The temples of shattered dreamscapes: Whispers of poison and ice. Summary.
The original log is found here.
In the residential area of Consequence, was a lone flat house. The local detective services received reports of crime rate rising in the area, even before the great FaE outbreak of madness and insanity. For quite a while, posters were hugging the walls of Blue moon tavern and Red Sun inn, as well as other places, willing to help the citizens of Hellifyno. Promising a sum of hundred gold. Twenty coins paid upfront.
Marvin Steelbound was the one leading this investigation. A man with no special powers, but he indeed did have the ambition, that was the main talent needed to survive in such a place. Soon enough, a group of people gathered. Lily Ann Black, Lunar Slicion, Aöemph, and Randall Wayne. These where the heroes, who responded to the calling. Bound by the need for some easy money.
After all, this was supposed to be an easy job. Get in the flat, pacify the perpetrators without a hunch, and go home before midnight. However, at the very start, Lunar was showing slight signs of uncertainty. That did somewhat thin out the party. For Lily knew, that instability meant trouble, presumably? Perhaps previous experience still had it’s toll on her? Aöemeph was quick enough to follow, and thus only Marvin and the two new colleagues – Lunar and Randall remained.
So they went inside. The stair way was soaked with the smell of nicotine, cheap alcohol and urine. On the second floor, they could hear two insane people coupling. Screaming like pigs before slaughter. Already this made heroes uneasy, but they pressed on. Marvin gave out the warning as per protocol, before by his command, Randall busted open the door, and they stormed in, armed, only to reveal a unholy sight.
It was an empty room, with a painting in the middle, showing a disturbing portrait of sorts, partially covered in blood. The canvas was surrounded with candles, and before it, a dead art, presumably the artist himself, the one they had to take in. Reginald, was lying faceless on the floor. His flesh eaten away by an unknown entity. Randall was quick to begin investigation, starting with the door, on the opposite side of the room, closer to the windows, located on their left. Lunar sounded uncertainty, as she neared to see the painting. It is important to mention that to the right of them was a hall way, unexplored until stated otherwise.
It was then, when they learned their mistake of coming to this place, as the doors shut behind them, and behind those doors, more doors were shut, resulting into an infinite, in the distance fading sound of shutting doors. This was where thy realized. It was not an investigation anymore. This was survival. Randal examined the bedroom, and found a diary, which he didn’t yet check, and couple silver coins. Drawings which he did not check, and cut open the bed mattress, to find nothing in there.
Lunar was unwilling to check the dead body of the artist, but Marvin read her thoughts and checked for her, finding a camera, a wallet and a black key. The two checked the camera, only to find that it had only one saved video on. They pressed play. “Elise are you here?” It was Reginald’s voice. Who was he talking to? Then a static, and some inaudible sounds could be heard in reverse. Tinkering for a moment, they checked the video, until Lunar deducted what was in the static. “I am here. Someone is coming.”
Their tension was broken, with loud banging by the second door next to the bedroom, they were yet to explore. “Someone there?” It was Zera la Fae! Being fond of art, she was lead by this dead madman, only te be locked in this bathroom. Mirror was crushed, and the bath was filled with dead bodies. Randall did the first thing on mind, and shot at the door knob, only to shoot it clean off, making the situation rather worse. After a session of word exchange and panic filled brainstorming, the managed to slide the freshly found key trough the bottom of the door, for Zera to unlock, and thus the woman was free.
Soon, the situation grew slightly chaotic. Marvin had noticed, that the windows had no reflection. This gained Randall’s attention. For better or worse, the man tapped the glass, and a slight shift was felt in the air. Nothing seemed to have changed. The detective insisted for Lunar to attempt to communicate with this Elise, but instead she went to search the bedroom once more, while Randall used basic sensory abilities, to detect that the center of energy was located round the painting. Soon enough Lunar found that the room, Randall had recently ransacked, was completely untouched. Opening the door, she found a dead body of a hidden girl.
Not long after, another scream came from the bathroom. A man had found himself beneath the limbs of the sullied women. This man was Alatar, another possible survivor f=of these dreamscapes. This made Marvin fall in panic, for the detective did not know how to get out of this mess. Finally trying to get some motion Lunar turned on the camera, saying loudly: “Hello! Can you help us!” There was little flicker, as the camera recorded. She kept recording the whole time, whilst the heroes were unfruitfully trying to find sense about the place.
Then it happened.
As the midnight had struck, whispers washed over the heroes, before the walls moved, letting countless amount of dark arms, smeared in oil to burst out. In the moment of panic, Randall ran to the locked door, they entered in hopes to escape. Lunar was in affect, pressing her back against the wall. Alatar and Zera, had wisely followed the pattern of the hands, and found momentary safety within the unexplored hallway. It was then, when Marvin lost his life, saving Randall, and Lunar.
