Fellow role-players, here’s the update for our first three “Immortals” sessions, which were held at Drew & Divya S.’s apartment in Needham, Mass., on Aug. 15 and 29 and Sept. 5, 2016:
In one world, several organizations investigate the paranormal, but none has dominance or can risk public exposure. A new team gathers, determined to retrieve lost relics, fight malevolent monsters, and understand its own secret origins….
Player Characters for Gene D.’s GURPS 4e “Immortals” modern supernatural game, as of summer 2016:
- “Meles Ezana Menelik/the Abyssinian” [Beruk A.]: male Ethiopian Immortal human “warden,” runs a coffee house and other shops, following rumors of the Book of Enoch and trying to keep a low profile
- “Cody ‘Walking Fish’ Bashirs” [Byron V.O.]: male Cherokee human with a shamanic lineage, former captain in U.S. Marine Corps and federal Man In Black (M.I.B.) assigned by “the Department” to monitor supernatural beings in Kane County, Colo.
- “John Q. Public” [Brian W.]: male North American human G-Man working for “the Bureau” charged with recruiting, engaging, or neutralizing dangerous talents
- “Connor Devlin Murphy” [Bruce K.]: male Irish human police officer and interdepartmental liaison, infected with lycanthropy in the 19th century
- “Sahandariel Shoals” [Rich C.G.]: male North American human (vessel), university employee who volunteers at a local homeless shelter, actually an angel trying to prevent the apocalypse
- “Jack Miller/Baldwin Brooker” [Brian S.]: male European human, was a medieval peasant who traded his soul during the Crusades (1200s) but cursed with undeath, now working on fire watch at the edge of society
- “Puck” [Drew S.]: male Pixie (Faerie/Ellyhon), nature spirit who occasionally attacks campers in Roosevelt Park
- “Lucien, a.k.a. the Shadowless Savant” [Jason E.R./absent ]: male French human scientist, member of Napoleon’s Egyptian expedition cursed with immortality and with control over light and shadows
“September 2016:” On a late summer day in the Rocky Mountains, Meles E. Menelik visits a bodega in one of his buildings in the Nuevo Barrio neighborhood of Merton, Colo. Young Eddel Emebet is minding the store and shows the Abyssinian some of her recent sketches and paintings.
One image shows a girl hanging upside down from a tree in a forest that Meles recognizes. He immediately heads out to Roosevelt National Park, getting his horse from its stable on the way.
Meanwhile, at Tapping Air Force Base, Capt. Cody Bashirs reports to Col. Clancy Brooks, his superior at “the Department.” Col. Brooks orders Cody to investigate the recent death of interdepartmental liaison Cmdr. William Jones.
Cody keeps his distance from Lena Ouray, a xenobiologist who shares his Native American heritage but has a low opinion of field work.
In the Federal Building in downtown Merton, Agent John Q. Public is asked by Agent Mark Williams to coordinate with other law-enforcement authorities on the Jones case. “The Bureau” also wants to observe and contain any supernatural threats.
Det. Connor Devlin Murphy learns that he is Cmdr. Jones’ successor at the Merton Police Department. Capt. Andres Trujo recommends checking with Jones’ former partner, Agent Thomas Smith from “the Department.”
Capt. Trujo also warns Connor that other agencies are interested in the mysterious death. As Det. Murphy meets with Capt. Bashirs and Agent Public, he flirts with and misdirects Colleen Dolan, a nosey reporter.
At the Roman Catholic Church of Our Lady of the Divinity, Sandy talks with Mother Magdalena Torres-Soledad. She asks him about Molly Mitsui, who has not stopped by the Unity Homeless Shelter in a few days.
Sandy agrees to search for the girl and hails a ride from Rada Babajide, an Ethiopian cabbie who claims to know a lot about “the old ways.”
Out in Roosevelt Park, Ranger Jack Miller gets a radio message to look for Noah Brown, a lost Australian tourist. He spots a man in the woods but is distracted by a young hippie who is in the process of climbing a tree with heavy chains.
