Main Forum

Endemic Echo - An Open SWLRP Community Plot

9 replies
Posts:
19
Votes:
+31
Online on Site

(( Hello all! This thread will be used for IC and OOC updates of an ongoing plotline for any and all interested roleplayers in Secret World Legends. The story arc began on January 6, 2018.



WHAT KIND OF PLOT IS IT?

Endemic Echo is a "tiered" story inspired by the in-game mission format of SWL (and TSW before it). Typically we'll advance one tier each week, with key mysteries and plot points being introduced at the weekly Reliquiarium gatherings (Saturday nights at 8PM EST/1AM GMT). It's being paced to run for at least a few weeks, though no fixed endpoint has been set. I'm more or less taking the same approach as Anura Divina, a puzzle-heavy campaign I DMed for the New Xanadu cabal back in 2012.

Thematically, Endemic Echo is both a love letter to this year's 25th anniversary of Jurassic Park, and a nod to the fact that Original Recipe TSW was supposed to have dinosaurs. (Anyone else remember the concept art of raptors, and the screenshots of a T-rex in Egypt?)



JUST HOW OPEN DO YOU MEAN?

In terms of involvement, any roleplayers are welcome, so long as they do not harass other participants or otherwise cause trouble. In terms of format, there are key "beats" I want to hit with specific puzzles and NPCs, but to keep things from being too railroady, I'm keeping the overall plan (and ending) amorphous. The creativity shown by participants will very much shape the development of things!

While key plot points will happen in game, particularly at the weekly meetings, I know that schedules can be problematic. As such, I encourage RP to happen via Twitter as well. Basic low-impact things (such as providing basic aid to the village, socializing or cooking up plans with other participants, etc.) can happen without any annoying micromanagement from yours truly, but if you'd like to have your character try something major ("What would happen if I wander off alone in this direction at night?"), shoot me the question and I'll report back after consulting my trusty Call of Cthulhu dice.



HOW DO I GET INVOLVED?

Feel free to dive right into the RP, whether the weekly meetings, other in-game RP happenings, or the RP on Twitter, which is sometimes tagged with hashtag #EndemicEcho. If you have questions, feel free to send me a message in-game (Hallowtek), on Twitter (@Hallowtek) or via this Enjin account. ))

wpheadermobile.png
Posted Jan 10, 18 · OP · Last edited Jan 10, 18
Like
x 2
x 2
List
Undo
Posts:
19
Votes:
+31
Online on Site
eetier01.jpg

REPORT BY TERESA HALLOWTEK - JANUARY 10, 2018

Hey-hoy everyone,

What follows is a summary of the ongoing crisis and subsequent operations in the Romanian village of Pierdut. For lack of a better title, we're referring to it by the project name found in Red Hand files, Endemic Echo. Operatives on the HiveHum may use the hashtag #EndemicEcho when posting relevant material. As the matter already has multi-faction involvement, free exchange of information is encouraged.

Shortly after the dawn of the new year, The Winged were contacted regarding the disappearance of an artifact from Pierdut, on the belief that our knowledge of obscure occult relics might be of benefit. The missing item was believed to be magically protective, and in its absence, residents were being slain by beasts in the night. It quickly became clear that the scope of the problem was larger than one cabal could handle, and The Winged's Valkyries (officers) released the letter below.


Spoiler: The LetterShow

pic011.jpg

At the inaugural Reliquiarium, the Red Hand device mentioned in the letter was presented, and many of the attendees attempted to crack the security code via the G.H.O.S.T. interface. A memory dump of the security measure can be found here. While The Winged had focused on analyzing the symbols, it turned out the solution was mathematical, with three individuals being instrumental in divining the solution: Amelie Sinclair, Cordelia Harper, and an associate of Angelique Richter contacted via phone.


Spoiler: Puzzle SolutionShow

The code allowed access to one uncorrupted file, which can be viewed here. The undated report mentions reptilian body parts taken from experiments involving potentially metamorphic entities, protective relics almost certainly related to Pierdut's lost treasure, and multiple Red Hand testing sites (possibly three in total, per naming conventions). Also included was an image of a very saurian foot.

After speculating on the known pieces of the puzzle, interested attendees began to form into teams for reconnaissance, village defense, humanitarian aid, black market investigation (for possible relic trafficking) and postmortem examination. Lucard DeLioncoeur took particular initiative in organizing these groups.

Operations have begun in the days following the meeting, with team members already traveling to and from Pierdut thanks to a nearby Agartha portal. As the region is "Secret World aware" and apparently shrouded from satellite monitoring, we only have a simple map to work with, seen below. The various sectors will be filled out as progress is made.


