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GDP_ST last won the day on March 7

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  1. Pookie unboxing Frostlands of Fenrilik We’re starting up a new blog feature here at Onyx Path, where we spend every Tuesday shining a spotlight onto reviews, discussion videos, actual plays, interviews, and podcasts relating to our games! Our first spotlight shines on Reviews from R’lyeh, a site operated by long-term roleplayer and writer, Matthew Pook! Matthew has taken it upon himself to review a host of our games over time, and not only does he write these reviews in long-form, he also produces videos discussing our games and unboxing them. As an example, here’s a link to his written reviews of many of our Scion RPG books: http://rlyehreviews.blogspot.com/search?q=scion Here’s another, reviewing our Trinity core book: http://rlyehreviews.blogspot.com/2020/07/action-adventure-with-competence.html Here’s an unboxing video of his where he chats about Dystopia Rising: Evolution: https://youtu.be/9bfepw6RsJE And here’s another unboxing, this time of Scarred Lands: Yugman’s Guide to Ghelspad: https://youtu.be/-1HSOxPDJNg Please give Pookie your support, check out his website, and if any of the games he’s profiling interest you, pick up a copy! If you have a website, podcast, actual play, or any other kind of media relating to our games, get in contact with me via matthewdawkins.com, and we’ll profile your content in the coming weeks!
  2. Wednesday, 4th September Saving the world ought to come with more fanfare than this. That might not have been the thought running through every member of the unlikely Fellowship's head as they went about getting ready for the day, but it wouldn't have been surprising if more than a couple considered it as they brushed their teeth, staring at themselves in the mirror as if trying to see a world-saving badass rather than... well, themselves. Most had scars and bruises still, remnants of the battle with Arawn/Cody that lingered despite the kick in the ass that Autumn's gift had given their healing. Some were back to full health, others still ached in every joint and sinew from the stress they'd undergone. And here they were, born to be kings, princes of the universe or some shit, being hassled by their parents to stop hogging the shower and get ready for school. Discussing the merits of toast versus pancakes for breakfast. Dealing with the fact that, in their parents eyes, most of them were kids in over their heads. It manifested in different ways. In the Jauntsen house there was frosty silence punctuated by pointed slamming of doors and drawers and the occasional sharp look and sharper word. Autumn found that her dad was insisting on driving her to school before he headed to Great Falls for business, brooking no refusal - she could ride back on her bike this afternoon but she wasn't to go anywhere else but straight home. Sean's parents were extra solicitous, asking how he was more than once and enquiring about his plans for the day. Teresa Allen spontaneously hugged her daughter over breakfast, murmuring how proud she was of her in a voice that contained a wealth of fear as well as pride. Cassandra Pryor was driving Lilly in to school - her daughter had suffered severe night terrors for the second night in a row, had woken up screaming and crying, and the dark circles under her eyes were a testament to that. Despite which, she was still insisting on going to school. In the Alister home, Cade's dad had slept on the couch last night, and the shouting had gone on well past midnight. As the two men of the house got ready for work and school, Miyako remained in the bedroom, the door locked. And Gar Bannon, for his part, found he didn't know what to do or say. "Be careful" was about the limit of it - his strange, baffling son didn't need any more than that, and that was the frustrating part of the whole thing. Perhaps he'd talk to Hank, see if there was any practical measures he could take to help keep Jason safe that the boy wouldn't reject as overly restrictive. It wasn't that Jase was defiant of Gar's parental authority so much as Gar wasn't sure how much authority he actually had, when push came to shove. It was an ephemeral thing: governance with the consent of the governed, and all that would need to happen would be for Jason to decide a different direction, to say "No" and the authority would dissipate like fog in sunlight. So far, things were working with just the two of them talking stuff over like adults, though, so that was something at least. The halls and cafeteria of Shelly High were abuzz with rumors as the day got started. Shelly was a small town, a lot of people either worked at or knew people who worked at the sheriff's department and medical center. Sophia and Tawny had been kidnapped and then rescued by the odd assortment of friends. There'd been some manner of weird serial killer, who'd killed Charlie Cole and Cody Sikes then kidnapped the girls for God-knew-what fate only for Devin to lead a daring rescue. No, that wasn't right, whispered another gossip. The serial killer had attacked Jacob in the woods - Autumn Keane and Jason Bannon had been seen helping the warden's son to safety. No, Jacob and Bannon had fought over Autumn. The serial killer had been killed by Cade Alister with a baseball bat. The serial killer was on the run, being chased by the State police and Nathan Crocker. The serial killer was someone in Shelly. Someone had seen Devin disappear in a flash of purple light. Charlie had been found with Satanic scripture carved on his back. And so on, and so on. Rumors, half-truth, weird conglomerations of truth and sensationalism. The halls of Shelly High were a swirling chaotic mess of conflicting information. No doubt about it - today was going to be interesting.