“Puck” chats with Nileus, an intelligent flying squirrel, about his recent acquisitions from “intruders” (campers). When the Pixie hears a commotion nearby, he goes to investigate and sees Ranger Miller trying to talk “Moonfire” out of the tree.
Moonfire angrily retorts that he is “a servant of the Man and Ba’al, whose avarice threatens all of nature.” Puck quietly offers his help to Jack and then flies up invisibly to pretend to be the tree talking.
The winged fey tells the would-be ecological activist that she should help them from the ground, but Moonfire says that she is hearing many voices.
Divine guidance leads Sandy to the woods, and Meles arrives shortly thereafter on horseback. Jack knows Sandy from their work at the homeless shelter, and Sandy recognizes Moonfire as Molly. Meles also recognizes the girl as the one from Eddel’s premonition.
Back at Merton P.D., Cody and John ask Connor for Cmdr. Jones’ autopsy report. The three officers learn that he had tried to claw his way out of his house and apparently died of fright. They decide to go to Williams’ house in suburban Green Gulch.
Cody, John, and Connor find the scene still in disarray and notice a spot on the mantelpiece without dust. They hear a noise upstairs and corner Agent Thomas Smith. He panics and tries to jump out a window, but they stop him.
Molly/“Moonfire” climbs higher and begins chaining herself to the tree but slips. Jack keeps talking with her and prepares to break the troubled girl’s fall. Meles jumps from his horse, and Sahandariel changes to angelic form in a flash and flies up.
Only hidden Puck sees Sandy’s transformation, and he is impressed to see another person with wings. Sahandariel’s flaming sword breaks the chains, keeping Moonfire from strangling herself. Meles helps bring her down to Jack.
The girl is ranting incoherently, so they decide to bring her in. Jack rides his all-terrain vehicle (with Puck under his wide-brimmed hat), Meles takes his horse as far as Turquoise Heights, and Sandy (back in human form) puts Moonfire in Rada’s taxicab.
Connor, John, and Cody bring Smith back to the police station, but he repeatedly asks, “Where is it? Where did it go? Why didn’t he keep it?” Cody recommends bringing him back to “the Department” for evaluation and interrogation.
Meles, Sandy, and Jack (and Puck) arrive with Moonfire, whom the others recognize from Jones’ file as his niece. John checks the disturbed woman’s cellphone and finds that she had communicated with “Uncle Billy” shortly before his death. Molly mentions a storage locker in between rants.
Investigators Murphy and Public agree to go to the storage unit, while Bashirs recommends taking fellow Agent Smith to the Air Force base.
Ranger Miller returns to the park with Meles to look for the missing tourist, while Sandy takes Moonfire to Mother Magdalena and Padre Angel Fernandez at Our Lady of the Divinity.
The next morning, Jack, Puck, and Meles resume the search for the missing tourist in Roosevelt Park. Undead Jack checks with dispatch and learns that Noah Brown’s family is waiting for him in Merton.
Long-lived Meles helps find tracks in the forest. Pixie Puck talks with a crow that recalls seeing a man heading north. The three hunters leave the park and head toward the ghost town of Broken Pickaxe.
Back in the city, Sandy calls the church to ask about Molly. Padre Fernandez says that he doesn’t believe that the homeless hippie is possessed. The angel asks the priest and Mother Magdalena to watch the girl for a bit longer.
Capt. Bashirs, Agent Public, and Det. Murphy try to interrogate Agent Smith, but he is still agitated and has little memory of the past few days or why he was at his former partner’s house.
Ranger Miller explains to Meles that Broken Pickaxe was abandoned decades ago when its mines played out. The Abyssinian searches an apothecary and finds signs that Brown stopped there.
Puck helpfully whispers to Jack of the lost Aussie’s whereabouts near a mine, and Meles knocks him out. The tourist is disheveled and was obviously not prepared to spend time in the wilderness. His hands are also bloodied.
As Jack, Meles, and hidden Puck bring Noah Brown to the Merton police station, Cody walks Thomas Smith out to be driven to the Air Force base for further evaluation. There is a flicker of recognition between Brown and Smith.
Noah mentions a fragment of an ancient horn before he is taken to the hospital. Connor assigns a uniformed detail to keep watch before he and Jack (and Puck) go to the storage unit.
