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ARC-U Report 1: We've been Scooby-Duped

a guest May 26th, 2019 91 Never
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  1. ------NOTES FROM BEFORE MISSION------
  2.         Translation note: 'Capilla' is both a word for a church and sometimes a word for the people who go to them.
  3. -they are hunting the creature during the day
  4. -the sheriff has a dislike for the Indians and blames them for thrashing the church without evidence
  5. -admits to beating them and chaining them more than once, advices party to beat them as well
  6. -capillas are generally catholic and have a saint they hold on high, often used as meeting grounds for the highly devout and for offerings
  7. -if for the sake of a believed legitimate blessing, even nuns will do whatever they must to please their idol, even if sin must be committed as long as it is for a greater perceived good
  8. -indian trackers refused to continue after finding tracks, even under the threat of beatings, means that these youngsters fear this thing more than the sheriff
  9. -if there is a connection, it must be something that exists in common between native folklore and Spanish Catholics
  10. -the mystery meat may not be of the creature, but maybe FOR the creature, as offerings to summon or pacify it
  11. -the victims have been women of believed Ill repute because they were out alone at dark, but what if they served a purpose?
  12. -one of the women was married and the husband is a hunter, what he has to say must be important
  13. -between devout Catholics and abused natives, messages in the night may be misunderstood
  14.  
  15. Crossref Capilla lore with Indian Lore
  16. Hits on Indian Taboo Spirits similar to Solomon Key Demons
  17. -(...) those dealing in death prepare bountiful offerings to placate it and earn its favor
  18. -(...) standing on two feet with an animal skull for a head or riding on a bear, but may shift into other giant forms. Cannot hide his gray hair or large teeth
  19. -(...) sacrifice of flesh to force a physical form and sate its hunger
  20. -(...) ring of silver on its forehead to force it to tell the truth, but only if the conjurer is strong enough
  21.  
  22. goetic demon described in the Lesser Key of Solomon as a Prince in human form who incites the love. He also commands sixty-six legions of demons.
  23. Gaap also provides medical care for women, transforms them to make it easier to get to a lover, renders them infertile, and rules twenty-five legions of spirits.
  24. Gaap is also described as a President, giving him the powers to teach philosophy and liberal arts, make others invisible, steal familiars from other magicians, make men stupid, and carry men between kingdoms.
  25.  
  26. But Átahsaia is also depicted as having physical form. He is a giant, several times larger than a normal human being. In one story, he is depicted as so huge that he cannot fit his shoulders into a cave in which a normal human being can pass easily
  27. Átahsaia is often depicted armed with weapons. In one story, his weapon is a huge flint axe. In another, he is said to carry a flint knife "as broad as a man's thigh and twice as long" (which gives an indication of his height as well). He pushes his hair out of his eyes with this knife, leaving his hair crimson with blood. Sometimes, he is said to carry a bow made from an oak sapling.
  28.  
  29. "I found some newsrags out of Christchurch. Supposed to be every 2 weeks, but they haven't printed a paragraph in months. Might be nothing.
  30. -Apparently there ain't no africans left. Hangins' and rallies drove 'em all out. One culture's magic less to deal with. Just strange christian cults and tobacco spirit hootenanny left. Or there's some left with a grudge.
  31. -The place we're going is about 20 minutes south of the Pennsylvania border by horseback, in the Maryland northeast. We'll be about 45 off from West Virginia.
  32. -The Sheriff is the one in charge. We get on his good side, we're on the town's good side. He was officially in charge back during the rallies, looks like people still think of him as the honcho. He opened up some home for orphan boys, mostly foreigners and non-whites. I figure we can either use them to get to him, or get to them through him. Either way, hopefully an emotional soft-spot we can use."
  33.  
  34. ------MISSION NOTES------
  35. (Read till the end. Big twist makes earlier events irrelevant)
  36.     -(character note. Alex, writing this, would likely use more ratial slurs because it's 1908 and he's both white and an ass when he can't get anything by acting otherwise. But I don't think I'll profit in any way from dropping hard Rs in this document, so here we are)
  37. We showed up at the town by train, took a carriage to the town from the station.
  38.     Carriageman was a veteran who charged way to much.
  39.  
  40. Interactions with Carriageman:
  41.     Carriageman was well-armed
  42.     Was surprised we had heard about the ruckus, thought the news hadn't spread
  43.     Noticed we were from out of town. Bought the Park Authority story, mentioned other park authority members have already come in to deal with the problem.
  44.         -Either they're legit, or we have competition who thought of the same cover
  45.         -Said the other 'Park men' had been there for 'a fort and a third'. 30 days?
