Session 4: The Magic Gazebo - or - Heroes vs Hororians
Morning moaning.As the morning sun rose over the horizon, Ben made his way to the backyard toolshed of Gloom Manor, where he noticed a set of footprints leading across the property. Upon further inspection, he deduced that the tracks were made by a barefoot human female. Upon entering the shed, he noticed that a shovel was missing from its designated spot. Following the tracks, he arrived at the grave of Kotez, where he found that the grave had been dug up and the shovel was stuck in the ground nearby. As he approached the grave, he could hear the sounds of a woman moaning and moving around inside. With a sense of unease, Ben called out to the unknown figure, cautiously approaching the grave to investigate the strange disturbance. As Ben approached the grave, he drew his sword and peered over the open pit to find Bobalina Barker, seemingly in the midst of some sort of ritualistic behavior. She was topless and gyrating on the lifeless corpse of Kotez, and as Ben watched in horror, he noticed black veins spreading beneath her skin and her eyes turning a milky white color. Despite the disturbing scene, the most shocking aspect of the encounter was Bobalina's advanced pregnancy, which was clearly visible as she writhed on top of the body. As if sensing his presence, Bobalina spoke two ominous words: "Protect the child." Suddenly, Ben woke up in a cold sweat, realizing it had all been a nightmare. Nevertheless, the disturbing imagery stayed with him late into the day.
Rita's gift.After consuming their breakfast, Ben and Peter are approached by Miss Rita Faraway. She expresses her appreciation for their presence in the manor and presents each of them with one of her father's silver cufflinks, given to her during her childhood over 400 years ago. Miss Faraway advises them to utilize the cufflinks as a reminder of her in the event that they are ever separated. She embraces them both and refers to them as "strong handsome boys" before informing them that Victor wishes to speak with them immediately.
The magic gazebo.Reporting to Victor's underground laboratory, Victor gives Ben and Peter a long lecture on advanced scientific concepts unknown to all modern scholars of today. cell structure, DNA coding, brain chemistry. all these things made perfect sense as Victor effortlessly found the best ways to present the extremely complex material in the most simple but effective of ways. After hours of this, Victor asks them if he can test their blood to make sure it hasn't been demonically altered on a DNA level. The two agree to be scanned and are taken to a second laboratory behind a giant iron door that takes three keys to unlock. Inside that door, a vault is revealed concealing a secret door leading to a second laboratory, but this one is secret and filled with electric powered computer panels, beeping machines and flashing buttons. In the middle of this incredible place they see a strange machine in the shape of a gazebo, covered in lights and strange tubes and wires, raised up on a stage with a single ramp leading to its center chamber. Victor directs Ben and Peter to a delicate platinum lattice that rests against the wall, explaining that it must be installed inside the machine before he can scan them. He emphasizes the fragility of the component and instructs the two men to carefully place it inside the ceiling of the strange, flashing gazebo. As they enter the internal chamber, they lift the lattice and insert it into a socket located 8 feet above the floor. The moment it is secure, the machine jolts to life and the doors slam shut, trapping Ben and Peter inside. As the lattice begins to spin rapidly above their heads, they frantically bang on the unbreakable glass windows, trying to get Victor's attention. However, he appears to be focused on operating some other machine and ignores their pleas for help as the process continues. While inside the machine, Ben and Peter found themselves in an endless white void where they encountered Peter's deceased mother. She was dressed in white robes and illuminated by a bright light. She told them how proud she was of them and expressed her love for them. However, her expression suddenly became pained and she began screaming "You are dying, you are dying!" over and over again. Ben and Peter made three rolls each, attempting to resist the unknown effects of the machine. Fortunately, they were successful and woke up inside the smoking and broken gazebo in the laboratory. The room was in disarray and it appeared that the machine had malfunctioned. Victor's wheelchair was completely shattered and scattered across the room. When they looked for Victor, they expected to find a dead and exploded body, but instead found him alive and well, lying behind a machine remarkably without a single scratch or mark even on his clothes. Victor is overjoyed to see Ben and Peter have survived the malfunction of his machine, which he explains was designed to enhance living beings to superhuman levels of strength, speed, and resistance to harm. He asks Peter to cast the wish spell, but Peter tells him that it is an impossible spell that cannot be cast by a human or demi-human. Victor is disappointed to learn that they are not 20th level and that the machine has failed. He quickly sends Ben and Peter out of the lab and has them help him to his other wheelchair upstairs, telling them that he needs to go back to the drawing board. He gives them the day off and dismisses them.