  3. The rest of the parents - and their children - filtered out of the conference room shortly after. They were largely silent as they made their way through the hospital and out to the parking lot: only once car doors were closed and A/C engaged did any conversation start up regarding what had transpired in that meeting. To the west, the sun was setting behind the mountains beyond the reservation, turning the sky shades of purple, red and orange above those peaks as, to the east, a curtain of darkness swept towards Shelly on velvet wings. To those that noticed such things, it was hard not to shiver slightly at the symbolism.
  4. "Mrs Jauntsen." Annette clicked the remote in her hand as she resumed her seat, the holographic display dying as the lights came back up to their previous levels. "Your opinion of other people present notwithstanding, how do you know your children are not already in the sights of Klein and his people?" She gestured at Jase. "We know, for a fact, that the attack on Jason was a premeditated, planned action by Enterich, who we have reason to believe is working with or for those behind Crossroads, who in turn are the people we believe are funding and backing Professor Klein. I hate to be alarmist, but it is reasonable to assume that these people have taken an interest in your children, and it is wise to assume they know at least as much about everyone here as we do. They had access to all the Project files for a long time before we were able to secure them." "Now we will, of course, do our utmost to protect your families. You need to understand what we are up against, however." Annette's tone was crisp and no-nonsense. "Professor Klein is a genius with access to resources and technology on par with the U.S. military. He is also ruthless and, we believe based on the profile we've constructed, narcissistic to the point of being megalomaniacal. Despite the fact that your children were not part of the test group for Proteus, from the communiques we recovered between him and Cook we learned that Klein regards himself as the reason for their extraordinary powers. He also believes that these young people are the key to unlocking the vessel - particularly Devin and Sean, doubtless due to their particular abilities." "So, to sum up: Aeon and Branch 9 have no particular wish to place your children in danger; we want to help them to understand their gifts, and for them to help us in turn. Klein regards your children as a resource to which he is entitled, and has shown no compunctions about using kidnapping and murder to get his way. The people backing him have as much money and influence as we do. We can't get to him without launching a major military operation for which we have neither the budget, manpower, nor the authority. So you have a limited pool of options on how to deal with this, Mrs Jauntsen. None of which are safe." "You can proceed as you have outlined: we will help scientifically and medically evaluate Devin and Marissa - indeed, everyone who wishes to be evaluated similarly. While that's going on, you can hope that Klein doesn't send anyone to come and collect - or kill - any more of these young adults." The Aeon woman's tone hardened. "You can, of course, try to cause an official fuss. Go public. Write to your congressman. The FBI. The media, even. You will cause a lot of trouble to the Project, certainly. We will likely be shut down, have to close up shop and disappear. As for our enemies... well, at best you will inconvenience them. As you've learned here tonight, our enemy is connected on all sorts of levels and has no problem whatsoever in cutting off loose ends to avoid exposure. Simple fact is, the longer we wait, the longer it takes to recover Site B and oust Klein, the more danger we are all in." Annette looked around at the gathered parents and teens. "The more danger the world is in, frankly. Whoever these people are behind Crossroads and Klein we, as in 'everyone who is sane', don't want them getting their hands on an alien vessel." "Or you can let your children help us to help put together a plan which minimises risk and loss of life and puts an end to Klein's grip over Site B and the shadow he is casting over your life right now. We might be able to accomplish this without Devin's unique contribution. But not as cleanly, not as quickly. Same goes for all of these remarkable young people present." Annette spread her hands to the sides, encompassing all those at the table. "Obviously you all have to think this over, so I'm going to call my part in this meeting to a close." She stood, smoothing her skirt with her palms as she smiled faintly. "I'll leave you the room. Talk among yourselves as you like. I'd avoid using phones or emails to discuss this in future, however, for security purposes. Please understand that whatever course of action you choose, normal life is over. Your children have found themselves with gifts which make them incredibly valuable and important to whomever knows they have them. The Aeon Society's sole goal is to understand those gifts, and to help those who have them make the most of them. Others are less benign, I assure you." She set down a small stack of cards on the table before her. "My number for those of you who don't have it, should any of you wish to contact me." With that, the representative of the Aeon Society nodded formally to those assembled, smiled once more, and turned to go.