Spoiler: Map (v1)Show

pic012.jpg

The recon team (currently Callahan McClaren, Angelique and Klaus von Richter, and Amaryllis Wicker) has been gathering magical and technological resources, and will begin the first major scouting efforts on the evening of January 11th. Lucard, Cordelia, Raine Pendleton and others have already been helping with village defense. Astrid Archer and Binkx have provided supplies and food, Wilson Wells has provided healing, and Siobhán Oshea has been examining the bodies of the fallen.

Apologies if any names or details were inadvertently omitted, there's a lot to keep up with. I'll continue to provide reports as the situation develops. Contact me if you have any questions, I'm @Hallowtek on the HiveHum.

(( Folks involved, feel free to have your characters post their own reports, updates and other material to this thread! ))

wpheadermobile.png
Posted Jan 10, 18 · OP · Last edited Jan 12, 18
Like
x 3
x 3
List
Undo
Posts:
19
Votes:
+31
Online on Site
REPORT BY TERESA HALLOWTEK - JANUARY 12, 2018

The first major efforts of the reconnaissance team took place last night.

In accordance with a plan by Amaryllis, we relied on demonology in lieu of drones, with the primary "equipment" being imps bound to control amulets. This was the result several-day process that involved team members gathering various items for the summoning and binding ritual. The less said about these items, the better.

Thanks to the conversational efforts of Wilson, we had managed to learn a few things about the land surrounding the village.


Spoiler: Intel from the LocalsShow

Discussing this, we settled on a plan of Amaryllis following the river to the west, Klaus following it to the east, Callahan venturing into the forest to the south, Angelique taking the northwest fork toward the keep, and myself following the road northeast. Each of us had a scouting demon at our disposal. My own efforts turned up little of note, but the other four team members all made valuable and dangerous discoveries.

The western riverbanks were muddy, and Amaryllis discovered tracks that seemed to match the general shape of the saurian foot seen in the Red Hand files. However, the tracks abruptly ended, replaced by human-sized boot prints at a shorter stride. She performed a spell to analyze the nature of remnant energies, reporting back that we were likely dealing with magical rather than biological shape-changers, then continued to gather more spell data for future study.


Spoiler: Tracks in the MudShow

The east bend of the river led Klaus to what remained of a witches' camp, with pieces of human remains scattered about the area. Within a partially collapsed shack, a series of symbols were scrawled on a blood-spattered wall. He recognized the letters as inverted Theban, spelling out the word muroni, a shape-changing vampire from Wallachian myth. Reporting his findings, he proceeded to gather some of the body parts for later analysis.


Spoiler: Mysterious WritingShow

Angelique found a graveyard along the path leading to the keep. Searching the area, she discovered that the more recent graves had been disturbed. Though Cordelia and Raine had stopped a number of ghouls from entering the village earlier in the week, Angelique believed the appearance of the exhumed graves was inconsistent with the crude scavenging behavior typical of most ghouls. After hearing Klaus' report about the witches, she suggested making a later effort to contact the spirits of the recently slain.

Venturing into the southern wood, Callahan found the area almost unnaturally choked with darkness, his night vision equipment working at about half the expected distance. It became clear from sounds in the vegetation that something knew he was there.


Spoiler: A Glimpse of Something in the DarknessShow

Seeking to flush his stalker out into the open, he chose to sacrifice his scouting imp, ordering it to make noise while he moved to climb a nearby tree. The ploy worked, and the bound minion met a swift end as the creature, roughly eight feet in height, lunged forward out of the shadows to attack.


Spoiler: Attacked!Show

Cal was unable to see the beast from his new vantage point, but while the darkness prevented visibility, sounds from below made it clear that a second had arrived. Both entities circled the tree, then began slamming violently against it in a tandem effort, seeking to drop Cal from the less-than-stable branches in which he was perched. After asking the rest of the team whether or not he should engage, he fired a shot, distracting his attackers for just long enough to jump down and anima-leap back to the village. As they began to charge toward him during his teleportation, he was able to get a good look at them just before his disappearance.


Spoiler: A Good LookShow

Reconvening at the village, we discussed the new discoveries privately, so as not to alarm any residents who might overhear. In the hours since, the village defense team has acted on the new information to implement assorted physical and magical safeguards, but several of the presumed muroni have already launched attacks around the perimeter, badly injuring Binkx. She is expected to recover within a few days.

The updated map now looks as follows:


Spoiler: Map (v2)Show

Defenses are currently holding, though it is increasingly clear we may be dealing with a large number of unduly powerful adversaries, with more questions raised than answered. More information will be shared as we receive it. Those of you on the HiveHum, keep following #EndemicEcho to stay up to date.

wpheadermobile.png
Posted Jan 12, 18 · OP · Last edited Jan 12, 18
Like
x 3
x 3
List
Undo
Posts:
19
Votes:
+31
Online on Site
eetier02.jpg

REPORT BY TERESA HALLOWTEK - JANUARY 14, 2018

Since the recent discoveries of the reconnaissance team, a number of efforts have been underway to further our understanding of the situation with what information and evidence we have. While Amaryllis continues to analyze the latent spell energies, Angelique and Klaus arranged a ritual to contact the spirits of the slain witches from the river camp. As this is where the word "muroni" was found, it was reasoned that the witches might know more about the situation than the other villagers.

