The following was sent to the players in an email before the session:
Saturday, July 7, 1934
Madeleine follows Brother Poverty out of the stucco building that’s been her home for the past 7 months of her apprenticeship. The July sun has burned through the morning fog early, but her face is shaded by a wide-brimmed summer hat. In a rare indulgence, the friar hops onto a trolley; Madeleine follows and the two ride downtown, getting out at a 4-story building of tan stone and bright stainless steel. The two enter, the doorman giving Brother Poverty a nod of recognition as they pass. In deference to her heeled shoes, the friar passes the stairs and hits the elevator button. Though she hasn’t yet been, Madeleine knows that they are headed to the offices of Concejo San Francisco de Asis – with her time as an apprentice complete, she is to be inducted as a full member of the Consilium of local mages.
Madeleine has 3 xp and 1 arcane xp from her prelude session. Additionally, she has been sworn in to the outermost circle of the Guardians of the Veil – she gets the merit “Status (Guardians of the Veil)” at one dot for free and 2 more xp for a total of 5.
The Russian kisses the hand of a young woman before he exits her car and waves as she drives off giggling. He enters the building and gets into the elevator, admiring the golden Art Deco doors as he has done many times before. Instead of hitting the button for the third floor (home of Richardson and Associates, the cover company for the Consilium’s activities), he instead taps the one labelled ‘4’ – Jonah, the older Mystagogue who had become the Russian’s mentor in practice rather than the cold, calculating Syrenia, had notified him that he should report there promptly at 10 that morning for a meeting of some importance. The apprentice mage wondered if he’d get to see the interior of the large council chamber he’d heard about, under the dome that decorated the top of the building.
The Russian also has 3 xp and 1 arcane xp from his prelude. He’s also been inducted into the Mysterium, sponsored by his de facto mentor Jonah – he gets the merit “Status (Mysterium)” at one dot for free. Obviously he’s been less secluded from the mage’s world than the other two – he also gets the merit “Status (Consilium San Francisco)” at one dot for free; he will probably know at least the most prominent of mages and and be a recognized face in the consilium.
Matilda rides in the passenger seat of her mentor Archibald’s Packard as the two drive from the Santa Clara valley up the peninsula to the city. The mages of Stanford University fell under the dominion of the Consilium of San Francisco – an organization that Archibald has hinted at but not explained much to the young apprentice – and they are headed there as some sort of official ceremony to complete her apprenticeship. As they crest the hill south of the city, Matilda peers with interest at two webs of steel that stretch across the water – one bridge under construction heading east across the bay, and one to the north across the Golden Gate. They finally make their way downtown; Archibald parks the car and they make their way into the Consilium headquarters in impressively decorated modern building. Matilda admires the fine metalwork, both practical and artistic, as they make their way to the elevators and the fourth floor.
Matilda has 3 xp and 1 arcane xp from her prelude. Matilda’s mentor has introduced her to the members of the Free Council (mostly academics and students at the university) but has not pressed her to apply or make a decision – it’s something she can decide in the future. She has 4 additional xp for a total of 7.
The first session starts here!
The three apprentices and (some of) their mentors sit in leather chairs and couches – Madeleine and Brother Poverty, Matilda and Archibald, and the Russian alone. At the other end of the waiting room from where they had entered are wood-paneled double doors that presumably lead into an office or meeting room. The lighting is subdued but not dark, and the smell of fine leather and oiled wood give an ambiance of wealth and power.
Evan takes out a silver case and offers cigarettes to all in the room. Brother Poverty waves them off; Archibald pulls a pipe out of his coat pocket and winks at the Russian. Madeleine curtly nods to Evan and takes the offered cigarette, placing it in the end of her holder and lighting it daintily. She gazes around the room at the other two, mild interest in her expression.
Evan lights up his cigarette, sits back down, and checks out the surroundings.
“Archibald,” Matilda leans over to whisper,“What are these other people here for?..actually what are we really here for?”
