eyes combined with her recent training allows her to realize that the girl is suffering a directed attack of some kind. Sophia moves to connect with the girl and, in the moment of excitement draws in the rest of the present wasps with her. Katie, Sophia and Aria had all experienced mindscapes before but this is Sarah's first time and she stares as she finds herself in a labyrinthine set of bronze-colored wooden corridors all seemingly bursting in fire. For Aria and Katie, their information and experience on mindscapes is that most people's mindscapes manifest as a fortress of some sort or another where it is difficult for the mind to even allow outside minds inside, much less the difficulty for invading. The basic structure of this mind is entirely different from what they expected.

Aria has been getting enough instruction in mindscape defense to know not to try to push herself the way she had before and tries to adjust Kiki's mindscape to be a less favorable environment for the attacking flames. Specifically she imagines a "Russian front" to cool the area. Meanwhile, Sophia visualizes a number of growing flowers which manifest into floral sprinklers to set out the water. This only causes Sarah to freak out a bit more as the four manage to find Kiki's consciousness within her mind.

Speaking to Kiki she tells them that as soon as she came into the mindscape she saw "that". She points towards one of the parts of the corridor and suddenly the environment surrounding them flows as they remain standing, as if the world were being scrolled along until they were standing on the inside of the main door entering into the labyrinth of Kiki's mind. 

Sarah dared to look out of the door and found a bizarre landscape of multiple other such labyrinths above, below and on the same level in a vast environment like an ocean spotted by islands. The physics denying mental landscape was clutched by a mass of sinister looking black mist into they could vaguely see shapes moving about and could tell that many other labyrinths were also burning in the distance.

Sophia stepped forward and shouted out: "Hey! Ugly, why don't you pick on something my size!?"

Session Nine Roll20 Playgrid
This is officially well past the canon I have written. I have some basic idea of how the exodus of God and Demon citizens will go after the rogues make their moves in Yomi and Nirvana, but I haven't determined specifics yet. I have always had the previous playtests occurring concurrent with the existing fiction but in blank spots in the story, so this is all new ground for me.  

For the Mantle, the name for a God-built upright, I decided to start with a mothballed and poorly maintained vehicle though these things haven't been in regular use for millions of years, so that makes sense. In addition, the pilot was determined to be low-ranking without much power and not very well trained. Essentially, he's one of the random convicts that got let out with the general prison break and he decided to pick up a Mantle nobody else wanted and pursued the evacuating citizens as a way to get in good with the leaders of the rogues by slaughtering some of the undesirables. 

Due to this, I did not fully modify the enemy for personal scale characters facing vehicle scale threats. I basically included him as a flavor to hint at the battles going on in Nirvana and Yomi each. I should note at this point, that if we had a magus in the party, they would start to lose access to spells as various Gods and Demons died.

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