Welcome to Shady Valley

WitchCon IXX
Session 1

Roll call:

Ian – Jamie Alexander
Kathy – Greg Ashland
Todd N – Kent Dubrovnik

The three characters meet up as they are all determined to attend Witchcon IXX, the annual celebration of the occult and mystery that happens on Halloween in the little town of Shady Valley, MN. Shady Valley is the destination because of the last known witch trial in North America, in 1913, when Sarah Winston was burned at the stake by a crowd of townspeople under the influence of Rev. Joseph Bittman. Bittman was apprehended for this illegal action, but later disappeared from his jail cell without a trace.

The three strangers have met up for a rideshare, with only Greg and Kent having a casual acquaintance already. Upon registering for the convention, they find that they have won a free room for each of them in the Winston House, the site of Sarah Winston’s old mansion at the top of the hill in Shady Valley. They accept, happy to get free lodgings for the weekend, and soon they meet Zoe Winston, Sarah’s only known living descendant and Rosemary Diaz, her partner.

During dinner, they notice a strange man staring belligerently at them but since he doesn’t attack them, they ignore him. (also, Rosemary is flirting with a redheaded stranger). Later, they find strange doings in the Winston house- red writing on the walls of the bedchamber and strange noises coming from the drawing room where an empty box keeps falling off the table.

Retiring for the night, they each share a strange dream, in which they are in a tunnel and there is a bright light ahead of them, framed against which is a strange dimly-seen man-shaped figure, howling and weeping. Looking behind, they see a strange non-human form in a white robe, some sort of reptilian form.

They awake naked in Jamie’s room while flashing police car lights whirl on the bedroom walls. Looking outside they see three bodies being loaded into an ambulance. Investigating, they go downstairs to speak to the police and Zoe, who is handcuffed but quickly realize that the cops and Zoe are unable to hear them. Finally, Greg forces the sheriff (“Sheriff Dan”) to feel him as he tries to stuff Zoe in the police car— the unnatural interaction and brief sight of the “ghost” gives the Sheriff a heart attack.

Now they are realizing that they are ghost-souls— that the world thinks them dead, murdered in the WInston House. Sheriff Dan and Zoe are taken away, leaving the characters to explore the house while completely invisible to the living. Now in this spirit world, they meet the ghost of Sarah WInston who lives inside the box in the drawing room, but she appears to be too far gone to help them. She does point them at her journal though and thus they gather that there is a basement portal to the domain of the Hidden Ones or Derro who live beneath the mansion in their underground realm.

Trying to determine whether they should explore this mysterious underground realm from the basement portal in the Winston House, they meet up with the belligerent stranger from the bar (Dan’s Bar and Grill), this time he is now revealed as a lizard person. He lets them know that they may be looking for information from Bittman in town before they go down into the Derro hole, his motivations unclear but he is apparently an enemy of the Derro and their master.

The characters go into town and invade the “Bittman museum”, finding Bittman’s journal and suffering a loss of stability from just reading the musings of his deranged mind. Seeing that they will need the word he’s learned to re-bind their bodies to their souls, they realize he has hidden the word in the county jail somewhere when he was held there 100 years ago. They invisibly sneak into the jail and find the word scrawled on the wall beneath the bunk.

Now armed with the word plus a shotgun they took from the police car in front of the Winston house, they descend to the Derro realm to try to retrieve their bodies. They find their bodies half-alive and pronounce the word, scarred forever by the hours of torture that they’ve been subjected to. (Greg lost a toe). A brief fight ensues and Greg manages to open a lane in the flummoxed, surprised derro mob so that they are able to flee the scene. The Derro, though very hardy and surving point blank shotgun blasts, are not fast enough to outdistance them as they race up the stairs back to the surface.

They pile into Jamie’s audi and leave the scene, freaking out, but ultimately Kent is firm in the belief that they must return to the County jail and vouch for Zoe, so that she is freed from the crime of killing them. They do so and Deputy Matt asks them to sign waivers that they were not harmed in any way and agree not to press any charges against Zoe. When the county coroner opens the morgue cooler to see the bodies, Greg goes in with him and finds a “melting” pile of flesh with one eye blinking helplessly at them.. knowing that even this illusion of rotting matter will soon be gone.

Having ensured Zoe will not be tried for a crime that never occurred, the characters leave Shady Valley quickly. Shortly thereafter, scanning the papers, there’s never a mention of any of this, but they do see that several weeks later the Winston House is sold to the City of Shady Valley.

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Deep Magic Power
(Return to Shady Valley, Part 1)

Deep Magic Power (Return to Shady Valley, Part 1)

Roll call:
Kathy – Greg Ashland, fireman and fantasy fan.
Trevor – Chip Sandusky, teenaged lovelorn transplant from California
Bob – Kali Schmidt, Michelle’s second cousin & childhood BFF
(Gator)Todd – Tammy Baum, ex-DMP member, now a militant evangelical
Todd N – Kent Dubrovnik, apartment supervisor and trouble-magnet.