Matilda nervously pets the leather of the chair that was soft and soothing even though she would have been just as soothed by cold smooth metal. Madeleine arches an eyebrow as she overhears Matilda speak – of course, she was wondering the same thing, but she was quite glad to not be the first to ask.
Archibald leans in as he packs his pipe, “Initiation to the Consilium as a full member – your apprenticeship with me is done, my dear. Not usually more than one at once though – this is unusual.” He leans back. “Not to worry though, it’s just a bureaucratic thing”
“Bureaucratic thing? Wonderful! Who is up for a little refreshment afterwards?” Evan adds, blowing smoke towards the ceiling.
“Do you know him?” Matilda nods her chin at the Russian while checking him out with a wary eye.
“Not in the slightest, though I don’t make it up to the city very often, I’m afraid.” Archibald stands and offers his hand. “Archibald, and this is my apprentice – well, not for long! – Matilda.”
Madeleine remains silent, not only watching her fellow students but also her mentor, gauging his reaction to Archibald’s statement that it’s an unusual circumstance
Evan smiles and winks at the wary eye cast his way. “I’m the Russian. I have a lovely little shop in the downtown area, and I invite you all to join me down there after this little affair for a beverage.” Evan adds, “I also do a bit of boring study at the University, to pass the time.”
“Brother Poverty,” the older man in the brown friar’s robes says, in turn, “and this is young Madeleine, recently of France.”
Madeleine nods curtly. “Perhaps I will take you up on that offer, Monsieur Russe.” Shetakes a long drag on her cigarette.
Matilda raises an eyebrow at the Russian but does not acknowledge him one way or the other.
The double doors open and a man exits into the room where the mages are waiting. In a soft but clear voice, he announces, “The apprentices will enter and meet with the Herald; she will conduct the apprentices through the induction. Mentors,” he looks at the two older mages, but does not seem surprised to see Syrenia absent, “thank you for your service – may your students do you proud.”
Evan stands and makes his way to the doors, holding one open for the others. “After you.”
They are about to meet with Huli, someone the Russian already knows. She’s quite nice, but is a bit of a joker, as they shall soon see.
Madeleine turns to look at Brother Poverty, “You will…you will not be joining me then?”
The friar smiles. “No – but it will be fine! Come see me when you are done; don’t forget about your old mentor!”
Madeleine smiles wryly. “I shall not.” She turns and enters the room ahead of the Russian, with another short nod of thanks for his politeness.
“Thank you,” Matilda says as she cautiously enters past the Russian. She looks back briefly at Archibald, looking for some sign that she is doing as she is supposed to. Archibald nods at her and salutes her with his pipe.
Evan extinguishes his remaining portion of his cigarette and puts the butt back into his case. “Watch out for Huli, she is a bit of prankster at times.” he warns as Matilda passes by.
Heavy red curtains are drawn across the windows in the office beyond the double doors, and the fragrant smoke of incense tickles the noses of the three mages. The secretary does not follow them in, instead shutting the doors behind them. A desk sits opposite the doors, with three green leather chairs arrayed in front. Behind the desk is a woman – perhaps in her 80’s, Chinese, in a rich red Oriental silk dress with golden dragons cavorting across the fabric. She gestures for the visitors to sit, and dourly asks in a cracked, heavily accented voice, “So, you wish to join Consilium of San Fransisco?”
“Yes, as quickly as possible, we are all terribly parched.” Evan replies.
With a sidelong glance at Evan, Madeleine nods. “Yes, that is my wish.”
“Well, not maybe terribly parched, but a least a bit on the thirsty side.” Even grins sheepishly.
“Yes," Matilda answers as she moves quickly and purposefully to the closest chair and sits tall. She stares quickly down at her dirty fingernails, stained with grease, and pulls at a ripped cuticle.
The woman stares at the Russian and her frown deepens. “You have no respect for the seriousness if this ceremony, apprentice.”
Matilda reacts, feeling accused, “In fairness, we have not been warned of the seriousness…”
Madeleine watches intently as Evan is evaluated by the woman.
