Chapter 16: New Orleans
The game continued from Chapter 15: Atlanta.
You Can't Go Home Again
game session #72
played on June 29, 2011
Since Elise still hadn't reverted to her Caucasian form a day after being enchanted in Atlanta, she explained that her nanny Delilah had taught her the ways of voodoo and once taken her to a New Orleans cemetery, where African-American ghosts had called her "family" and said that she was Delilah's black baby reincarnated as a white baby in the LeBlanc family. Seeking answers, the group booked passage to New Orleans. Shortly after arriving in town, they witnessed a ritual performance in Jackson Square by local voodoo practitioner Marie Laveau, daughter of the more famous witch of the same name. Photographer E.J. Bellocq took pictures for the newspaper and filled the group in about recent crimes apparently related to voodoo, including an assault on wealthy Baroness Micaela Pontalba and a Catholic bishop. A ghost at the cemetery confirmed that Elise was the infant Rose who died a few days after Delilah gave birth, but didn't know why Elise now looked like an adult Rose. Another ghost of a fur trapper said that he had been killed by an alligator in the bayou a few weeks earlier, despite a protective gris-gris sold to him by Marie Laveau II. When Delilah turned out to be missing, the group turned to her blind sister for help locating her, but the old woman's spell was blocked by an unknown force, showing a rich white man assaulted by a mob.
Gant for good questioning of E.J. Bellocq
game session #73
played on July 7, 2011
Visiting the home of the trapper's ghost that reached out to Elise, they gave his son and widow his farewell message, and studied the voodoo charm that had failed to save him. Renting his flat-bottom boat from his widow, they ventured down the river and found an overturned, half-submerged carriage containing the briefcase of Senator Bill Broussard, who had drafted legislation that would have banned the practice of certain Voodan rituals in the state. At the Picayune offices, they read about Broussard's abduction in the newspaper, confirming that he was the same victim seen in Miriam's vision. While Gant read an article about Martian canals with interest, the group met a fellow investigator named Randy Boudreaux who had been hired by Baroness Pontalba to solve these voodoo-related crimes. He took the group to lunch and discussed working together, and told them about another victim, a banker found dead at his desk, clutching a charm. After lunch, they found a doll of Gant impaled inside their carriage with a dagger, a warning. When checking back on Gant's mother in their headquarters, the group learned that Thomas Carnacki had once known Voodoo mystic Marie Laveau (the younger), so they brought him along to visit her shop. She became terrified at the sign on the doll of Gant: This was the work of John Malveau, aka "Doctor John," a very powerful and very evil wizard she had narrowly defeated years ago as revenge for her mother's death, reflecting his own spell back at him to turn him into an alligator; he was never seen again. Laveau warned the group that John, or whoever was skilled enough to continue his work, was a deadly enemy and not to be taken lightly.
Caleb for driving away the alligator at the submerged carriage
Elise for connecting Broussard's drafted legislation with his disappearance
Pins and Needles
game session #74
played on July 13, 2011
The group purchased magic from Marie Laveau to aid them against John Malveau, including voodoo dolls. Conversations with a detective and the undertaker determined that the deceased banker was about to purchase Malveau's dilapidated house from his grandson, indicating yet another connection to the voodoo master that had once terrorized the area. The group paid a visit to the grandson and were given entry to Malveau's ruined old shack on the bayou, but before they entered, Elise reminded them of the impending opera appointment and voodoo festival. The only way to attend both events would be to split up. The house would have to wait.
During the game, the players constructed voodoo dolls representing their characters: Caleb, Elise, Gant, and Lyon.
Caleb for creative work on the voodoo doll
Elise for creative work on the voodoo doll
Gant for creative work on the voodoo doll
Lyon for creative work on the voodoo doll
Den of Evil
game session #75
played on July 20, 2011
At the opera and a fancy dinner, Caleb and Gant met the wealthy sponsor of their investigation, Baroness Micaela Pontalba, whose description of her attackers made it sound like a pack of zombies. Attending the voodoo festival, Elise and Lyon learned that Marie Laveau had been abducted, and they found footprints leading from her house in the direction of John Malveau's shack on the bayou. After excusing Randy Boudreaux to mourn his beloved, the latest murder victim, the group entered Malveau's house and began a thorough, room-by-room exploration. Lyon was nearly pulled into a shadow dimension by a creature until he blasted it with his shotgun. Caleb was poisoned by a booby trap on a chest, until Elise found and administered the antidote. In the back of the house, they found Malveau's magic shop, and a letter from the Vistani woman who had adopted their one-time teammate Jacques Lebeau that alluded to a truce between the voodoo and gypsy factions in New Orleans. Elise was attacked by a parasitic alien that sapped her intelligence, but a lucky attempt to read a spell by Gant exorcised the creature. The group resolved to keep exploring.
Elise for curing Caleb's poisoning
game session #76
played on July 27, 2011
After finding hints downstairs that John Malveau had many lovers, the group found their way to the second floor of his house. In a room full of summoning circles, Lyon freed an imp-like creature from Ravenloft from its torment by a magical black cat. A crystalline goo nearly absorbed Caleb. The group found a torture room and freed the spirit of a long-dead prisoner convinced that he was still alive, and the constable of the village of New Orleans. After Gant figured out how to use two candles to open their way north, they battled a swarm of zombies and Dr. John's first love, a voodoo sorceress named Serilia who made for a dangerous opponent: Her protective cats nipped at Caleb's leg and began to necrotize it, while she robbed Lyon of his life force to become a young woman before their eyes.
Gant for figuring out how to use the candles
Lyon for freeing the manes terrari and the constable
La Grande Zombi
game session #77
played on July 30, 2011
Fed up with Serilia's spells, Elise crushed her with boulders, while Gant discovered and killed the zombie of Senator Broussard. In a room with undead pet alligators, Caleb found a hidden switch leading on to the north, and Lyon's highly prized guns were melted by a strange goo. Gant found himself possessed by Serilia's spirit, and this time killing her proved much harder, for the group didn't want to harm Gant. They finally achieved stalemate, and Serilia fled through a watery portal to Ravenloft, swearing to return for revenge. In the next room, the group found John's enormous altar to the voodoo god Zombi, and defeated a 40-foot python before it could eat any of them. In a hidden chamber, they released the ghost of Delilah Crawford, Elise's missing nanny and mentor, who told them that John was killing every last enemy and was now about to sacrifice Marie Laveau on the voodan holiday in the swamp beyond the house. She revealed that John was, in a sense, Elise's father: He had sired Delilah's baby Rose, who was reincarnated as Elise and now needed to be laid to rest by his death. The group devised a plan for taking Marie Laveau through a portal to the Manor and luring John through it to weaken him, then hurried into the swamp. John, transformed years earlier into an alligator, morphed into a hulking gator-like man who moved much faster than they expected. Elise and Gant freed the unconscious Marie and carried her to the Manor, but John destroyed the doorway, stranding Lyon and Caleb in his swamp. He proceeded to bring Caleb to the brink of dead, accelerating the zombification of his body, before Elise and Gant returned to help Lyon face him down. In the end, when explosions and gunfire had failed to kill him, Elise plugged his mouth with a lit stick of dynamite and vaporized him. Returning to the Manor, they nursed Marie Laveau back to death, but wondered at the disappearance of their old ally Gao and her cat Melchitt. Laveau promised to thank them by researching a cure for Caleb's condition. Elise, now restored to her caucasian form, felt that her past was now at rest, and had overcome her fear of alligators.
Caleb for role-playing
Elise for destroying John Malveau
The game continued in Chapter 17: Surrey.