Sunday, October 2, 2016

Divine Blood - Wasps Among Butterflies - Session Eleven - Hitting Above the Weight Class

 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. 

Wasps Among Butterflies Campaign Index

The Edo Wasps have managed to help out with their corner of the species wide curse that had been cast on the various facially marked refugees that have been popping up all over the world. As they take a few minutes to catch their breath from the telepathic battle, they go around to try and treat the people at the Himiji shrine. Aria uses her ability to create Life-Force poisons in order to produce a series of anti-venom applications on those that were suffering corruption from the curse, including Kiki. While she wasn't a full exorcist trained in healing corruption, she was able to at least treat a number of the symptoms and reduce the most dangerous consequences and perhaps make the tasks of the expert healers a little bit easier. 

Katie likewise travels about trying to use her Life-Force Sight to help identify those in most need and the least likely to have a bad reaction to Aria's side-effect heavy method of healing. Likewise, Sarah moved about trying to help out as well, but unfortunately she was a little bit rattled from the mindscape battle and basically just moved about causing well-intentioned chaos rather than actually providing any sort of help.

Sophia meanwhile started to try to gather up information about the situations going on in the city. She identifies several more major points where dozens of people are appearing, one of them within five miles of the Himiji Shrine. Meanwhile there were a number of other individuals appearing in the middle of the city, some being obvious refugees while others are psychics wreaking havoc in the city. After ascertaining that Kiki can handle things at the shrine until her parents and half-brother show up, the wasps move about to split up and take on some of the various enemies appearing in the city.

While they were taking in the various videos that Sophia was dispersing to their phones, they each choose an incident within reach. Aria found video a Chinese seeming man with eclipse like blue marks on his face using a bow as he was shooting whoever he could as he called about complaining in Chinese. Sarah meanwhile found a Meso-American looking woman who seemed to be grabbing people and flaying them alive. Katie meanwhile, chose to track down a large man with bulging muscles and a heavy black beard. 

Aria show up at her chosen site of attack quickly enough, but was distracted as she found that it was occurring at the Mister Donut and paused a moment to place an order for a milkshake with a shot of frangelico before stepping forward to turn invisible and try to engage the archer. However, even invisible it seemed he heard her coming and was able to initially dodge her attack while lashing out with a bolt of blue power straight up into the air. Having recently stood in front of a blast from what Kiki had referred to as a "Mantle" she decided to try to resist on pure resilience. However, this enemy was not a mothballed piece of equipment unused for millions of years and piloted by a novice. His bolt struck her solidly knocking her back several off her feet.
Houyi, God of Sun Death. The Second Purge. Killer of Dagon.
Sarah meanwhile shows up at the site of the woman flaying apart enemies and manages to take an unusual route before attacking out of ambush. The woman managed to barely raise a shield of mana but the were-jaguar's own spirit flared in a burst of orange about her knife and slashed through the incomplete shield managing to slash a small injury into the woman's side. With a twisting smile and flipping her knife from hand to hand, the woman reached out to slash at Sarah who only just barely managed to dodge aside from the attack.

Tlazolteotl. Goddess of Flaying. The Cackling Death.
Katie had a bit more of an issue reaching her enemy, finding herself already out of breath as she appeared even though her vampyr fortitude allowed her to push herself harder than other people might have. As she arrived, she pulled off her glasses to reveal her bright blue hypnotic eyes and called out for the man to stop attacking people as "Hey! Stop that! That's very illegal!" The rampaging God turned about incautiously and met her eyes directly. In her eagerness, Katie pressed hard into the attacker's mind, worried that she needed to move fast against him, and found herself pressing the two of them into a mindscape.

Kratos Tinnia, God of Strength (former), Royal Guard of House Tinnia
Sophia watching on decided that Katie needed the most help of the three and sought around for something that she could do with her hacking to help out and found a construction upright not too far away. With some trepidation she reached into the mind of the woman she had partially merged with and borrowed the technopath's abilities in order to help control the upright which she started moving towards Katie's location where she and the formerly rampaging muscle man were seemingly staring at each other.

The Chinese archer quipped that he apparently would be able to "finish Morrigan's job" as Aria surged forward to attack her opponent, battering his knees to try to hamper his mobility. Despite still being invisible he still managed a defense though she struck and managed to bruise him. The archer laughed out as he rolled away from her and shot a bolt of mana upward and suddenly all the area around Aria and the archer turned utterly black.

