[Mage: the Awakening Actual Play] Endangered Species Episode 8

Posted: May 27, 2012 by pointyman2000 in Actual Play, Articles, Mage: the Awakening, Roleplaying Games, World of Darkness

Finally back in the saddle as a GM, this time picking up from where we left off in the Endangered Species campaign for Mage: the Awakening. This was an interesting session was it was sort of another kickoff to the next cycle of problems that the player characters face. Unfortunately Mappy and Paulo weren’t able to make it to the game, and as such I was only running for three players. This session was actually also quite short, but at least the new issues had been introduced, ones that will keep the team fairly busy for quite a while.

This session picks up a few days after the incident with the Banishers, and Reimu (Sheimaruen) and Amaya (Silver Countess) were in a hospital room to pay a visit to Bancho, one of the members of the Justice Knights cabal who was injured. His injuries were sustained as a result of an attempt to mitigate a Paradox backlash, making it impossible to heal with magic. They spent some time there to build goodwill among the members of the Justice Knights, as the team understood that given the situation at hand, they would need all the friends that they could get.

After their visit, the two retired to a small cafe to have sundaes and crepes. The conversation turned to darker matters however.

“There’s a snitch in the group,” Amaya spoke whie digging into her crepe, “Someone from our cabal is leaking information to the Yakuza.”

“That can’t be good.” Reimu frowned, “Do you know who it might be?”

“There’s only two possibilities: Mikaboshi, and Melon Pan.”

“I see.” Reimu wasn’t happy to hear about that, “What makes you so certain?”

“Remember the Jorogumo incident?”

“Yes?”

“Well, even before the bodies were warm, someone had tipped off the other Yakuza families that the boss of this one was dead.” Amaya pointed out, “Nobody should have known of it until much later. But what happened was when I tried to get back to follow up on our leads on the kumo, the dead Yakuza boss’ territories were already being forcefully taken over by the other gangs. There was fighting in the streets!”

“That explains the government anti-yakuza presence now.”

“Exactly.” Amaya sighed, “Look, I’m planning to go check the place again, find out what the real motive of the Jorogumo is. They had to be here for a reason and I intend to find out.”

Amaya and Reimu analyzed their options. They had to make sure which one of the two were dealing with the Yakuza and putting mortal interests before Supernal ones. While it seemed that it was a harmless thing to do, they were worried that when push came to shove, their Cabal might be in trouble if he were to sell them out.

Masamune (Hikkikomori) dreamt of a strangely familiar bedroom. The air was thick and humid, and stank with the scent of stale sweat. There was a dim light, and he was straddling a naked woman’s corpse, his hands wrapped firmly around her neck. Her face was a gross shade of blue, eyes slightly bulging out from their sockets, her hair sticking to her face. He squeezed harder, feeling dead flesh under his hands.

Finally he rolled off of her, weak and nauseous as he made his way to the bathroom, only to hear her laughing behind him.

He turned slowly, seeing her lying down on the futon, eyes turned towards him, distended and gross as she continued to laugh.

Masamune awoke to the sound of his cellphone ringing… seeing that it was was Ayame. He answered it, and listened to her warnings about one of the others possibly being a Yakuza snitch, and thanked her.  He got up then, seeing no reason to go back to sleep, and went to hit the shower. He had work after all.

Reimu received a call from Jinnai asking her to meet him in school.

“What’s going on?” she asked, curious to hear from him all of a sudden.

“I can’t explain over the phone.” Jinnai said, “I need your help.”

They met up then, with Reimu seeing Jinnai carrying a large backpack.

“I sort of did something and I’m pretty sure I’m in trouble.”

Reimu led him away from the school and into a 24 hour net cafe, far away from more familiar hangouts so that they could talk in peace.

“Start over from the beginning.” Reimu said, “I need to know everything.”

Jinnai sighed, “Right, You know how they keep calling me a fake mage, right?”

“Yes?”

“Well, I decided that I didn’t like that, and I was sick of being treated like some guinea pig. If I have magic like you guys, what makes me any different. I deserve to know just as much.”

“What did you do?” Reimu asked quietly, trying to keep her voice even.

“We were visiting the Amatsu-Kami.” he explained, “My mentor and I… and we visited Omikane’s Anatheum. They were giving me a lecture on what the various orders were supposed to do. Useless stuff, things to keep me busy rather than trying to learn real magic.”

Reimu listened in silence.

“So in any case, I sort of saw this.” he said as he dug into his backpack and pulled out a leather, hand-stitched volume. “I figured it might be some sort of grimoire, so I took it.”

“You stole from the Mysterium?”

“He didn’t look like he would notice.” Jinnai reasoned, “but in any case, the problem isn’t in what this is.” he said holding up the book, “But what happened when I read it.”