The ritual was based on necromantic techniques from Liber Incantationum, Exorcismorum et Fascinationum Variarum and required the participation of multiple anima-blessed individuals. As such, it was scheduled to take place at the Reliquiarium.


pic021.jpg

Klaus chalked the summoning circle upon the station floor, surrounding it with an additional ring of protective runes. A uniformed Templar operative was on hand, adding his own temporary wards to the area, and there was some concern and discussion about the different magics mixing and impacting the results of the summoning. Nevertheless, things continued as planned, and Angelique instructed the attendees on how to assist with the ritual. Most of us held hands and formed a circle to focus our anima, while a few others waved smudge sticks, or simply kept a wary distance with weapons at the ready.

Finally, Klaus placed some of the witches' remains in the center of the circle, and Angelique drew a blade across her palm to make an offering of blood, chanting and calling out to the departed. The room darkened, and a single spectral form manifested in the center of the circle, turning to regard each attendee. From her jerky and flickering movements, she appeared as untethered from time as space, and upon speaking, her words were unintelligible.


Spoiler: The Spirit SpeaksShow

After sharing her incomprehensible plea, the spirit faded from view, either unable or unwilling to return. Fortunately, attendee D'ante Lewis, who had expressed interest in the Pierdut situation earlier in the week, was quick on the draw with recording and analyzing her speech. The audio was mostly backwards, albeit with some echo and overlap. After reversing the audio files, he offered his interpretation of the words.

The notes below have filled in a few further blanks, courtesy of others listening.


Spoiler: Audio AnalysisShow

The remainder of the meeting was spent mulling over the possible meaning of the words, and discussing the formation of a third team for research, as D'ante and his associates join a growing list of individuals interested in lending their scientific, magical and historical knowledge to the situation. Collectively, we now have the following questions to consider:

• What are the three serpents?
• To what does "hexagonal matrices" refer?
• Who/what/where is Sofiya?
• What/where is the nest?

I recommend looking back at information we've already uncovered, and seeing if any these new questions seem connected to things we already know. I'll be in touch over the course of the week.

wpheadermobile.png
Posted Jan 14, 18 · OP · Last edited Jan 18, 18
Like
x 2
x 2
List
Undo
Posts:
19
Votes:
+31
Online on Site
REPORT BY TERESA HALLOWTEK - JANUARY 18, 2018

There have been a number of developments in the days since the meeting.

On the research front, Amaryllis continues to work very hard analyzing and experimenting with the spell energies taken from the footprints, spending considerable stretches of time keeping to herself. Lucard has been doing the same with muroni blood samples as his village defense efforts allow. D'ante and his team are interested in joining in the analysis, as is Klaus, and so there will be a forthcoming effort to retrieve the body of a muroni felled in sector G8.

Said kill was the result of impromptu scouting efforts by Binkx. A short distance from the witches' camp, she discovered a road leading south. She also witnessed a yet-unseen variation of the vampires' saurian form, this one adapted to river hunting. This seems to confirm part of known muroni myth, as evidently they can assume multiple bestial forms. Unfortunately, she opted to attack the creatures despite being outnumbered four to one. The ambush allowed her to kill one and wound another, but she was quickly and violently sent back to the anima well.

Further scouting was done by Louis in astral form, hoping to follow the energy trail of one of Binkx's severed mechanical limbs, reasoning that if the muroni carried it somewhere, it might help us locate the nest. He determined that the lost limb lay somewhere north of the village, but made two further discoveries in the process. Firstly, the population of muroni in the wood almost certainly exceeds the population of Pierdut by an uncomfortable margin. Secondly, there is lingering magical energy in the area the villagers call the Sallow Scar. He described the energy as old, miasmic and likely unhealthy. An expedition to this site will be planned in the days ahead.

Findings have been marked on the updated map below. Locations are approximate.


Spoiler: Map (v3)Show

Angelique has been availing herself of the resources of The Toolbox cabal to aid with forthcoming scouting and defense efforts, and through collaboration with Alexander Venator, she has requested small scale turrets to set up around the village.

Wilson has continued to talk to the villagers, and was permitted to inspect the chest that once contained Pierdut's missing relic. Old but mostly unremarkable, the wooden box was physically reinforced and warded against forced entry. The floor of the container was cushioned, and faint impressions left in the material suggest a coiled or spiraling cylindrical object. He thus believes the "three serpents" may be artifacts, per part of the witch's speech:


"It was always meant that the three serpents should sleep on sacred ground, but time and again their rest is disturbed by those tempted by the glimmer of their scales. Time takes the shape of a spiral, and so too do they."