Meanwhile, Meles returns to Eddel to take a photo of her prophetic painting. This time, she shows him sketches of a horned animal resembling a goat or ram.
Sandy visits the Kane County Museum of the Arts, where he asks trustee Katherine Spengler about the symbolism of horns. She says that they can reflect bounty as in the cornucopia or drinking horns, rays of divine inspiration as in some statues of Moses, or unclean animals, as mentioned in the Old Testament.
Although Connor brings bolt cutters to Jones’ storage unit, Jack easily picks the lock. John processes search warrants. The detectives find where Molly obtained the heavy chains, as well as parcels wrapped in brown paper. Puck sees a scorpion.
One contains antique climbing gear, another has an old map of the mines near Broken Pickaxe, and the last has a rubbing of a horn on paper stained with sand and blood. Connor calls his colleagues to report on the evidence.
At the museum, Ms. Spengler introduces Sandy to archaeologist Jefferson Hunter. The rugged scholar notes that a shipment of antiquities from Iraq was stolen on its way to Merton more than a decade ago.
Meles, John, Connor, Sandy, Jack, and Puck meet at a downtown pub to compare notes. Meles and Sandy debate the symbolism of horns, but they agree that Moonfire’s ravings most likely refer to Beelzebub, the diabolical lord of flies, rather than Ba’al.
Connor notices Coleen Dolan trying to eavesdrop, and he escorts her away. The reporter invites the cop back to her place, and he agrees. However, he isn’t happy when the seduction turns scary as she tries to tie him to her bed.
Werewolf Connor loses control and beats the woman to unconsciousness. He calls Meles and Sandy with a story of how Dolan attacked him. They bring Dolan to the hospital and bring Det. Murphy to his precinct, where Officer Sanchez is the desk sergeant.
Capt. Trujo is forced to suspend Connor, taking his badge and his service firearm. Connor is officially taken off the Jones case, but his new friends are able to continue their investigation, which might help clear his name.
John calls Cody at the Air Force base to ask how “the Bureau” and “the Department” should respond to the latest complication. Meles and Sandy suspect that Dolan was also under the malevolent influence of the horn fragment, and they warn Padre Fernandez.
Jack leads the way back to Broken Pickaxe. Meles, Sandy, and Puck search the decrepit buildings, while Connor, Jack, and John spot a cloud of dust and chase another truck.
Puck follows a mouse to a hidden trapdoor. Rather than reveal himself to Meles and Sandy, Puck grabs a flashlight and leads them to a hidden cache of stolen Mesopotamian artifacts. The horn fragment isn’t there, but they do find cuneiform roll seals matching those described by Jefferson Hunter.
Connor drives after the unidentified truck, as Jack draws his gun and fires. John is horrified at the breach in procedure. In trying to ram the other vehicle, Connor crashes, and Jack is thrown from the truck.
Meles, Sandy, and Puck hear the wreck and ride Jack’s all-terrain vehicle to help. John tends to his own injuries, and Connor is frustrated at losing his quarry and his truck. Jack (who isn’t truly alive) refuses any medical attention, even after Sahandariel reveals his true angelic nature.
Immortals Jack and Meles both note that they have had previous dealings with winged emissaries that didn’t end well. Jack rides off into the woods, followed by flying Sahandariel and Puck. The others return to Merton.
Meles and Connor take the relics to the church for the identification before turning them over to the police as further evidence of smuggling. They and Sandy theorize that the infernal horn is causing people to act according to the Seven Deadly Sins:
- Avarice: The late Cmdr. William Jones, who held onto the horn fragment for years rather than turn it in as part of evidence from a case. He was murdered under mysterious circumstances, but by whom? Jones was also Moonfire’s uncle (see below), and his storage locker had clues leading to the smugglers’ cache in Broken Pickaxe.
- Envy: Agent Thomas Smith, Jones’ former partner who was found ransacking his house in Green Gulch and tried to throw himself out a window. Currently in custody at Tapping Air Force Base with “Cody.”
