Lizard and Lunk

The continuing GURPS adventures of eight men who really should find better uses for their time.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Subway Station IS Hell

OK, so in our last session we were introduced to a Hellish sort of subway station - lots of disturbing and awful religious artwork depicting the struggle between Good and Evil, and a tendency to drive people nuts. To drive the point home (and because we're crazy that way), we spent the night, which largely just gave us bad dreams and a restless night.

Coming out of that long night, Bill's immortal Tony character and Jeff's Necromancer got into a fight, which nearly had them trying to kill each other. Also, Craig found a hammer somewhere (they seem to keep popping up) and started destroying the local artwork. Nobody could recall why they did these things - obviously, the place was getting to us.

After we all went home (well, those that have homes and need sleep) to get some rest, Kevin decided to look at the blog of the metrophile who we had met the previous day. He writes a lot about subway stations around Chicago (demonstrating that yes, there is a blog for everything). Reading through his blog, it turns out that in the past the place that is Samuel Luke Station was referred to as a maintenance depot - as if the station didn't exist. That past, of course, seems to have been Before the Shimmer.

After some rest and additional research, the party reconvened in the station at about lunchtime. We gathered just in time to experience a bizarre phenomenon: everything around us slowed to a stop, and one wall of the station opened up to reveal a Hellacious battlefield, filled with angels and demons duking it out. At first, we thought we had entered Dan Brown's imagination, but it quickly became reality when a really BIG demon with four eyes and a very large sword popped through the wall/barrier, trailed by two smaller but still-nasty dog/insect demon things. Finally finding something we could lay into, we did what we do best.

The resulting fight was just long enough to be dangerous. Ghost Wolf, Craig's Samurai and Brian's Carcerian all laid into the big demon as they could, while Ice Man, Tony, and Kevin's blaster Soon took on the two smaller demons. Tony managed to hold one of these off, while Ice Man and Soon took down the other one, freeing Kevin up to approach the big demon. By that time, Craig had lost a leg to the Great Big Sword, while the demon had lots a couple of eyes to Craig's blade, and a bunch of hit points to Ghost Wolf's claws. Kevin finished it off by blasting it point-blank in the face in dramatic fashion, capped by blowing his acrobatics roll and ending up spread-eagled on the floor. As reality snapped back into place, Ghost Wolf and Craig quickly disappeared through the floor (the better to hide their rather serious wounds), while others changed back to more normal forms. The lunchtime crowd apparently noticed nothing.

So now we know: this place isn't a container for a battle between good and evil, it's a portal, a weak spot between worlds. Making matters worse, it seems that it may have been 'imported' during the Shimmer to our own reality, which would explain why nobody can figure out its history and why tools keep showing up (they're popping over from the 'maintenance depot' that is supposed to be here instead). Next time: now that we've diagnosed the problem, how do we fix it?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Subway Station from Hell

Given the history of our supers group, adding "...from Hell" to anything may just be an accurate descriptor.

Having gotten back from our fun with the Feds in the Nevada desert, our supers crew lay low for a while, concerned that the Men in Black might take another crack at hauling us off. After a couple of weeks, we started to reconnect a bit. Tony (Bill's character) and Kevin's martial artist (whose name escapes me) decided to head out to a nifty diner on the south side of Chicago - just because (hey, that's the way lots of good adventures start).

On the way their, they passed through a station on Chicago's famous L. Named for its designer, Samuel Luke, the place is WEIRD. It has lots of religious-themed art, mostly built around themes of peace/war and good/evil, and VERY creepy. It's also been heavily vandalized (well, most of it has), and the scene of lots of nasty violent crime over the years. Just the sort of fun place our characters love!

When Tony & Kevin arrived on their way to the diner, they found a press conference in session. A local politician (a city councilman of some sort) and local neighborhood activist/business owner were announcing a plan to clean up the station and restore the art. There was a TV crew, a small crowd, and the usual flourishing promises about how this was going to rescue a benighted neighborhood and make things better for folks in a somewhat run-down part of town.

In the midst of the press conference, screams rang out from the subway platform below. We rushed down to discover that a college student, intent on saving a woman from assault by some local thug, had swiftly and handily killed said thug with a hammer which happened to be conveniently lying around. The student wasn't the violent type, and made no attempt to get away or avoid arrest when the cops showed up - the whole thing seemed pretty bizarre. (Of course, there's now a Facebook page in support of the student, who is rapidly becoming a modern-day Chicago Bernie Goetz).

