Introduction to the Campaign Log
Throughout the years I have always made the effort to maintain a campaign log of the games I have run. These session recaps serve two primary purposes. (1) It allows everyone to refresh their memory about what has previously occurred so that no one is at a loss about the current situation when the game resumes. (2) It allows me as the games master to make minor revisions to the history. These revisions are generally done to allow me to include information that the players should be aware of but that, for whatever reason, was left out during the actual game play.
The campaign log is considered to be canon. Whenever there is confusion about what exactly happened during a game the campaign log is considered to be the true account.
Whenever I put together the recap of the last session I let the players involved have the opportunity to examine the proposed record for errors and omissions. Once we have all had a chance to make suggestions I complete the final copy which then becomes canon for the campaign.
Real date: 16 May 2009
Game date: 18 March 2112
Five new graduates of the XSWAT academy have been ordered to report for duty at the 13th Precinct. These new officers are Mirko Song (a wizard of Hermetic tradition), Shilo Mokushi (a telepathic Esper with precognitive abilities), Jared Thomas (a former APD officer and cyborg), Rachael O’Shea (a former detective from Old Chicago also a Crusader), and Rhonin Thanatos (the youngest at 19 who has odd tattoos and unusual powers).
The new officers have only a short time to get acquainted with each other before Captain Alexander Richards enters the briefing room. With him is Corporal Janet Green, a well dressed middle-aged civilian and much to the surprise of the assembled officers Director Alice Cadbury herself.
Introductions are made. The officers present will be the members of a new 9th Squad to replace a previous squad which was lost in action. Sergeant Jared Thomas will be the field commander of the new squad and Corporal Janet Green will be the unit’s dispatch officer. The new squad discovers that they have been handpicked by Director Cadbury to form the new 9th Squad. Apparently she feels that each of them have the required abilities to make a good team.
Next the civilian is introduced as Chris Patton and he is the primary witness for the first case being assigned to the new 9th squad. Mr. Patton is the current CEO of Patton Financial an international investment banking firm which has provided funding to XSWAT in the past and has made it clear that assistance with this matter could result in increased funding to the department.
Mr. Patton claims that magic was used to steal a very valuable item from the Patton manor. The bottle contained holy water and some ashes from a painting known as the Animus Mortis. The painting was burned two years ago by Jay Patton (Chris’s father) and the ashes were scattered. A portion of the ashes were retained by Jay to prevent anyone ever being able to reconstruct the painting. Since the ashes have been stolen he fears that someone is trying to do just that.
The history of the Animus Mortis that Chris Patton tells is macabre. The painting is of pre-cataclysm origin and was lost when California sank beneath the Pacific Ocean. It was recovered several years ago by a deep sea salvage team. Of the ten members of the salvage team only three survived the dive. All three survivors suffered from exotic and mysterious physical maladies and only one of them survived. Ed Bently the sole survivor was committed to the Chadworth asylum for the mentally insane shortly thereafter.
Two years ago Jay Patton’s wife and other son were brutally murdered while in a room with the painting. The bodies were literally shredded and the case has never been solved. Jay Patton clearly believed that the painting had something to do with it and that is why he burned the painting and had the ashes scattered.
As soon as the theft of the bottle of ashes was discovered Jay Patton hired a mercenary company with a reputation for being discrete. Hanson’s Howlers were asked to recover the ashes at all costs. They investigated the scene of the robbery and then went to work. However, Hanson’s Howlers promptly disappeared and the Patton’s have been unable to contact them. Chris Patton is beginning to believe that there may be something to the cursed nature of the painting and he fears that Hanson’s Howlers may be lost.
Hanson’s Howlers have an office in Angelus in the Omnicron Sector. After repeated attempts at communication Chris visited the office but it was closed and locked.
The 9th Squad decides that their first priority is to visit Patton Manor to review the crime scene and take a look at the surveillance recordings that Chris Patton says they have. Mr. Patton has not brought the recordings with him and will not grant electronic access to the manor’s security system since this would present a potential gap in their corporate security. The crime scene at Patton Manor, in Alpha Sector, Sakura District, has been untouched since the personnel from Hanson’s Howlers investigated it.