“That is not the first time I have heard that, and I apologize for this time, and I truly mean it.” Evan adds.
The woman’s head slowly bows down to the desk, and to the mage’s surprise she is laughing to herself. She looks back up and years of wrinkles and age-spots have disappeared. “I’m sorry,” she says in a neutral Californian accent. “My name is Huli, and I’ll be your Herald!” She stands and holds a hand out across the desk. She looks in her late 50’s or early 60’s, with bright eyes and a wide smile. “I run a traditional medicine and fortune-telling shop down in Chinatown – the act is for tourists! I apologize for having a bit of fun at your expense.” She winks at the Russian. “And no, you don’t mean it, you scamp. Can’t even play along with a little joke…”
“I was kidding when I said I apologize, and I mean THAT, you trickster!” Evan chuckles.
Madeleine’s eyebrow quirks again as the woman looks back up; she’s mildly amused by this, but she does remain passive for the time being – all that time with the Nazis taught her to keep her mouth shut in most situations.
“Down to business,” Huli says as she sits back into her chair. “Joining the consilium is a simple matter; there are no complicated tasks or scary initiation ceremonies. Usually we do it individually – you are inducted, and then may apply for membership to a cabal if you wish. However, with the three of you ready so close to one another, the Hierarch has a special offer for you – more on that I can’t say. Any questions before we get started?”
“She has the best prices on bear gall bladders in all of San Francisco, very fresh and quite potent.” Evan expounds the virtues of Huli’s shop to the ladies. Huli tosses a wadded up piece of paper at the Russian. Evan pockets the paper for later, while innocently whistling.
“I have none. I am ready to move forward.” Madeleines’s voice is calm and her French accent is thick.
Matilda is restless from the irrelevant banter and asks, “What is the offer?”
“The Hierarch will fill you in on that, Matilda. Everyone ready then? No questions? Not an inquisitive bunch, for sure."
“Oh the questions will come, for now, we aren’t even sure what to ask. Be ready for it to change at a moments notice,” the Russian responds.
Matilda adds, “I would rather get down to business and figure things out for myself than with individuals I am not acquainted with."
Huli leads the apprentices through a side door out of her office into a wood-panelled hallway. The four mages pass other similar closed doors until they reach the end of the hall, where Huli leads them through into a large open space – the council chamber. The circular room is ringed with three elevated rows of marble benches, interrupted by five stairways leading down to the open center floor. The walls and dome ceiling are painted, the walls with Art Nouveau depictions of the five Watchtowers, the ceiling with a canopy of trees and flowers. Off-center in the middle of the room is a raised dais with a large ornate wooden desk atop it (though still lower than the first set of benches), with several smaller desks, tables and seats below, as might be in a courtroom. Three figures stand around one of the lower tables – an older man in a brown business suit, a younger man with rolled shirtsleeves, suspenders, and a yellow bow-tie, and another person, completely covered in a black silk robe, wearing a golden mask with a stylistic androgynous human face.
Madeleine is familiar with the mask – this is a magical object that the Guardians of the Veil use that obscures and anonymizes a person, going so far as to magically change height and voice. Matilda has heard of a similar device from Archibald – a Guy Fawkes mask used by British Free Councillors.
Madeleine’s breath catches in her throat a little bit as she enters the room and sees the mask of the Guardians of the Veil – things are happening quickly and she’s having a hard time making sense of it, so she continues to watch and wait for instructions.
Evan bows his head to the man in the business suit as he enters the room.
Huli addresses the older man, “Hierarch Janus, may I present apprentices Matilda, Madeleine, and the Russian.” The three break off their hushed conversation and turn to face the newcomers.
“Come, sit,” Janus says as he takes one of the chairs along the table. The other two sit farther towards the end, leaving the chairs across from the hierarch open.
“So,” Janus reclines in the chair and eyes the three apprentices. “You want to join the consilium?”
“Yes, very much – an offer to the three of us was mentioned, very interesting indeed.” Even says, taking a offered seat.
