Chapter 28: Sica Hollow
The game continued from Chapter 27: Zurich.
game session #151
played on August 25, 2014
Caleb was depressed about the death of the woman he thought he loved. Deke disappeared without leaving a note. Sagesse went to New Orleans to look for Deke, and found the dessicated remains of Marie Laveau, who had been slain by a vampire and her store destroyed. Edgar awoke from a psychic dream in which he spotted Gao aboard a tugboat in Hong Kong where she was being transported somewhere, and the group hurried there to rescue her. They found the corpse of Mortimer Toombs propped up with a dead mole in his mouth, a punishment for revealing Dracula's secret mole to them. In the harbor, they hurried to catch up to the boat and defeated several Six-Fingered Hand cultists aboard, and unhooked Gao from the medical equipment keeping her sedated. Edgar reported that he had spotted Deke on a train while he was dream-walking. In London, they met with Mycroft Holmes, who revealed what La Lumière had recently unearthed about Deke's past: He and fellow soldiers had gone on a rampage against Native Americans some time ago, under the leadership of a Sergeant Freddie Sykes. The unit had been killed in a blaze of gunfire in Mexico, except for Sykes who was now a federal fugitive last seen entering a Native American reservation in South Dakota. To learn more about how Deke survived in Mexico in the past, and hoping to find him in the present, the group set off on a train trip to South Dakota.
Caleb for role-playing Caleb's grief
Deke for clever decisions aboard the train
game session #152
played on September 1, 2014
Nann met Gant Harrington returning to the Manor from his self-imposed hiatus in Oxford and tried to make him feel welcome again. Gant explained to the group that his mother had gone missing again from her sanitarium and he hoped to find her with this group, not knowing what else to do. Noname the robot butler called him "My Lord Harrington" and took orders only from him, prompting Caleb to drag Noname to his workshop for investigation. In the morning, the group discussed the revelations about Deke's past and agreed that he was probably a decent enough person who got caught up in something horrible, and that they still needed to find him. On a train to South Dakota, they got to know each other better, but were attacked by three vampires from New Orleans, who taunted them with threats from "the Master." Sagesse and Phineas were seriously hurt before the group collectively slew all three attackers.
Nann for putting together that Nanook and Eagle Eye could be in danger
Choose Your Own Adventure
game session #153
played on September 8, 2014
The conductor entered the car just as Elise began decapitating the dead vampires, and he backed out in a panic. The train lurched, sending the group tumbling and Elise knocking the stake out of one vampire's chest. He threatened her by claiming to recognize the smell of her blood before she re-staked him. The train stopped and soon rolled off without the group, having detached the car that was the scene of violence. The group searched the leftover baggage and found the vampires' instructions with a list of addresses in New Orleans (including Elise's parents) with the last step being "keep watch at the train station," accompanied by drawings of the group. While Elise caught up to the train with her parasol and eventually made a Manor door in its destination of Watertown, South Dakota, the rest of the party went to Paris to learn about vampires in the Vault. They discovered one spying on them in the entranceway and slew him, though Nannuraluk was uncomfortable desecrating the body to remove its head. When he saw the high-tech interior of the Vault, Gant suspected alien technology and would not enter, arousing suspicion at the door when left unattended. Nannuraluk and Gao informed the Vault's overseer of the vampire spying on the entranceway, but found him dodgy when asked if the Vault's technology was alien. He provided the group with research documents on vampires, including how Hungarian aristocrat Vlad Tepes had once made a pact with the Red Death to become the world's original vampire, Dracula.
Elise for keeping the mission on track by not investigating hints about her parents
Gao for searching the vampires' luggage for clues
game session #154
played on September 15, 2014
The group returned to the Manor and compared notes in the morning. Caleb gave up on explaining Noname's strange obedience to Gant, which continued as Gant ordered the robot to make sandwiches for Gao without stopping. They visited Elise's childhood home, a lavish mansion in New Orleans, and found it ransacked with no one inside, and the neighbor described visitors like the three vampires on the train. The group traveled to a trading post far north of Watertown where horses dropped dead from something in the air. A magic pigeon from Nannuraluk's village elder said that something was wrong inside a forest to the north called Sica Hollow. Nannuraluk (in hawk form) and Elise (with her flying parasol) scouted ahead into the Indian reservation until they found the forest, a poisonous and evil place that was as dark as night inside. When they found an old fort being newly occupied and a new Confederate flag flying on the flagpole, they reached out mentally to Deke, who turned out to be in the same woods. He asked for help right away, having just being attacked by an Indian mystic to struck him with burning light.
Deke for seeking peaceful resolutions to conflict
Gant for role-playing little details about Gant
Nann for using Nann's bird form to search for clues
game session #155
played on September 29, 2014
Leaving Gao behind to keep an eye on the fort, the group raced to find Deke badly burned from an energy attack, and his companion, a soldier named Eliot Gill, dead from his lungs being filled with ice. They had come upon Native Americans performing an occult ritual to summon something animalistic, but the men had fled. Gao was approached by a menacing man named "Bill" in a gray uniform, who drugged her with a canteen of water and left her tied up with two other soldiers who wanted to have their way with her, until she broke free and killed one, sending the other running into a deadly sinking water-pit trap in the woods. Shesh was found with all four of his limbs caught in bear traps and was sent to the Manor to recuperate. Gant was nearly strangled by vines until Sagesse burned him free. In the dusty ruins of Fort Sisseton, they found the belongings of about two dozen men who had gathered in the woods, presumably to attack Native Americans, and Deke found white robes and pointy white hats in their knapsacks. Nannuraluk dispatched pigeons to his village elder asking for guidance. At a river crossing, the group was attacked by a dirt mound and a beaver dam come to life. Sagesse set the mound on fire just as Gao got her foot stuck in it.
