Saturday, 17 October 2020

Silent Legions solo - Part 3: They will always find you

23 September

Cat has nothing to do the next day and no money of which to speak, so decides to kill time by going for a walk. Her steps drift towards Mike's church, consciously or not she can't say. But when she gets there she sees cops milling about, and crime scene tape over the rectory door. Cat keeps walking, and tries to act normal. She checks her phone, hoping that Mike had texted this afternoon and she's just not heard the ringer, but she knows in her heart nothing will be there. Tears come to her eyes unbidden.

[I prefer to end posts at a dramatic point in the narrative, so I'm putting the game mechanics from the final scene of the last post here.

The Oracle indicated a random Event would occur before the Jesuit's letter arrived. I rolled: PC negative - Mike - Violate / Stalemate, so the enemy paid Mike a visit.

I gave him a random Tough (class) challenge to overcome (SL p.129)
1d2 & d20 = A victim of occult powers transformed into a monster.
The visit is (1d6): 1-2 stealthy, 3-4 infiltration, 5-6 frontal assault: stealth]

Its stealth (+1) vs. Mike's Wis/Perception (+1/-1): 10+1 vs. 5+0: Mike is surprised; Its attack (claws or summat) hit, and the slaughter die was 1d6=6, so it inflicts triple damage.

Mike only had 3hp, so was killed messily]

* * *

[Scene 9

Q: Will Cat be stopped for questioning? unlikely (5+): O3 C3 - no, but... will be brought in after 1d4=1day
+Event: Introduce a new NPC

The new NPC will be a random Friend or Enemy from the Location Tags. Cat's halfway house and Mike's church are both in North London, so the tags are Averted Eyes & Drug Epidemic.

1d2=Drug Epidemic; 1d2=Friend; 1d4=Police internal affairs investigator

For the Met (London Metropolitan Police), Internal Affairs = PSD, the Professional Standards Department]

24 September

Cat is all cried out by the time the police arrive at the halfway house the next morning. They bring her into the station. She's not arrested, but she is formally cautioned.

The investigating officer comes in, a singularly joyless [d6=]woman in an unflattering navy blue suit jacket. [Personality: Calculating, Determined]

"We have you on CCTV leaving the church. You were the last person to see him alive."

"So you're looking for a blind murderer or what?"

"Don't get smart with me. The rectory was turned over after the crime. Things may be missing. Your rap sheet isn't doing you any favours here."

"Mike was helping me get my life back together. Why would I kill him?"

"I don't know. We only have your word on that. Maybe you thought he was too preachy and decided to teach him a lesson."

The officer opens the manila folder she's brought and slides a picture of the crime scene across the table. It shows Mike sprawled on his back in a pool of blood, half his face ripped away.

Cat turns her face away and tries to choke back more tears.

[+1d3=1 Madness from seeing the photo.

8+ Cha/Persuade roll to not get detained/arrested: 2d6+0=11, success
10+ Wis/Perception to notice anything unusual: 2d6+1=7, fail]

Eventually the police decide they have no reason to hold her, and she is allowed to wander back home.

* * *

[Scene 10 : the New NPC Event from above]

Later that night, another knock at her door interrupts Cat's attempts at reading her book. She's not surprised in the slightest when the judgemental night nurse tells her it's the police again.

With her hair pulled back by a sparkly scrunchie, form-fitting Empire Strikes Back t-shirt, capri-length trousers, and beat up Chuck Taylors, the young woman waiting at the front door looks more like a student than a cop. But the second she starts talking, all old those warning bells in Cat's head go off. Definitely a cop.

"Cat, I'm DI Wang. I had a few questions I would like you to answer. Is there somewhere we can talk privately?"

"Here? You're having a laugh."

"Is that pub up the road any good?"

* * *
DI Mary Wang
female, Age 36
Class/Level: Investigator 1, XP:0
Background: Police
Wealth: Average
Str 11 Int 15 Wis 14 Dex 14 Con 9 Cha 10
AC 8, Att +1, HP 5
Athletics 0, Combat/primitive 0, Culture/Home 0, Law 0, Perception 0, Research 0, Security 0, Stealth 0

* * *

NPC Relationship: neutral
Conversation Mood: guarded
inquisitive - interest - contacts]

Cat is pleased to find that the table she and Mike always used to sit at is already taken. Even if he sorta became part of the establishment, she thinks it would still be an affront to Mike's old crusty-punk soul to sit a cop down in his place.

For her part, DI Wang is intent on getting Cat to open up. She comes back with a couple pints of real ale, and tells Cat some cheesy chips are on the way. And that she's started a tab. Then she gets down to business.

"You've had an interesting fortnight... a break-in at your psychiatrist's office, stumbling upon the scene of a murder, and now going to visit a murdered priest."

"Kinda an obvious connection to it all, though, innit?"

"Why do you say that?"

"For real? I met Vera in rehab. Mike's a former addict."

"So you think this is drug related?"

