Small Change

I Fell Into a Burning Ring of Fire
Prologue - Session 1

After being semi-urgently called together by Small Change, the group learns (thanks to a King Syndicate member SC met) of an opportunity to take a dig at the Rhino Syndicate. They plot to take out two couriers en-route to collect protection money on the fringes of Rhino territory.

At the scene, the team quickly dispose of the two couriers (sustaining no injuries themselves) and retrieve their suitcase, beating a hasty retreat to St. Alphonso’s Pancake Diner. Once there, they consider opening it; Sophia takes the case outside to pick it open, only to toss it away and declare a bomb is within.

Shortly after the mad scramble out the back of the building (all Diner staff included), the ‘bomb’ goes off, emitting a violent violet light and engulfing half of the Pancake Diner and the entire opposite city block in a wall of ‘liquid’ fire.

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Crossfire
Prologue - Session 2

Having made their narrow escape from the unnatural crystal bomb, the team groups in an alleyway outside of St. Alphonso’s only to witness a Rhino syndicate limousine pull up in the street just beyond. They are immediately set upon by a group of Rhino members demanding answers and accusing them of having something to do with the bomb. In the course of the group’s rebuttal, they possibly face having to explain themselves to a Rhino Neosapien by the name of Big Mama.

Luckily, Marc is able to convince the Rhinos to let them go …only for another Syndicate limousine to pull up in the street and promptly engage in gunfight with the Rhinos. The team flees the resulting crossfire without harm, retreating to the Boar and Bear Irish Pub.

The following moment of peace is interrupted by the unarmed combat of two Neosapiens: a woman in traditional maid livery and a red-headed man wearing a labcoat. The two continue on elsewhere without any consequence to the group or the surrounding area. Left to their own, the group discusses retrieving their vehicles from the bomb scene but ultimately decides to leave it for later, lay low for the time being and call it a night.


Date

Monday, April 16th, 2167

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Short Changed
Prologue - Session 3

The morning following the now-named “Night of Fire,” Small Change meets most of the group at Viktoriya’s bookstore to show them a news recording of the night prior. On the first segment, they identify the behemoth warstrider of (a Neosapien) Police Chief Irons arriving on the scene to put out the columns of fire, heedless of the nearby Syndicate gunfire. The second segment addresses casualties of the night: 68 dead, 95 wounded, and a list of names.

Desiring to learn more about the mysterious person that gave Small Change his crucial tip, the group retraces SC’s steps back to the D Club, the place where he met said person nights ago. A brief questioning of Booker, the bartender, reveals that Small Change didn’t leave that night with anyone – perhaps further evidence of a Neosapien instigator. The only other substantial hint they discover is the forcible removal of the D Club’s exterior camera, likely after being preemptively jammed.

With their lead dried up, the group returns to the parking garage to head home only to meet a man, Fixer Polaro, apparently waiting for them. Fixer quickly cuts to the chase: his employers have hired him to take out those who ‘caused’ (indirectly, in their case) the Night of Fire and dissolve the tentative, relative peace between Syndicates.

Barely a second into combat, Fixer (a Wood aspect Neosapien) plucks out Small Change’s pistol and turns it on him, gunning him down – likely fatally. A collective initiative sweeps across the group, inspiring them, mere mortals, to go head to head with a Neosapien. After a mostly ineffective group offense, Marc lunges with his knife and lands a significant injury only to be effortlessly flung off the 8-story garage.

Two members out and on the cusp of losing more, they illuminate, they renew, and they exalt.


“To all those present, it’s a feeling without any parallel in the lexicon of human experience. It’s the lifeless puppet, being occupied and animated by the puppeteer’s hand. It’s a slow sheet-lightning enema while huffing a thousand magic markers. It’s waves crashing against a sand castle of experience and obliterating it to its barest components. It’s light – literal, physical, blinding light that doesn’t hurt your eyes, silver and gold. It’s being thrust, face first, into the sun, your eyes pinned open and forced to watch – and it’s exhilarating.”