The Red Hand file suggests three testing sites, if the naming conventions are any indication, with one artifact kept in each. It also references fear of theft due to tempting material value. Moreover, the artifact that wound up in Pierdut rested on sacred ground, a church. It therefore seems possible that the serpents are spiral-shaped objects made of precious metal.

Unfortunately, we currently lack solid theories about the remainder of the witch's words. We'd very much welcome more minds on this matter.

wpheadermobile.png
Posted Jan 18, 18 · OP
Like
x 1
x 1
List
Undo
Posts:
19
Votes:
+31
Online on Site
REPORT BY TERESA HALLOWTEK - JANUARY 20, 2018

After Binkx's discovery that the muroni possess an aquatic form, Lucard suggested the installation of grates in the river at the east and west end of the village, to prevent the monsters from exploiting it as a means of entry. With assistance from Binkx, Cordelia and others, materials were transported into the village via the Agartha portal and the project was completed within a day.

At the same time, Asmod, who had offered assistance the day prior, used innate stealth and camouflage talents to scout further along the river in both directions, watching for incoming muroni and mapping the surroundings. This has allowed us to fill out several more sectors, seen below.


Spoiler: Map (v4)Show

Continuing his conversations with the villagers and investigation of the church, Wilson was able to make two more discoveries. Firstly, he is convinced that Pierdut's relic was taken by a professional thief or thieves, with just enough evidence available to suggest a break-in, but nothing pointing to a possible perpetrator. No suspicious individuals were seen in the days before or after the disappearance, and none of the villagers seem inclined to suspect each other.

Secondly, he was able to divine the meaning of more of the witch's words. Realizing that Ora Moartă (see this report from eight days ago) translates to "dead hour" in Romanian, the following remark became clearer:


"(Domn?) Sofiya was born of bleeding hands. She is the alpha, and she has taken the dead hour for a nest."


Whatever "alpha" and "nest" might refer to, it seems both lie in the ruined keep north of the village. We'll be scouting the location on Sunday at 9PM GMT/4PM EST. All reasonably stealthy operatives are invited to assist. Bear in mind that this may be an extremely dangerous mission, if indeed this area has a greater population of muroni than the already dino-heavy wood.

wpheadermobile.png
Posted Jan 20, 18 · OP
Like
x 1
x 1
List
Undo
Posts:
19
Votes:
+31
Online on Site
eetier03.jpg

REPORT BY TERESA HALLOWTEK - JANUARY 24, 2018

There are several major developments to report, please bear with me. I'll do my best to cover the essential information without getting too deep into TL:DR territory.

On Sunday, we proceeded with our plans to scout the territory leading to Ora Moartă Keep, in the wake of Wilson deciphering more of the witch's words. The team consisted of Ammie, Angelique, Binkx, Callahan, Klaus, Louis, Wilson, yours truly, and paramedic/pharmacologist Lucinda-Lynn Hatfield from D'ante's team. On account of short notice and minimal intel on the area, the effort was largely improvised, though the efficacy of this approach was later disputed.

As the team assembled, Ammie reported on her recent breakthrough in analyzing the shapeshifting magic. As a result of her discoveries, she was able to devise a spell circle capable of reversing the transformation, though due to the complexity of the circle and the time needed to cast the spell, it requires advance planning and (preferably) an already-unconscious muroni. Still, this may pave the way for a faster counterspell as she further studies the magic, and the current method might be employed to trap a muroni for interrogation.


pic031.jpg

Setting out, we spotted ruined architecture in the foothills to the east, with steep rocky slopes to the west. The darkness, comparable to the unnatural gloam of the southern forest, seemed to grow thicker as we advanced. Catching sight of more saurian footprints transitioning to boot prints, we paused to consider our next move. I first asked if Klaus was capable of flying ahead to investigate things from the air, when Ammie reminded us we still possessed three of the four imp-amulets from our prior scouting endeavors. (I assume responsibility for this oversight. I dislike demons, though I'm doing my best to be amenable to a variety of plans.)

Producing the amulets, we summoned the remaining imps and sent them ahead. Barely two minutes later, we lost contact with all three, seemingly picked off despite their stealth and aerial talents. Unnerving though this was, we continued onward, relying on the assorted talents and equipment of the team to keep the point of observation well ahead of our current position, though the choking darkness made it very difficult. After a short distance, we caught sight of several figures ahead.


Spoiler: First Look at Muroni in Humanoid FormShow

The presumed muroni wore a "uniform" of sorts, consisting of bits of old Soviet military attire combined with hoodies, with most of the remaining exposed skin wrapped in ragged and dirty cloth. They were comparable in height to humans, carrying Red Hand era weapons and equipment. Angelique was able to utilize a spell to confirm that, like many types of vampires, they are undead. Unfortunately, before we could make another move, a hoarse and sibilant voice called to us from the darkness, ordering us not to take another step.