  46.         -There's a bounty of 2,500 for the capture of the beast
  47.     Claims the Sheriff is known to take bribes and harass africa-americans. Takes pride in his badge (position as sheriff) and is not afraid to beat kids if he doesn't like how they act. Runs the town like he's the dictator in a military takeover.
  48.     Claims a woman named Clarissa is attractive and likes to cook chicken for people. Might be friendly?
  49.    
  50. Arrived at ~9:00 AM, hunting party had already gone out.
  51.  
  52. Peeperscan revealed nothing interesting. Most women are over 30, kids are helping around the house. Nothing of note.
  53.    
  54. Sheriff came out of the woods cursing at mexican prostitutes, and inferred that he had traveled with/to them earlier, and that he didn't want to do it again.
  55.  
  56. Sheriff is an ass. Beats the kids (see following), probably more than is setting-appropriate. Sheriff is determined to believe that the perp is just a bear. Hits the kids when they suggest to the contrary. Completely unsubtle about his hatred for all non-whites, but hates those of african heritage more than most.
  57.  
  58. Fritz dropped that he was the one to bribe the Sheriff, and asked where the mentioned guides were. The Sheriff did not react to the connection of who Fritz was.
  59.  
  60. Sheriff gave Alexander a ticket worth $5 for meals in town. "Your boss owes me another hot nickel for yer set". (Significance?)
  61.  
  62. The aforementioned 'indian guides' are two children (~15 y/o) who the sheriff put to work rolling tobacco and cocaine leaves in a smoking shed. Implied the work was punishment for them 'trying to run'. Each had 10 large scars, recent, on their backs. The sheriff mentioned the intention to hit them more if they 'misbehaved'.
  63.  
  64. Interactions with Kids:
  65.     Elder mentioned the tracks were not at all like bear tracks. Sheriff struck him in response.
  66.     Sheriff left, implying he'd beat the kids on our behalf if we didn't get the answers we wanted.
  67.     Younger insisted it was a real bear after seeing his brother struck.
  68.     Younger mentioned tracks were large and heavier than normal, even on dry ground.
  69.     Elder wanted to walk somewhere more private to discuss things. Did. Sheriff watched us through window, but shouldn't have heard anything from that distance.
  70.     Younger mentioned the path the hunters take floods during the day. You can only cross between Town and Forest at dawn or dusk. We couldn't see the tracks first-hand
  71.     Elder said Sheriff would switch us if we tried to trick him
  72.     Younger said they found the tracks near sunset
  73.     They started out large, larger than a large pot lid. They shrunk as they walked, becoming the size of a large man (Lloyd was used as an example. Alexander has a print of his feet for reference).
  74.         Around the transforming part of the tracks, they found an offal pile. Either it sheds meat as it transforms, or it can only transform at piles of meat.
  75.     Younger mentioned it the tracks made it look like the creature walked unevenly, as if wounded. Either it's physiologically fucked up to the point where it just walks like that, or something/one managed to hurt it. We forgot to ask if the human tracks walked weirdly as well. My bad.
  76.     Both kids reacted badly to the words 'wendigo' and 'skinwalker'. Called them 'curse words'. Didn't seem to think either word applied to the creature.
  77.     Younger saw a women leave the sheriff's house the night before they found the tracks (Timing significance?)
  78.         -Elder mentioned the woman's name was Constance, who might be any of: hispanic, capilla, prostitute (was called a 'rio slag'). Her and an irishman named Randolph have been trying to get the Sheriff's permission to marry, he has
  79.     Elder calls the Sheriff 'sir'. Called him the Sheriff once, quickly corrected himself, looked at the sheriff's house, scared.
  80.     Fritz took us further out of town to put the screws on them out of sheriff-sight.
  81.     Alex tried to ask about the women, Younger said the Sheriff threatened to castrate them barehanded if they told any out-of-towners.
  82.         -Didn't mention Sheriff by name. Could've been someone else, doubt it.
  83.     With some clever talking between Fritz and Alex, got the kids to admit that 'Sundays' (strange people) from out of town took all the attacked women out of town in cars. Supposedly 'big city doctors'
  84.         -In full: The children claimed that the sheriff said the women were taken away in cars, and they claim he also said that the car people claimed to be doctors.
  85.         -It's an unlikely story (a car? out here? and that doesn't raise suspicion?), and there's several parties down the chain who could be lying.
