Vat:13 Thresh Prince of Bel-Air
Thresher vs Walking Dead
Joseph: With twenty of the walking dead shuffling around, aimin' to git our brains, Koz finds a thresher. The idea is strategically solid but repugnant in practice. Slowly we're ground to a halt by the engine block seizin' up due to a giant block of ice formin' in it. Reminds me that I might could be due to learn a bit o' the fire magic.
With the thresher dead to the world the zombies start climbin' up towards us. I dodge out of the way, runnin' when I get my chance. I fire my pistol repeatedly, missin' often. (You shoot at the walking dead and see how good your aim is.)
Pauline: This is war. My mind clears as we ready for it. I know that I am doing the right thing, and that strength gives me power. We drive the tractor into the scrum, and my sword arm is true. Between the thresher and a holy sword, we have little trouble with the zombies.
Amiri: Before going into the impending fight, I make sure to remove my spare tire chassis. I can't let that gas man escape if something happens to my vehicle, nor let my costume become common knowledge.
The thresher does a good job, though it lacks mobility. I had a bit more mobility, and I took my role to corralling the straggles and take of the magic using women.
I stopped in front of the sinkhole and rolled out of my vehicle. I knew going into the sinkhole would take the jeep out of this fight, and I was too easily shot at while being inside of it. I guess in the darkness of the night they didn't see me roll out of it, as they continued to fire upon it and eventually blew it up. This was about the time one of the mage women froze the engine block of the thresher. Our options were becoming more and more limited...
Joseph: As I'm defending myself, over a ways is a sinkhole that has some of the mennonite bastards. My companions git that under control fairly well.
Pauline: Of course, there are more than zombies. I take several direct shotgun blasts, and I don't even feel them. While I'm busy absorbing bullets, Amiri slips up behind the Mennonites and finishes them off.
That's about when I crash, unconscious and nearly dead.
Amiri: I made my way to the sinkhole, shotgun in hand. They never saw me coming, and I was able to land a slug in the good-ol-boy. It didn't take him out, but it made him easy to finish off.
The sheer amount of essence in the air appeared to drive the other two a little mad.
Soon, we found there was another crux with this family. When you kill them, they soon rise as the undead themselves.
Once the people in the sinkhole were dealt with, the remaining zombies gave us little to no problem. Unfortunately, Pauline was down, and Joesph and Koz were not without their scratches. I told the three of them to stay behind while I explored if I could end this. Koz insisted on coming with me. Joesph had his pistol and a fist full of essence, so we gave him our promise to return as quickly as possible.
Splitting the Party
Koz and Amiri head to the house
Amiri: We made our way to the house, and saw it was heavily guarded. There was no good way for use to sneak in, so we decided to go where the zombie ritual was initiated; the barn.
In the barn we found 4 people sleeping in cots. We locked the barn from the outside while I jumped down from the loft. I did not wake anyone, and I disrupted the magic circle as best as possible.
After that was dealt with, I knocked out the three largest men and took the fourth as a somewhat willing hostage. His name was Schmel, and was pretty unwilling to give us much useful information. He sounded a little jaded about the whole ordeal. We did find, though, that the main house was heavily warded.
Fearing we were leaving the others behind too long and being unable to deal with the situation immediately, we made our way back to Joseph and Pauline.
Joseph watches over the unconscious Pauline
Joseph: Pauline, poor, poor Pauline, looks like she's been through a meat grinder. She's got blood everywhere and is barely holdin' on ta life. I'm more than a might winded myself, fighting to not pass out from my efforts. Koz and Amiri decide that it would be best to press forward and try to nip this tragedy in the bud. I point out that this leaves Pauline vulnerable but that is countered with talkin' about the greater good.
We Didn't Start the Fire
Joseph: We gather into our van and Koz drives like the coach is on fire. Which is ironic, seein' as we approach town that there is a blaze burnin'. Turns out that it is the courthouse. In the distance we hear the thunder of motorcycles. I plead for us to head out after the varmints, before they can cause more trouble but everybody wants to make sure that the townsfolk are safe. I reckon that arguments for the greater good—stoppin' the mennonites from doing what they're tryin' ta do—falls on deaf ears.
A friendly EMT works over Pauline, getting her bandaged and awake. I start warnin' folks about the walking dead and they start gatherin' in bigger numbers ta listen as Koz closes the doors. I'd rather the truth git out but that's not to be today.
Pauline: I don't know how long it was that I drifted in a vague haze. The boys tell me it was about an hour, but it could have been forever. When I come to, it's nothing but pain and suffering. So I do the only thing I can do- pray. A gentle peace falls upon me, and within minutes, I can actually see my wounds closing.
Between waking up suddenly and Joseph being Joseph, a mild panic has started about the existence of zombies. I tell Maude the truth, and she responds by spinning out the most amazing lie to calm down the townsfolk. That's for the best- they need to worry about the courthouse that's burning down.