- Wrath: Molly “Moonfire” Mitsui, a young hippie who railed at “the authorities” as she tried to chain herself to a tree in Roosevelt Park and nearly hung herself in the process. Currently under the care of Padre Angel Fernandez and Mother Magdalena Torres-Soledad at Our Lady of the Divinity church in Nuevo Barrio.
- Sloth? Australian tourist Noah Brown, who had left his family, rifled through Moonfire’s belongings, and wandered toward Broken Pickaxe. Currently under observation at Merton General Hospital.
- Lust: TV reporter Colleen Dolan, who nearly seduced Connor and attacked him before the cop forcibly subdued her. Currently under police watch at Merton General Hospital.
- Gluttony, Pride? Note that in addition to the N.P.C.s named so far, Sandy consulted archaeologist Jefferson Hunter at the Kane County Museum of the Arts, and “Meles” and Connor asked Eddel Emebet about her prophetic artwork.
Since the truck with the suspected thieves had a head start, Jack eventually loses its trail, but John did get a rental license-plate number.
Agent Public also notifies the authorities of the excessive force and lack of police identification from his hospital bed. Cody prepares to rejoin the investigation….
Non-Player Characters from “Immortals” Sessions 1 to 3:
- William Jones: rose from a humble urban beat cop in the 1980s to being the primary liaison between the Merton Police Department and federal authorities. He recently died suddenly in unexplained circumstances.
According to The Merton Prospector, Jones was decorated for service under fire in several notorious drug busts, but his middle years were marred by allegations of improper investigations. “Those were damn lies,” said Agent Thomas Smith, his former partner. For the past decade, the commander had burnished his reputation by coordinating with departments of the U.S. military and….
- Coleen Dolan: female Irish-American human, local TV news reporter sniffing around Kane County’s weird occurrences; contact of Lt. Murphy (Session 2)
- Col. Clancy Brooks: male African-American human, Cody’s superior at “the Department,” personally worked at Area 51; wants to determine how interdepartmental liaison was killed (Session 2)
- Lena Ouray: female Ute (Native American) human, xenobiologist at “the Department,” views field work as “cowboys looking for trouble” (Session 2)
- Mother Magdalena Torres-Soledad: female Latina-American human, matronly nun and loyal supporter of Father Angel, though not quite as progressive on matters of church doctrine; she is more skeptical of the supernatural than her younger co-worker. Contact of Sandy who asked him to find “Moonfire” (Session 2)
- Rada Babajide: male Ethiopian human, tenant of Meles and cab/rideshare driver; told fare Sandy that he knows lots of lore from the “old country” (Session 2)
- Molly “Moonfire” Mitsui: female Japanese-American human, occasionally homeless hippie and eco-activist found trying to chain herself to a tree in Roosevelt Park but rescued by Jack, Puck, Sandy, and Meles; niece of Cmdr. Jones who was directed to a storage unit (Session 2)
- Noah Brown: male Australian human, unlucky tourist in forested foothills in Roosevelt Park, tracked by Jack, Puck, and Meles to the ghost mine of Broken Pickaxe, where he was acting strangely and safely apprehended. Later babbled about briefly possessing horn fragment. (Session 2)
- Thomas Smith: male American human, former partner of the late Cmdr. William Jones and current agent for “the Department.” Found agitated and incoherent in Jones’ home, where mantle had impression of missing item (ancient horn fragment). Later remanded to Tapping Air Force Base by Cody. (Session 2)
- Padre Angel Fernandez: male Latino-American human, young (late 20s) pastor of Our Lady of the Divinity parish in Nuevo Barrio. Though he is charismatic enough to rise in the church hierarchy if he wished, he seems quite contact to minister to the local populace. Unusual in that A) He was (allegedly) requested to head up this expansion site, and B) He is one of a handful of priests who has not only witnessed, but also successfully performed an exorcism. He’s wide open to the existence of the supernatural. Took temporary protective custody of Moonfire at Sandy’s request. (Session 2)
- Jefferson Hunter: male American human, rugged archaeologist at the Kane County Museum of the Arts, consulted by “Sandy” for clues to Middle Eastern mythology and artifact smuggling