Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Weird Adventures: The Anagrammatist, Part Two
It's not often that people leave Carcossa with a smile on their face, like the gent pictured above. Bob played the millionaire socialite Vernon Astra in "The Anagrammatist", my Con of the North adventure using Trey Causey's Weird Adventures setting. Think "D&Dified version of pulp era NYC" and you have the basic idea of what the setting's like. The basic scenario set-up and character designs are described in Part One of my convention report, here; I used the character generation and magic rules from the Fate Freeport Companion to build out the adventure.
The game started with a summons. Each PCs was on-call to the City as a special problem solver, on the City's Master Contract. Each had been assigned a "token" of some kind, so that The City could contact them in times of need. Vernon Astra's token was a special limousine - with full bar - that the City used to summon him for special assignments. Each of the PCs was brought to a special room in the legendary Fate Exchange in the downtown Financial District. There, the City Manager informed them that "the machines in the basement" had an assignment for them: the PCs were to go to a certain nearby apartment address, belonging to a Taxman who had not reported for work, and investigate.
The PCs soon arrived at the Taxman's brownstone in nearby Pentacle Park. City Hall, and the Municipal Department of Taxation and Finance, were also located in the same neighborhood; this guy clearly lived pretty close to where he worked. The apartment building was radiating a great deal of heat. The PCs feared that a fire was imminent, so they broke into the building, and rushed to the apartment whose address they had been given. The PCs broke the apartment door down, and upon entering the Taxman's apartment, found a miniature sun floating in the middle of the living room.
There were small fires everywhere. A lot of paper was burning: tax ledgers. This Taxman apparently liked to bring his work home. No sign of the Taxman, though, just that sun floating in the middle of the room.
Tax Man --> Max Tan.
An anagram. (It's OK to groan.) The place reeked of magic, and of time running out. A couple of our heroes raced to help other tenants evacuate the building. A short time later, that sun went nova, and the apartment burst into flames.
Paper flew everywhere. It blasted out of the apartment's windows, into the streets, and into the sky surrounding the apartment building. Curiously enough, most of the paperwork that blasted out of the apartment building appeared to be records from tax ledgers. Much of the paper gusted out and up.
Doctor Haint used a spell similar to Eye of the Nexus to follow the resulting magical flaming paper trail. Alex Gold, the Bronze Titan of Science, improvised an aircraft from his roadster and took to the air with Doctor Haint, following the trail. The lines of magical force landed on numerous rooftops in the adjacent immigrant neighborhood of Little Carcossa, where they began to kindle, like small fires in the trenches of the Great War.
The epicenter of the paper meteor storm was a long-abandoned neighborhood theater, the Old King Cinema. Doctor Haint picked the lock (stage magicians are good at this sort of thing), and the PCs entered a theater, all of whose seats were taken-up by waxy corpses. The corpses were fresh - kind of. The PCs poked one, its skin broke, and fluid seeped out everywhere.
A strange silent movie played. The subtitles were in an odd blocky foreign script. The early scenes were of bucolic festivals and scenes of life in a small country that is no more - a country erased from the map. Soon that country was surrounded, swallowed-up, obliterated by armies and weapons of the Great War. Amorphing shells and acid fogs rained down from airships up above. Villages and towns were pounded by artillery using thaumaturgical munitions.
All of the horrors of war. No way out. And a King who sealed himself with all his military officers, and the nobility, within the walls of his castle. Once the drawbridge was drawn and the gates had been barred, the King enjoyed himself by turning the guests on one another in a series of ruinous homicidal social games and contests. Meanwhile, the King's subjects outside the castle's walls were utterly destroyed.
Old Carcossa. We're never far from there in The City.
More to come, in Part Three!