  5. "It's certainly not our intention to stay back and let a collection of teenagers, however gifted, do all the work, no." Annette replied dryly, smiling a little at Sean as the door to the room opened and Autumn returned, freckled features paler than usual and her lips in a tight line as she made her way back to her seat. "You okay?" Dana murmured to her as she settled back into her chair. Autumn threw her a small smile and a nod, mouthing "I'm fine." in response as Annette got to her feet, dimming the lights with a remote in one hand. "Just before the dawn of the twentieth century, the Aeon Society was formed from a conglomeration of like-minded and, broadly speaking, philanthropic men and women. Most came from to various clubs and secret societies beforehand, but all shared a common interest - the exploration of and the unlocking of our cosmos and of human potential, whether through philosophical, economic, or scientific advances." Annette's voice was smooth and calm, little in the way of hesitation or stammering in her delivery. "There have always been mysteries in our world - whether in the depths of the sea or earth, or the reaches of space, or locked away in atoms and molecules, or hidden in the human mind. And there have always been those wanting to discover them. The Aeon Society's aim was to be a central sharing of such knowledge, which would then be disseminated out into the world." The conference call unit in the center of the table sprang to life, light shimmering from it's top to present a three-dimensional projection in the air that rotated slowly so that all assembled could watch as Annette's presentation continued. Various faces in black and white, newspaper article headlines, newsreel recordings of events and people filled the air. "We were not always successful. Some of our efforts to advance industry led to abuses, some of our efforts to advance technology led to disasters. And some of our efforts to improve humankind led to moral failing. As always, the best of intentions does not always guarantee the best of results. But we persevered." "We weren't the only people investigating mysteries, however. President Theodore Roosevelt, himself a sometime ally of the Aeon Society, formed Branch 9 as an arm of U.S. law enforcement and intelligence gathering, with the specific mandate to police the 'unseen world'. Strange happenings, super-science falling into or being developed by the wrong hands, aliens and poltergeist events - anything and everything the Aeon Society researched, Branch 9 also studied - but with more of an focus on containment, to preventing danger to America and the world, than to research for discovery's own sake. Our goals were not always aligned, and on several occasions our two organisations clashed because of these differing philosophies." "We made a peace compact during World War Two, when we realised that Nazi and Communist organisations with similar focuses to ours existed and, indeed, presented a threat to both world security and to the progress of humanity as a whole. Since that time, we have endeavoured to work together." Annette looked around at them all in the gloom. "That concludes the quick history of the organisations behind the Project. Now for the Project itself. Most of us here have heard of projects such as MKULTRA and various spin-offs, designed to brainwash people for purposes of interrogation and even programming them to turn on their nation. When these programs were shut down, one of the scientists associated with them came forward to Branch 9 with some findings of his own. Findings which, he claimed, could lead to the development of human potential in the arena of psychic powers." "In accordance with our pact, Branch 9 sought Aeon's input and advice on this project, and so Proteus was formed in the eighties. We pumped money and research into Professor Klein's theories, and began running tests on a control population - Shelly's. Klein's theories postulated that it would take several generations for results to show, and so we settled in, upgrading Shelly's educational and medical infrastructure so as to give us the best chance of detecting and studying changes over time." She gestured at those present. "Your children, despite exhibiting powers, were not part of Klein's test group, but a result of the meddling of another person." "Coyote." Cassie said, sighing. "Or Troy Lucero. Or the Man in Black." "Grandpappy." Marissa said with a sly grin. "Who?" Carl looked at his daughter askance, then at Annette. "What?" "A seemingly-immortal alien-slash-god who has played a chess game spanning generations on generations, playing matchmaker and mover." Jason said quietly. "For reasons of his own, but which we think are benign to humanity as a whole, he is behind each and every one of us not only having powers, but being here in Shelly. He advised us against the Dark, and also revealed to Cassie that her dad is still alive." "It's a whole thing, dad." Devin put in. "But yeah. Dude's up to something, and we're not sure what his end game is." "He says it's to rest." Marissa said softly, remembering her encounter with Coyote out by the bridge. "He's tired, I think." "At any rate, Project Proteus had one goal. There was, however, another project set up under Klein's direction sometime after Proteus was started. Project Argo." Annette's voice was accompanied by the display switching to show a glacial lake that several people present, Carl, Cade and Autumn amongst them, recognised as being from the mountains on the other side of the Blackfoot Reservation. "We're not sure how, exactly, but Professor Klein discovered something buried deep below Upper Two Medicine Lake. So deep, in fact, that it