Amiri: We made our way into town, looking to get Pauline some help. There was a bunging building in the distance, so we made that our first stop. An EMT was there and he promptly helped Pauline gain consciousness.
The courthouse was ablaze, but there was little we could do to stop it. We asked to make sure no one was inside, and we were assured everyone got out. It was unlikely it would spread, so we found which way the motorcycles went and gave chase.
Wait... did I just hear Joseph tell a group of people about zombies?
Bikers Digging a Hole
Joseph: We catch up ta them and they've parked their vehicles on the side of the road, where Koz takes half of 'em out with the van. We bolt to a safe distance and move in on foot. From the safety of the woods I commune with the land and we git a jump on 'em. Amiri throws, I kid you not, a motorcycle at one of 'em. I batter some with stones and they surrender.
While everybody else is interrogatin' 'em, I check out the hole they was digging and find a flask pourin' out a strange liquid. Examinin' it closely, it radiates of necromantic magics. I freak out and try to use my earth magic to throw the soaked soil outta the pit but I lose my grip and the essence was sucked right into the voodoo.
The mennonite folks admit to be summoning the headless horseman. Which is interestin', given that there are many incarnations of him. We call the VAT and get some further details.
Pauline: By the time we catch up with the bikers, I'm in fine shape, and ready to lay down some righteous justice. We approach carefully. Amiri and Joseph pick some off gradually. I draw the attention of the rest, and before long, we've got them all taken prisoner.
And that's when Joseph tells us what's sitting at the bottom of the hole they were digging.
Amiri: We eventually caught up with the motorcyclist, and decided to stay undetected. We turned the lights off and followed slowly. Once they dismounted and started to make their way to the field, Koz ran down a row of their bikes. He parked the van a few minutes down the road, and we made our way back via the tall crops to stay unnoticed.
I was proud of what happened next. Using some good teamwork and subterfuge, we started luring them one-by-one to us, taking them out in turn. This didn't last forever as they eventually got too curious, but we were able to convince them that they were surrounded. They laid down arms and we were victorious.
Out Driving the Headless Horseman
Joseph: Intent on not letting the horseman ride, I throw up the most powerful ward that I've ever created. Then a Bogle appears in front of me. I try to speak wit it but it is intent on violence. I shoot at it a few times and Koz bats the thing away.
So when the horseman arrives it crumbles my ward like it was nothing. Outta the earth comes a horse pulling a carriage with a driver with no head. Despite myself I'm excited to confirm the spirit as a Dullahan, the Irish version of the headless horseman. Which means that gold puts the fear of God into him.
Lookin' at the map we try to outrace him so that we can use some of Amiri's gold to block his path. While racin' him, I remember that Patty asked if we could find out what was inside the carriage, so I toss my eyes inside.
I will regret that for the rest of my days. It was all blood and organs and guts like I have never seen.
Pauline: We call the VAT to prepare, and they lay out a few possible variations on the Headless Horseman to watch out for. Since the Mennonites talked about "pumpkins", I'm half expecting the American version. We don't get that- we get the Celtic version, who is essentially an Unseelie hitman. It races off in its bone carriage, and we give chase.
We manage to block its path with gold, which buys us time, but we won't be able to stop the Dullahan ourselves. We need to stop the people trying to control it- and that means raiding the Mennonite compound.
Amiri: The victory was short lived, though, as they poured some vial into the hole and they told us it was to summon the Headless Horseman. We contacted base, and found that it could be one of many types. We had no choice but to wait.
A thing called a boggle came by and started to bother Joseph. I had hoped that they summoned the wrong thing, but there was no luck there. Soon after Koz punted the thing to the treeline, the headless horseman burst from the ground. Needless to say, we gave chase.
We were lucky that this version of the horseman could not cross gold. I had a gold necklace with my playoff ring I had from my college days. We were able to block him off as best as possible and delay him for a good while as he went to his target. We knew this was the only way to go as our previous attempts heavily damaged the VAT van and took out one of Koz's eyes.
Farmhouse Collisions (on Purpose)
Joseph: At this point I'm not really paying good attention to things, as I'm trying to remind myself that the third eye in Pauline's face isn't real, nor are the worms crawling out of Koz's mouth. Pauline has me climb into a truck and wraps me in disembodied arms and starts driving towards a house covered in blood and manure. As we gather speed, so too does my fear and I jump from the truck, intent on saving my own life.
Pauline: We get to the farm. It's warded, so Koz and I choose the biggest farm trucks we can find, go to opposite corners of the house, and crash into it. Koz makes it in, although the chimney falls on him. I don't leave a dent on the house. Joseph freaks out, but recovers and circles around. I go in through Koz's hole, and see one Mennonite holding three more at gunpoint. This must be Schmel.
Amiri: We decided to take a cue from the Headless Horseman on breaking through wards; drive right through them! My assumption was that the wards would not be at the top of the home, so I decided to make a jump up to the third floor.
