mordicai caeli (mordicai) wrote,
mordicai caeli

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Oubliette session twenty-three: The patient Goat-in-Iron.

The Goat-in-Iron (photo by Eben Bichler)

Another very enjoyable session, & for the record, I've filled up my tiny "actual game session information only" Necronomicon notebook. I write basically memory mnemonics, since I'm like freaking Batman but about role-playing instead of crime. This session I ridiculously over-prepared for, & then discarded most of my notes for being chock full of craziness, red herrings, & uneccisary troll fights. What the heck? I modifed things to make more "sense," though I doubt it will sound like sense. I also watched a bunch of Twin Peaks for inspiration. The actual game itself had some pauses in getting started & re-started: players needed to finish up some last minute stressful life stuff, & then we needed to fill ourselves up with sushi. Otherwise, the timing worked out, which was cool, because I wanted to delay some of the stuff till after it was dark out. The night time is the right time!

Last session had concluded with plans being set in motion; the players had laid out the dominos they hoped would lead to a reunification of the Malake Aristos with the Doge of Malake, & neatly circumvent political troubles with the theocracy of the Synod. To that end, they would pursue further recognition of nobility for Demoselle Lorelai O'Dragonfly, & in the bargin Damocles the maimed of the Sun Cutting Darkness sept would duel the wicked warlock Seignour Adelard Wolvus. Alright, Enough re-cap.

The scene started with the heros taking the lead of their psychopomp, Balthazar Thrice-dead of the Ten Eyed Devils sept, going into the soot-filled dark where the goblin's wait. In fact, to speak to one of the Blickerworm Hegemony's foremen, dressed in coal-dust covered overalls & a crocodile skin jacket, chewing on a foul cigar. He was quite taken by Lorelai, but much more enchanted by her lady friend...Balthazar? Oh they confused that gobbler, asking him what route was "safest" or appealing to his better instincts or what have you. Come on goblin, they need to know how to get to THE GOAT-IN-IRON. Well, for that, he needs to crawl into one of the massive engines, speak with his supervisor. & his supervisor tells him that he can tell the players where to get the token they need to get past the "Sisters" but Balthazar will have to tell him...& the goblin had memorized what his supervisor asked for "the weapons te-lem-a-try from the grand cannon of the Red city." They hemmed & hawwed but acqueisced, & the goblin told them the route to take. They must obtain...the fancy hat. So off they went; through the empty garage filled with parking meters catacombs of short iron trees, through the revolving doors, sneaking all the the room of dirty dishes! & skulls swarming with snakes! & biolumenscent carrion beetles. (With goblins, I often try to make the every day-- dirty dishes-- horrific, & mingle it with over-the-top "evil" imagary.) They managed to, thanks to Lorelai, weave through the broken pieces of glass & avoid any potentially fatal snakebites...all without making a racket & alerting the "ferals" that the goblin had said lurked here. They found a strange, horned helmet atop a five-foot high wax candle shapes like a spinal column. Telling Balthazar to hold the column lest it crumble, Damocles whipped out his sword & did a magician's trick, cutting it in half with alacrity! Balthazar almost let out a peep of shock, but managed to stifle it. (How great are my players? They make voluntary Composure rolls all the time!)

The "fancy hat," icon of the Goat-in-Iron (gift from Maximilian I to Henry VIII)

The goblins took them down, down into the hollow Urth. The contraption they used was something like a carnival viking ship, the shuttle of a loom, back & forth & darn & drop & back & forth. Whee! Careful not to fall off-- goblins built this, you probably might fall off. Oh, but none of them did; instead, they ended up on a dusty plain with a dark sky dotted with stars. When I say "dusty" I mean "the accumulated dead skin & dust of eons, packed like very fine sand" & when I say "sky dotted with stars" I mean "a vast roof marred by unceasing fires burning with a relentless fury. After a long, long hike across the barren plain, they came to a river of...cold, almost frozen oil? Some thick, sluggish tar, & a host of "women" in white, fishbones floating about them. When they spoke to these "Sisters," they looked up from their prayers at the river's edge-- & ran at Balthazar, knives out, alternatingly screaming & whispering! Until Lorelai whipped out the fancy hat icon; then they began to frantically whisper & scream, & lick the stump of Damocles' missing arm. After a bit, they screamed & whisphered! "Thassalaaasssia AHHH! Sassallassatha AHHHH!" & ran to the thick water, which they began cutting with their white bone knives. Fat, oily chunks of the river's blubber came away & they hacked a path through the river to the other side, & the players followed them. (Said James: "just like turning a key in a lock!" Waiting on the other side was a brutal scar of a building, dark & abandoned, ruined, with only a single firey furnace marring its darkness.