Sarah darted away, trying to break line of sight with the woman and find a good high place to jump down on her. She doesn't manage to find a fire escape or anything similar, but she does manage to break line of sight and shift into her panther form. Laughing, the woman starts walking around as horrific illusion starts covering the area around the two making all the terrain seemed to be turning into objects of flayed flesh and searing their way into Sarah's imagination.

Katie finds herself in a rather more militaristic version of the labyrinth she'd seen in Katie's mindscape: bronze colored wood that seemed to breathe but in this covered hanging with all manners of different sorts of weapons. For herself, she visualized a team of world war two flame-thrower troops to surround her and fire on her command. As she did so, the enemy God appeared out of nowhere from within his mind and lashed out with a punch, however, she just barely had to step out of the way as they were poorly matched within the mindscape.

Sophia continued to drive her acquired upright to the fight, but noticed just barely in time when another archer seemed to be moving about in the back of her mind. Slipping into a split between mind and body, thanks to her prior training on how to maintain a mindscape while also doing things in the physical world. she recognizes the image of the yakuza archer that Aria had killed some months ago. The archer who worked with Reina, the woman she was linked to. The realization comes just in time to avoid being stricken by the man's arrow.

Within the blackness, Aria tries to use her succubus empathic abilities to track down her opponent. Fortunately, her recent encounters had given her some insight into using her sensitive abilities and this allowed her to find his general location with her empathy. This also allows her to dodge just in time as another arrow is conjured and released so that it just barely ricochets off of her armor rather than striking her dead on again.

Sarah leaped out of ambush at the back of her opponent, tearing at the woman's back and dealing heavy damage. However, the injuries don't seem to bleed the way they should have. The woman grimaced and reached around to grab the panther. As she did so a wave of pain washed up through Sarah's body and she could feel her skin starting to split but managed to release and escape before anything stopped bleeding and scarily enough the woman seemed a little bit healthier afterwards as well. The illusory field of flayed and bleeding skin all around her continues to way on her.

Katie turns about and moves to fire at her opponent along with the squad of flame-thrower troops she had created about her, coating him and his labyrinth mindscape with fire. He responds by angrily causing all of the weapons in the mindscape about him to begin shaking and flying about striking at Katie and her soldiers, clipping one of them. 

Sophia sends her commandeered upright forward, but has to take a shortcut through a building, her camera catching sight of a number of lucky salarymen who had gathered about the windows sometime before she walked through their building so that the fifteen foot bulky construction bot walked through where they would have otherwise been sitting. Then she turned her attention to her intruder creating an area of hazard in the form of a horrific womb of crushing tentacles within her mindscape forcing the archer to back off before it starts to power himself up.

Aria traces her empathy in the darkness and manages to get in with the archer and grapples with him before stabbing forward with her telekinetic stinger and creating within him a poison of Life-Force consuming venom. The archer proclaims her a worthy foe and flares into a sudden, searing heat which Aria's telekinetic armor and the tactical gear she wore underneath managed to deflect most of it. Meanwhile the poison she'd injected him with began to show its first signs as his skin blistered in the darkness while his mana frayed under the assault.

Sarah tried again to break line of sight trying unsuccessfully to ignore the horrible imagery that appeared everywhere she looked. While she successfully got out of sight again, the woman began to speak about how she had known her kind in the old days. Jaguar skins were such in vogue at the time. She continues to prod the werepanther by commenting that "if I can't find you, I can always just find one of these other people." She starts making a show of approaching one of the other civilians around the scene waiting for Sarah to come out of hiding again.

Katie reached out to grab one of the flying maces and ride it to slam into her opponent, slamming into him solidly as her squad of soldiers follows and continues to assault along with her. Meanwhile the God rips a weapon off the wall arming himself to deal with this invader. Though he continues to over-reach his ability with telepathy and tears apart his Mana on top of what Katie is doing.

Sophia then focuses heavily on getting the upright into the same area as Katie and her opponent, who is looking progressively in worse and worse shape. Aside from that, she builds a defense around herself making it harder for people to attack her by creating a cocoon of distorted reality while the archer begins to make himself harder to accurately focus on.

Aria stabs in again, creating a physical poison this time and managing to inject a large dose of it, giving her opponent two separate poisons to deal with. Meanwhile a blast of incredible cold filters throughout the darkness and works through Aria's defenses chilling her to the bone. 