was buried in the bedrock of the mountains themselves. We began excavation and discovered... well..." The image shifted to a recording, showing a large open cavern, littered with lights and safety and digging equipment. Figures moved, showing the scale of the place to be on par with a giant aircraft hangar at least. Most of the walls were flat gray excavated granite except one, which was a shimmering white and silver pearlescent wall that seemed almost translucent one moment, then solid the next before again becoming somewhat insubstantial. "We think it's a vessel." Annette said into the silence. "We think it's somehow stuck out of phase with everything around it, neither solid nor completely ghostlike. We think it's as big as a modern U.S. aircraft carrier, but it's hard to tell because it throws off all our instruments when they try to measure it. Current theory is that it could be as large as a city for all we know. We know that when we first found it, it allowed several of our teams to come aboard, but then something changed abruptly and they were all expelled. The cat and the smilodon were taken from this thing in the early days - apparently there's some manner of on-board park or nature reserve." "After the lock-out by the vessel, we've spent a couple of decades now trying to get back into it, with no success. The authorities lost interest and urgency, and so Project Argo, like Project Proteus, was largely left to it's own devices until very recently. When we took over Proteus from Cook and jailed him for going beyond his remit last week, we sent a team to Site B to investigate, only to have them fired upon. It seems Professor Klein - with the aid of his allies in Crossroads Incorporated - has phased out all staff loyal to the Project and replaced them with his own people, or those whom he can control. He is conducting experiments to 'crack open' the vessel, one of which is called the Quantum Key, some manner of dimensional generator which, if I understand correctly, is designed to bring the vessel back into phase with everything else. It's this Key, we believe, that has caused the crossover events where the Void has been brought somewhat into our world. We also have a report that there is a steady, solid portal there in Site B into the Void - from someone who came through it." "Ellie." Devin said. Annette nodded before looking around at the others. In the air above the table, the shimmering wall of the alien vessel faded in and out of reality. "That's the overview of Site B." she told them all. "Any questions at this point?"
  6. "Wait a minute... what situation with Jase?" Lt. Colonel Pryor looked from Cassie, to Jason, to the other adults in puzzlement before once more looking at the blonde for answers. "For that matter, what thing did you all fight in the Darkness?" He shook his head. "I think we missed a couple steps here." "The meeting got a little derailed and disordered." Cade replied with a calm what-can-you-do shrug at Lilly's dad. "It happens. A lot." "Yeah, uh..." Cassandra looked at Jase to see if she could pick up any cues from his body language. "...this okay?" The lean youth's body language and expression hadn't varied through all the storms of accusation and venom leveled at him, the only sign he'd even been paying attention the way his eyes had moved to regard Lilly as she told of the reason for her absence. At Cassie's question, those same cold green eyes moved to her face and he nodded. "Probably best to tell it in order, though." he suggested. "Right." She nods. "Okay, so, starting with the Darkness. First...there was a sort of..." she winced and shook her head, trying to think of a not-airy way of saying it. "...spirit, kind of? It's hard to explain. A mind, an intelligence... It had power, but not a body. The body it was using was Cody's." Cass shakes her head at that. "And...it had made some changes around the place. It was...it turned him into an actual monster. Giant and...spiky, and he had horns or something, like a deer. We were able to block their powers, mostly...but Cody was still super scary. In the end though...I guess we were scarier. We beat them." "Right." Lilly's dad blinked a couple of times, nodding as he absorbed this. "So this was the Darkness that had been causing that cycle of violence and murder you guys mentioned?" "We...thought so. At the time we didn't know about Enterich. So, now it seems like it might be a little more complicated. But it was a big part of it. It was using Cody to kidnap people...the Tree in the Darkness was growing out of a literal mountain of skulls. Sacrifices, basically. I don't think Enterich is responsible for that kind of body count. I think he was kind of...running interference? Making sure that the Dark's activities in town didn't attract attention. Making sure witnesses stayed quiet. That kind of thing." "We think." Jason agreed quietly. "We're still not one-hundred percent sure, though." "So..." Dana Keane looked from Jason to Cassie, curious. "Enterich is... what? A fear demon, like she said?" Autumn's mother gestured towards Marissa. "I mean...maybe? We know he uses fear to force people to obey him? But honestly we've barely started working on the problem of what he is. But he knows about us. Which brings us to the situation with Jase." She nodded. "Enterich basically put a hit on Jase. He got a couple of marshals to pull him over, and just...shot him. In the car." "Wait, marshals? As in United States Marshals?" Cassandra's mom's eyes widened, her hand going to her mouth as she stared horrified at the young man across the table. "Shot you? Without warning or anything?" "No warning, no provocation." Jason affirmed matter-of-factly "Pulled me