Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Divine Blood - Wasps Among Butterflies - Session Ten - Nibbled by Kittens

 This session includes four characters:
  • Arianrhod Monica Trengrove (aka Aria), the succubus and Perfect Yandere of War who believes Psyche is Doing the Right Thing and is Lost Outside the Hierarchy
  • Sophia Ecks, Voyeuristic Visionary and Virtual Apex Predator who lives on The Bleeding Edge
  • Sarah Gow, a Napoleonic Werepanther from an Urbanized Tribe who's a Practiced Shapeshifter
  • Katherine "Katie" Lally, a Psyche Vampyr with a Sensitive Side who is a Former Police Officer exhibiting Fidelity, Bravery and Integrity and has troubles with Things with Buttons. 
An Apocalypse of Big Bads
Wasps Among Butterflies Campaign Index

As the last episode came to a close, the Psyche wasps had been drawn by Sophia into the mindscape of Kiki Himiji and found it to be a labyrinth under assault by a particularly vicious curse. After they purged the curse from Kiki, they found that her mindscape was connected to innumerable others and that a black cloud of some sort, clearly a manifestation of a massive curse of some sort and Sophie had challenged it.

The mist reacted immediately by attempting to crush down Sophia, who managed to resist the assault barely, though she still felt the pressure upon her soul, though the curse itself didn't seem to have the power she would have expected of it. Though the idea occurred that its spread through an entire network of an unknown number of psychics might have reduced its impact somewhat. Though in such a case she doubted it would be as effective against the intended targets.

Sarah, feeling a bit out of her depth, leaped out into the mist itself, landing upon a pillar that seemed to appear as she called for it. As she jumped out into the mist, she realized that it was not reaching out to attack her and, in fact, it hadn't seemed to be interested in Sophia or even Kiki until they drew their attention from it.

Aria, fresh from her recent training in dealing with mindscapes, began to visualize a her armor and a mindscape equivalent to her demonic illusion complete with the protective field it came with. Likewise, Katie began to solidify the image of her gun in her mind. As they did this, they perceived that the dark mist was spiraling down into the mental seas that existed between each of the various other islands representing other minds in this collective. They then saw something moving under the waves moments before it burst out as serpent formed of swirling black mist.

Serpent of Mist

Sarah tried to attack it by visualizing an image of her panther self launching itself at the beast. However, the attack was largely reflexive and lacked the focus and control necessary to make a successful blow against the creature and her phantom panther was deflected aside with no harm done.

The serpent then pushed into Kiki's mind and tried to assault Aria, drawn by the innate hostility of her preparing for battle. Fortunately, Aria successfully managed to defend herself, striking out in a way that forced it to dissipate into formlessness just before the blow struck. Her counter action was to repel the serpent back out of Kiki's mind into the oceans. The black mist continued to try to crush Sophia and keep her busy, only this time she defended herself much more effectively with a flare of bright green chi around her pushing it outward.

Katie, more used to the bizarre dream logic than Sarah was, focused on the image of a giant vacuum cleaner forming out over the oceans and drawing in the mist and serpent both. It remained above the scene though the various elements of the curse resisted and tightly. A torrent of black and twisted seaweed appeared as the curse attempted to clog up the vacuum cleaner, though the vampyr's visualization proved more resilient. As for Katie, the effort to create such a powerful construct drained her, but as she had a fair talent as a sensitive there was no serious corruption.

Cyclonic Vacuum of Doom
Kiki herself tried to block the entry of enemies from her personal labyrinth though the strain combined with the recent attack on her by the curse resulted in her heavily worsening her condition. The bronze-colored living wood the walls of her labyrinth seemed to be formed of began to visibly fray and splinter and her consciousness backed deeper into the mindscape to hide from assault.

Sophia parlayed her rush of Chi into a defensive visualization of her own as she manifested the Eye of Ar and placing herself as the pupil at the center of it. Aria likewise began to manifest more capabilities, forming a set of pincers rising from her shoulders. Sarah, recalling the minimal tutoring on mindscapes she had received imagined the oceans about the the sea serpent filled with obstacles in the form of a mewling sea of adorable kittens that clung to it and swirled upon the winds of the giant cyclonic vacuum. Meanwhile, Katie started to reinforce Kiki's mind against attack, creating an armor of police tape about her mindscape.