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Caught in a Hustle
Prologue - Session 4

Filled with new-found strength and ability, the freshly exalted team take down Fixer within a few, precise and dramatic attacks. Fixer is, ultimately, no match and is quickly rendered incapacitated, then finished off by Vincent and Sophia. As they still flare with the full effects of their anima, the group gathers the deceased (Small Change, by head-shot and Marc, his face having bore the brunt of his 8-story fall) and heads off to let their animas wear off.

Before they can get far, a limo rolls up alongside them with four Volcano thugs bearing guns, provoking a brief car chase and gunfire. In a daring stunt, Anatolia leaps to the enemy vehicle and punches out the engine, promptly ending the chase. The group goes on to take refuge in the quarry, letting their anima die down and putting Marc and Small Change to rest (courtesy of Kuku).

The night ends at Small Change’s unlocked apartment, sending of the last of his messages – the one he asked Marc to take care of should anything happen to him: “Sign Off”.

(End of Story)


Date

Tuesday, April 17th, 2167

Moon

Waning Gibbous

XP

Session Award | 2 XP
3 Die Stunts | 2 XP (Kate, Mike)
Total | 4 XP
Running Total | 4 XP

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Sycamore Trees
Story 1 - Session 1

Called together by Kuku a month after their night of glory and death, the group gathers at Viktoriya‘s bookshop. Their get-together is interrupted even before it begins by a mysterious girl named Nixie, who claims to be Marc’s cousin there to deliver a message from the late member. She is initially resistant to sharing the note with the group due to there being ‘one less person’ than she anticipated (Sophia is not present at this time), but the others eventually convince her to share Marc’s note.

The note is inspirational but a little cryptic, leaving the group tense and skeptical of Nixie’s claim to relation. Nixie also shares an even more cryptic song, “Sycamore Trees.” After a brief debate and with no other hints to go by, the group decides to wait for Sophia and then scope out the Sycamore Trees Lodge and Hotel, the only place in Thunder City that has a thing to do with sycamores.

When they arrive, the Lodge and Hotel has been, seemingly, abandoned and untouched for years, with no hint of recent prior activity. Their cautious inspection leads them downstairs where, after picking a lock, they discover a heavy wooden door. As it cannot be opened from their side, Anatolia graciously demolishes the door so they can proceed.

What they find at the end of the hallway is nothing short of utter splendor.

“For those for whom cruelty is not strength and kindness is not weakness.”

Book says: {((o|o))} “Nu?”


Date

Wednesday, May 15th, 2167

Moon

Full Moon

XP

Session Award | 2 XP
Total | 2 XP
Running Total | 6 XP

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Some Kind Of Horrid Monkey
Story 1 - Session 2

Just as the group is introduced to their new (but old) weapons, the moment Kuku removes his, green flame alights within the room. Summoned from nowhere, eight furious demon apes assault them. The subsequent battle is fierce and somewhat laborious for the new Exalts, though only Kuku and Sophia sustain (light) damage by the end. With the weapons’ supposed protectors out of the way and their exaltation no longer secret (Kuku and Sophia’s caste marks glittering, Vincent full-out glowing), they round on Nixie for explanation.

Book says: {((;|;))} “Au ou! Ou nou!”


Date

Wednesday, May 15th, 2167

Moon

Full Moon

XP

Session Award | 4 XP
Make-Up Compensation | 4 XP
Total | 8 XP
Running Total | 14 XP

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Unmasking the Dead and Forgotten
Story 1 - Session 3

With the ape demons taken care of, Nixie tries to navigate the group through the weird circumstances that had let them there. They figure out, with help from Nixie’s careful wording, that Marc is still alive and that he became a strange illusion-and-psychic type exalt; then Marc removes Nixie’s illusion and reveals himself, to the group’s shock. He does his best to explain his own circumstances (including that he can’t give away certain information without serious repercussions, that Marc and Nixie should be referred to separately, and that memories of Marc are difficult to retain) and Neosapien basics (manse, demenses, Essence, etc.).