over, walked up to the driver's side window, and drew." "Christ." Carl Jauntsen said under his breath. "...so yeah, that's how much power he can have over someone," Cassandra agreed. "Those guys weren't bad people. They didn't really want to do it. But they didn't fight very hard either. They knew who was in charge." "Autumn spoke to one of them in depth." Jason put in. "She might have more insight there, but hasn't had a chance to share it all yet." Cassandra nodded. "I think he went after Jase because Jase is the most physically dangerous...but also as a test. Seeing how vulnerable we were...and assuming he'd be the least vulnerable. But I'm pretty sure he won't stop with Jase. Most of us would have been killed by that sort of thing." The assembled teens - and their parents - went quiet at that, doubtless each of them imagining a tap at their car window, or a knock on the front door, a flashed I.D and then... "So where are these marshals now?" Misti asked, her face a little pale. "Incarcerated deep below us." Annette said briskly. "Where they shall remain for the foreseeable future." "But Enterich is still at large." Jason's voice was calm. "And we don't yet actually know what he wants, only that he is hostile to us." "And since he's using humans as...pawns...we can't just go in guns blazing like we did the thing in the Darkness." Cassie agreed. "And then there's Site B." Sean spoke up for the first time since the meeting had begun. "Right, well...Site B is not our story to tell." Cassandra looked at Annette. The Aeon representative nodded at that, regarding those present keenly. "I received clearance earlier today to discuss Site B, and the Project as a whole, with those present here. Given your children's unique natures and gifts, and with the interest of fostering cooperation. But, and I have to stress this, what we share with you cannot be spread far and wide. There is evidence that Enterich is working with a large syndicate, an organisation notorious in certain circles for illegal and immoral activities on every continent. It is they who subverted the Project under Cook, they are behind Crossroads and they who currently hold Site B." Annette's expression was stern. "To reveal that you know too much, too soon would bring these people to your doors. For your own protection, and that of your families, as well as the continued existence of the Project, you must agree to keep between us whatever I reveal. Think it over, talk it over, take such time as you wish I won't start talking until Miss Keane returns, in any case."
  7. "Lt. Colonel Pryor was unaware of any of these events, though I can understand that his rank and position suggest otherwise." Annette spoke up, her voice calm and professional. "His remit is official and above-board, and he has had, to date, zero awareness of the Project." Lilly's dad was looking quietly thunderous, his eyes narrowed as they considered the Twins, Jason, and the revelations of his daughter's friend's actions in addition to everything else that had been revealed. But he nodded in agreement with Annette's words, remaining silent. "Captain Williams is a member of our security forces, and thus is under several layers of secrecy not to discuss anything, with anyone, ever. I imagine he is less than sanguine about his daughter's involvement, nevertheless. He is here tonight as a concerned parent much as you all are, Mr Keane, not to answer for anything. As for me, I am - was - similarly bound by oaths of secrecy, at least until earlier today." "What about you, sheriff?" Misti asked Ian Alister, her eyes narrowing. "You knew about all of this before any of us, right?" "Some." Cade's dad admitted heavily. "I knew that Cook and several local businessmen and developers were involved with Crossroads prison, though not how. I knew that they had their eye on some of the local kids, but not why - and oddly, none of the kids here were on that list." "Cook admitted we were not expected to manifest powers." Cassandra put in, frowning slightly. "Said something about us being part of the control group, not the actual experiment." "Okay, so why didn't you say anything?" Ian Keane asked. The sheriff shrugged, exchanging glances with his wife before looking at Autumn's dad again. "Because I didn't have anything to go on. Hunches, bad rumors coming out of the prison, quickly hushed up. I didn't know anything about powers, or experimentation. But there were people disappearing or turning up dead in the prison and then Mr Allen went missing, and a lot of money changing hands somewhere." He sighed, wiping his face with his hand. "About six months ago, I took what little I had, plus some hunches, to a buddy upstate in the Federal building. Talked to him over a beer about it. We figured maybe human trafficking, or some shady financial dealings. My FBI buddy was going to look into it." He paused, meeting everyone's eyes. "Four days later he died." "Georgie?" Miyako asked, surprised, her hand coming to her mouth. "But that was a-" "Car accident. Sure. Hit and run." The sheriff nodded grimly. "But a hell of a coincidence, and one that benefited anyone who wanted to keep Shelly quiet." He glanced at Annette. "There's no official record of any such operation on our books." Annette said quietly. "It wasn't handled by Project personnel, or authorised by Cook officially." She met the Sheriff's eye. "If the Aeon Society - or Branch Nine - had approved such an action then there would be a record of it. Not that we would. There are more humane ways to deflect attention. I'm sorry about your friend." "Yeah." Ian Alister replied, taking a deep breath before looking at the other parents. "So yeah, I took it as a warning and kept quiet. I