D'Awww

The black mist again pressed in against Sophia contending with the tendrils of the Eye of Ar in an attempt to reach out the mind in the center. The sea serpent formed of black mist pushed to escape the region of the vacuum's wind and found itself hampered by the kittens to such degree that it only barely managed to pull out of the area into another region of the surrounding seas and collective. Then a mass of winged creatures of some sort manifested around Sarah, forcing her to flee the zone as her mind and soul were torn at by the bizarre, black creatures.

The Corrupted Defenses of Ashvattha
Sophia then reached out looking to draw upon her Visionary nature to get a hint of how the curse was constructed. In so doing she accidentally connected with the greater Visionary network and was struck by a massive influx of information from several other Visionaries also contending with the curse at different places throughout this alien collective. Likewise, she had images of a third collective that was similarly assaulted by a second, similar curse. She recognized at least one of the Visionaries as the one behind the programing of Survey Says and grimaced.

Katie's looked about with her eyes, still active from the last session, and realized that the curse seemed to be reaching out and corrupting the defenses of the collective mindscape rather than attack them directly. She had the feeling that it was constructed, even without knowing much about exorcism or curse-craft the concept of such a massive curse occurring naturally seemed unlikely. In addition, the curse seemed to be attacking only specific minds throughout the collective mindscape they had appeared in. Specifically, they seemed to be attacking minds that had mixed species heritage. It occurred to her that the reason the curse could not attack them directly was simply because whoever had designed it had never taken into account the idea that people outside this seemingly species-wide collective would interfere.

The sea serpent then pushed itself past the barriers set by Kiki and Katie though it found itself unable to make any other actions besides pushing its way into the girl's labyrinthine mindscape as she hid herself behind the others. Aria engaged the invading sea serpent again, tossing it out back into the region swung into turmoil by Katie's vacuum cleaner where the serpent was torn apart and drawn upward into the vacuum as it was nibbled at by the sea of kittens.

Sophia was busy trying to defend herself while also coordinating her efforts with those of the other Visionaries. She, like most of the other Visionaries, were imagining their efforts against the curse as a sort of anti-virus, and they seemed to be operating off of the efforts of professional exorcist who was treating one victim which they were trying to spread through the whole of the network. At least one of the other Visionaries was an incredible talent in the field of probability while another seemed to be a strategist of skill. She added her own programming capabilities to refine the function of their anti-virus exorcism and spread back the alterations through the other Visionaries, adding in the insights communicated by Katie.

Within moments, those Visionaries involved in the direct contention with the curse released their anti-virus almost simultaneously and the black mist that represented the curse began to shatter and fall apart all across the mindscape where Sophia could see and, she gathered, the second mindscape collective as well. As the matter resolved itself, they all found themselves falling back into their bodies and viewing the physical world once more.

Session 10 Roll20 Grid

This session was an entire occurrence of a mindscape battle occurring within the Ashvattha mindscape as it is being choked by a curse meant to purge the Gods of anybody who is not a purebred God. It has always been an element of the fiction that the defeat of this curse lies in the assumption by the responsible party that humans and other mortals couldn't possibly have enough skill to counter the curse. If it weren't for the existence of Visionaries then they'd be correct, but there are several Visionaries around the world that have had contact with Gods or Demons and, as a result, the efforts of various mortal exorcists and psychics was able to be disseminated on a massive scale.

I hadn't really planned on showcasing Sophia as one of those Visionaries, but the opportunity was too good to pass up. Depending on whether Cade/Bella from the first playtest became a full God, it is likely that James Mutabah, the Visionary hacker in that playtest, was similarly involved in Edinburgh.

Since this event is still the same day as the last session, I decided to make the newspaper show some of the other bad stuff going on in the world. To reveal a little bit, this prison break turned rebellion by the criminal aspects of God and Demon civilization occurred earlier than its masterminds meant for it to and they are no more prepared than anybody else. Since most of the exodus by God and Demon civilizations were directed toward "safe" parts of the world, it is the relatively good nations of world that are most affected by the situation and around the world other rogue nations such as Brazil and Burma are taking advantage as well

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