He also alerts the group of an anti-Celestial Neosapien organization called Spiralnebel whose sole purpose is to annihilate any non-Terrestrial Neosapiens, regardless of personality — their mere existence validates Spiralnebel’s hunt of them. Marc hints that it’s likely they are already aware of the bank robbery Vincent and Sophia participated in the night of their exaltation, and urges the team to be hypersensitive in playing things close to the chest and keeping a low profile.

This otherwise grave sharing of knowledge is interrupted by a living, sentient, speaking Book, who is drawn to Viktoriya.

Once Marc has said (most of) everything he set out to, the group is left wondering what to do with their new-found weapons and (still new) powers. Sophia suggests that they start with taking down the King Syndicate. After agreeing on collecting information to formulate a plot, Marc dons Nixie again. Sophia, Kuku and Vincent remember the conversation they had with Marc; tragically, Vikky and Ana do not, and the memory of Marc’s return disappears from their minds.

Book says: {((9|9))} “Mama?”


Date

Wednesday, May 15th, 2167

Moon

Full Moon

XP

Session Award | 4 XP
Total | 4 XP
Running Total | 18 XP

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Contemplating the Trudge Through Syndicate Mud
Story 1 - Session 4

Two weeks after their last meeting, Sophia calls for another get-together — specifically to discuss plans on taking King Syndicate down. She proposes feeding sensitive and secret King information to a gang connected to the Rhino Syndicate (which is at odds with King) to get Rhino to attack King and do some dirty work for them. Early on in the discussion, Nixie announces she feels this night is the night any tenuous connections between Volcano and King should break. She provides the group with both King and Volcano syndicate power hierarchies and suggests that they find a common link between them or a member in either syndicate to frame.

Much deliberation follows, wherein the group shares what they know about King and Volcano (primarily Kuku, Vincent and Sophia) to determine who is the best choice to “make rogue,” and that the best method may be to hack into Volcano’s system with a King member’s computer; even if in the (hopefully) resulting aggression King tosses the rogue member and tries to reestablish tentative truce with Volcano, the group would have one less King member to deal with. They at last determine that King Lieutenant Simon Carrel is the best option for this framing job, thanks to his debt and easy access via Sophia. Nixie tries to supernaturally determine when is the best time for them to break into his apartment that night, but is unable to extract an answer. Failing that, Sophia decides to call Simon and get him out of the apartment, and the group sets out.

Book says: {((n|n))} Kuukauu.


Date

Wednesday, May 29th, 2167

Moon

Waxing Crescent

XP

Session Award | 4 XP
Total | 4 XP
Running Total | 22 XP

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More Than We Wanted And Less
Story 1 - Session 5

With Simon Carrel successfully lured from his home by Sophia, the group moves in to get their job done. Sophia takes Simon’s form once they arrive to “let guests in” and avoid any suspicious attention. Nixie and Ana linger outside as watchdogs while Kuku, Vincent, Sophia and Vikky head inside. The four of them run into a older Korean maid who claims she fell asleep, but with "Simon"’s dismissal, she leaves the premise to him and his friends.

After locating the computer (and a thorough check for cameras that tips off the group to the house’s security network), Kuku disables the security and begins working through the extra layers of security to discover any sort of data that might be of remotest interest to them. In the meanwhile, Vincent has Nixie move his car, the suspiciously lingering maid is picked up by her ride, and Sophia periodically zones out, presumably to keep tabs on Simon’s location and activity. (After one such moment, she mentions a contact in Simon’s phone, “Boris the Spider.” A poor spider nearly meets its death due to her suspicion it may be a neosapien of some kind.) Once Kuku collects a sufficient amount of data and patches up the computer, Sophia hacks into the safe to discover a slew of debt papers and a solitary Polaroid of a beautiful Japanese woman in traditional garb. They complete their intended job with little (obvious) danger or misfortune and return back to Vikky’s bookstore.