didn't want whoever I told to be next. Or worse, my own family being in the next 'car accident'. And then, after last Tuesday..." he paused. "It was insanity. Total insanity. My deputies who were with me had their memories altered of the event. But I saw one or two of those things, the rubbery critters. I saw the frozen solid fish monster. I saw Charlie Cole covered in armor plating and Jason Bannon covered in ice. I saw Devin rip space apart, and Sean think hard at a military encryption level computer and hack it. And then I learn about secret conspiracies and experiments and my son and his friends are fighting against the closest thing to real by-God evil that exists." He gave a short, helpless laugh. "So who the hell was I supposed to tell first? What does a small town sheriff do in situations like that? Who do I call? I was still trying to figure out everything when Cade tells me yesterday that he and his friends are off to fight this Dark thing and might not be coming back. What am I supposed to do?" "You could have told us." Misti snapped. "And you'd do what? Try to find a way to stop your kids from doing what only they can do? If you even believed me at all." the sheriff snapped back, his open hand slapping down on the table. "I saw the creatures, I experienced this Darkness thing. They saved Shelly. They avenged Charlie Cole. They were scared and out of their depth and they stepped up and did it, and they still have some work ahead of them, from everything we heard. So now I'd like to hear the rest of what they know, not because I want to blame someone for the world not being the way I want it to be, but so I know how I can best help them - because I sure as hell can't shelter them from what they have to go up against." Gar Bannon nodded silent agreement. After a moment's exchanged glance, so did the Keane parental units. Cassie's mom's lips tightened, but she nodded assent and the Cassidy's likewise signaled their agreement, in principle, with the sheriff's words. Annette, looking around at the assembled faces and gauging the mood, glanced over at Autumn. "Both the animals your team rescued are healthy - at least as they can be." she said reassuringly to the young redhead. "The smilodon is kept mildly sedated, to take the edge off the pain caused by whatever those butchers at Site C did to the poor thing. He's been fed and checked, but we're not sure we have the knowledge to reverse what was done." The pretty brunette's eyes were grave as she sighed. "I was going to ask if you could perhaps give us a hand there. All we know for sure is that it has numerous surgical alterations and some implants which are driving it into a near-constant fury, but we don't have any real idea how to fix those without killing the poor creature." "As for the... cat. She's well - they removed the probes from her head and we're keeping her under observation. She seems calm, even curious, and one or two of the staff report they've heard her 'talking' to them in their heads. Nothing solid, just impressions of gratitude when they feed her or clean her pen. We still don't know exactly what she is or what she can do, though."
  8. "Yeah." Cassie nodded, taking another sip of water before speaking up again. "There's, like, Darkness, the force that is opposed to Radiance. And then the Dark here in Shelly that was responsible for the cycle Jase mentioned, which is sort of a..." she frowned, snapping her fingers and looking at the others. "Avatar? Wait, no: Anthropomorphic personification" Sean supplied helpfully, causing the blonde to shoot him a grateful smile and nod. "Yeah. A personification of the greater Darkness." Cassandra straightened a little in her seat and motioned towards the projection on the table Sean was manipulating. "So anyway, that Friday, all sorts of stuff broke loose, all at once. We were approached by Dr Cook, who told us he'd been spying on us and knew some of us were developing abilities. The Project he worked for has the whole town wired up, school, med center - everything." "Surveillance we have since scaled back and largely shut down." Annette quietly interjected, noting the stares Cassie's comment was starting to cause from the assembled parents. "Right. That was the old Project under Cook who were spying on everything we did. New management, and all." Cassie didn't quite sound sarcastic, but she still managed to inject a delicate strand of skepticism into her tone as she went on. "Anyway, round about the time Cook was twirling his mustachios and proclaiming us to be his finest work, some of us went up to investigate the trailer again. There was some kind of weird dimensional... crossover." "Conjunctional overlap." Jason put in. "...yeah, that. And those of us who were at the trailer were sucked through to the other side." She gestured to Devin and Marissa, then Jason and Autumn. "Autumn had just been, uh, talent scouted that morning - we could tell she was one of us and she got thrown in the deep end. We weren't expecting anything like this overlap, though we later found out it was a deliberate action of the Dark to try and get some of us. The fish-dinosaur monster you see there started attacking the party at the trailer, and we were hustling in like the cavalry, and it was all sort of... well, nightmarish." She gestured, the image Sean was projecting showing Devin's stark drawings of the event: the monster trying to eat his leg, Jason ablaze and throwing fire from his hands as Lilly charged the hellbeast from the side and Cade took aim with the shotgun. "So after we realised we'd survived, we decided to get together over that last weekend in August. Saturday to compare notes and to plan, Sunday to do a sort of Danger