“Yes, we do.” Matilda answers as she takes a chair as instructed.
Madeleine takes her seat without hesitation, some of her fear leaving her – big tables and conferences she’s used to! “Yes, that is my goal.”
“The offer in a moment,” Janus raises an eyebrow at the Russian, “but first: do you agree to uphold the Lex Magica of Consejo San Fransisco de Asis and be bound to its laws?”
Madeleine nods very determinedly. “Of course. All of my training has been to be of service to the Lex Magica.”
Matilda tries to not look completely uninformed while asking, “Meaning what exactly?”
“What all does that entail? I am at a bit of a disadvantage in following what I am not sure of the specifics; please enlighten me.” Evan asks.
“Guardian, eh?” Janus says, looking at Madeleine. “Typical attitude, but so serious.” He turns to the Russian and Matilda. “The Lex Magica is our set of laws – much like the laws you’ve been following as a Sleeper. These laws, though, almost entirely concern keeping our disagreements, which happen more often than any of us would like, from spilling into the Sleeper world.”
Madeleine actually takes this as quite a compliment; she has always been serious in her endeavors.
“Sounds like a good idea to practice, I can follow this Lex Magica.” Evan adds, his tone serious.
“You could read it – we have several copies in the consilium library – but it’s huge and boring. Basically,” he starts counting off on his fingers, “Don’t perform Vulgar magic in from of Sleepers. Don’t discuss the Mysteries where they might overhear. Disputes shall be settled by the Duel Arcane if they cannot be settled by mutual agreement.”
Matilda waits for eye contact from Janis and gives one quick nod.
The Russian perks up, “I might read up on the Duel part, that sounds not boring at all. I agree about the rest though.”
“Do you all agree then?”
Evan nods agreement.
“Yes, of course,” Madeleine replies.
Matilda continues to stare at Janus, almost uncomfortably, and replies, “Yes.”
“So be it. You’re now full-fledged mages. That was easy, eh?” Janus sits up. “Normally now you’d join one of the existing cabals, your mentors or another that you are interested in, but I have a proposal for you. This,” he gestures to the man in the bow-tie, “is Cyrus, Free Councillor, and this,” he nods to the robed, masked figure, “is a representative of the Guardians, both of the Washington, DC consilium.” He pushes the chair back. “I will let them take it from here.
Cyrus stands and addresses them; his voice is higher than the mages might have expected. “As you may be aware, the Free Council is alone in embracing the present and future, rather than just looking to the past for mystical knowledge and enlightenment. For the past 10 years, a project I have headed has been discovering, cataloging, and gaining favor with the newest powerful spirits of the modern world – such as the great spirit Ma Bell, Western Union, and the Trans-Atlantic Cable, and others. Through these beings, we’ve been tapping world communications, and we found something recently that caught the attention of the Guardians of the Veil.” He nods to his robed companion.
The voice that comes from behind the golden mask is neither male nor female but somewhere in between. “The German SS is a paramilitary force loyal to the Nazi party. Besides moves against the political and social enemies of the party, according to coded cables we’ve decoded from Cyrus’ group,” – you can almost hear the distaste of the Guardian even through the anonymizing power of the mask – “they’ve also taken a great interest in the occult, to the point of endangering themselves and us. They’ve been accumulating magical artifacts, texts, and objects far beyond what sleepers should be capable of – we fear the involvement of the Seers of the Throne at the highest levels.”
Cyrus takes back over. “We’ve been recruiting teams across the nation, and our colleagues overseas have been doing the same. We supply information from the intercepted messages to the teams, and they in turn stop the SS and their operatives from obtaining occult objects – either by directly stopping them, by retrieving the objects before they are taken, or in the worst case by recovering them afterwards. In return, the teams may, as far as their consilium laws allow,” he nods to Janus, “keep anything they find.”
Cyrus sits as Janus adds, “As an incentive, because you will be working as a team, the consilium is prepared to offer you a Hallow and Sanctum for your use.” He rubs his chin, “This is a great opportunity, but it does not come without risk. Do you have any questions before you decide on this?”