Many more muroni then stepped into view, surrounding us.



Producing an old two-way radio, the muroni contacted their "Mistress", and shortly thereafter a winged beast appeared in the skies above. After alighting, the creature transformed into a humanoid, shifting briefly into an amorphous black mist between forms. Presumably this was the aforementioned alpha, "Domn Sofiya". Her attire suggested superior rank, and like other higher-tier vampires, she did not appear to share the same need as her underlings to shroud all of her skin.

She walked around our trapped group, sniffing us and wrinkling her nose, making a remark that suggested she could recognize Bees by scent. Unprepared to deal with the situation, several members of the team attempted different strategies at once. Ammie began channeling a protection spell against undead, Angelique pointedly asked why the muroni were targeting the village, Binkx and Louis were readying themselves for a fight, Lucinda took photographs, and Wilson immediately tried to facilitate peaceful negotiations. Sofiya seemed to take all of this as misplaced and arrogant under the circumstances, but did offer a few further comments before things went south:

• The village and forest are considered hunting grounds for the "young ones"
• Bees apparently cannot be used in blood stocks (is this true of other vampires?)

No further intel would be had, as Sofiya gave a hand signal to the horde of muroni, and one by one they transformed into their saurian forms.


Spoiler: Hungry DinosaursShow

Outnumbered roughly four to one, we were attacked. Ammie's protection spell against undead did not seem to work when the creatures were in beast mode. Klaus succeeded in quickly conjuring an escape portal, and Angelique attempted to force one of the smaller muroni through it, but did not succeed. Some of the team members managed to escape. Others, including myself, were torn apart and returned to the anima well. None were taken captive.

After taking time to recover and seek medical aid as necessary, several of the team members reconvened at Pierdut's tavern to decompress and discuss the events, joined by Raine from the village defense team.


pic032.jpg

Defeats of this magnitude can be traumatic and demoralizing, and the mood was not positive. Due to the level of danger, Binkx had shifted into an elevated, more overtly robotic defense mode, moving to confront Lucinda as an "enemy of Gaia". Fortunately, Louis knew how to flick her proverbial off switch, explaining that Binkx is able to grudgingly tolerate the presence of Orochi Corporation members in her normal state, but not in this one.

Wilson then spoke on theories and approaches that the rest of the team found contrary to available evidence; specifically, that the muroni might be misunderstood or manipulated, and that a peaceful approach should be prioritized. When this idea was challenged, and his earlier dubious negotiating posture called into question, he doubled down and accused Binkx and Louis of being "bloodthirsty zealots". Some of the team members were disturbed to hear this language used for team members, while sympathy was shown to entities that thus far have been demonstrably genocidal.

Wilson finally excused himself to "go for a walk", though he neglected to mention he would be doing so beyond the boundaries of the village. He wound up being mauled by dinosaurs, though not before making a useful discovery in sighting a fortified building in sector H4.


Spoiler: Map (v5)Show

Fortunately, the disheartening events of Sunday were offset by an inspiring discovery by Klaus one day later, as he was able to decipher the rest of the witch's words, as this passage in particular had remained a mystery:

"The serpents were born of hexagonal matrices. One was found beneath the roots of a tree, but there were others. You know the significance of this shape, and yet some see only the golden honeyed cast."

Most efforts to decipher this had focused on the tree being Agartha; after all, it seemed to logically follow from the "hexagonal matrices" evoking Gaia and the Buzzing. As Klaus discovered, however, it was in fact an ordinary tree; specifically, the one upturned by a storm at Sarmizegetusa Regia, capital of Dacia, which lies in modern-day Hunedoara County, not far from Pierdut. The hexagonal matrix found there was the literal sort, an object used to mold precious metals into jewelry.

This revelation linked to the known prevalence of serpents in Dacian jewelry, the protective figure of the Draco, and the Romanian folklore of the "house snake". The serpents born of hexagonal matrices are thus likely to be golden Dacian artifacts, protective in nature, but coveted for their material worth. Klaus' full report can be found here.


pic033.jpg

Other important happenings in the days since:

• Following conversation concerning his conduct, it has been mutually agreed that Wilson will be stepping away from the team, in large part due to a mitigating personal matter, the details of which he prefers not to fully disclose. We thank him for all the valuable help he's provided, and we'd not have gotten this far without him. Though we are losing his healing skill, both Lucinda and newly joined Noah Brennan have offered their medical talents.

• A technomancer named Eleanor "Elixi" Ebsenti has offered her aid in hacking and retrieving information from whatever Red Hand devices we are able to procure.

