Monday, 17 June 2013

Ebon Eaves: Chapter V

A powerful, creepy, and life-threatening session, full of unexpected developments!
  • +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 been invited to Rain House and met the twins, Taylor and Maximilian Rain. Aaron and Amy had reason to believe these two were behind the disappearances eight years ago, and after the meeting Father Aaron suspected they meant to finish the job by getting rid of Clark Lewis.

After leaving Rain House the pair return to the church, where Father Aaron manages to find an old book that describes a ritual for exorcising ghosts. Amy pokes around among the books while the priest reads the rituals; unfortunately, she pulls too hard on one tome stuck in the shelf, and the rickety old thing falls over on her! Aaron tries to rush to her aid, but was too late, and she took a nasty knock to her head and pride.

About five minutes too late, I realised I could have "taken away their stuff" by having Amy cause the ancient books to crumble, thus robbing them of any further potential mystical aid. Then again, can I really take away stuff they don't yet have? I suppose I could have broken her glasses instead, robbing her of her +1 Reason bonus. Also at this point, Father Aaron failed his Help roll and opted to let me take a point of "hold" against him for later use.

They decide that the best course of action is to lay low and wait to see what happens. Aaron is hoping that the Rain twins will take care of Clark Lewis for him, and Amy needs to go back to the boarding house for a bit of a lie-down with a cold compress.

Amy is lying in bed after dark when she hears the sound of something smashing in Mrs. Rain's room next door, followed by odd noises and cries. She goes to help, finding Mrs. Rain having a seizure on the rug, a broken jug next to her. She makes sure the old lady isn't going to hurt herself, but Mrs. Rain's bony hand clamps hard around her wrist. She tells Amy that "they are calling the children! The twins are calling out to them!" Her lips are pulled back from black gums and jagged teeth, and her eyes are as black as the night sky. Amy slaps her, managing to bring her back to her senses. She tells Amy that the children are being called to Manley Manor, and then passes out. Amy finds Mrs. Partridge who, familiar with Mrs. Rain's "turns," goes to put her to bed. Amy heads out into the night to find Father Aaron.

Father Aaron is just sitting down for dinner at the Vales' house when Mrs. Vale walks out the back door from the kitchen. Her husband stands up from the table and silently follows her, leaving their dog and the priest both a little confused. Aaron follows them, dashing ahead of Mr. Vale to see that his eyes are glazed as though in a trance.

Meanwhile, Amy's been running through streets filled with entranced people. She sees the Mayor among them, and slaps him to see if she can snap him out of it! He seems dazed and disoriented, but recovers his senses and wonders what everyone is doing in the street. With the help of Father Aaron and Marjory, Amy leads a full-on slapping campaign with the help of Father Aaron and Marjory, and manages to awaken all of the waking sleepwalkers. By the time they've dealt with them all, it's become obvious that only the paler members of the community were affected; those from old families long associated with the town. They finish their task close to the driveway to Manley Manor, as that seems to be where all the people were headed.

The two are about to head back to the safety of their homes when they hear the sound of breaking glass from the Manor. They cautiously approach up the road; as they round the bend, they can see that the boards have been ripped away from one of the front windows, and the entire lower half of the window has been smashed in. Curtains flap in the breeze as the lights flicker on and off, and a disturbing, inhuman howl shatters the night from the woods to the North. They head for the back door, and check to find the door-handle trap has been switched off. Strange barking noises from the trees sound oddly, distortedly human. 

They open the door and head inside. Just as they enter, they hear a man's hideous scream from upstairs. Amy looks about for a weapon, and discovers a heavy old fire-poker with a nasty hook at one end. Terrible gurgling and tearing noises can be heard upstairs, but Father Aaron searches the downstairs hallway for interesting books. He discovers an aged notebook that's fallen between a shelf and a cabinet, which seems to contain hand-written observations of the experiments from fifty years ago.

Unfortunately, Father Aaron's distracted by the book, and doesn't notice the creature until it creeps around the corner and is almost upon him - a misshapen humanoid form, silhouetted in the moonlight slanting through the boarded window. He turns to move the other way, back towards Amy in the sitting room, but his robe catches on the corner of the cabinet and it loudly scrapes on the floor. The creature leaps on him at once, sinking its sharp teeth into his leg and causing him to fall to the floor.

Amy rushes into the hall to see the priest being attacked by a scrawny, eyeless goblin of a creature, with skin like wrapped bandages made of pasty white flesh. She smashes it over the head with her poker, causing it to retreat and howl in pain. Its cries are answered from upstairs. Amy helps Aaron to his feet, and they make for the back door.

Amy takes the lead, but as Father Aaron passes a darkened doorway another of the creatures barrels into him, inflicting serious injuries! Amy turns and engages the creature head-on, beating it into submission even though she suffers a terrible wound from its claws. She grabs the creature around the neck, taking it hostage and threatening its life with her poker. Father Aaron attempts to wield the seven-pointed star amulet against it, but it doesn't appear to have any effect. Amy drags the wounded, mewling creature towards the back door, using it as a shield to threaten and hold back the four others who lope down the stairs and stalk them up the hallway.

Once they make it to the back door, Amy tosses the wounded creature back inside. They shut the door and arm the trap, and pause to catch their breath. Barking howls come from all around them in the woods, and Amy is at a loss. Father Aaron, having lost a lot of blood, is in bad shape. Luckily, the creatures don't attempt a pursuit. The pair hobble to a thick patch of bushes just to the West of the house, where Amy performs first aid on Aaron's wounds. They hear the breaking of glass from an upper-storey window on the North side, and the muffled thump of something hitting the ground.

And there we leave them, for now...

This was a really great session, on several counts. I'd created a mini-timetable based on previous events and the intentions of some of the major NPCs, so there was always something happening and I never felt lost or like I didn't know what to do next. I managed to inject some creepy horror with Mrs. Rain and the mesmerised townsfolk, although in the end it turned into gut-wrenching fight-for-your-life horror in the confines of the old mansion!

But by far the most awesome and unexpected thing, from my point of view, was Amy gaining a 10+ on Resort To Violence (thanks to her Lore Move allowing her to use Reason instead of Might), and choosing to eschew "take little harm" in favour of "take definite hold of it." I was like, "Take definite hold of the creature?" "Yes, I want to take it hostage!"

The second attack on Father Aaron was a "hard move," the result of spending the Hold I gained earlier from his failed Help roll. Again, I probably could have chosen a move other than inflicting harm, but it seemed like the thing to do at the time. I'd originally intended to use the Hold during the first attack, but when I described things I gave him something to react to; it was only his failed attempt to Act Under Pressure that resulted in him being wounded the first time.

Our intrepid investigators aren't quite home safe yet. The night is full of terrors, and the Manley Manor stands between them and the town.

>>> To be continued!

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