Tuesday, 15 November 2016

This Old House (Part 2)

Part 2 in a series of short Actual Play reports for the game of Blood & Water being run through the Gauntlet Hangouts as part of Story Game Sunday.

Act 3: The Mourning After

Following their gig, Manfred skips the hedonistic after-party and goes home to cook, but the next morning, an urgent call from Jack, the lead guitarist for the band, summons him to the squat-like commune other members of the band use. Upon arrival, Manfred finds that Jack wants some assistance of an initmate, medical nature, after catching necroherpes from a night spent with Anyanka, the Meso-American mummified handmaiden, who simply followed the band out of the museum after their last practice. Manfred recommends some bean extract to relieve the itching, but it seems Brandi, Charlie's girlfriend, will be in need of it too, as she has also crashed at the band's place after the gig...

Meanwhile, back at the boarding house, Charlie tries to deal with the ghost of Skip Jackson, who doesn't seem aware of his condition, despite being a horrific apparition of violent and bloody death; all Skip is concerned with is his hair turning grey. Charlie convinces Skip to disguise himself so that he won't be recognised on the street until he has dyed his hair and foists him onto James, hoping that the two ghosts will strike up a rapport, softening the eventual blow when Skip learns the truth. As James escorts skip back to his apartment, Charlie takes Steve for a walk in Central Park, hoping to learn how to become a guide to the spirit world as Olivia suggested he might be. He learns that the venom of a South American snake is the express lane to gaining the insight he needs, so he heads to the Bronx Zoo.

James and Skip have some trouble at the latter's apartment, where a detective from the NYPD is poking around and becomes very confused when the horribly mauled but apparently alive Skip turns up: she leaves hastily to investigate Skip's 'death' and James just about manages to convince Skip that it's part of a surprise party being planned for him at Channel 5 to celebrate his years in the business, though he snuffs out all the electronics in the apartment to prevent Skip from finding out anymore.

Charlie meets Manfred at the Bronx Zoo but his initial plan to get into the reptile enclosure goes awry and he turns into the very snake he wants to get bitten by; he narrowly escapes the clutches of the zookeepers and escapes into the sewers, whereupon he has the brilliant idea of biting himself! Steve doesn't agree that this is such a good idea, but the deed is done and he receives a vision of Brandi telling him that to become a spirit guide, he must make amends with Skip Jackson.

Image result for weather new yorkAfter leaving Skip while he "goes out to get hair dye", James meets up with Charlie and Manfred and all of them head back to help Skip come to terms with what's happened to him; this is complicated by the presence of more officers from the NYPD. When James terrifies them into leaving, they shoot through the ghost and run, but one of the stray bullets hits Charlie in the shoulder. Breaking the news to Skip also doesn't go well, as the weather over New York is now tied into the meteorologist's moods and as he goes into denial, a storm whips up, threatening to blow the housemates away! Eventually they talk him down and he accepts his death, but asks them to take a message to Brandi: he is sorry for being an absentee father! Oops, it seems Charlie got the wrong end of the stick the other day and killed Skip for no reason...

Act 4: Fire & Loathing in New York

As Sunday evening rolls on, Manfred goes to speak to Olivia on his housemates' behalf and they find a way to overcome her inability to notice him: she explains about Charlie & Brandi's destinies and asks Manfred to intercede by killing Brandi! This is followed by an awkward Sunday night dinner, where James reads the report of Dr. Lithgow's death and the paper bursts into flame in his hands; Charlie becomes more concerned that James will be the cause of the fire he has seen in his visions, especially as he has now seen a flaming James over the charred remains of Manfred! James shrugs it off and sets off to seek out more of the people who conspired in his murder, while Manfred and Charlie head to one of the museum's storage rooms for band practice!

Image result for burning officeJames hunts down Mr. Wyman, an ex-colleague who profited from his death and waits for him to be alone in his office: when he confronts him, however, Mr. Wyman traps James in a circle of salt! Thinking he has the upper hand, he admits to killing James and says they picked him at random from some names in a hat, for reasons as yet unrevealed; James calls upon his newly-emergent fire powers and burns his way out of the office, killing Mr. Wyman in the process. He runs into Olivia outside the burning building, who once again tries to dissuade him from his course and asks him to meet her at midnight, where she will make one last attempt and, if she fails, she promises to leave him alone after that.

Over at band practice, Jack suggests that Anyanka should join the band and Manfred agrees to give her a try-out: it goes well and the rest of the band are excited, but Jack confesses to Manfred that Mr. Gorman, the promoter, was trying to squeeze Manfred out, so he suggests that Manfred finds Mr. Gorman and persuades him to change his mind, so that they can all sign the contract together. Also, Manfred had better keep that bean paste concoction coming, as now it seems that everyone involved with the band has caught a dose of necroherpes...

Charlie explores the museum basement looking for a way to protect Manfred from James and meets Madeleine, a junior museum technician: they strike up a rapport while cataloguing a collection of artifacts that have recently arrived from England. Not only does Charlie find a relic that should protect Manfred, he gets a date with Madeleine, despite not having officially broken up with Brandi yet or even told her about her dead dad, Skip.

Image result for mortuaryBack at the boarding house later that might, James reacts badly when he realises that he can't approach Manfred anymore. thanks to the relic he's wearing, provided by Charlie, but he has an important appointment with Olivia. She takes him to the NYPD morgue and explains the reasons behind the deaths of the people there: each of them was killed by someone, in some way, so she asks James whether she should wake them all up and let each of them have their own revenge? He reluctantly accepts that that would be a bad idea, but still refuses to let go of his own quest for vengeance, so Olivia presents him with the chance to sign a contract that will absolve her of responsibility for him: if he signs it though, he will never reach the afterlife and will be condemned to walk the Earth forever. He's not prepared to do that either, so he's stuck with the reaper in his life for now...

Finally, thinking over everything that has happened over the last few days, Charlie decides it's time to end things with Brandi... so he dumps her by text message. As soon as his thumb hits 'Send' though, he hears crying in the hallway outside his room and finds a woman in traditional Native American garb weeping in the corner; as she lifts her head and faces him, he sees that she is weeping tears of blood!

To be concluded!

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