Summary: the Chicago Peers have succeeded in several strands of their complex mission. Much seems poised ready to break the arcane barrier around Chicago. But not all strands are under their hands!
Maria, the ‘fake nun’ who the Peers captured in their Lair Raid, has given them a handle on the next ‘where’ and ‘how’.
The initial few scenes, which begin at Chaos 5 since this is a whole new arc, take the team away from familiar terrain and off by a frozen waterfall.
Dan is somewhat their guide, since he has recently studied at a state park nearby here under the Judges. At least for now, he has turned his back on the domestic happiness his marriage to Mary offered. He’s following directions from the Great Spirits, who seem to be invested in the Peers’ success.
The Peers are tricked out with all the power-ups they can get. Each wears the amulet stolen off the fallen [Will+2, stacks] and Hitch has got the staff Sandi looted from a senior mage. They also carry potions, and one extra tattoo has been inscribed on Sandi and Cliff.
Chaos stands at 7 (after some preliminary twists and turns) as Paul, Hitch and Dan utter the incantation…
the waterfall shimmers and parts, and the Peers walk in through…
Scene: much the same area
“Well, this is…” Birkby begins, and hunts for the right word.
“Neato?” Sandi suggests helpfully.
“Jim-dandy,” Paul decides, and continues sarcastically,
“I don’t suppose your spirit mentor offered a refund?”
“I think ‘our’ spirit mentor might be more apt, but if you find yourself in disagreement, why, feel free to tell him, next time you see him,” Dan offers, the old ‘Steel Eye’ flavour returning.
“Well, nothing here except blistered wilderness. Which if I was on a date and it was spring or summer, would be idyllic. But let’s walk back to the road and drive back to somewhere with wifi,” Hitch posits.
Sighing, they do so, feeling the weight of the extra gear they brought. But when they reach the minor state road they left the SUV on, it is no longer there.
Chaos is 8.
Scene: standing on the road, hoping for a lift
Much more than an hour has passed, and the Peers are wishing the mystic location had been somewhere like the I-94 turnpike. But finally the faint sound of a motor can be heard.
An antique vehicle putters up, a young man at the wheel. Seeing Sandi waving he pulls the vehicle over.
While Cliff Hitch and Birkby admire the condition the Model T has been kept in, the youth suggests to Sandi that he knows a ‘hot night spot’ and that she should ditch her present company. It doesn’t go down well and he abruptly swings back out and motors away.
“Why didn’t I think to request a Dominate spell?” Birkby wonders.
Chaos is 9.
Scene: still the same, much later
It is the time that try men’s souls, especially when they have zero Survival ranks. Cliff (ably) and Sandi (barely) make shift to create a camp. It will be extremely cold, unless Dan ditches some spells and protects everyone.
Hitch and Birkby have spent some time muttering to each other about space-time continuum, various theories of time travel, and not affecting the present. Sandi and Cliff have not heard this, but Dan has filed it away in his memory.
His own recent past has been bitter. Going down the lonely road of the undying Witch-hunter is a hard choice. Though he may never see her again, Mary is safe, Dan’s sure of that. But there’s a sneaking feeling of relief and of escape from some greater plot. With hindsight, wasn’t it a remarkable coincidence that Rev. Brown should show up and be so willing to marry them? And did Mary really mean those vows?
But now these matters are interrupted as a heavier truck is heard.
The armed nature of the occupants quickly becomes evident. Paul throws an illusion over the camp, preventing any normal glance from detecting them.
Watching, it seems clear the newcomers are setting an ambush. And within the hour, a second truck hoves into view. It is heavily loaded.
The first group ambushes the oncoming truck, ruthlessly gunning the crew down with old-time Tommy Guns, revolvers and pistols.
The blazing automatic fire has outlined enough of the vehicles that Hitch, for one, guesses both groups belong to prohibition-era gangs!
Making sure the cargo of booze is destroyed, and collaring some cigars, the ambushers depart.
Chaos is 10.
Scene: the same, trying to repair a delivery truck
A Statie patrol vehicle, another antique Model-T, rolls up on the work party. Hitch steps forward, before Dan can put his foot in anything:
Why no officer, we happened upon this tragedy. As you can see none of us have been in any kind of gun battle. We thought to bring the evidence and bodies back for decent burial!
Hitch’s slightly feeble Bluff [+12] gets a neutral result. The Staties ‘invite’ the Peers to accompany them. Just come along now and bring th’ col’d boy… oh a rev’rnd now is he? Then he c’n ride in th’ back with you-all.
This seems to involve one or two Staties covering the Peers with shotguns all the way back to HQ.
Chaos is 10 (though the PCs have finally got moving somewhere).
Scene: State Police HQ
“Call me Charles.”
The Staties are overawed by the new arrival, even though he does appear to be Native American. With so little book-work you could call it none, the Peers are released into his supervision.
[Chaos check throws up 7, an alteration: NPC negative. Meaning Bestow Fame. The PCs’ have no Rep here so looking for further description: 65/98, Mighty Guide.
Charles, the spirit guide who deals best with the human world, has shown up.]
Chaos is 9.
Scene: A rocky outcrop, not far from the previous
It has been a strange meeting. Charles seems not to have met the Peers before, but has some sense that he is linked to them. The spokespeople – Hitch in the main – are wary of telling Charles the entire story. During the camp set-up, Birkby and Hitch did agree some sort of plan around this.
Avoiding (as best he can) the Dan and Sandi blurt-factor, Hitch describes their mission. Not that there’s much to describe!
“We go in, shoot shit, bust the barrier’s source, the end” – Sandi’s summary is about as detailed as anyone else’s.
“It has fallen in my way to guide the footsteps of your kind, even before this,” Charles states. “If you will bend your way to my guidance, let your path take you not into the heart of the great city as yet. Firstly let your gaze rest upon the ruins of cruelty that was named by your people, the camp of Butler.”
Chaos is 8.
Scene: Confederate prisoner cemetery, near Clear Lake Illinois
“Camp Butler… the Civil War,” Hitch comments. The moon is low and part-hidden by cloud. Gravestones here are curiously pointed, like sharpened teeth.
“Dies of smallpox… dies of smallpox, dies of smallpox… think I’m seeing a pattern here,” Cliff comments, tucking his flashlight back.
“Fail to see what this has to do with cruelty, nor our mission,” Birkby remarks sourly. A while back, his ‘polite request’ for protection from cold met with a ‘no’ and he suspects his shoes are beginning to give out.
“Perhaps you don’t, but I do,” Dan states. “But we should be watching and listening, not talking. We are here for a reason.”
He could tell the two Brits much about the inhumanity with which thousands of Confederate prisoners were treated, but that is a molehill against the mountain of cruelty others such as his own ancestors were buried under. So silence is the best policy at this time.
Chaos is 9.
Scene: the same, later
“Hey, hi!” Sandi exclaims, wondering if all the local guys are this hot looking. And, some seconds later, where he came from. Then:
“Say! You’re totally a vampire!”