Session started with mid-list fantasy author Star Morrison gathering a crack team of civilians to rescue Michelle Schraeder from the strange degenerate cult known as Deep Magic Power. She summoned them to meet at Cafe Scholastica in NE Minneapolis and gave them the basid facts of Michelle’s disappearance into the South Minneapolis compound.

Relationships:

Star knew Kent & Greg from the earlier Witchcon affair (see Adventure Log #1)
Star knew Kali as she is a distant relative via Michelle’s family. (Both Star & Kali are originally from Shady Valley)
Star found Tammy Baum from her internet presence as a harsh critic and ex-cult member of DMP
Last, Chip found Star as he finally came to Mpls to hunt down Michelle, his girlfriend.

They agreed to undertake the mission from Star, who had to pay Tammy an additional $5000 for her help (though she explained with some annoyance how this would drain the town funds— but it was worth it to get their girl back.) Star also emphasized that they MUST get Michelle back to Shady Valley by Friday night because she has a 5:00 college interview for a full ride scholarship.

After this introduction, Kent left and drove to the DMP compound, trying to infiltrate the house as a gas meter man, but was rebuffed by Emma Kazdan, the cult’s administrative brain. Tammy meanwhile, noticed a reptilian looking “demon” surveying the group and told the others, much to the disbelief of the teens. The group left the coffeeshop, reconvened at the laundry next door and reunited with Kent, then removed to Kent’s to plan.

The plan was for Chip to approach the house and try to get in while they watched. Chip approached the door and was met by Everett, one of Michael’s bodyguards, who rebuffed him politely. Chip started walking around the house with his guitar and air-horn, calling out to Michelle. Distracted by this behavior, Everett followed him, leaving the door open and unguarded for Kent & Greg to approach. They were met within by Dean, the other bodyguard of Kazdan, who confronted them with a loaded shotgun.

Things happened very quickly from there: Everett pursued Chip around the house and Tammy swung the car around, driving through the back yard privacy fence, chasing them both into the alley. Kali picked up a brick and attacked Everett from behind, and eventually, they had a full-on melee before the big man backed away from her and Kali jumped in Tammy’s car.

Inside the house Dean shot Kent and wounded him, followed by Kent and Greg rushing and disarming him, now hearing some noises of the captive Michelle from the pantry. Michael Kazdan, the cult leader emerged from the basement with a gun and Greg wrestled it away from him while Greg shot Dean dead. Michelle was freed and Greg and Kent faced off with the disarmed Michael and Emma.

Originally, Kent and Greg wanted to face the police, seeing that Michelle was clearly being held against her will; however, Michelle insisted upon leaving immediately to go to Shady Valley in order to return by Friday night (just as Star had asked them). Seeing Michelle and Chip ready to light out on their own, Greg & Kent wavered in their conviction to face the police, at which point Emma and Michael cold-bloodedly dismissed Dean’s death as meaningless and offered to not press charges if they disappeared with Michelle and were never seen there again. Kent & Greg grudgingly agreed to these terms and all 5 + Michelle hopped into the car to make their way to return the girl to Shady Valley.

Note: The adventure will continue at as near a time as I can arrange. All pools will be where they were at the end of gameplay.

Greg & Kent & Chip need to make stability checks for witnessing hardcore violence (shooting and Dean’s death).

No improvement points awarded until the full end of the adventure… to any survivors.. heh.

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Return to Shady Valley

Roll call

Kathy – Greg Ashland
Ian – Jamie Alexander
Brandon – Everett Gordon

Story begins with a wrap-up of last session’s events, with some slight revisionist history.

After the showdown in the cult house, there was an argument about whether to wait for the police or to bring the girl back to Shady Valley. Michelle, the girl in question, forced the issue by running out of the house and insisting on going to Shady Valley. Tami and Chip ran away into the neighborhood, too far from the car to dive in. Greg and Kent get to the car with Michelle and to their surprise, Everett Gordon the bodyguard jumped into the car with them!

It turns out that Gordon was sure that Michael Kazdan will kill him since he failed to keep Michelle a prisoner, so he’s escaping quickly and completely, and so became mixed up in the affair.

Just when the cops are about to track them by car, a black SUV cuts off the pursuing police car, letting our heroes make their escape.

Having suffered a shotgun blast last session, Kent is dropped off at the nearest hospital and the gang reconvene at Greg’s apartment. After a hurried consultation and a target trip for clothes, they decide to return Michelle to Shady Valley that night. During the target trip, Jamie is contacted by “Anthony December”, telling them “There are other options” before his message is cut off abruptly.