The "Sisters" ("Unholy Communion" by Wayne Barlowe)

The burnt husk (photo by Jason Lee)

Within, waited something that had been brewing for a year of storytelling, & two years of regular old life. The Goat-in-Iron. The room of fire wafted heat at them; walls of it. Instantly, all but Balthazar (who knows a few yogi tricks of biofeedback) were drenched in sweat, buckled at the knees. They were in a furnace, as hot as any smith or jeweler's. An ancient Engine of unknown design or origin! The waves of heat obscured everything...except the figure chained to it: the diabolical Goat-in-Iron. & as he saw them, he undid a catch at his neck-- there was a hiss of pneumatic pressure, & his horns burst into flames (as above).

The Goat-in-Iron (by Van Olffen)

The Goat-in-Iron (by Creature Effects)

The He...has...been...waiting... ... ...a long time. He is very slow moving, existing as he does perpetually asleep & in hibernation! Infernal, reeking of brimstone, The Goat-in-Iron has been mentioned on many different occasions, by many different individuals, & Damocles sought him out hoping he could provide answers about his missing arm (for don't forget, Damocles is called "the Maimed" because he lacks an arm). Answer? Perhaps. Control? Definately. He offers to initiate Damocles into the Lodge of the Dragon, & Damocles accepts. Will Lorelai go with him for love? She will. Will Balthazar go with him for brotherhood, or will he stay to speak with the Goat-in-Iron for love of knowledge? He goes as well with Damocles. So, the Goat-in-Iron writes "Pride" on Damocles' hand, tells him pride is the only weapon he will have, & then gives Damocles, Balthazar, & Lorelai each a button of peyote (I gave them little pieces of pineapple as a prop). Then he hands Lorelai & Balthazar & shovel & tells them to dig Damocles' grave. Then when he lies down in it, he has them bury him alive.

Damocles had his vision quest.

He slid on his belly through the mud, being reborn, slick with mud & ichor.
Emerged among the roots of the World Tree, made of the reflections of a grove of sycamore trees.
Waded through the frozen river, upon which floated many swords (& Lorelai warmed him)
Down the Infinite Iron Staircase, harrowed by the ghosts of those he killed
Into the Cherry Blossom Orchard, which was revealed to be the Viscera Garden.
Met the dwarf, the ghost of his Arm, hallelujah, & learned their name: SUPERBIA
Sat on the throne, back to back, & watched the DRAGON rise from the River of Death.

In many legends, the dragon's belly is encrusted with gold & jewels, the loot of his hoard, which he sleeps upon. This dragon's belly was armored in the broken, enchanted swords of slain heroes, their rent armor, their useless shields. He was full of fire & malice. Ring-hoarder, life-drinker, death-dreamer, harem-keeper, king-breaker, storm-drinker, echo-singer. It rose up & silent as anything whispered in his ear "bow before me," & Damocles did not. "Kneel & worship me" & Damocles did not. So in rage & spite it unleashed its inferno upon him (& Balthazar stood in the way). He lashed out at it, & it returned his blow sevenfold (& Damocles stood aside & let Lorelai take the blow). They battled & fought, tearing at each other, until he call his Arm & took up his swords & cut the monster in two-- decapitated. & then the Infinite Staircase of Iron closed its mouth & reared: the DRAGON! For what was slain was but a shadow. The DRAGON stood, & Damocles realized the world has a roof, the sky is a ceiling. Then the DRAGON spread its wings-- peacock feathered, they stretched past all horizons! & it knelt at Damocles' feet.

& he was choking in the dirt, spaced out, weak & exhausted. Balthazar & Lorelai dug him out & Damocles asked the Goat-in-Iron if there was an easier way to leave-- & the Goat-in-Iron made them a Doorway home.

A Door of fire (photo by Jason Lee)

The session wrapped up with some nice set-pieces. They returned home & spoke to their various retainers, apprentices, surrogate children, hangers on. I think I did a good job differentiating them, too, which was something I was worried about. Now you can be sure when it is cagey Lupus, or enthusiastic Mathio, or Gossip Girl Mathilde. Lorelai & Damocles shared a bath, they found out that Damocles has a fever (but he feels fine!), Balthazar slept in his weird bacta tank, Mathio shared his idea for Damocles to become a hashashin, & Lorelai freaked out when she found out Malthilde had a party & went home with a middle-class guy. It was an awesome display of vice, she was so pissed about it. Then Damocles & Balthazar "almost kissed" if you listen to Mathilde-- I don't know I came back into the room & they were staring into each other's eyes. All in all, a very stressful few days, with a nice cathersis for close. So, in summary, my game was mostly a drug induced hallucination. Oh, & the latest round of the Shining Horde's propaganda drops.

Better! (source unknown, I think something comic bookish)
Tags: campaign2, oubliette

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