This provided a whole new level of excitement for the media. While people were further milling around, a train pulled into the station - and its horn sounded a note, at least to Tony & Kevin, that was bizarrely sublime. Looking around, they could tell that a few other people in the crowd had sort of noticed it, too. The suspicion immediately was that this sound was hearable only to Wonders (or, possibly, Horrors - it didn't recur, so there was no chance to experiment).

Tony & Kevin called in the rest of the crew, sensing that this was clearly a large ball of fun that needed to be shared. The rest of the group arrived, and we spent the afternoon & evening casing the place. In the process, we discovered some very weird statuary, including a Mary with her feet covered (not normal) and a statue of Lilith that, alone among everything there, was untouched by vandalism. There's also a St. Francis and a George-and-the-dragon sort of thing, plus a lot of (pretty roughed up) paintings. Strange people occasionally wandered along amidst the commuters, including a young woman with a violin who served as a sort of Pied Piper for vermin.

There were also a significant number of old hand tools - hammers, crowbars, etc - hidden in various corners for no readily discernible reason. The student who killed the thug had "just grabbed a hammer that happened to be there" - seems like someone is seeding the place with weapons...

Having some researchers in the group, we sent a couple of our number off to try to dig up some information on who Samuel Luke was and why he had created this bizarre station - and see if we could turn up any clues as to what was going on. Ice Man and Richard the Lich both hit the books, and came up with the same bizarre result - they could find individual facts about the place, but as they read on they ceased being able to read the words at all. They brought a few books back to the station to show the rest of us, but we all had the same problem. It seems that, for some bizarre metaphysical reason, it just isn't possible to put together a coherent history of this space - which makes it all the more creepy.

The station closed at 11pm, so we allowed ourselves to be shooed out by the transit cops, then came back in over/through the fence to settle in for the night. Once inside (again) we discovered a couple of frat guys locked in on an initiation, who clearly (but too late) thought better of it. We decided not to give them heart attacks, and stayed out of their way. We checked in (and through) everything else - statues, paintings, walls, floors - but aside from the general feeling of Bad Juju, there was no obvious focus. The rest of the night passed uneventfully, except that everybody had REALLY bad dreams.

Next time we'll see if we can dig up anything else, and whether we can induce something else truly strange to happen.

Getting the Government Off Our Backs

While Ghost Wolf, Richard the Lich, and the rest of the crew were commandeering a stealth helicopter from the special forces out to get them, Toni, Ice Man, and The Exterminator were headed down the road to Rachel, NV ahead of the regular military police who had been shooing away all of the UFO-watchers from the side of the highway. They arrived to find a fair-sized gathering of the sort of freaks & geeks who would spend time camping out in the desert hoping to catch a glimpse of ET.

After about a half hour of hanging out with this crowd, the encampment was approached by three people - two special ops soldiers and one guy dressed in civvies. This trio appeared headed directly for Brian's Exterminator, so Tony the Telekinetic created a distraction with the campfire while Brian fled. This created chaos in the camp which quickly escalated (or degenerated) as Tony took down the civilian, Ice Man chilled out one of the special ops guys with cryokinesis, and shots started flying. As the Exterminator was doubling back, the trio (rapidly being pummeled) was joined by a group of heavily-armored infantry, which Tony decided to play whack-a-mole with. All the bad guys were eventually subdued, and the fellow in civilian clothes annihilated by a combination of the Exterminator's dehydration and Ice Man's patented Ice Cannon. The commandeered helicopter with the rest of the party landed just as the last few infantry were bugging out in their truck - Ghost Wolf took off with them to make sure they didn't have any good video footage of the incident.

With the government goons apparently vanquished, the party loaded themselves and the wounded civilians (some of the Freaks & Geeks crowd had been caught in the crossfire) into the helicopter and flew to a hospital in Las Vegas. There they landed in a parking lot, unloaded the wounded, and then disabled the chopper, hoping that the news media would pick up the story and foil a probable government cover-up. The group then quietly bugged out and regrouped back at the hotel room for the long drive back to Chicago.

It turns out that, while the government was not very good at capturing the group (despite their best efforts), they're very good at covering things up. The helicopter disappeared, never to be mentioned again. The shooting incident in the desert was written off as a drug smugglers' turf war in which civilians happened to get caught; since the innocents in the desert were pretty socially marginal to begin with, no one was much interested in listening to them anyhow. Word on the street back in Chicago was that the Feds - or whatever version of the Men in Black that was - had suffered a serious loss, and had gone off to lick its wounds. Yet another long-term enemy to be concerned about...