I don't know if they were able to get through the building, but I know my intuition was correct. I assume the worst and that they are not inside.
Clearing the House
Pauline: Schmel gives me some keys, and points me to the basement. There I find the center of the wards and an ancient sword, thousands of years old, rusted and ruined. Thinking about the Stones, and how Celtic/Welsh mythology have been haunting us, I grab it.
Upstairs, Amiri deals with the power source for the wards.
Schmel points us to the graveyard where his grandfather should be.
Amiri: As I made my way through the house, I notice it was mostly empty. On the top two floors, all I found were two girls asleep, their essence leaking from them. I had no idea what was going on, but I decided the best course of action was to leave them alone. I eventually went all the way downstairs to see how the others fared and found Schmel holding his kin hostage.
We found that the source of all of this evil and chaotic power could be found in the forest where their family brought their dead.
A Grave Situation
Pauline: We grab ATVs and race out to the graveyard. I don't believe I have been behind the wheel of so many different vehicles in such rapid succession. We find Grandpa, who goes all cat-like and starts trying to tear the hell out of us.
I don't have the ability to lay out damage that I normally have, but I'm angry and tired and just sick of this, so I slash away at Grandpa. Between that and a few shotgun blasts, we put him down quick. I search the corpse and find a Bible and a grenade. He must have left his NRA membership at home.
It's a good thing I find the grenade- a moment later a fae voice calls to Grandpa, trying to raise him back from the dead. I pull the pin, jam the grenade into one of the openings we created when busy killing him the first time, and clear the area. Ka-boom.
The fae makes herself scarce. We chase a bit, but can't keep up. She escapes.
Amiri: With the van barely functioning, we took some ATVs from the mennonites and made our way to the fresh graveyard.
When we arrived we found the grandfather, but he was greatly transformed. He had sharp claws, was leaner, and was a bit feline in form.
Pauline kept him busy while I placed a few shotgun blast into his midsection. After he was dead, we heard a feminine voice trying to call him back from the grave. Pauline found a grenade on the grandfather, and put it to good use. She shove it right in his ribcage and ran for the hills.
I decided to chase the voice in the trees. It turned out to be some sort of fae, and a quick one at that. I gave a good chase, but once it got to the tall grass I had no chance.
Passing the Torch
Pauline: That night, we take over the Mennonite's farmhouse, and send them all out to sleep in the barn. I'm not comfortable with that, but Schmel is giving the orders now. I make a breakfast to feed an army, and still manage to find some time to whip up some honest-to-goodness Picksburgh style pierogies for Maude. Little taste of home.
There's a lot of negotiating in the barn, and some external Mennonites show up to guide the discussion. In the end, Schmel takes over the family. His father goes inside and eats a bullet. It's a bad way to end things, but with Schmel at the helm, I think they'll be alright.
The bridge is out, but Team 1 shows up in time to help us wrap all of this up. They rent us an extra jeep, and we clear out the hard way. The VAT van isn't going to make it back by itself, but we make arrangements to get it back to Pittsburgh. I'll probably have to take day or two to fix her back up.
Amiri: Morning comes and things follow their odd way of clearing up. The bodies of the zombie were gone, the mennonites stayed in the barn and behaved themselves, and all things were cordial come morning.
After some talking, Schmel was voted to take over for the family. His father, we found to be under some sort of spell, took his life soon after. A shame we could not free him, but maybe it was for the best, sad it is to say.
Team 1 eventually came, and helped with clean-up. Their SWAT gear took most of the town for a loop, but they did a lot of the busy work for us while we took care of our few loose ends. We make our way out of town in a rented jeep, and have a nice plane ride back to Pittsburgh.
Out of Session
Pauline: I've got a lot of work to do. First, when the VAT van arrives back it Pittsburgh, I'll have to give it a once over and see how bad the damage is. If it's just a busted radiator, I'll take care of it, if it's more serious damage, I'll probably send it out to the shop. I have better ways to spend my time than being elbow deep in rebuilding an engine.
I've got two big research projects: the Sangrophage bones and this ancient sword I'm going to call "X-Calibur". It's not Excalibur, at least I sincerely doubt it, but it's how I think of it. I think "X-Calibur" would make a good name for a comic book, though. Someone's going to probably steal that idea from me.
I'll pray for guidance on what best to focus on, but I'm most interested in what will bring practical results sooner: using the bones to reinforce steel to make an exceptionally light, strong and sharp blade, or restoring and researching X-Calibur's background.
Amiri: I drop off the plastic wrapped gas bag to Jorgan. He told me it was some guy that was actually a Will O' Wisp or something like that. We was a bit overjoyed at the gain, and told me that he would work on getting me a new jeep. I'm not sure how to deal with insurance in the future.
This was a pretty stressful week for us, so I am going to throw a little get together for us to unwind.
- This arc was worth a combined 5 XP for the 3 gatherings.
- Wiki update for this page is worth 2.
- Additionally, everyone gets one additional level of Hard to Kill.