  86.     After steamrolling children with diplo and FT rolls, the kids admitted 2 things:
  87.     The hunters were being sent the 'wrong way' (north) (by who? Sheriff likely, not certain)
  88.         "Sir and Deputy Jackson said they gonna take them north, into the woods"
  89.         -This was the first mention of a Deputy Jackson. (Significance?)
  90.         "Said they'd deal with problems by themselves"
  91.         -Presumably was said by Sheriff. Meaning? Sheriff claiming intention to kill the beast himself?
  92.             -Sheriff mentioned earlier he wanted it's hide on his wall. Could be pride.
  93.             -Could also be a cover story as an excuse to keep people from hurting it.
  94.     'They' (assumed Sheriff and Deputy) go to the Capilla church(es?) when the sun sets (plural was used. Might be the accent? Only 1 seen). 'They' tell the kids to go to sleep before the sun sets, presumably to keep them from knowing.
  95.         -We got to the town at 9 AM, and the Sheriff was just coming in from the woods saying something to the effect of not taking the same path with/to the capilla women again. Does he stay the night?
  96.         -Elder mentioned the church in question was 5 miles from the position the conversation was held at.
  97.  
  98. Kids were clearly scared of telling the truth when he's around, and were clearly afraid of being hurt by him any time they were asked about it.
  99.  
  100. After talking to the children, Fritz had them lead the party to the Capilla church.
  101.  
  102. Said church was CLEARLY off. Lots of jagged edges, octagonal star structures. Comedically evil. Didn't have a chance to take a picture, you'll just have to take my word.
  103.  
  104. GM Boxed Text Dump:
  105.     -Following the fork north, the gravelled path took a darker tone. As if the witness of thousands of skinned knees, the rocks were stained solemn and bared their edges like fangs. An hour's walk later and a two story building silhouetted itself against the hills. It casted an aura of silence and demanded repentance for an unknown sin. The guilt from within rose to the throats of the sinners. An illness inflected on man from before their birth, an illness with the only known cure being confession. The shadow of the building seemed to fashion itself to everyone uniquely, based on their individual sins.
  106.     -The building itself was mortar, stone, wood, and brick. Mostly homemade or fashioned with as much care as busy hands could manage. To any untrained or refined eye though, it was structurally sound and built with details in mind. Every stone was carefully placed, as if an offering to a being that demanded perfection and absolutes. It had no doors, no pews, and skylights in lieu of windows. The inside was foreboding, the guilt welling up inside mistaking this for inviting. A massive iron cross hung against the far wall, its perfectly shadow visible even in the unlit room.
  107.  
  108. A lot of things happened at once, here's my best memory of the sequence:
  109.     As soon as Alex saw the building, he conjured Viktor in his Dogthermos.
  110.     When we got within about 50 ft of the church entrance, SOMETHING did SOMETHING that required a Fright Check at a -4. Everyone failed. Only Lloyd remained conscious.
  111.     Fritz went comatose, John and Alex fainted, Alex lost some FP.
  112.     The children FUCKING DISAPPEARED, as if they never existed. (THEY WERE GHOSTS THE WHOLE TIME. I will act as if this is true until proved otherwise)
  113.     3 ghosts appeared in front of the church doors (1 male, 2 female. Significance?)
  114.     Lloyd tried to shoot them. Buckshot. The ghosts did not appear affected, the shot bounced off the church (I, for one, am glad that the church is not a ghost).
  115.     Ghosts appeared nonviolent at first, but then they started draining FP by pointing at people. Alex and Lloyd nearly passed out, Lloyd did after running away.
  116.     After Alex and John woke up, the 3 carried Fritz and retreated
  117.     It was realized that the ghosts were either unwilling to or incapable of moving out of the shadow cast by the church in the sunlight.
  118.     Before picking up Fritz, Alex ordered Viktor to hang around the church for 15 minutes, and see what happened after they left. Still hasn't reported back, might not. His time hasn't expired yet.
  119.  
  120. Remaining loose ends:
  121. How many people AREN'T ghosts?
  122. Is there any significance to the fact that the children found the tracks right after Constance talked with the Sheriff? Any other events that coincide?
  123. We never saw these other park authority people. Either carriageman is lying ghost, real park people came out to help, or these car/doctor people have allies in the hunting group, maybe keeping them off the scent?
  124. The newspaper Alex found before setting out was supposed to be biweekly, but hadn't been published in months. X number of villagers are ghosts. Connection? Is EVERYONE a ghost?
  125. The children disappeared. If they were ghosts, we can't trust what they said. If the sheriff is evil (likely), we can't trust the information he gave Fritz over the phone. We have reason to believe that much of what we 'know' is false. Thinking over the evidence would be wise.
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