Sarah is seeking to get a better tactical position and the horrific images are eating at her thoughts more and more. However, the threat by her opponent to turn her attention to civilians draws Sarah out of her attempt to maneuver and into a straight assault on the woman. This time the panther-formed therianthrope manages to tear further into the woman's skin and body and it is even more clear that her body does not suffer injury in the same way other people do and even seems to find it appealing. She laughs out loud as she lashes out at Sarah again, once again trying to heal herself at the cost of her enemy and this time Sarah dodges away from the woman's reaching hands.

Katie reaches out to take control of the images that her opponent had made within his mind and successfully subverts the imagery of flying weaponry that has been harrying her. Suddenly, there is a host of leaping rabbits which swarm about her enemy in a semi-remake of the Night of the Lepus. The frustrated warrior backs off and grabs a shield off of the wall, managing to keep it from turning into a rabbit as he prepares to turn his attention to attacking Katie soon.

Unfortunately for the God, at this point Sophia's remote controlled upright reaches the scene and scoops up the distracted God stuffing him unceremoniously into its cockpit and starting to rock out in a headbanging dance complete with devil horns. This isn't particularly good for the structure of the upright but it also distracts the God from his mindscape battle, causing him to inadvertently forfeit the field to the vampyr with mind control talents in his head. Katie takes the chance to induce a compulsion in her opponent to go all out on his super strength talent, risking the chance that he had tired himself out sufficiently that this could tear him apart and end the fight. The upright virtually explodes in front of her as the enemy God stumbles out and tries to reach her, only to stumble as his muscles have shredded themselves in the effort to build his power up.

Meanwhile the archer ghost in Sophia's mind makes an attack on her, but finds it hard to nail down the position of her consciousness due to the cocoon of defensive distortion which she has surrounded mind with.

Aria's opponent continues to suffer the effects of her poisons as she makes a barrage of attacks to finish breaking his leg. This brings him to very near edge of utter defeat before he admits defeat with an approving nod and then passes out.

Sarah is becoming increasingly frantic as the nightmares of skinned things all around her continues to wear at her mind. She still tries to attack again, but the fact that she has been placed off-balance by the terrible scene leaves her unable to actually press far at the woman, even with her enemies. Still, the woman laughs with a smirk as she toys with her own horrific injuries and then looks to one of her earlier flayed victims and dives into the body, which seems to act as a portal of some sort. Sarah tries to reach out to stop her but isn't quite able to handle it.

Freed up from worrying about supporting Katie, Sophia turns her attention to the ghost in her mind and manages to brutally force him out of her mind. The party begins to breathe a sigh of relief as it seems their immediate danger has come to an end.

Sarah and Aria each failed their Reasoning rolls on choosing their battles. So I set them up against characters with significantly more capability than they had. I expected the Fate Points and player creativity to make up the difference, however, I did not count on the sheer number of extremely good and extremely bad rolls that resulted. In addition, each of them took on strategies that I hadn't immediately anticipated, though I should have in Sarah's case. In retrospect, I should have used more spiritual and mental attacks on Aria than physical ones as I had forgotten how much defense she has against physical attacks.

The report does not give the name of the rogue Gods they each fought but they were: Houyi, the God of Sun Death; Tlazolteotl, the Goddess of Flaying; and Kratos, a God of Strength. Kratos was actually really poorly suited to face Katie, especially in a mindscape, but I hadn't expected an actual mindscape to get triggered so I had expected Katie to making a few clever things with her Influence Thoughts ability. I had foolishly forgotten that the main reason that mindscapes are avoided is that you usually don't want to kill or alert an opponent when you're using telepathic abilities but a mindscape was totally the right way for the vampyr to take on Kratos as shown. In general, Kratos did more damage to himself trying to keep up with Katie than Katie did to him.

I should note that while these are big-name Gods (except Kratos, who's a low-ranked thug in Zeus's house), at about this time, the artificial reasons that give some Gods intense power have been shut down temporarily. Even if the normal tech for empowering Gods and Demons had been around, these are all escaped criminals and would not have been on the list of people to get extra power anyway. Add to this that most of them haven't reincarnated for over two-thousand years and are thus a lot more inefficient and ineffective than they think they are. Even so, their base stats implied that the players should have taken a lot more harm than they did. Luck was on their side and Aria ended up forcing me to spend all the NPC Fate Points I had available preventing me from using those on other fights.

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