• Alexander Venator recently traveled to Pierdut to assess the situation and possibly offer additional aid. Though he has concluded he can offer no more through the Illuminati nor his cabal, he proposed putting us in contact with a number of mercenary teams. As the effort has been volunteer, paying professional mercs doesn't seem entirely viable, but he's suggested one of the groups might make it a charitable effort for the sake of the villagers. A meeting is forthcoming to learn more about this particular group.

• Binkx has taken on a new mechanical saurian form to better combat the muroni, and along with Louis, she has been hunting them in strategically chosen areas within reasonable distance to the anima well. In addition to (slightly) lessening their overall number, this means that samples of their saurian bodies will be readily available to D'ante's team, Lucard, Klaus, and others interested in analyzing their blood.

I think this covers everything. Per usual, if there are any omissions, poke me and I'll add them. I'll be in touch in the days ahead, as we consider what moves to make next.

wpheadermobile.png
Posted Jan 24, 18 · OP
Like
x 1
x 1
List
Undo
Posts:
19
Votes:
+31
Online on Site
REPORT BY TERESA HALLOWTEK - JANUARY 28, 2018

The third meeting of the Reliquiarium is in the books, and we have recovered information that should prove valuable on multiple fronts. Apologies to those omitted from the photo. Some of you are exceedingly skilled at hiding from the camera drone.


pic034.jpg

Following a not-so-brief summary of the many events of the week, it was time for a return celebrity appearance that nobody asked for, as the antediluvian Red Hand computer from the first meeting was once again presented. In our first go at the machine, only one file was retrieved due to corruption, but skilled technomancer Elixi was able to recover more usable data from the compromised bytes.

Unfortunately, said data was locked behind another maddening Red Hand security measure.

This one was more vexing than the first. In fact, it vexed us for a few hours, to the point that the meeting was adjourned and half of the attendees needed to depart before success was achieved. As several members of the group were making progress, the rest stuck around to see the end result. Their patience was rewarded, as Amalie was the first to crack all three keys.


Spoiler: Puzzle SolutionShow

This allowed access to five personal files of a Dr. Yefremov, all from March of 1969, furthering the theory that the Endemic Echo project was part of the Soviet vampiric super-soldier project from the 60s and 70s.

1) Personal Notes, March 11, 1969
2) Personal Notes, March 14, 1969
3) Personal Notes, March 21, 1969
4) Personal Notes, March 22, 1969
5) Personal Notes, March 23, 1969

We discussed this information for the remainder of the evening, and concluded the following:

• Domn Sofiya is almost certainly Dr. Sokolova, a Red Hand scientist who became a muroni. The wording suggests this was not an accident, but something she desired, being unduly passionate about the Endemic Echo project and hinting at a time would come when the protective artifacts would no longer be needed.

• The Sallow Scar is the location of Site Beta. The energy observed by Louis is consistent with the accident described here, as is the description of the death of living organisms in the fallout radius.

• The witches knew of the artifacts before the Red Hand's arrival in the region, and also seemed to be aware of the need to keep them from view, having buried them beneath prayer monuments. The continued talk of temptation (including Dr. Yefremov entertaining the thought of thievery) suggests the treasures might captivate otherwise clear-thinking individuals. This is probably something we should prepare for.

• Since one artifact moved to Pierdut's church at some point between 1969 and present day, it seems reasonable to assume that the witches thwarted Sofiya's first takeover effort. This might explain why the muroni targeted the witches' camp so quickly after their reemergence.

• Perhaps most valuable of all, the triangular arrangement of the artifacts should help us achieve several things. We will know how to orient them when we retrieve them. Since each Red Hand facility housed an artifact, we can use the position of Site Beta to locate the other two facilities. Finally, should the stone monuments be of value (and assuming they still exist), locating one will help us find the other two.

These discoveries give us a number of things to attempt in the days ahead, though the consensus is we should prioritize a trip to the Sallow Scar. I find myself in agreement on that point.

It also bears mentioning that there was further talk of trust issues over the course of the meeting, as our cadre continues to grow. Specifically, concerns were raised about Alex's Black Forest mercenaries and the Kusanagi Initiative. Given our need for numbers and the desire to prevent the further loss of innocent life, I find there are no easy answers on this topic, especially when longer-term "what ifs" are raised for consideration. Nonetheless, it is evident that we'll need to deal with this matter somehow.

wpheadermobile.png
Posted Jan 28, 18 · OP
Like
x 2
x 2
List
Undo
Posts:
1
Votes:
+2
Through my 'friend' in Moscow, I was able to pull some long redacted and tucked away files regarding the newest flavor of the month: the current monster but former Doctor Sofiya Petrovna, seen here.


sofiyaphoto.gif



The process to extract the info was unforgiving, to say the least. It's been a long time since I had read any Russian, and the fact that every other line in these documents were blacked out didn't make things any easier. However, after counter checking and following the 'bread crumbs,' as it were, I am completely confident in the information I'm about to relay to whoever is reading this.

