Fortunately, the weather's been improving lately. It's still pretty humid out, but it's thankfully cooling down.
As a side-note, something I've kind of been saving for a bigger, non-gaming post to share with some other observations is the notion that I might skip Origins next year. With the summer I've had, I've legitimately wondered if I would have been better off just saving myself the cash and going to Gen Con instead. I mean, sure, it involves a crappy plane trip instead of a 3-hour drive, but well... nobody goes to Origins. I mean, I go to Origins and wind up stuck alone in a hotel room when I'm not at the convention center. At Gen Con, though, there's folks I can split a room with and hang out with at the con (and saving a buck in the process, which would help make up for the plane ride).
Gen Con is when the better books come out, and I had an overall better time at the one Gen Con I attended than most of the Origins weekends I've been to. I think one of the things I'd genuinely miss about it as opposed to Origins would be the trip to Mitchell's Steakhouse that I treat myself to every year. And I'm pretty sure that Indianapolis has to have some sort of insanely-expensive restaurant where I could spoil myself.
And now, since I've been tagged for a meme...
Instructions are: Go here to this site and pick 5 quotes that describe you or your belief system. Then tag 5 friends to do the same.
Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal.
The greatest mystery is not that we have been flung at random between the profusion of matter and of the stars, but that within this prison we can draw from ourselves images powerful enough to deny our nothingness.
Happiness comes of the capacity to feel deeply, to enjoy simply, to think freely, to risk life, to be needed.
In times like these, it helps to recall that there have always been times like these.
Try not to become a man of success but rather to become a man of value.
And now, I tag... rick2tails, mafiabass, mwinzi, swordlily, palominomule
The Mage session was a little lighter. But then, after a huge stretch of the story focused on bizarre mystical revelations, we needed something pretty standard. We were able to get together some maps of the local mining systems and tried to find a way to get at the section of the mine containing the locus we'd located previously beneath the vampires' house.
We didn't want to bother the vampires if we couldn't help it, and even then we didn't want to just sit around until nightfall and do nothing. Thus, we got a bunch of gear and went out to a mine entrance outside of town that would lead there.
We went out to the mine entrance and found some old barrels of dynamite with some pooled nitro in the bottom out there. Making note of it, we ventured into the mine. We didn't get too far before finding a pit from a collapse.
We didn't have any way of getting across, and Caduceus took a look on the spirit side of things and noticed that there was a spirit of despair and tragedy on the bottom of the pit feeding off of the mindless shades of the mine workers killed in the accident. We had no way of safely getting across the pit, and even then it would have taken next to forever to actually get back to town via the mine. We figured that the best thing to do would be to just cut our losses and try talking to the vampires that night.
On the way out, though, we heard a roaring sound come from behind us... the spirit had manifested and decided we would make for an interesting snack. Dewey grabbed one of the barrels of old dynamite and nitroglycerin and threw it in the thing's path with the intent of shooting it with his gun to try and set it off. Before he got the chance, the spirit (which looked like a big hyena-thing with crab pincers coming out of its back) stepped on the barrel and set it off, thus removing the thing's foot.
It used its Influences and Numina to try and draw us back into the mine, and Dewey was the only one who failed the roll to resist the attempts, literally running into the thing's clutches. That just truly sucked, given that the rest of the group was about to set off the rest of the explosives. Dewey, by some miracle, happened to escape (rolling two successes on a chance die) and got away. The explosives were set off and the thing was buried in the entrance of the now-closed mine.
We went back to down and killed some time until the sun went down. We approached the vampires who lived in the old part of town, and asked if we could have a look at the locus beneath their house (giving a vague explanation of what a locus was). They agreed, warning us that it was a portal to some very unpleasant places.
We thought they were just exaggerating. We went down there and there was just this semisolid black thing... Caduceus stuck his head through, and got assaultd by mutant demon larvae or something like that, taking a bunch of Agg in the process. We got the hell out of there after he damn near finished himself off with the backlash of his vulgar healing spell to do something about the worst of the damage.
On the way back up, the vampires said that if we wanted to go back down there they'd loan us the shotgun they use to keep those things in line. Regardless, they earned a whole bunch of extra respect in Dewey's eyes if they deal with the monsters down there on a regular basis.
