Monday, 3 June 2013

Ebon Eaves: Chapter IV

Due to technical hitches and other commitments, we only had a pretty short session tonight - only an hour and a half. Even so, it was fairly eventful!
  • +Paul plays Father Aaron, a Devout. He is a Presbyterian priest, sent to Ebon Eaves for being difficult and asking too many questions. He wears formal vestments, has an open face with bright eyes, and is of slim build.
  • +Annette plays Amy Hearst, a Librarian. She's recently come to the town of Ebon Eaves to open a new library. She wears a nice suit, has an open face with clever eyes, and has a lithe frame.
Previously, they had both done a spot of book-research and talked to some folks around town, and they are gradually piecing together a picture of Ebon Eaves' sordid past.

On Tuesday evening, Amy returned to the boarding house and overheard her landlady referring to her neighbour as Mrs. Rain.

On his way from the church to his humble cottage, Father Aaron noticed Lewis' electrician truck parked in the street nearby.

Tuesday (continued)

Amy offers to take Mrs. Rain her dinner, as the old lady eats in her rooms. The landlady, Mrs. Partridge, gladly accepts her offer. Mrs. Rain is suspicious of Amy, but lets her in because she won't hand over the food tray until it's on the table. Mrs. Rain complains about the voices of the children that are constantly talking to her, and Amy asks if she means the children who died in the experiments. Mrs. Rain says not all of them died, and some crawled away... It becomes confusing when she starts also talking about her own children, the Rain twins Taylor and Maximilian, whom she says cast her away because they have no use for her any more, and they think they're better than everybody, and she doesn't need their money anyway, but she can feel their hand reaching across the voices of the children. Amy realises the old lady is rambling chaotically, and returns to her rooms to "wash the crazy off."

Father Aaron waits around the corner of the church to see what Lewis is up to. The electrician comes out from around the side of the house, looking around furtively. Aaron accidentally makes a noise, and Lewis hurriedly gets in his truck and drives away. Father Aaron is deeply suspicious that Lewis has booby-trapped his door-handle or doorway, and goes to great lengths to test it. After determining it's safe, he heads inside and goes to bed.

In the middle of the night, Father Aaron awakes to discover his house on fire! Thick smoke chokes the hallway, and it looks like the fire is well underway in the front room, just near the fuse-box. He hurriedly evacuates out the back door, and raises the alarm with the church bell, waking the whole town. Amy rushes over with a bucket to help, but by the time she arrives the volunteer firefighters are already at work passing a chain of buckets from the well to the blaze. The fire is extinguished, but half the building is lost, and most of its meagre contents smoke-damaged.

Mrs. Vale, head of the Church Foundation, offers the priest a bed at her place. He accepts her offer, but insists on taking the slightly-too-short couch, where his feet are attended by the Vales' labrador.


In the morning, Father Aaron and Amy start picking through the ruined building to see if anything is salvageable. They are visited by Mayor Wilson, who says Father Aaron's presence has been requested at Rain House that afternoon. Apparently they have heard he's been asking after the Church of the Seventh Star. The mayor doesn't think the Rain twins would mind if Amy went too.

That afternoon, they front up to Rain House. The edifice is carved from white stone in a classical style, with steps leading up to an imposing set of black double-doors. Their knocks are answered by a slick butler in a tailcoat, who escorts them inside. The decor is heavy; thick, plush carpets, burgundy paint and dark patterned wallpaper, furniture of teak and mahogany. Velvet curtains block much of the light from outside. The pair are escorted to a sitting-room, and shortly afterwards to a well-appointed board-room. Along one side is a long table. A grand fireplace dominates the opposite wall. In the far corner are several ornately carved and upholstered chairs around a coffee table. In one of the chairs sits a figure; behind them stands another. They are identically outfitted in pant-suits, with eerily pale skin and white-blonde hair, contrasted by deep, almost black eyes.

Maximilian bids them both sit, and takes a seat himself. He asks of the priest's interest in the Church of the Seventh Star, and Father Aaron tells him that he's worried that it's more of a cult, and that a surviving member may be attempting to return to power. This is of concern to the twins, who share his concerns, and ply him for more information. The pair don't reveal exactly what it was they saw at Manley Manor, but Aaron freely tells the Rains that the local electrician, Lewis, is the suspected cult member. Amy also mentions that they found a book in the mansion that detailed the cult's activities, but that they lost it while fleeing. The Rain twins are very interested in all they have heard, and thank the investigators, asking them to return immediately if they uncover any more information.

During the conversation, Father Aaron surmised that some members of his church group are also under the sway of the Rains due to receiving trust-fund payments, which is how the information got back to the twins so quickly. He's also fairly certain that the twins intend to finish the job they started eight years ago, finding Lewis and causing him to disappear.

The butler escorts them out of the building, closing the ebony doors behind them.

Another in-town chapter, but this one sung a little more! I'd set up a couple of good situations at the end of last session, so we were able to dive straight in. There weren't an awful lot of moves made by the players (more than last time though), but I could consciously make and identify lots more Keeper moves.

Partly what helped was that I managed to figure out how the PCs were upsetting the status quo in town, and to see where that was pulling on strings connected to my major NPCs. Once they started disturbing the web of connections and influence in town, it became apparent how NPCs would react and create new, dynamic and confronting situations. Before that happened, it felt like this Ebon Eaves was a little too quiet and complacent, with folks who really had no good reason to rock the boat.

It's been a slow burner, but I think things are starting to pick up speed...

>>> Chapter V

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