Room thing and train our powers. It was kind of a mess, still." She shrugged, looking around at the others, most of whom nodded. "There were all these old grudges bubbling up, and people getting on each others last nerve and storming out. But we did at least sort of get a better idea of what we knew and didn't know, and what we could do - those of us whose powers were most developed, anyway. Some of us were a little slower to bloom." She grinned self-deprecatingly. "By the time Sunday evening rolled around, things were mostly chill. Not necessarily best of buddies, but chill." Autumn nodded, remembering the campfire in the field at the Bannon farm, remembering the swish of the air around her as Jason flew her around like a toy airplane whilst the others laughed. She smiled faintly across at the green-eyed young man, whose eyes flicked to hers and tightened slightly at the corners in his own version of a smile, showing her he remembered that moment too. It wasn't lost on all the Fellowship that Cassie was deliberately leaving some details aside: Jason's psychopathy, the attack on Lona, and then the retributive attack on Liam, as some examples. She was sticking to the main narrative involving the kids and the Dark. She went on to describe the endless, hellish Monday. How Devin had been sucked through again into the Dark's realm, narrowly escaping death thanks to the involvement of a mysterious armored figure. How she'd nearly died trying to use her power on the bracelet the figure had put on his wrist. Discussing Etienne and how he'd been using Clara on behalf of the Project under Cook's direction. How they'd talked about the mysterious Man in Black who had ominously appeared on Friday to some of them. More arguments at the meeting after school that day, Sara stalking off in one direction and Jason peeling rubber out of the parking lot. "Not all of us were at that meeting." she went on, "But it doesn't much matter, because not much got done. And then... And then Tuesday rolled around." "Jase got attacked at school by two seniors, right there in the halls. Some dumbass reason or other, but in actuality it was the Dark, pushing them. I don't know whether it wanted to kill Jason or just to provoke him into using his power at school, but it seems likely that it was a chess move, because right after, while he was getting checked out and we were visiting him here at the Medical Center... the Dark made another move. It did that dimensional overlap again, and sent monsters after us. Me and Autumn were investigating and had found the elevator in Cook's office leading down to the underground complex. The others were upstairs visiting Jase, and then... it was like in that movie 'Silent Hill'. Everything stayed sort of the same, but the light got sickly, and black rot patches appeared on the walls, and the air smelled like... Like..." "Burned pork. Only not pork." Autumn said quietly, feeling a little green around the gills as she recalled. "Yeah." Cassie nodded. "Super creepy and gross. So some of you were here for that." she said to the adults, gesturing towards Kat's dad, Gar Bannon and the Sheriff. "You know what it was like." The three men nodded somberly, each silently recalling their own thoughts and memories of that day. "The Dark's beasties were hunting us. The guys upstairs had combative powers, so they fought their way clear. Autumn and me, we had to sneak away from the creatures until we ran into the Project's security people, who protected and looked after us. Upstairs, the guys were kicking ass." "Did we ever." Devin agreed, grinning. "Dude, Sean was all 'zap, pew-pew' with the lasers, Cade was a beast with a fire extinguisher, Charlie was an armor-plated killing machine, Jase was Mr Freeze and I was ze Incredible Nightcrawler! We totes X-Man'd that shit." "Right." Cassie rolled her eyes, but smiled good-naturedly as she went on. "So then after the dimensional thingummy ended, we were all herded down to the Project and we had a big old pow-wow with Annette, Dr Cook, and Taggart - he's the security dude here -" "Major Taggart?" Lilly's dad spoke up for the first time, looking surprised. "The para-rescue unit commander?" He looked at Annette, then Captain Williams narrowly, both of whom remained silent. "Guess that's his official cover." Cassie shrugged. "So a lot was discussed there, and it came out that Cook had been abusing his funding and authority even by the standards of the Project. He was removed and locked up, and then we learned that the funds he'd been abusing had been used to build another secret complex staffed by mercenaries under the Crossroads Prison, and that he'd sent Etienne there when the dude had refused to spy on Clara anymore. Sean did his thing and hacked the secret prison, found out they were up to all sorts of sick stuff there - I'm talking brainwashing, MKULTRA weird science stuff - and so some of us decided to go and spring Etienne." She gestured around the table. "Devin, Jase, Autumn, Cade, and Charlie all teleported to the prison, knocked out and roughed up some mercenaries, and rescued Etienne and a couple of animals that the sickos were experimenting on. It was a whole thing." She coughed, and took a drink of water to re-moisten her throat. "Sorry, getting a bit hoarse. So that story the press were running about a biological hazard at the hospital was just a cover." she admitted, looking at her mom apologetically. "I wanted to talk about it, but honestly it was just... a lot." Teresa smiled reassuringly and clasped Cassie's hand briefly, letting her know it was okay. The blonde reporter looked around the table. "So, uh, while I rest my throat for the next long haul, any questions from the audience?"