Rolfio's report.Ben and Peter soon meet with Rolfio Don Crimillio, leader of the Light Spiders, and are informed about the recent citywide raid on drug smugglers and dealers, including several high-ranking officials. Rolfio explains that this operation has exposed Lord Mayor Adrian Eugene Chancellor as the leader of the Silver Hand, a previously mythic criminal organization. Rolfio warns that many members of the underground world may seek revenge for this exposure, but he and his cousins promise to protect Ben and Peter no matter what comes their way.
The Candy man.Traveling to town, Peter and Ben seek to visit the city shrines to pay homage and respect to the deities worshipped there. At the shrine, they once again hear of the missing children who went to visit a street performing puppet man. They also hear about the wolves killing a local farmer's sheep nightly, and the local junkies beginning to crave the drug that is no longer available due to the arrests and executions of drug dealers and pushers under the King's "poison law". Ben and Peter are confronted by a group of junkies with bright red glowing eyes who attack them. They fight through the crowd, trying to minimize casualties, while a man in a long fur coat and a hook hand watches from a distance. He is Anthony Todd, the owner of the ranch they recently raided to obtain evidence against him and his cartel. Todd rubs an amulet around his neck and speaks praise to B'zuuzhal, the God of Lies and Betrayal, before unleashing a swarm of magical bees from his mouth to attack Ben and Peter. Ben and Peter fight their way through the crowd of charmed addicts and reach Mr Todd. Using their bare fists, they pummel him until he surrenders. Ben takes the amulet from the defeated devil worshipping crime boss and ties him up as the addicts regaine their senses and wandered off, no longer under the spell of The Candy Man. Mr Todd warned them that they had made a grave mistake and unleashed hell upon themselves. As they stood over the defeated Mr Todd, Peter couldn't resist the temptation to mock the Silver Hand. However, Mr Todd corrected Peter, warning that true hell was coming and that the Horrors of Hor'ror , a group of powerful and feared demonic entities, would soon be upon them. Despite the dire warning, Ben and Peter didn't back down. They gagged Mr Todd and delivered him to the local guard's trusted Detective Keenu, awaiting promotion to the BMSI, who informed them of a new case he was working on in town.
Keenu's case.A series of strange murders have recently taken place among local teens. The victims reported having terrifying dreams in which they begged loved ones and friends to protect them from a mysterious man who hunted them in their nightmares. Despite not knowing each other, all the victims dreamed of the same man - a burnt, ragged individual in a dirty sweater and black hat with a long blade protruding from each finger tip. They referred to him as "The Shreddy" before being murdered in their sleep with no sign of forced entry. All victims reported before their death, hearing a dark nursery rhyme in the streets before being unable to get it out of their mind's ear. Detective Keenu believes this could be the work of a supernatural predator and falls under the jurisdiction of the BMSI. However, he believes Ben and Peter, a cleric of Light and a ranger of Na'tari, are well equipped to handle the case until the arrival of the BMSI.
Tinkade's tale of terror.Ben and Peter interviewed Khomas Tinkade, a young man who fought in the local fighting pits. Tinkade told them that he had recently heard a strange nursery rhyme that he couldn't get out of his head, and ever since then he had been pursued by "The Shreddy" in his dreams. Tinkade had barely managed to escape the nightmares so far. Ben and Peter suspected that the rhyme was how "The Shreddy" was able to enter the dreams of his victims, and they asked Tinkade to sing the song for them. Tinkade complied, singing the entire lullaby in a low, monotone voice. "One two, Shreddy gunna cut you. Three four, then cut you more. Five six, Shreddy's the fucking shit. Seven ate, Shreddy is made of hate. Nine ten, he'll make the nightmares end."
What dreams may come.After hearing the song, Peter and Ben were unable to shake it from their minds. They returned home to research the case further and looked to The White Book of Laydi'wahni for answers. They found a rarely quoted passage that described a "dream demon," a supernatural manifestation of a dead killer who could return in ghost form through dreams in the minds of those who heard the demon's song. Believing this was the cause of their current case, they realized that "The Shreddy" would likely come for them in their sleep tonight. Peter and Ben inform Victor, Rita, Cliff, and Gary of their plan to confront and combat the dream demon. They learn that it is possible to defeat a dream demon in the dream world, but this only drives the monster away for one night, returning every night thereafter until the victim ultimately succumbs to a violent death. However, a rare passage in The White Book mentions that it is possible to pull a dream demon out of the dream world by holding onto it and waking up. This would remove the dream demon from the dream world and return it to the material plane, where it could be captured instead of killed, preventing it from returning to the dream world. Peter and Ben ask Rita and Victor to watch over them as they sleep and attempt to drag "The Shreddy" out of the deadly nightmares where he resides. Ben and Peter fall asleep in Victor's bed, with their housemates watching over them. They have a peaceful night of sleep and wake up to Rita saying there was no attack from The Shreddy. They sit up and ask Rita what time it is, and she responds with a warm and loving smile before suddenly attacking Peter with her clawed hand, causing a serious wound. Her clothes transform into those of The Shreddy as she says "Fucking Prime time, bitch!" Realizing they were both now sharing the same dream with Shreddy, the heroes looked at each other in shock. Just then, a teenage girl bursts through the door, screaming and charging at The Shreddy, only to be killed with a single swipe of its bladed hand. Peter and Ben try to help the girl, but their healing magic has no effect in the dream realm. The Shreddy disappears, and the girl dies in a pool of her own dream blood. Rita and Cliff wake them up, concerned and loudly demanding they snap out of it.