Matilda looks to her two companions.
“Questions?!” Madeleine suddenly looks around like a trapped animal. “Questions?! You expect us to take the SS on as brand new Mages? Brand new Mages who have not met yet in this life? You must be joking!”
“I would wonder where the Sanctum would be located? I am partial to San Francisco, and have a small business to keep up.” Evan adds, for some reason out of breath.
“The sanctum is here in the city, yes.” He turns to Madeleine. “I said it would be dangerous – but these are Sleepers! I think you’ll find that your new abilites give you quite an advantage.” He smiles at her worry.
“What have I got to lose? Will I still be able to have contact with Archibald?
Janus raises his eyebrows at Matilda’s question. “Of course! The consilium – or this assignment – is not some tyrannical jailer! See who you wish – you are an adult, and a mage. Who am I to stop you?”
“My German is a bit non-existant, but I don’t mind doing some traveling, why not?” the Russian replies. “Is your German much better than mine mademoiselle? Or do I miss my mark?”
“Dis donc! All due respect, mon capitane but these are no ordinary Sleepers.” Her voice becomes low, “They are capable of evils of the worst kind; they have access to powers no Sleepers should know.”
At mention of “Evil of the worst kind” Evan steeples his fingers and leans in to the conversation, intrigued.
“Young woman, you seem to think that these operatives and hired thugs are some sort of mystical gods among men – a view that they would more likely hold of themselves. I think you’ll find things a bit less…melodramatic.” Janus turns back to the Russian. “German language skills are not a prerequisite – this assignment may take you all over the world. Plus, you are a Mastigos, yes? Your Mind magic will make short work of any language.”
Madeleine casts another sidelong look at Evan. “My German is commendable at best.” She throws up her hands in frustration at the offhand way Janus is talking about the Nazis and goes back to smoking her cigarette and being silent.
Matilda continues to tear at her cuticle.
Evan fishes out another cigarette as Madeleine looks to be about finished with hers.
Janus sees that he has only one more person to convince. “My dear – Madeleine – we don’t throw novice teams at the meat grinder. We have many more experienced mages – some of whom you may join on assignment from time to time perhaps – for the more dangerous missions. We’ll pick objectives well within your reach. And don’t throw away the opportunity! Secrets such as the locations of artifacts are usually drug out of years of research and are not shared by mages for any cost. And this is hardly binding – you may stop at any time.”
The Russian’s player – “No, the intermediate teams go to the meat grinder!”
Matilda starts lightly coughing as she is surrounded by cigarette smoke. She never even picked up the habit socially due to being around machines that run on combustible fluids.
Madeleine takes the cigarette from Evan as an act of kindness, showing a small smile at his generosity and then listens intently to Janus, pauses for a long moment, and says, ”Alright. If only because I think it’s important to stop those salopards from what they’re doing.”
Janus motions triumphantly to the two visitors from DC. The masked Guardian nods. “Here is your first assignment.” A gloved hand places a folded piece of paper on the desk.
Janus stands and gestures towards the door from which the three entered. “Huli will be waiting for you and will take care of any other questions you may have. Good luck.”
Evan walks to the desk and picks up the paper, “Unless anyone else wants this for now?” and places it in his jacket pocket.
The three lead themselves out of the door that the entered by. “I couldn’t help but notice you hands madam, do you do a great deal of work yourself, an artist perhaps?” Evan asks of Matilda, looking at her cuticles.
She looks at him startled, thinking that by not making eye contact she was but a mouse in the corner. She carefully chewed her response. “Yes, I am an engineering student at the university.”
“Engineering, an admirable field, something not ever woman signs up for! I’m impressed.”
Huli is waiting, excited. “So, did you take the deal?”
“What do you think?”, Matilda replies cryptically.
Evan pats his jacket pocket and nods to Huli.
Madeleine nods, “Yes, we did. I am still hesitant, however.”
