Saturday, August 5, 2017

Cave of Secrets: The Burial (WtA)

Okay, so, quick reminder, Gencon's coming up. If you're gonna be there and want to hang out, you should know how/where to find me by now. I'll be busy Friday and Saturday evenings, lunchtime Sunday, and maybe through bits of Thursday. That said, my roommate Sean and I are arriving Wednesday (though at the moment I cannot guarantee an arrival time) and going home Monday, which means I should be available Sunday evening and maybe even Wednesday as well depending on a few factors.

Also, another reminder, we're closing in on the end of this story and the end of Cave of Secrets' first 'season.' At which point I'm going to take a break and run something else for a while. We'll figure that something else out eventually, but in the meantime we'll be focusing on trying to power through the rest of the Pathfinder Adventure Path I normally run on alternating weeks.

So here we go.

So where we left off, Wants-to-Know and Åke had just come out of the funeral home bathroom to face three Skin Dancers coming at them, two in Crinos and one in Hispo. Rebel and Jerry are a few minutes away, running as fast as they can.

The two Crinos Skin Dancers, a man and a woman, dive at Wants-to-Know first, as his jaws are currently covered in the blood of their packmate. The Hispo watches the battle for a few moments, studying the combatants, and the one on the bathroom floor regains consciousness and gets ahold of Åke to try and hold him back. While Wants-to-Know struggles with the other two, Åke finishes off the one who attacked him from the floor and finishes off one that Wants-to-Know severely wounded. The remaining Crinos lashes out at Wants-to-Know with his claws, but over the course of the battle it's only the blessings of the Sons of the Saga's pack totem, Black Unicorn, that are keeping Wants-to-Know functional by toughening him up against damage.[0] Wants-to-Know manages to bring down that other Crinos with his Fang Dagger.

The Hispo tries to go after Åke, but with his Troll Skin gift active his hide is just too tough to penetrate. So she tries to at least bring down Wants-to-Know, but he's also really tough to hurt. Åke manages to drop her, until she gets back up in a frenzy and throws herself at them teeth-first. Recognizing that she's the last one alive and they need one for questioning, Åke manages to grapple her while they beat her unconscious and she reverts to Homid form (which also means she's not about to regenerate and get back up to keep the fight going), revealing a filthy woman in her 20's with ragged clothes.

Wants-to-Know quickly goes through and wrecks up any security cameras that might still be on the premises before heading to the basement while Åke looks for some duct tape to restrain their prisoner. On the way, he finds the Bromfeld family's mail, which is piled up on a desk and has been for a while. He eventually ties her up with the duct tape and stashes her in a coffin for the moment. He then goes to join Wants-to-Know in the basement, finding him looking at a collection of hides... some metis Garou pelts, a couple of wolf pelts, and a handful of tanned human skins. Silver knives sit next to the sink, near a fetish that is some sort of bloody iron needle dangling from a leather cord.

The door bursts open upstairs, but it's just Rebel and Jerry. Jerry goes looking for them downstairs while Rebel looks over the Skin Dancers' bodies and identifies the one that he's pretty sure killed Noah (he can find traces of Noah's scent on the guy that Wants-to-Know finished with the Fang Dagger). He also identifies the needle as a supplicant's compass, a fetish that can point towards the Umbral lair of the patron spirit (usually a pack totem) of whomever's blood is on it. They also try to work out what to do about the mess, and how to get the bodies and pelts out of there. They talk about putting the Skin Dancers' bodies in the coffins, loading everything else they're taking into the hearse to haul back, and just burning the place to the ground. They decide to burn the funeral home to the ground, drag everything back to the sept, ditch the hearse in the river, and more or less call it a day.

Rebel shifts to Hispo form and they strap the prisoner to his back, so he can go ahead and take her back directly while the rest deal with the hearse. He also brings the knife that he's pretty sure was used to kill Noah, in case Bury the Hatchet wants to do something with it. Åke also takes the desktop computer in the funeral home's office in case it has any useful information, assuming they can find some place to plug it in at the sept out in the woods.[1] So while Rebel is carrying stuff back, the others load everything up into the hearse. After some attempts to overcomplicate the plan, in the end they throw around some flammable chemicals, light them, and speed off in the hearse.

Back at the sept, Rebel finds Bury the Hatchet and updates him on what they found. He also presents to him the knife he thinks did the deed, in case Hatchet wants to destroy it or make something out of it. They also talk about what to do about the captive, and decide that since she's going to be out a while, they'll keep her bound and interrogate her after they perform the Gathering for the Departed for Noah. By extension, the ritual will also encompass the owners of the other pelts they found, just in case, and they'll share a funeral pyre.[2] Of course, first they're going to separate out any of the pelts that came from Spirals and burn those in a separate, unconsecrated, 'trash fire' along with the bodies of the Skin Dancers.

They also establish that if Hatchet does confront the Skin Dancer they captured, that he's going to do it with Rebel there to keep the old Bone Gnawer from doing something he'll regret, like torturing her. He also asks Hatchet if he would want to see the body of the guy who killed Noah, but Hatchet says he'd "only act a damn fool" and that Noah would not have been impressed to see his uncle lash out like a young, angry pup and do something unseemly to a corpse.

Meanwhile, the rest of the pack pulls the hearse over next to the river, and are met by Aedan Thorne and a couple of his packmates (sent by Rebel) to help haul the bodies and skins back to the sept to be dealt with. They go over how the Gathering for the Departed is going to go, and also talk about restraining their captive for a while. Rebel finds a stone spirit (not particularly hard) and whips up a talen to restrict her shapeshifting until they can deal with her.[3]

The Galliard from Bury the Hatchet's pack, "Pass the Bottle" performs the Gathering for the Departed, remembering Noah's bravery and how much he was looking forward to his Rite of Passage. He also wishes well the spirits of the other Garou the Skin Dancers killed, and suggests they're going to have a proper wake the next evening. Noah's remains and the Gaian Garou skins are placed upon a funeral pyre a short distance from the cave. The Spiral skins and Skin Dancer bodies, however, go into a ditch that gets covered for now -- they'll get burned, but first the Sons of the Saga are going to interrogate the captured Skin Dancer, in case they wind up killing her, so they can just handle that all at once.

But that'll be at the next session, which unless something weird happens should be before Gencon.

[0]-- Not to interrupt with a footnote about game mechanics (too late), but Black Unicorn can give a member of the pack increased soak pools.
[1]-- Actually, I think the plan is to awaken its spirit and talk to that, but I still feel the need to take the dig. Deal With It™.
[2]-- They do decide to reach out to other septs to inform them of what they've discovered, in the hopes of putting to rest any unsolved killings or disappearances of other Garou in the region. There's just no good way to identify them from the skins, so the best that can be done it putting the word out.
[3]-- She's still unconscious and will be for a while -- if she wasn't a werewolf (even a self-made one), she'd definitely need medical attention.

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