Reimu examined the book, and realized that the title wasn’t in english. “This… is Portuguese?”

“Yes.” Jinnai said, “I tried studying it, it seemed interesting. It’s from the Taisho era.”

“Taisho.” Reimu frowned, “1912 to 1926?”

“Thereabouts.” he smiled, “In any case, with the popularity of western thinking during the time, it was inevitable that some Western traditions would carry over.”

“Secret societies.” Reimu realized

“Exactly!” Jinnai seemed excited, “I figured that this was one of the grimoires from a secret occult society from the Taisho era. When I tried reading it though, it called on an older version of me. One that gave me a warning that they would try to kill me for what I was… a fake mage.”

“So an older version of you says that the Consilium will try to kill you.”

“And so I ran away.” Jinnai said, “Seriously, If I can’t trust my older self, then who else can I trust?”

Reimu took a moment to digest that information, “This is crazy, Jinnai… it could be a trap, some sort of spirit or illusion…”

Reimu decided to cast a Fate spell to determine what would happen to the two of them then. Jinnai acquiesced and they cast the spell together… and learned from the eddies of Fate, that Reimu was destined to die by Jinnai’s hand.

Jinnai leapt back, shocked at what he saw. “I refuse to believe that!”

Reimu smiled, “Then that means we’ll have to change destiny, won’t we?”

Masamune went to work, feeling a little out of it. He was walking into the club when a woman passed him by, looking remarkably like the woman he killed in the moment he awakened. His blood froze as he watched her. She looked back, her eyes meeting his, before stepping out of the door.

He spent the rest of the night doing his job with slightly less enthusiasm than he used to. He realized that a part of him, locked away, was screaming to be let out. His old self. His true self. The self that he wanted gone forever. He’d caught himself once or twice subconsciously trying to rip away the Masque enchantments that held his confidence and his new, successful life.

Still unhappy about what had happened, and curious about the woman, he used the Transmission spell in order to tap into the bar’s security cameras and rewind it back to when she visited. He watched with growing concern as she asked for the clearbook with their bios, and discreetly stole his photo. He walked over to the counter to ask for the clearbook to verify what he’d seen.

His page was missing his mugshot.

He stepped out and went home, hearing his phone ring again. He looked down and saw a number that he recognized instantly even after he’d erased it long ago in another life.

Masamune kept his composure though the entire conversation with the dead girl. He admitted no fault, and mustered the confidence to tell her that she couldn’t prove anything, not when she was walking around alive. When the girl put the phone down, Masamune was left in his apartment, wondering at why the ghosts of his past had come back to haunt him.

—-

Amaya and her brother Tenjin had returned to Shinjuku, using their Spirit Sights to try and track down any remaining Jorogumo, in hopes of finding out more information about the presence of such spider spirits in mortal civilization. They found the alley where they first sensed the presence of the Jorogumo, only to find a spirit woman dressed in a kimono made of Jorogumo silk.

Amaya tread carefully, bowing in respect, but neither stating that the death of the Jorogumo was not deserved. The Spider-Woman answered in neutral tones, telling her that her children were here in the ningen world in order to prepare the way should the worst come to pass. They tried to live in peace, using whatever means to find a place among the mortals.

When Amaya inquired as to what it meant, the Spider-Woman led them to the spirit world, reclining upon a massive web, and showed them the spirit reflection of Akihabara. Amaya and Tenjin recoiled at what they saw. Sections of Akihabara’s spirit reflections were gaping voids, patches of non-space that ate at the fabric of reality. While they existed in the material, their spirit halves were excised, burnt down to nothing.

“Do you understand now?” The Spider-Woman asked, “If we do not prepare the way, then we will have nowhere else to go.”

Amaya and Tenjin bade goodbye to the spirit, promising it that they will look into the matter (and hopefully be able to do something about it.)

Tenjin turned to Amaya then, “This is why I was hoping that you wouldn’t be so involved.”

“What do you mean?” Amaya asked

“The same thing is happening in Kyoto.” Tenjin confessed, “That’s why we pulled back all our mages. If it’s happening in Tokyo as well… then we’re running out of time.”

—-

And that’s where we concluded last week’s session. As noted it was quite short, but it did introduce the elements of what else was happening in Tokyo. The team is now faced with all sorts of issues, as ghosts of the past, perversions of fate, and the erosion of the Spirit world are all happening. Is the Awakening Crisis a symptom of this as well, or are these the manifestations of Japan’s inability to awaken to higher truths?

That’s up for the team to figure out.

 

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Comments
  1. Hikkikomori says:

    Ghost problems?

    Time to call the Suicide Pact!
    https://philgamer.wordpress.com/2009/11/27/nmage-japan-free-council-cabal-suicide-pact/

    ‘Cause I surely didn’t kill her. Do dee do deed do.

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