  9. In which Eddy and Dixie talk to the Kickstarter Concierge himself, James Bell! Dixie joins Ian’s side, and then has an existential crisisStarting out during the D20 boom and bustThe rise and fall of Fiery DragonRetail dying and signing up with Onyx PathThe cultural nuances of buying alcoholSeparating the creative and production aspects of KickstarterRetail backgrounds and community managementBenefits of crowdfunding Links: Fiery Dragon: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/browse/pub/14/Fiery-DragonOnyx Path YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/TheOnyxPathOnyx Path Twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/theonyxpathOnyx Path Discord: https://discord.gg/5uckcBk
  10. Attunement, Corruption, & Radiance (Shine) Under the standard rules in Aeon, those with Psi can use Attunement (Psi + Highest Mode) to detect Psi, bioware and Psi powers being used within their radius. The presence of Corruption also causes those with Psi to experience discomfort, described as pressure behind the eyes or an oily, slick sensation in their heads. Attunement cannot detect Talents or Superiors. For Weirder Stuff, the cosmology changes a little and thus so does the way Attunement works. Corruption and the powers of the Corrupted come from the Dark, and the powers of the PCs and those like them come from Radiance (colloquially known as Shine). As a result the following house rules apply: All those empowered by Radiance can feel the presence of Corruption when it is close at hand, even Talents and Superiors, though they will experience it as a feeling of vague unease or wrongness, perhaps easily missed or dismissed as something else, rather than a defined physical sensation as the Psions do. Psions can detect Superiors (who feel like strong unfocused sources of Radiance) and Talents (who feel like more diffuse versions of Superiors) with the same roll they'd use to detect Psi or bioware. Superiors and Talents can detect Psions if they are very close or touching them - it feels like pleasant electricity, warmth or coolness, a prickle on the skin. Superiors and Talents can feel each other’s presence if touching and they know what to focus on - something that comes from practice rather than random discovery. How Talents and Superiors affect Attunement Links: Talents give an enhancement to all Psi uses that reflect their primary Facet, at a rate of +1 enhancement per dot. Each such use of this ability drains 1 Inspiration. Superiors are raw power reserves of Radiance. They affect Psi rolls much as Quantakinetics do when in a link, but can only do this Stamina+ Health Levels times in a given scene before becoming Taken Out and falling unconscious. Superiors and Talents cannot receive buffs through Attunement - the ability to draw on such a link is Psion-only.
  11. The Bannons had retaken their seats as the Keanes settled in across from them, Gar smiling a little over at Autumn's family before glancing at Jase, who'd once more assumed a relaxed, almost deliberately slovenly slouch in his chair, only the faint warming of his eyes as they rested on Autumn opposite him any indication he was paying attention to anything. The door opened again, admitting Captain Williams and Kat. The soldier looked around at the gathering with a professional eye and a tight, in sincere smile and nod as he moved behind his daughter, who herself looked nervy and ready to bolt as she took in the assembled parents and the emotional texture of the room. For a telepath it was tense here, clouds of of suspicion, angst and lingering hostility floating around, flickering with lightning, and she didn't want to advance any further into it than she had to. "Hey guys." she said, giving everyone a shoulder-high wave as she pulled out the seat nearest the door, the one on Annette's right. Between the calm of the Aeon woman and the warm concern of Gar Bannon, and beyond him the utter frozen lake of Jase, she felt that this was likely the least turbulent spot in the room - as well as closest to the door if she needed to bolt. Her dad took the seat beside her, nodding to Gar and offering a handshake and murmured greeting as a message ping went off from the diminuitive French girl's phone. Flushing as she drew stares, she glanced at the message from Courtney, tapped out a reply, and thumbed her phone to 'silent' before tucking it back in her pocket and looking around at faces, waiting for the meeting to begin.
  12. Tuesday, 3rd September, 1900 Marias Medical Center Annette was good as her word. The conference room was on the second floor of the administrative wing of the Marias Medical Center, a carpeted and soundproofed room dominated by a polished oval table, ringed by chairs with a high-tech speakerphone terminal in the center. Bottles of water and glasses were set on a side table, the only other piece of furniture present. The Fellowship, along with such family as accompanied them, were escorted by curiously fit and watchful hospital security guards to the room, shown inside, and then left to their own devices. Though nobody was standing guard outside the room itself, it didn't escape the more observant visitors notice that this section of the hospital did not have many people in. Other than the guards showing them to the room, the only person present was Annette Giles herself, who was seated at one end of the oval table, her well-manicured hands folded before her on the polished surface and a patient expression on her lovely features as she waited for all to arrive.
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