Nann for rescuing Deke from the water pit
Sagesse for rescuing Gant from the choking vines
game session #156
played on October 13, 2014
The group fought off the hulking mounds of earth. Sagesse took the burned Gao back to the Manor for treatment. When Gant questioned why they were still here, Deke confessed to his murderous past and said that he had come here to bring Freddie Sykes to justice, and had not wanted the group to get mixed up in this with him, but here they were. By a tree split in two by lightning, they found Sykes's campsite, a week old. A tree covered in nooses tried to strangle them and eat Caleb, but they repelled it. Atop a tall hill that rose over the treeline, they spotted spoke in the distance and determined the way to the Native Americans' lodge. They encountered some Sioux warriors who intended to fight the white soldiers, and learned that Eagle Eye would kill any white men on sight. One of the warriors accompanied them but was lured into a ravine by will-o-the-wisps, who nearly killed Nannuraluk and Elise as well. While Caleb, Gant, and Deke went on ahead and wound up talking a living tree into playing cards with them, Elise and Nannuraluk and Rose explored a cave where they met a crazy old woman who had witnessed as a girl the destruction of the evil woods, when a spirit named Thunderbird was summoned to kill an evil man and the resulting toxic effect had cursed the forest. They pursued her into the cave but were found by an enormous spider the size of a cathedral.
Caleb for escaping from the hangman's noose tree
game session #157
played on November 3, 2014
Reunited with Gao and Sagesse, the group left the cave area and found a recently-left campsite where paper-maché skulls in nooses gave away the involvement of the White Legion, a white supremacist organization that the group had once faced in Atlanta, and deduced that "Bill" their leader was William Calhoun, a master of transmutation. They pressed on and entered a clearing where Native Americans were gathered at a lodge owned by the Nation of Nine. Nannuraluk talked his way in and vouched for the presence of the rest of the group. Inside the smoky room, they pleaded that Freddie Sykes needed to be killed to save the natives, but Eagle Eye accused them of being tricksters in his employ. The ensuing argument led to Nannuraluk's banishment from his tribe and Nanook's removal from power for supporting him. They had to fight their way out when the door disappeared and the building was set on fire. Outside, old Confederate soldiers were mowing down natives with their rifles, and the group mounted a counter-offensive with their varying attack styles. They defeated Calhoun and took away his spellbook, while Deke found himself taunted by Sykes's disembodied voice. So blind was his hatred, Eagle Eye summoned the Thunderbird to attack Deke, even if it meant destroying Sica Hollow and everyone in it.
Deke for paralyzing Eagle Eye
Gao for "paralyzing" William Calhoun
Judge, Jury, and Executioner
game session #158
played on November 10, 2014
The group coordinated a simultaneous attack on Eagle Eye, killing him and breaking the spell. The ghost of Freddie Sykes shot Nanook and then Nannuraluk. Gao took Nannuraluk to relative safety in the Manor, but the hunter still died of his injury, and began breaking down into a soft semi-liquid form. William Calhoun snatched his spell book and nearly got away until Gant pinned him, but he did transform Sagesse's clothes into an iron maiden that almost killed her. Unable to catch Sykes, the group returned to the Manor to save Nannuraluk, ultimately depending on Rose's resurrection spell to bring him back from the dead, exhausted. Deke took out his wrath on Calhoun and pried from his memories that Calhoun had taken over control of the genocidal operation by transmuting Sykes into a split tree. Calhoun made various attempts to bargain for his life, including offering to transmute Sykes back into the flesh, but Elise executed him with a stone to the forehead. Caleb set fire to the split tree, destroying Sykes and preventing Deke from collecting the promised reward, but restoring peace to the forest in the process. While discussing what else the spellbooks contained, Rose showed the group a lifelike drawing of a poker chip. When Elise touched it, the group found themselves transported to a shiny, noisy gaming hall. Old enemy Mitchell Amaranth welcomed them to the Crimson Casino.
Deke for taking charge of planning what to do about the split tree
Gant for capturing Calhoun and resisting his bribes
Irregular Playing Patterns
game session #159
played on November 17, 2014
Rose figured out that the Crimson Casino must be a private dimension once created by the Fellowship of the Crimson Dawn for their own amusement, before they died. Gao helped herself to the buffet, while Sagesse and Phineas excused themselves to the bar to flirt. Nannuraluk was reunited with his pet bear, but lost most of his money playing cards. Caleb and Gant entered a poker tournament to win an enchanted deck of cards, but were eliminated halfway through. Elise won at a slot machine whose chips spelled out "help me sister" on the floor, and she deduced that it must be a message from Theresa. Deke argued with the bartender and manager, and got himself kicked out of the casino. He enlisted Gilbert's help to deliver news of Freddie Sykes's death to a U.S. marshal, who promised to do everything he could to erase Deke's criminal record. Nanook had disappeared from the Manor, leaving behind a drawing to something buried near Nannuraluk's village. When Noname served Gao another sandwich and the girl threw up from having eaten too much buffet food, the hot sauce on the sandwich spelled "help me sister."
Elise for deducing the meaning of "help me sister"
The game continued in Chapter 29: Lima.