"No, not now, but in the past. Vera was clean now. So am I. So was Mike."

"So what then?"

"You'd not believe me if I told you."

[Mary needs to roll 8+ Cha/Persuade (unskilled, -1) + Cat's Wisdom bonus (+1) since it is in her best interests to tell Mary the truth: 2d6+0=9, success]

"Try me. If I thought this was straightforward, we'd be having this talk at the station, not down the pub. I think that there is a connection between these crimes, and it's one that involves certain bad actors within the Met. I need to expose them, or your friends' murderers may never be brought to justice."

"Fine. But I'm warning you, this gets weird. Vera was involved with this... this cult. I used to know 'em, but that was, like, a seriously long time ago. I'm not even sure if anyone I used to know is still with them. I kinda knew Mike back then, in passing. But later, he told me, they started to change, and get really serious, and... well, that's when Vera was part of it, and that's why she wanted out. Only..."

"This cult: what did they believe?"

"Fuck if I know!"

"What did they do, then? Worship the devil? Vampirism? Ritual magic?"

"Back when I knew them, it was mostly talking shit and drug parties. More the former than the latter, so I, uh, lost interest..."

"I'll need some names."

"I'll write down as many as I can remember. You'll understand if my memory's a touch hazy..."

[DI Wang will make contact again in 2d6=11 days]

* * *

[Scene 11

Escape: d12=The heroes need to literally run. The Enemy or some unstoppable force pursues them and they need to flee on foot or in a vehicle before it can catch them.]

27 September

Early on Monday morning, Cat once again heads to the hospital for her outpatient appointment with Dr. Sonia.

[Wis/Perception 11+ : 4+1=fail]

When she comes into the waiting room, the receptionist blankly tells her to go right in. Cat's too exhausted to notice that her demeanour is practically catatonic.

She opens the consulting room door, and immediately see the blood. Dr. Sonia is dead in her chair. Her head is thrown back at an impossible angle. Her gaping mouth is dripping blood all down her front and onto the floor. Her teeth have been removed and placed on the desk in a Y pattern. A sound wells up inside her, then erupts out of her throat, a voice like a chorus of demons shrieking slightly out of unison.

Cat runs out of the office. Someone -- or some thing -- stirs in the bushes outside, alerted by the unearthly screams.

[+1d6=3 madness (up to 10).
I rolled a random Labyrinth Lord spell to add colour to the murder scene, and got Magic Mouth.

Q: So what is the pursuer in this scene? Roughly / Macabre (an undead abomination)

Weak undead: AC8, HD 2, HP 11, claws+2, 1d4 damage, Move 30', skill+0, Madness 1d6

I ran the pursuit itself with the Location Crafter. The lists are--

blind corner
empty lot
lot with one car
train tracks
back garden



I always start on Turn 0 so the turn number is the same as the number added to the die rolls (until one goes past the end of the list). This is essentially a running fight, but most turns last more than one combat round.]

Cat sprints past the motionless receptionist and bursts out through the front door onto the walkway to find a wild-haired, emaciated man of indeterminate age lurching toward her. It smells like he's been bathing in cheap cologne.

[t0: outbuilding - monster - none]
Cat does her best to run round him but he swerves into her path. She ducks just in time to avoid his grasping, outstretched arms. [She needed a resisted Dex/Athletics roll to avoid him entirely: 6+0 vs. 7+0, fail. His attack missed.]

[t1: blind corner - none - none
t2: lot with one car - none - stick]

Cat runs at full bore around a blind corner. Fortunately no one is there to get in her way. She gets halfway through a nearly empty parking lot before hazarding a look over her shoulder. She grabs a broken branch off the ground, sure she will need to defend herself from this maniac.

[t3: blind corner - monster - stick]
Another blind corner: Cat almost barrels into a planter. Her pursuer is catching up. [It wins initiative] He grabs for her. She feels a pop in her shoulder as she twists free [hit for 1d4=1 damage, putting Cat at 6hp].

Cat spins about and smashes him in the face with the end of her stick. The jagged wood catches him full in the forehead and tears up over the curve of his skull, ripping a flap into the scalp. No blood flows from the grievous wound, just a yellow dribble of an oily substance. [1d4=2 damage, leaving it with 9hp]

Cat isn't even sure she hurt him -- or it. If it were once human, it isn't any longer [+1d6=4 madness (to 14) for the realisation]. Cat backs away and from its clutching hands [it missed] and turns to flee.