“You’ll do great, I’m sure.” She pats Madeleine on the shoulder in a motherly way. “If you’re ready, I can show you the sanctum.”
“I am ready.” Madeleine nods and follows Huli.
Evan nods and looks around. Huli leads them out of the consilium building and onto a trolley that heads east and the north, up Telegraph Hill. She gets off and stands between two white-bricked buildings. “Here we are!”
“These look the picture of non-descript – they are perfect,” the Russian observes.
Huli laughs. “These are businesses and offices!” She fishes three iron skeleton keys from a bag hanging around neck and hands them to the three younger mages. As they look up after taking the keys, they see a Victorian house between the two modern buildings. It didn’t appear out of nowhere, it was just as if their eyes had slid right over it before without noticing it.
“It’s not great security, but it keeps the Sleepers out – they wanted to demolish this place after the great quake of ‘06.” The house is three stories of peeling paint above a basement, with the bay window turning into a fourth-floor tower above. “The Hallow’s up in the tower – it probably would have dissipated without the house here.”
She leads them to the door; next to the entrance is a cast metal sign that reads, “Hathaway.”
“That is the picture of amazing, I like this place more all the time,” says the Russian. “Anything we should know about this place before we go in?”
Madeleine observes the sign and looks at Huli, “Who is Hathaway?”
Huli opens the door to reveal a dusty interior. “Whoever lived here before – it’s been abandoned since the Great Quake. We’ve used the hallow off and on, but mostly we’ve kept it shut down to avoid attracting too much attention – hobo mages and Seers.”
After me then." Evan opens the door and enters the sanctum, eyes wide open.
Madeleine peers cautiously over Evan’s shoulder as he enters the sanctum. “And we don’t have to worry about it collapsing onto our heads?” She raises her eyebrow again.
Matilda listens carefully and adds, “Hobos?”
Huli turns to Matilda, “Not literal hobos…usually. Just solitary mages that don’t belong to a consilium or cabal. They often leech mana from unused hallows – or occupied ones, if they get brave.”
“Oh, that sounds pleasant,” Madeleine sneers at the idea of these mana leeches.
The older woman taps a wall with her fist. “I don’t think it’s going to fall.” Dust cascades from the ceiling, making her cough. “Could use a good cleaning I’m sure.”
Matilda enters with the duet while examining the room and fiddling with something in her pocket. She looks around for a radio.
“This has a certain, earthy charm, and by charm I think I smell the usual hobo.” Evan peers into one of the bedrooms.
“May we claim a bedroom?” Matilda inquires.
Huli shouts up the stairs at Matilda, “It’s your house now! Work it out with your cabalmates!”
Madeleine rolls 3 successes on Wits + Investigation.
Madeleine looks through the entryway and beyond for signs of recent – or current – habitation. Besides the footprints left by herself and her companions, the only other disturbances in the dust are themselves covered by a rather thick layer. It’s been some time since anyone’s been in this house.
The Russian rolls 3 successes – all 10’s! – on Wits + Occult to find any signs of magical involvement in the house.
The Russian finds several Atlantean runes on a wall in the hallway leading to the fourth floor tower – several have been struck through, but the remaining seem to have something to do with “Pentacle Order” and “Claimed”.
Matilda finds a corner bedroom that is small, quaint and has a big window. She plants her hands approvingly on her hips and smiles. “I think this will work,” she mumbles to herself. “Now, I just need a tinker project and a cat.” She takes out her watch, reflectively opens it, closes it, and tosses it in the air and catches it in a fluid motion before taking the steps two at a time down to her teammates.
Madeleine looks up as Matilda descends the stairs. “Anything interesting up there?”
Matilda stops at the bottom of the stairs, “I got my room picked out. It’s kind of dusty – but I like it like that.”
“I’d prefer the bed room at the back of the house, unless either of you would prefer it.” Evan says peering into the room and noticing a refreshing lack of hobo odor.
