Matt (innocent_man) wrote in mageawakening,
Matt
innocent_man
mageawakening

Muder in the Pines: Conclusion

Tonight was the final chapter in my Mage: The Awakening chronicle, "Murder in the Pines." Before the write-up, a few thoughts on how this compared to my other one, Gloria Mundi.

First off, there wasn't the same reliance on Dream. Sure, they used it, especially once Whim got involved, but it wasn't the hint machine that it was in Boston.

Second, the Consilium really came alive in Cincinnati. Boston's was fun because the characters were all made and the Boston Unveiled book is awesome, but the characters really got involved in this one and found their niche within it. Not to say that the GM characters didn't, but the Consilium just felt more alive here - probably because I knew the NPCs better since I made 'em (which, now that I think of it, is the opposite of GM; in that chronicle, I made the PCs, the initial ones anyway, but most of the NPCs were from a book).

More of a focus on violence, but that was deliberate. Each story started with a murder, and the chronicle ended with...



The game started with the characters taking three days of downtime. Prospero wound up getting his training elsewhere (his player couldn't make today's game). They learned some rotes, Fin hung some spells, including a massive Telepathic Control spell to hit the murder-spirit with (he also learned a dot of Spirit). The characters left their Sanctum and headed south, planning to head to the blood-rock they'd found way back here. En route, they stopped for gas at the KY/OH border, and Asmodeus thought he felt a bit of magic from the girl behind the counter (with the nametag that said "Michelle Ann"). He used Prime sight and scrutinized, and thought he saw something magical hiding something within her. He reached in with Mind magic and strengthened it, and saw the threads fall away to reveal...Whim (whom, you'll recall, had apparently died back here).

She explained, once she had her bearings, that the murder-spirit had attacked her. Unable to defeat it and hurting from Paradox, she grabbed one of its fate-threads and wrapped herself in it, assuming the identity of one of its prior victims. Since it now thought of her as dead, it ignored her, but she had woven the deception too well, and been fooled herself by it.

She remembered Michelle Ann's life, too, though, and how she had died the first time - decapitated by a hulking brute who'd said "714" as she died. The characters did some quick research, and Asmodeus did some quick scrying, and they traced a thread of fate back to an organization called Vanguard Serial Crimes Unit (VASCU). Making some calls, they learned that VASCU was a branch of the FBI that dealt with serial crimes, but they did the X-files type of stuff. Wanting more information, they contacted Ad Infinitum, who figured out who their IT person was and had Fin possess him. He then talked Fin through digging up the files and covering his tracks. This allowed the characters to learn about 714.

This monster just...appeared in Florida one fine day and started beating people up. The police caught him, but he couldn't (or didn't) speak. Sentenced to a psychiatric hospital, he was given shock treatment, then broke out and started working his way north, killing whoever crossed his path. VASCU caught him (he killed four agents in the process), and had him in custody long enough for an empath to read his mind (you can read the result in Slasher, if you like, look under Mask). He escaped, and wound up in Kentucky, where he killed Michelle Ann Clarkson and her neighbor.

Right after that, the Guiding Hands cabal found him and battled him, and he wound up in the pine forest, apparently. Knowing this much, the characters set off for the forest. Whim used Dream en route, and saw the murder-spirit behind every tree in the forest, but held together by threads. The threads bore the names of 714's victims.

Entering the woods, Amodeus scryed for Emory and found him pacing the forest in Dalu form. Whim checked for him with Fate, and, finding him, charged off into the trees. The others followed her, and Emory pounced on her, but Fin mind-controlled him long enough to change him back into human form. Whim hugged him and he snapped out of it, and told them that he felt like he'd been alone too long (hint: that can make you lose Harmony if you're a werewolf). They then went looking for the grave of 714.

They found it...but the murder-spirit appeared and threw Emory into frenzy. Fin snapped him out of it, and Falstaff read the spirit's ban - he was vulnerable to hearing the names of 714's victims. The spirit used Blast on Fin and nearly dropped him, but Fin recovered and, following Whim's Great Curse, mind-controlled him just long enough for the characters to yell the names at him. He fell apart, his body scattering to the breeze....

Just before 714 burst from the loamy ground, machete in hand.

Now, you've gotta know: 714's a Mask. That means he takes one damage from any successful hit. The characters pounded the shit out of him during the fight, but he just kept coming - the way a slasher should.

Anyway, he came at Whim and did a whopping one damage to her, at first. The other characters attacked, with guns, magic, claws (Emory), etc. 714 threw Emory into Vulcan, and then went back to Whim, impaling her with his machete and dropping her. At that point, Vulcan threw a firebolt at 714, immolating him. And causing a blast of fire that engulfed Whim as well, doing enough damage to kill her.

Vulcan, horrified, lost a dot of Wisdom. Emory flew into frenzy. Asmodeus cast a spell to teleport Whim's body clear of the fire, but hit Bedlam, becoming Narcissistic for the scene and opening a portal home.

714, barely blinking, burst out of the fire and slashed Fin open, dropping him. He flung his machete at Vulcan, dropping him as well. Falstaff, basically unhurt, healed Fin and Fin mind-controlled Vulcan's body to get up. 714 grappled Emory (who was clawing him up), and Fin animated Whim's body (I know, right?) and ordered her to push the two of them into the fire.

Asmodeus walked into the fire (co-located, so not really him) and watched as 714 began to disintegrate. Emory, still alive, pulled his head off and walked out of the fire, collapsing. Falstaff healed him and Vulcan put his fire out (but left the forest burning, though he did use Control Weather to send a rainstorm on the way). Emory tossed Vulcan 714's head and ran off into the forest, and the characters took Asmodeus' portal home.

They talked with Bailiff, and decided to disband. Asmodeus wasn't interested in working with the Arrow anymore, and decided to head to Boston to try and find his uncle. Fin and Falstaff went with him. Vulcan rejoined the Guardian Angels. Helen challenged Silas for Hierarch, after officially disbanding her old cabal, and won (she had a lot of support).

Destroying the murder-spirit cost the lives of a lot of people, really. What I thought was interesting was that Whim really did die in a fire that was started to try and kill the murder-spirit. She just delayed her fate for a while, didn't really dodge it. That's appropriate. Likewise, if the characters hadn't found Whim, they wouldn't have had access to the Fate magic that probably won the day (against both the spirit and 714), but then, if they hadn't found her, she would have lived.

I liked that it was Whim that died (sorry, ulaliya). It was appropriate for her to give her life in such a tangled mess of fate, a battle that mirrored the battle that created the murder-spirit (the one with Helen's cabal, in which 714 died the first time and gave birth to the murder-spirit). The actions of the 6s and 7s wound up having repercussions for a lot of other characters, and that's fun, too.

But at least now, the murder-spirit is gone, and the pines are burnt, but regrowing.
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