[t4: trees - monster - stick]
She runs through the back parking lot and between the portacabin outbuildings, straight on into the woods behind. The thing is hard behind. She dodges amongst the boughs, but can't shake the pursuit. It grabs her sleeve. She yanks her arm away roughly, losing her balance and smacking into a tree. [She got to make an opposed Dex/Athletics roll to stay out of reach: 3 vs. 7, fail. Its attack hit for 1 damage, putting Cat at 5hp]

[t5: fence - monster - none]
Cat rights herself and kicks off the tree for speed as the thing lurches after her. She is suddenly face-to-face with a chain link fence. The thing stops just five feet behind her, its feet caught up in some roots. [Athletics 9 vs. 10, fail; but its attack roll was a natural 1]

She scrambles up the fence. Adrenaline propels her up in moments, and without thinking she launches herself right up and over, miraculously avoiding the razor wire. But the drop is further down onto a slope, and she lands hard. Pain shoots through her ankle, but she keeps running. The thing is already climbing up after her.

[6+ Str/Athletics to climb fence: 8=success. Evasion saving throw to avoid razor wire, d20=18, success.

4+ Dex/Athletics to jump down onto soft ground: 2d6+0=3, fail
Fall effects: (1d6) 1-2 1d3 damage, 3-4 Physical save or -1 phys. actions, 5-6 both
d6=4; Physical save 1d20=10, fail]

[t6: trees - monster - random
random = Very / Exotic: a random item has been abandoned here. Flipping through the rulebook at random, first object seen is: bladed weapon]

Cat looks back to see the thing tearing itself through the razor wire without flinching. It jumps down with alarming alacrity. Amongst the omnipresent rubbish (littering all of London's green spaces), Cat finds half a pair of garden shears [-1 to hit 1d4+1 damage]. She pick it up and swings viciously as the fiend draws near. The rusty blade rips into its face, tearing away its nose and most of its right cheek. The ruined skin hangs ragged and oily in a meaty strip, and the bone beneath glistens white. [4 damage drops it to 5hp]. It doesn't seem particularly fazed by the injury, but at least the vehemence of the blow staggered it back a pace, giving Cat time to run. [it missed]

[t7: trees - random - none
random: Dangerously / Large]

She sprints down and across the train tracks, and up the wooded hill on the other side. There is a row of terrace housing at the top, so she makes for the nearest back garden -- but is repelled by an enormous German shepherd chained in the yard, which bares its fangs and growls.

[t8: fence - random - random
item: Healthily / Delightful
encounter: Fortunately / Feminine]

The next garden along has a chain link fence looking out in to the woods. An elderly lady in a frilly dressing gown is on her back step, pouring dietary cat food from a large white bag into a pair of bowls. She stops short when she sees Cat about to scale the fence. [reaction roll (at -2) =3, hostile]

"Go away, or I'll call police!"

"Please, someone is after me!" [7+ Cha/Persuade: 2d6+0=4, fail]

"I'm dialling 999!"

[t9:train tracks - special - none
special: Barely There
t10: train tracks - none - none]

The next few fences are tall and wooden, and Cat doesn't think she can jump high enough with her twisted ankle. She catches a glimpse of monster. It's closer than expected. She runs back down the hill and along the train tracks for about two hundred metres until she sees a rough, trampled path leading up to a street.

[t11: street - pedestrian - stick]
She starts running down the street, doing her best to conceal the broken garden shear beneath her coat. She runs past another OAP out for a stroll. The little old [d6=f] woman literally clutches her pearls at the sight of the young deviant running towards her [reaction: 2d6-2=4, hostile], and Cat doesn't bother stopping.

[t12: random - monster - none
random=Hastily / Smelly (a chippy)]

Somehow the thing has caught up with her again. Cat tries to evade the pursuit [Dex/Athletics 6-1 vs. 8, fail] but it keeps gaining. Its hands grab for her but never come quite close enough [attack misses]. For some reason no one seems in the least put off by the thing in pursuit. Cat is beginning to wonder if it's really there.

[t13: street - none - hubcap (could use as missile, but elects to ignore)]

She runs into a busy street, dodging pedestrians who obligingly halt to hurl profanities at her.

[t14: random - monster - special
special: Exit Here]

Cat sees the sign for Harringay Green Lanes overground station, and feels a surge of adrenaline at the prospect of an escape. [Dex/Athletics 10-1 vs. 7, success] She drops the shears in a bin before entering the station. She has just enough time to touch in and scramble down to the train on the nearest platform. The doors close right behind her.

[Q: Does the monster follow? Unlikely (5+): O3 C6 - no.]

She turns to look out the window; her pursuer is nowhere to be seen.

next post: old friends


  1. Thanks for introducing me to another tool to keep on my radar (Location Crafter). Also, your mechanics for climbing the barbed wire fence gave me some guidance on how to handle an potential similar situation in my current campaign, a situation that ended up never happening.

    Just curious, are your character portraits generated from a site like "thispersondoesnotexist" and pencilized in a graphics program?

    1. The Location Crafter is really versatile. I keep finding new uses for it.

      The portraits are all made with and then turned b/w and posterised with GIMP.

      (I thought I'd put a link to it in my toolbox, but I see now that I missed it out. Oops.)

  2. Wow! That artbreeder looks like something you could get lost in for days!

    1. It is a bit. I will never want for modern PC/NPC portraits again!