For the BAMF podcast, we're doing this ICONS actual play of an adventure that I'm tentatively calling "Wet Bones."
We ran the first half weeks ago but schedules have not coincided. We're going to (cross your fingers) run the second half this Friday.
For everyone's sake, we should probably remember what happened. I put together a summary of what happened and a couple of things that I'll slide in as happening during the break. I present it here, and welcome corrections from Walt and Mike.
Obviously, if you want to come to the adventure without preconceived anything, you shouldn't read this. Just skip it.
Wet Bones — Part 1 recap
The start of a new school year in Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada. Both natty architect Matt Walsh (aka Sable Lynx) and CEO Matteo Rodrigues (aka the Cowl) have been invited in their secret identities to the local high school to give talks about their jobs as part of Career Guidance. They are done and chatting as they head out to their cars when there is a hullabaloo at the college, which is next door. (Well, kitty corner, but adjacent.)
There is a fast partial costume change, and they head over to the college building. Students are streaming out of the college, so Sable Lynx enters through the roof: the college is a large low building, and the roof door is unlocked, it being during the school day. The Cowl forces his way past the exiting students, encouraging them to get out.
Sable Lynx can immediately see a group of people, probably students, who have been transformed into hirsute wildmen, ferociously attacking anyone nearby. A small knot of students is standing by a door, arms linked, robotically repeating, "None shall pass" and "He must stay safe."
From his vantage point, the Cowl sees the hairy wildmen—what I call "ragemonkeys" in my notes—but he also sees some grenade-sized shiny mad scientist kind of object on the floor, near an unconscious burly man in a suit.
Both heroes notice the tang of salt in the air: the marine simulator tank clearly has salt water in it, which is unusual but can happen if someone pays for the research. The top of the marine simulator tank dominates this entryway and is about chest height so visitors can look into it. It extends about thirty feet down, where there are other windows. There is a hoisting mechanism above the tank, to get things in and out.
The Cowl immediately tries to get the grenade-like thing out of play. He throws a...I don't recall what it was; I think it was something he grabbed...to hit the grenade and knocks it through an open doorway into a lab. (The lab has a poster on its door that advertises a "trickle down" event, where people sell their blood to vampires; the event was two days ago.)
When the Cowl does this, some of the fight seems to go out of the ragemonkeys, and Sable Lynx manages to calm most of them down...except one, who is already in the process of throwing a student into the marine simulator. The Cowl sees that there are sharks—yes, sharks—in the simulator pool: two of them. The sharks do not have lasers on their heads. (Yet.) There was a netting over the tank but that seems to have been broken in the melee.
The Cowl improvises a snag line and gets the student out before the sharks get to her.
In the meantime, Sable Lynx is looking at the students guarding the door. As a specialist in the occult, he knows things that are not common knowledge, such as the fact that any vampire who drinks your blood can attempt to control you...and the vampires split and mix the blood obtained at these "trickle down" events to makes sure that each vampire can control the maximum number of people.
Sable Lynx convinces the mind-controlled students that he is here to help, so he can be let through. The door leads to an office, which has clearly had some kind of a fight: the metal desk has been thrown and bent, the desk chair and filing cabinets are overturned, and there are holes and dents in the walls. And a dead body slumped in the guest chair.
There is also a bit of a locked room mystery here: The office has no other doors or windows.
The dead man has been killed by a stake through the heart. Sable Lynx examines the stake without touching anything, and notices something odd about it: It is thin, with a seamless veneer of wood around a translucent core that looks like fingernail. Sable Lynx recognizes him as Lester Noble, one of the Noble family, who are essentially the Dark family in town.
The Noble family have money and influence in this area. They have their fingers in nearly everything, and the patriarch of the family, William Noble, has tried to buy every superhero ("Spark") in town.
"Poor Uncle Lester."
The person saying that is also a student, jumping to see over the mind-controlled students who are still guarding the door. She's young and blonde, maybe twenty, and introduces herself as Faith Thomson. She is the daughter of Lester's sister, Hope.
She tells them that someone has been targeting the Noble family. Quickly summarizing:
- Lester is the second to die; Uncle Ray's second wife, Alexa, was killed last May.
- Three of the family actually aren't Darklings yet: her, her father, and her cousin Connor, who's off at Yale. Or Harvard. Or someplace; he gets kicked out of a lot of places. They aren't Darklings because they're not old enough; by law you have to be 18 but William won't pay for it until you're at least thirty and William approves. (Her uncle Ray didn't become a werewolf until he was in his sixties.)
- Right now, all the Nobles go in pairs; they suspect Sparks (superheroes).
- The Nobles bought the grenade things and a germ from a mad scientist. Anyone who was donated blood since last May got infected, and the grenade thing turns any of those within hearing range into ragemonkeys. (She rummages in her purse and pulls hers out; the Cowl takes it.)
- The man on the floor was Lester's bodyguard. (She has a bodyguard: a big Amazonian woman who probably lifts weights and does mixed martial arts.)
- She's not sure she wants to become a Darkling; they've denied it to her dad.
- If someone were to provide motive, it's probably Raymond, who spends a lot of time at a shoreside chapel these days ("Shore Kirk").
They decide to solve the murder, to eliminate the chance that the Nobles will set off these transformation grenades. ("I'm sure there's something in the blood donation contract that makes it legally plausible," Faith tells them. "They're kind of obsessive about the appearance of legality.") The heroes decide to interrogate Raymond.
When the car gets to the Shore Kirk parking lot, it already has two cars and a truck in it. As they pull in, something mechanical or robotic bursts out of the truck and races into the church, through its wall.
Things that nobody asked about:
- The mind-controlled students will receive counselling because they were under a compulsion to protect Lester and they failed.
- Matt Walsh was there because his sister manages his social engagements and she was punishing him for not letting her be a superhero.
Information that Faith shares by phone as they are on their way by car to the shore-side chapel ("Shore Kirk", a member of a splinter sect) For time reasons, this information ws not in the session but logically would be.
- The Noble family owns lots in the area.
- Both parents are Darklings (William & Victoria). They've never said what they are, but she's definitely a vampire and he probably is.
- Three kids: Lester, Raymond, & Hope. All married, Raymond more than once.
- Lester: Vampire. Wife Patricia: Were-tiger. Son Michael: Demon
- Raymond: Werewolf. Ex-wife Alexa: Demon and dead; mother to Connor, off at school. Ex-wife Sarah Goode Noble: Vampire, mother to William Jr, died in a motorcycle accident at age 11, riding with his father.
- Hope: Vampire.
- Also converted to darkling: Peter "Meat" Cleaver, William's old fixer from union-busting days.
- Some of the family can't go out in the daylight (William, Victoria, Hope, Sarah Goode Noble).
- Faith lets slip that they know it wasn't internecine action by family members is because everyone has been forced to give their blood to Victoria.