Several things come to light when the group pours over the collected information:

  • The general password to Simon’s computer is ‘sophia,’ despite the fact Simon should not know Sophia by that name.
  • A file named Sophia.jpg was found on Simon’s desktop. The image shows Sophia meeting with a man both she and Vincent identify as Ziggy D. The image is at least one month old.
  • An email by the subject of Re: Re: Re: Re: Sighting, dated May 28th. “These are the orders from Spiralnebel. Just hang on to the photo. – Elias Hargrave" and Simon’s reply beforehand, “This is a Sape?”
  • An email by the subject of Volcano shipment, dated May 25th. " Volcano‘s getting the new shipment in a week. You’ll be responsible for assisting with distribution if we can intercept it. Have your couriers ready for heavy traffic. Offload it on the Balas if nothing else works. – Elias Hargrave"
  • An email by the subject of ALERT: Activity in Thunder City, dated April 17th. “A giant anima was spotted by some informants in Thunder City. It’s Celestial. Instruct your subordinates NOT to engage any Celestial neosapiens and to pass word to their superiors. We are working to confirm this. Lightning is apparently leaning on news organizations to discredit these sightings.” The email has no easily discernible From or To addresses.
  • An email by the subject of Seriously, a bear?, sent by bts@fantasyisland.net “A bear broke into the Pink Flamingo and raided the stockroom. I just thought you should know.” with a reply of “Thanks.” The Pink Flamingo is in Rhino territory, and there is no discernible reason why Simon would be included in this email. Fantasy Island appears to be an online gambling site. Sophia suggests that “bts” is Boris the Spider. A WHOIS domain search turns up with Clarence Woodchuck, quite possibly a dummy name.

As it would seem there is some foul play at hand with Ziggy D and Simon, Vincent calls to set up a meeting with Ziggy to discuss (or forcibly extract) any information regarding that at Rush the very next night. The group also loosely agrees to take advantage of their knowledge of the Volcano shipment, set to occur three days later.

The night wraps up with Nixie, Ana, Vikky and Kuku discussing going in drag to freak Vincent out.

Book says: {((o|o))} “Waafaa?”


Date

Wednesday, May 29th, 2167

Moon

Waxing Crescent

XP

Session Award | 4 XP
Challenge Award | 2 XP
Total | 6 XP
Running Total | 28 XP

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Rush In Party Crashers
Story 1 - Session 6

Briefly meeting up at Vikky‘s beforehand (to suit up for the Drag Night – Kuku, Vikky, Nixie and Ana all attend in costume), the group sets out separate for Rush with their meeting with Ziggy D, to avoid arousing suspicion if seen together: Kuku and Ana on bike, Vincent and Sophia by car, and Vikky and Nixie by foot. When they arrive. Sophia and Vincent head off to speak with Ziggy while everyone else plays look-out. The two learn that (at least presumably) Ziggy has never met with Simon Carrel but once, did not pass Sophia’s name to him and was not aware of the photo taken of him and Sophia that was found on Simon’s computer.

Just as Sophia is about to wrap up her demi-interrogation, a group of six well-dressed men pour into Rush. One aims a gun at Vincent and chaos immediately erupts. The scuffle is quick and kills three of the men, incapacitates two and injures one. Kuku demonstrates a knack for dramatics (and attempts to feign some level of innocence) by attacking the men, in full drag, screaming, “OH MY GOD” repeatedly. The last conscious man yields to the rag-tag group. Sophia promptly demands who sent them and why; he answers that Simon Carrel hired them to find and bring Ziggy to him. Vincent and Sophia take the man into custody for further questioning off grounds; Kuku and Ana beat a retreat together once the dust settles, and Vikky and Nixie stay back only long enough to partially console Karian Donovan, Rush’s owner, before taking off as well, before the police arrive.

Book says: {((o|o))} “Hau kaum Kuku haab buubs?”


Date

Thursday, May 30th, 2167

Moon

Waxing Crescent

XP

Session Award | 4 XP
Total | 4 XP
Running Total | 32 XP

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