They had little time to mourn the detective, as the arms were going at heroes, almost like flood. A wall of motion. There was no logical option on how to fight this entity, and so they ran, only to meet a “T” shaped crossroad. It was then when Alatar made a barrier, to momentarily stop the arms, but time was little. After a minuscule discussion, they decided to run to their left. Another barrier was made, as Alatar fell behind the heroes. They came into a location, decorated in Rococo ornaments. In front of them was a two way stair case, leading to a music filled hall. To their right a coffee shop, to their left a dressing room.
This is where the party broke apart. Zera and Randall ran towards the grand hall, deeming it to be the safest place, as Lunar insisted to run into a possibly les foreseeable location, the dressing room, possibly indicating a rout of exit. Foolish little heroes. They split up. And doors shut behind them, as the room was flooded with countless arms. Alatar was no where to be seen. Where ever he was, he wasn’t with them.
Zera and Randall found themselves in a grand concert hall, as countless Zeras, Randalls, Alatars and Lunars eyed them, applauding, and inviting them to go to the stage. They have been waiting for the main stars to sing. Naively, Zera and Randall obliged. Soon enough she sand to Randall’s melody, but she sang words she didn’t mean to sing. She was chanting. Chanting an ancient verse of oath. Deceived. And twisted one of many, one of none: “Upon the altar of many, the blood of holy shall fall. Those who witness and those who hide, the final days ain’t far! I am the maiden of his and he is the lord of mine!” The crowd cheered, shouting out in ecstasy. “Mother! MOTHER!” Zera was in slight shock, since the verse was unwilling, making her stumble slightly
Meanwhile, Lunar found herself in the dressing room. Without much thought, presumably being in rush, she began to sneak between the coats. It took a while, but soon enough the coats felt different, smoother. And the air was becoming cold. It was then when she realized, she was in a refrigerator, filled with naked, hanged woman on hooks, slaughtered, and tarnished beyond anything a human being should go trough. It was then, when whispers ensued, and the women opened their eyes, talking to Lunar, and persuading her to drink their dark blood.
Returning to the stage, Randal and Zera had fallen in a predicament. The crowd was booing at them. Almost as if they wanted for Zera to continue. But there was no idea nor in the woman’s, nor in Randall’s head. It was then, when the drapes of the stage behind them parted, revealing the main star. Lunar had found her way back to them, and behind them, a large mechanical doll. The crowd went silent, before roaring in cheers! “MOTHER! MOTHER IS HERE!”
Lunar had taken a stance, to convince Randall and Zera to leave the mother alone! Almost as if they had already attacked this unknown entity. This lead to confusion. A strong argument formed between the party. “I must save you and the souls of these women.” Was Lunar’s basic argument. What in the world was she talking about. Unable to come to conclusion, the situation escalated erratically, while spiders, coming from the doll, wove their silk threads around the heroes, watching them. Soon combat ensued between Randall and spiders.
It was then, when Zera and Randall, reached out. And with the light shining upon them, the man was armed with ukulele of dancing feet. A tool, that was able to make any feet dance to the music. Whilst not rendering the whole body without will, it made the legs move without a rest. In Zera’s arm, a brush, that was able to create anything, that was drawn. The woman glared at the mother and Lunar, as the protector also gained a gift. Turning in dark mist, she charged Randell, to stop the man who attacked the spiders. Snow fell from the sky. it was a mess.
“Stop it!” Pleas were spoken, as Lunar now had stood between the three. She begged for Zera and Randall to stop attacking the mother, who was just protecting herself. However Zera and Randall were doing the same. This made no sense. And after an unfruitful session of arguments, Lunar decided to bring the ultimate sacrifice. With a dagger in her hands. the girl ended her life. The mother cried and ran to her tougher, falling on her knees in the whitest snow, as it soaked in Crimson blood, sullying her pale dress. “You murderers! Look where you drove her!” Shock. Regret. Remorse. All was echoing trough their heads. Faintly and artificially. You see. At this point, Randall and Zera didn’t trust humanity anymore. Whatever must be done they did.
But seeing this scene before them, the decided to act out remorse. Zera’s brush touched the pale snow, letting it melt and act like an ink, before she drew Lunar’s replica. Beautiful artwork indeed, that almost had fooled the snow woman. But then the freshly escaped warmth of her real daughter overtook her, and with rage of Zera’s And Randall’s mockery, she attacked the man, as he evaded barely. The pale woman fell on Randall after slipping on ice, jolting the dagger in her throat, and falling lifeless in the snow.
“It was a play! A show!” Lunar had woken and shouted in shock, as a body of the lifeless woman was sleeping before Randall, soaking the wooden floor in human blood. Wither Randall had killed her, or it was purely an accident, was unknown. Since, the jolt between pure indulgence in art and actual reality made things seem senseless.