Nightmares come true.Peter and Ben met with Detective Keenu to tell him about their encounter with the dream demon and the girl who appeared in the dream. Keenu informed them about last night's victim, a girl named Nancy who matched the description of the girl from the nightmare. He mentioned that the BMSI was now in town and wanted to use Peter, Ben, and Khomas Tinkade as bait to capture the dream demon. The heroes meet with agents of the BMSI and the commander of the local guard, . The heroes agree to a plan where the heroes will all sleep in a cell that night, hoping to lure Shreddy into the cell where they could overpower and contain him. They were told that, if successful, they would be rewarded for their bravery the king himself for their bravery and service. This time, Ben, Peter, and Tinkade were prepared for Shreddy's arrival in their shared nightmare. As soon as he appeared, they tackled him and held on as tightly as they could. The BMSI, who were watching the scene unfold, saw the three heroes thrashing and being sliced open by invisible claws. They rushed to wake them up, pulling Shreddy out of the dream realm and into the material world. Surrounded by armed guards, Shreddy was quickly apprehended and taken to a cell where he would be permanently contained. The BMSI applauded the heroes for their bravery, telling them to return home as heroes and get the rest they so deserve. The BMSI records them as recorded as heroes.
Hor'ror at home (An evil Facade)Upon their arrival at Gloom Manor, Ben and Peter are confronted by a small, hooded figure wearing a porcelain mask. The intruder introduces themselves as "Apparition Facade," a representative of the Horrors of Hor'ror, and brandishes a kitchen knife, threatening to force a "painful understanding" between all parties involved. As lightning strikes outside, the silhouette of a hulking figure becomes visible across the yard, wearing an iron mask that hides their human features. In the brief darkness between strikes, the imposing figure seems to teleport impossibly close, right outside the window. It smashes through the window and partial wall with a loud explosion, revealing itself as a large, lumbering behemoth wielding a large machete covered in the unholy demonic symbols of B'zuuzhal "God of Lies and betrayal". The battle raged on with the monsters gaining the upper hand. Ben and Peter were severely wounded by their bladed weapons. The machete-wielding maniac nearly killed Ben, while Apparition Facade, a porcelain mask-wearing phantom, plunged a knife into Peter's chest with a triumphant hiss. Ben attempted to strike down Facade, but missed narrowly. Peter was thrown around the room by the immense strength of the large man, causing more damage to the surrounding area. Realizing how close he had come to being defeated, Facade decided to flee by removing itself from its host and attempting to fly away. As it did so, it was revealed that the host was actually Rita Faraway , who was just a helpless victim under the mask. Ben took the opportunity to attack the fleeing mask, landing a critical hit with a natural 20 and destroying the treacherous enemy into small fragments. Now outnumbering the towering foe with the machete, Ben and Peter teamed up and fought until they finally defeated the iron-masked monster. Exhausted and covered in blood, Ben received healing from his holy nephew as he realized how close he had come to killing Rita beneath the mask that possessed her. The game ended with @Victor Von Gloom wheeling into the room, saying "well...guess we need a carpenter."
NOTED IMPORTANCESIn this session, the heroes encountered the ominous group known as the Masters of Hor'ror for the first time, witnessed the downfall of corrupt Lord Mayor Adrian Chancellor , and succeeded in ending the local drug problem by capturing Anthony 'Candy Man' Todd, leader of the local drug cartel. But perhaps most significantly, they were introduced to the magical gazebo, the Mega-Godamatron , which granted them superhuman abilities. This session also marked the debut of the second lab at Gloom Manor and the last time the heroes saw Detective Keenu as a local guard detective, as he left to join the BMSI and was never seen by them again.
27 Dec 2022