We went to the university hospital to see if we could do anything about the remaining wounds on Caduceus; specifically, to see if he could get ahold of the medical facilities there to handle some of his own treatment. We got a bit of help from one of the Mages who works at the University, someone in the Silver Ladder.
We haven't had much contact with the local Mages. Heck, most of the Consilium is underground because of their suspicions about the mayor. Dewey's had something of a "If they know who we are, then if they want to talk to us they'll either track us down or stay out of our way" attitude towards the non-Guardian Awakened in Ramosis. But I half-suspect we're going to be formally contacted soon.
The Fae game opened up with a Sluagh apparently on official business approaching Gabriella and asking her if she'd seen Helmut in the city, as a higher court's surveillance had apparently lost him. She said she hadn't, so then he moved on to a message he was to bring... Gabriella had written a letter to a nearby duke complaining that some men she thought were working for him were keeping some of the Fae from covering up the murder of Elric Azure in the parking garage from a few weeks ago. The letter said, in so many words: "Maybe next time your having your Shadow Court flunkies kill other Shadow Court flunkies, tell them not to do it in front of mortal security cameras." And then there was a warning that if she wasn't able to take care of the problem they'd asked her about then maybe they would do it themselves.
At the same time, everyone in the city who wasn't Gabriella or Kael was at this huge meeting discussing 'restoring peace to the city by deposing Gabriella' in so many words. They confronted her, and a fight broke out and Ed set the entire room on fire. Both Kael and Gabriella were killed in the process. Afterwards, Glubbos went to see the Kithain's Freehold's hearthstone, removing it and taking it back to his place as part of a plan to take away Eylonwy's power as well.
At the end of the night, Helmut himself showed up. He said that he and his cronies had found a way out of town. They had to take care of a few things, but in exchange for being allowed to leave quietly they were going to give everyone a lift to Pittsburgh "sometime next Friday, about 8 or 9-ish." He was asked if they could delay it a bit to give the folks in Morgantown some time to resolve personal business. Helmut said he'd think about it, and we left off there.
The Vampire game had some action-packed moments. There was a bit of a slow opening, with folks regrouping and talking about what was to be done about the Vicissitude disease. While we were getting things together to make plans, Simon and Evan (Patrick's character, another templar) were sent out to go grab an RV for a mobile haven that had been in the works. So we broke into a local RV dealership and swiped a massive one from the showroom.
We got back to find out that the Archbishop had taken it upon himself to rearrange the political situation in Morgantown... he declared the packs dissolved, and both of the Bishops stepped down. The plan was to rearrange things into three packs, period. None of this whole "a dozen little packs with 3 members each where two of the members never show up" stuff. Erik, John Consamane, and a third Cainite whose name I don't know but is the ductus of a pack that just came into town (a vampire band, now that's original) were to be the leaders of the packs. Simon signed on with Erik's pack as priest.
Naturally, there were a few guys who went out of their way to refuse to join one of the three packs, and were allowed to form a pack of their own as long as they all manage to remain in regular attendance as a pack. Regardless, the Archbishop (now just the Bishop), the ducti and priests all got together to discuss how we were planning on dealing with the Vicissitude problem. One idea is finding someone who can telepathically interrogate Mascov Creel, so Simon and Talios volunteered to see if they could cut a deal with the Voice of the Free State, as he's known to be an exceptionally powerful Malkavian. We've got plans on how to handle that that we'll put into motion next game.
One thing that Erik decided we should deal with is Willy. He's a thaumaturge of some sort (some say Tremere, some say a Setite) and owns a bar in town. He's poked at us, we've poked at him, and there was a hastily-thought out plan to blow up his bar. It didn't work, though, and either he's been driven from town or we've just provoked him into striking openly against us. But as Simon pointed out, either he's gone now or he'll be forced to deal with us openly, thus putting him someplace where we can aim at him.
That's about it for the moment, I think. On a parting note...
Am I the only one that thinks that Comedy Central should be banned from doing roasts? Seriously. They've taken a time-honored tradition and turned it into one of their seven-million shitty little stand-up comedy specials that nobody really wants to see. If I want to see a real roast, I'll catch the Friar's Club. But what they call a 'roast' is nothing more than a theme episode of one of their stand-up shows.