“I’ll go then and try to find a room for myself, as well,” Madeleine mutters, mostly to herself. “I’ll have to get my belongings from Brother Poverty…”
Huli makes her way up the stairs. “The Hallow’s up on the fourth floor – make sure you set up a schedule to draw the mana off, or it’ll start accumulating in the structure of the place.”
“What would this accumulation of mana do to the house?” Evan asks pulling at an exposed board in the wall.
Huli answers the Russian’s question. "If the mana is not harvested, it will start leeching into the matter around it – it’s called Tass. You can draw the mana out with some knowledge of the Prime arcana – especially useful if you can take that matter with you. If you get the Tass to build up in a food or drink, you don’t even need Prime to harvest it, but it doesn’t last as long.
“If you don’t need anything else, I’ll leave you to it.” She hands a card to Madeleine. “Call me any time – there are two Heralds in the consilium, but I’m assigned to you!”
Madeleine nods, “And the other Herald?”
Matilda raises her eyebrows at Madeleine wondering if she is always so testy.
She pretty much is.
“The other Herald is a man named Phelan – nice man, you should say hello some time.”
Madeleine nods. “Thank you for your help, Huli." She turns to the stairs to start looking for a room.
Huli turns in the door, “If you have any more questions, just let me know!”
“Matilda is it? Is this place safe from an engineering standpoint? I don’t want to be killed by a house.” Evan asks, still looking at the same exposed board.
“Hmmmm, all the big kids are maging, I guess I can too.” Matilda sits and chants for a minute…
One success on an improvised spell to feel the composition and construction of the house. This should probably require some Space as well, but hey, we’re winging it.
Matilda’s vision expands as she activates the spell. She can see, or almost feel, all through the structure. The house seems sound enough, though slightly shifted on its foundations. She ‘feels’ a rough spot in the basement, where some of the concrete wall has collapsed. She relays this to the Russian.
“Now about this basement . . . " Evan opens the door and descends into the darkness, candle in hand.
Matilda’s eyes snap open as she exclaims, “Be careful down there – part of the wall is crumbling!”
The basement is cool and dark. A wooden shelving unit has tipped over and remnants of glass bottles litter the floor, along with the dessicated remains of whatever was stored in them.
" . . wall . . . crumbling . . . . got it."
The Russian gets one success on 8 dice for a rote to Speak with the Dead.
The Russian stops to perform a rote he had learned, attempting to reveal any ghosts present in the basement. The ghostly image of a single glass jar floats in twilight where the shelf would have been; other than that, he sees nothing, though he has an odd feeling tickling the back of his neck.
Matilda pops up in fear for the Russian’s safety and runs to peer over his shoulder on her tip-toes. “What’s down there?” she asks.
“I think the crumbling walls are the least of our problems, down here is about the least hobo tainted part of the house.” Evan called up the stairs then turns around quickly to find Matilda right behind him. “All I saw was the afterimage of a floating jar, then I felt like something was watching me, or maybe it was just a spider dropping down, they are all over down here.”
Noticing that Evan is nervously rubbing the back of his neck, Matilda grins, “Sorry, did my breathing startle you?”
The three head back to the entryway. Evan takes out the note and reads it to the group.
“Grimoire of High Tibet. By 10 July. Hellman.” and an address by Golden Gate Park.
“They’re not giving us much time, are they? Madeleine sighs. “I would like to gather my supplies from my mentor and then I will be ready. Perhaps in 3-4 hours?”
“By the 10th? Does the deadline have anything to do with the full moon on the 11th?” Matilda fiddles in her pocket again. “I would like to relocate a few of my belongings before we tackle this…”
“How about we take tonight to rest, tomorrow to mover in and the next day to retrieve the grimoire?” Evan asks.
“That sounds like we are in agreement," Matilda says.
“You think we can locate and retrieve the grimoire in a single day? My, you are confident!” but Madeleine nods in agreement with the plan – she does need her rest.
END SESSION 1
A bit slow and tons of exposition, but the players liked it. There’ll be more action next time!