Once you've seen enough of these sort of documents, it's easy to learn how to read between the lines and view it like a giant mosaic.

may-7-2014001.jpg

I'll do all I can to keep this short and to the point -- I want us all to be home in time for supper:

  • Sofiya Petrovna Sokolova was born in Kingisepp on August 7, 1923. Kingisepp itself is considered an ancient town, but all reports indicate that its existence has been mostly if not entirely mundane. Sofiya displayed impressive intellectual competencies at an early age, particularly in the field of mathematics. This did not go unnoticed by her government. After a few strings had been pulled, she'd been relocated to Moscow for better educational opportunities. The greatest tragedy of this story is that she had always been remembered as a girl with incredibly promising potential with a hard-minded work ethic and ambition.

1912795-kingisepp-locator-map.jpg

  • Unfortunately, Sofiya was caught up in the 'occult craze' that had been swarming across eastern Europe at this time during the late 19th and early 20th century. She soon began to supplement her mathematical studies with occult reading, eventually developing a name for herself among other cultists for her particular fixation on 'sacred geometry.' There are a handful of letters here that were sent back and forth between her and her colleagues, but the most interesting thing to be gained from these were insights into the supposed sacred geometric properties of the chambered nautilus shell, being a logarithmic spiral. She all but became obsessed with finding and collecting nautilus fossils, cubo-futurist and suprematist paintings, as seen here (weird shit if you ask me):

    malev2.jpg


    • Upon completing her education, Sofiya worked with the top Russian geneticists for the better part of two decades. This was odd to me, as she wasn't a geneticist herself, so I looked into it and found that there was a strong correlation between statistics and genetics at this time. She contributed to revolutionary work in the discovery of genetics circa 1944 and furthered the understanding of genetic mutation in an evolutionary context -- in layman's terms, she was kind of a big deal. There were several rather 'frightened' reports written by her colleagues who were commenting on the fact that she had always had an eerie propensity for weaving mathematics into occult beliefs, but due to her genius and apparent 'charisma,' no one was bold enough to call her out on her weird shit.

    • I found way too many articles detailing that Dr. Sokolova met her end in a car accident on the 14th of April, 1964. Based on my findings, this is where she was recruited by the Red Hand to take part in the ever-infamous vampiric super soldier project. Her superiors were mightily impressed with her sick obsession with the occult and her lack of moral compunction when it came to getting results -- needless to say, her fascination and admiration for the vampiric subjects had always put off her fellow researchers. Attached is a newspaper clipping that was used repeatedly with excessive availability -- Russians weren't always the most 'subtle' when it came to government conspiracies, but I like their style. There's just something wholesome about it.

      default.jpg

      • From what I gathered, Dr. Sokolova's research pretty much lead to the creation of Endemic Echo itself, and she was understandably pissed off when a Dr. Sergei Kuznetsov was brought in to take over and spearhead her brain-child instead of herself. However, everyone on the operation know just how badly she loathed playing second fiddle, and they wordlessly figured it was a matter of time before she would make a play for her role in leadership (can you imagine how goddamned awkward it must have been?!).

        • The actual project was an off-shoot of the main super soldier developmental efforts, with the specific goal of weaponizing muroni, specifically. Now this is where it gets heavy. The idea was to use classified, experimental, and downright unnatural methods to replace their metamorphic forms with those of tremendously lethal, long-extinct predators. I couldn't make this shit up if I tried, people.

          maxresdefault.jpg

          • Then something sketchy happened on March 21, 1969. I read and re-read the reports until my eyes hurt, and nobody seemed like they wanted to talk about the incident at Site Beta in extensive detail. I'm serious -- the Russians became as closed-off as a fifteen year old girl defending that diary tucked away under her bed, even in their private, internal reports. All I can put together was that there was some sort of 'explosion' that spooked the Red Hand higher-ups so bad they were prepared to abandon the project altogether.

          16cb07d31d2dd4959c8916c3d9928dee--bunker-abandoned.jpg



          • However, trusty Dr. Sokolova heroically swooped in to saved the project, talking them out of completely pulling the plug. It is safe to assume that around this point she had been turned. The project quietly continued for the next three months, but let me tell you, her reports back to HQ were anything but 'quiet.' The Red Hand upper-managers were definitely raising their brows at her increasingly terse and infrequent reports. Ominously, on June 24th, 1969, contacts with the remaining sites (Alpha and Gamma) were entirely lost, and the Endemic Echo project was officially and indefinitely put on ice. Following an evaluation of probable circumstances, no rescue extraction or investigation effort was attempted, as Dr. Sokolova and all of the remaining personnel were presumed dead. It's unclear whether the presumed body count included Dr. Kuznetsov.