The public walked away unamused. Mother acting was true. It was genuine. She truly believed, that her daughter had died. And Lunar looked so beautiful, however Zera, and Randall. Those two should never step on a stage, for what good is an actor, that doesn’t even believe what he or she is saying?
One thing was certain, they had to get out before backstage workers come, otherwise there would be more trouble. And so they exited the building. Oddly enough nothing held them. The found them selves two blocks away from their original position. With Randall’s lead, the two women and the man came back to detectives car, to break in, and take the payment themselves.
Randal had become more thick skinned, for better or worse, he was becoming his own man. Purely unwilling to accept, but at the same time, completely blind to signs. This was his blessing and his curse. To some, now, Randall will be known as false murderer. And to some as an actual one. Nevertheless, he had gained the ukulele and the money.
Zera refused the payment, finding it strange to take the money, Randal obtained from the car. Her trust in strangers might be shattered fro a while after this night. For all she wanted was to see art of a grand drawer, only to be sent to slaughter house and turmoil. And even so, being the victim of a serial killer, she seemed to emerge as the most sound minded, however for a moment, wowing that she shall not use the brush, since it only brought them disaster.
Lunar was heartbroken. Indeed she believed that mother saved them three, by giving out the act of a lifetime. And yet, Randal and Zera had to drive her so far. With Nakh’s blood in heir veins pulsating now, she had gained the shadow step. A one magical talents gained by beloved blood kin. Whispers in her head, were undoubtedly to return. To give answers. To help. To be her friend. Yes. Indeed. The unspoken. The nameless. The weaver of deceit and madness, has yet found another passage to Hellifyno.
Wherever the light shines, there is a shadow. Where ever the sound travels, the silence will echo. There can’t be light, without some form of darkness. But there always be darkness, without a glimmer of light. Who knows, where the roads will lead us, my dear reader. But one thing is for sure. This was nothing but the beginning, of the realms of the dreamscapes. Every time you close your eyes, know. He is always watching.
(Warning, some spoilers can follow. Please do not use for metagaming.)
This session again, gained a lot of knowledge. Before I begin with personal comments, do take them with a pinch of salt, this is a small dismantling for me, posted, mostly so that some of you can grab what you find useful, as future DMs.
The most apparent problem, is as it was before puzzles. This time I placed three separate options for heroes. Two of which were actually seen. Window was touched by Randall, shifting them to an alternate reality, was he to tap the window again, they would have returned. Sadly the players aren’t much of testers.
Reading the log, you might witness, that playing Marvin, I then pressed the puzzle of Elise, since it seemed to be able to make most sense to the characters. Task was pretty simple. Ask a question. Record. Watch the video with ghost speaking, follow the suggestions. Sadly, they did not act timely enough. Even with me giving 3 straight up hints.
So all three puzzles literally left unsolved and unused, but don’t get me wrong, many things will be unseen and unsolved when it comes to DMing. Thus I will most likely take these details and hybridize them for future implications.
So in that sense, it was my personal fault. But what does baffle me, is that the players, took NO account of the objects they found, that might help them. Nor did they communicate with one another efficiently. Zera was a victim of the killer. Randall had the actual diary Reginald and drawing, he did not bother to check. And Lunar had the camera, as well as wallet of Reginald. So all things considered, all they really had to do was to communicate among themselves.
Now analyzing this situation, I did find what actually stopped the heroes from doing so. And bluntly it was Marvin. Dynamic increased drastically, once I put on a life threatening situation, and took away their only *Ahem* Metagamy option of any answers. Funnily enough, even then, at the decision, they did not act as a team. Which one would think is vital, when going with a party.
Personal note: You wouldn’t believe the PMs I got from players, begging for me to spare their life.
Taking that aside, it served as a good foot work to turn the players against one another. IF they cannot act as a team. They can act as an entertainment for drama show, right? Right. So how does this analysis help me and other DMs. When making plot points for your event. Do add additional ones for subjects like: Not listening to one another. Working as a team, and so forth. Vague as they are, they do change the story drastically. Meaning that you must have prepared plan U for such occasions. Because in all honesty. The opera part was pure winging.
And again this is a personal issue of mine, but Nakh! Make more options for players to enter. However I wasn’t expecting so many players willing to join, and some of them did just pop in and leave. One particular case, was postponed for 18 minutes, before I was able to implement her. But, the slow decision making of players, led me to type someone, who had already left. Perhaps it was for the better.
Despite my mean little comments, the players did amazingly! And kept they composure through the whole ordeal! Getting comments of tension, stress, panic and excitement always motivates a naïve DM’s heart! Thus, great thanks to you! You are letting me grow! Is it a good thing, though? I am a twisted little mastermind!
Thank you for reading!