Almost at once, they notice they are being followed by a black SUV, even as the pouring rain starts. Greg tries to contact the local police but his call is cut off and replaced again by December, warning them of impending danger. The SUV is approaching faster and faster when a state trooper vehicle approaches but instead of pulling over the SUV , it pulls over Jamie’s rental. A gun battle ensues between Jamie and Gordon vs. the lizard-men in the SUV and the trooper car, Jamie driving away in a rush of steel, finally evading the pursuers but not before they reptos blow out one of their tires.

Stopping in a gas station to fix the tire, they are stunned to recognize the Derro there, manning the register. When Michelle recognizes the Derro there, they realize that the girl is somehow in cahoots with the Derro forces of Shady Valley, since she is relieved that they will save them from the reptilians. They do seem to have a respite and finally pull out onto the open road with a fixed tire, after Everett has a creepy encounter with the slack-jawed derro at the register. Michelle is very concerned about her body, her weight, eating protein bars, hoping she “can still fight”.

Almost there, the truck is the ensorceled by a team of Anunaki magi and they conjure up a nasty blood puddle in the truck, the shock and slipperiness of it finally forcing Jamie off the road, landing the SUV rental in a ditch. Shortly thereafter, the truck full of reptos comes up and the group engages in a harsh firefight, during which.

1. Everett takes out one reptilian in one shot, but is then blasted down himself.
2. Clutching at straws, trying to find some way to leverage the warnings and help of the mysterious “Anthony December”, Greg is finally able to activate his dimensional sight to encounter a barbarian who hands him a large claymore sword, telling him to deal death to the Serpent-Men.
3. Michelle is hit by a shotgun blast partially.
4. Finally Jamie and Greg fend off the remaining reptos, Greg chanting “DEATH TO LEMURIA!” as he wields the strange blade to great effect. They load Everett into the car and Michelle and she confesses that she has to get back to Shady Valley because she is fighting for the Weeper (the same cult-god from DMP) in the Tribulation of the Moon on Friday night. She’s fighting to the death and quite worried that she’s no longer fit enough, especially not while recovering.

Nonetheless, Greg, Jamie and Everett return her to her parents’ house and when she hugs Jamie goodbye she confesses that she’s carrying the Weeper’s baby. Even wounded and pregnant with the Weeper’s child, she will still go to the Tribulation on Friday… she turns down Greg’s gift of the Sword because no weapons are allowed at the Tribulation.

The three intrepid heroes go to seek out immediate medical attention, and hope to enjoy a quiet journey back away from Shady Valley forever..

2 building points each will be awarded to all three characters.

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Thylvian Nights

Jon – Ileana Zorgo
Brandon – Zsolt
Ian – Crina Zorgo

Set in 1791, The adventure started with the two sisters Zorgo, the surviving legitimate heirs of the Domn Zorgo in the land of Thylvia, a tiny principality in Northern Romania. They were summoned by their Grandfather, the mysterious Lord Zorgo. Their illegitimate half-brother Zsolt “the Stone” heard of their invitation and made his way to Zorgo as well, hoping to claim at least part of his inheritance and protect himself from a charge of murder.

They were assaulted by bandits on the road, although were happily rescued by the intervention of two soldiers from the village garrison. Making their way to the castle of Zorgo, Zsolt and the sisters met a cast of characters:

Ambrus, a Hungarian nobleman of refinement
Florin Vanea, a handsome but oafish Romanian boyar
Jeanette Cluny, an French Marquise on the run from the Revolution.
Dr Schweikert, a German expert in the occult
Gyorgy, the steward of Castle Zorgo, a drunken poet obsessed with finishing his epic poem on the life of Dracula
Rekha, a beautiful maidservant from the village.

Making their introductions, they schemed a little bit, fending off Florin’s attentions, entertaining the interest of Ambrus. Rekha the maid was abducted overnight and the sisters were invited to enter the tower in which their reclusive grandfather was locked, which they were only allowed to enter at midnight.

Entering the tower with Ambrus, they found two ugly hairy Derro-men and a strange pale entity known as the Pain-Eater, which was feeding off its torture of Rekha. A short combat ensued in which the Zorgo family was able to defeat the Pain-eater with Ambrus’s help, during which they found that Ambrus was some sort of strange lizard man creature.

They pieced together then that the grandfather was in fact deceased, finding his body in its funeral shroud. The Pain-Eater, with Gyorgy’s help, had been abducting village girls or foreigners and torturing them; the sisters were summoned with the same design, but the existence of this strange being had finally attracted the attention of Ambrus, Dr. Schweikert and Jeanette.

Finally, the sisters and Zsolt found a will, already signed by their grandfather, that they were able to complete— and they split the estate up three ways, with the castle and title going to Krina, with their intention of using their newfound wealth and influence to clear Zsolt’s name.

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