          In conclusion, something very evil and very wrong happened in this place. Whatever the explosion was, whatever caused it, it was enough to get Russian mad scientists feeling queasy -- which is really saying something.

          I didn't leave anything out of the report, and unfortunately this was all I could gather after hours upon hours of studying every leaflet and half-remembered scribble. To be honest with you, my hair was standing straight up the whole time. This was some real creepy shit to study.

          If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” - Sun Tzu
Posted Jan 30, 18 · Last edited Jan 31, 18
Like
x 2
x 2
List
Undo
Posts:
19
Votes:
+31
Online on Site
INTERMISSION - An Introduction to SIBBS

(( Yes, the Endemic Echo plot is still ongoing! Though RP concerning the events has continued in game and on Twitter, we've been in something of a holding pattern for a week and change, thanks to time spent tinkering with the subject of this post: the Simple In-Browser Battle Screen, SIBBS for short.


SIBBStest.jpg

SIBBS is a homebrew tool that uses the in-game browser to track the progression of /roll-based RP battles (i.e. players emote their attempted action, then use the /roll command to see if it succeeds). Being browser based, it is usable for out-of-game scenes as well. It was created due to strong player interest in combat scenes, and to hopefully mitigate some of the common issues inherent to keeping track of such scenes in large groups.

The overall goals were these:

• Present basic info (esp. health and turn order) in a way that's easy to read at a glance
• Handle basic calculations based on 1-100 rolls, to stay consistent with the game's /roll
• Keep the battle going at a fun pace, without too much downtime or rushing
• Simple role/stat choices for light strategy, though not so much to distract from free-form RP
• Homage the 16 bit Final Fantasy games, since the plot is already oozing early 90s nostalgia

While basic fight actions (attack, heal, rez) are automatically calculated, the DM has full control over every number, to account for any actions taken outside the core combat routine. The system currently handles a maximum of ten players (max raid size) and three enemies, though more foes can be added by treating a single enemy "block" as a group sharing a HP bar. Party members and enemies may be added or removed in mid-battle, and the system will recommend a percentage modifier based on disparity of group size, for simple "balanced" fights regardless of numbers.

As it is updated in real time, accidentally closing the browser isn't a problem, as the page will always load the latest data.



Creating a SIBBS Character

To include your character in SIBBS, you need to do three (or if you feel like it, four) things:

(1) Choose a role: Tank, Healer, DPS or Hybrid

• Tanks do less damage, receive less damage, and are more likely to be attacked
• Healers do less damage and receive more damage, but have powerful heals and can rez
• DPS do more damage and receive more damage
• All-rounders are balanced in damage dealt and taken, can do small heals, moderate odds of being attacked

(2) Distribute 100 points between POW, SPD and STA
All values must be greater than zero.

• POW determines attack and healing power
• SPD determines evasion chance and turn order
• STA determines total HP and damage reduction when hit

(3) Choose two Sources of Strength from the following list
These represent two general areas from which your character divines their strength, motivation and general skillset. Doubling up is acceptable, if your character is gung-ho in a particular category.

LIGHT - Altruism, compassion, general do-goodery
ZEAL - Driving passion for a cause, faith, belief, etc.
TECH - Mechanical aptitude and/or mechanical body
BODY - Strength of physique, hardiness, martial arts
DARK - Shadowy endeavors, deception, forbidden pursuits
WISDOM - Experience, savvy, worldliness
PRIMAL - In touch with the natural world
MIND - Any pursuit requiring keen intellect

The Sources of Strength determine attack and heal bonuses. When calculating attacks, they are stronger against each other in a clockwise rotation, with two-way bonuses between diametric opposites, as seen in the diagram below (i.e. Body and Mind get damage bonuses against each other). When an attacker and target share the same Source(s) of Strength, this results in less damage done, but the inverse is true for heals (i.e. if both the healer and recipient have Tech, the heal will be larger).


sos.png

(4) (Optional) Make a Pixel Art Avatar

Avatars must be 50 x 50 pixels; the browser will scale them up to 70 x 70 for a faux-16-bit look. Any method of creating them will do, though this generator makes it easy.



The Future?

We'll be trying out SIBBS in forthcoming plot events and seeing if it's any fun! It is currently populated solely with enemies and environments for the Endemic Echo plotline, but if folks enjoy it, I'll look into making a more general version for other DMs to use. Anyone wanting to host their own version would need PHP-capable web hosting, but I may be able to set up a finite number of "rooms" to run off my webspace.

I've also pondered making an SWL addon to link directly with SIBBS, but I know very little about the now-obsolete Flash platform, so no promises on that front! ))

wpheadermobile.png
Posted Sat at 03:19 · OP · Last edited Sat at 3:20
NoticeNotices