At the crime scene the squad examines a boot print on the carpet which has stained and left some crusty salt. The quick analysis from XSWAT headquarters will confirm that this was caused by seawater. The security system of the manor, while impressive, is by no means foolproof no security logs show any unauthorized access to the manor but a hidden surveillance camera did get a picture of a very non-desrcript person. The suspect is shown entering the room holding still for a few seconds and then heading directly to the bottle to take it.
Mirko is able to detect traces of magic on the mantle where the bottle was, in the fireplace and from a spot on the wall which turns out to be the place the painting was originally hung after its recovery. There are no signs of recent powerful magic and it is clear that no magical means were used to enter the estate; it was merely the work of a skilled burglar. The fact that traces of magic can be detected after the artifact was burned make Mirko thinks that there was/is a great deal of magic to the Animus Mortis. Rachel O’Shea is also able to detect traces of evil coming from the same areas.
Records kept at the Patton Manor indicate that the remaining ashes of the painting were dumped into the compost pile in the garden two years ago. This material was picked up by Jame’s Brothers Gardening Services.
The team has their collected evidence taken to XSWAT HQ for further analysis and then decides that the paying a visit on Ed Bently at the Chadworth asylum would be a good idea. Rachel O’Shea contacts Ian Carnegay an old friend who works with the Order of Enoch and asks him to find out what the Order knows about the painting. Ian promise to look into it and give her a call back.
As their spinner carrying the 9th Squad arrives at the asylum it becomes quickly obvious that all is not well. The asylum is tucked away in an out of the way corner of Beta Sector, away from the hustle and bustle of any main thoroughfares. The lights of the building are off and the front gate hangs half-off its hinges. The spinner comes to a hovering stop in the rain just outside the main gate. As officer O’Shea becomes aware of a strong source of evil emanating from the building an unearthly roar followed by human-sounding screams erupts from the building. One of the windows shatters and smoke begins to belch out into the suddenly intensifying rain.
Several of the officers man the weapons of the spinner as Sergeant Thomas activates that scanners and detects (with a fantastic Sys Ops roll) a large “something” moving within the parking garage of the building. A wave of nausea and seems to roll over the spinner and its occupants. Sergeant Thomas tells everyone to brace for an impact as he is confident that the armored spinner can punch through the closed garage doors. This consumes the entire surprise phase for the 9th Squad since they have to brace for the crash through the door.
The spinner hits the door as Sergeant Thomas puts it into a sideways attitude. The door shatters under the momentum of the spinner and suddenly the squad finds themselves face to face with large entity. Rachel O’Shea develops a nose bleed and most of the rest of the squad hesitate at the site of the monstrosity that they face. Sergeant Thomas, being less affected than his squad, dives from the spinner with his C-90 heavy maser in hand he fires into the creature hoping to draw its attention from the spinner containing the rest of his squad. The maser burns the creature but not enough to slow it down; his distraction is also ineffective as the creature slams the spinner full of officers. The armor of their transport is dented and scored but it holds and the occupants receive nothing but a jolt.
The Rhonin opens up with the door-mounted mini-gun but the creature shrugs off the bullets from the gun. The remainder of the squad bail out of the spinner and scatter trying to surround the beast. Soon the creature is being attacked from all sides. Shilo and Rachel are fining away with their C-60 Masers as Mirko darts to the far side of the garage attempting to get behind the entity. The creature flails out with a huge claw at Rachel but the Crusader manages to avoid the blow.
Mirko now unleashes his magic on the beast and wounds it further, while Rachel and Shilo’s masers manage to inflict minor injuries to the creature. Sergeant Thomas pumps another blast from his Heavy Maser into the beast causing it to bellow in rage as its flesh is seared. The creature sends a wave of sharply spiked tentacles at the cyborg Sergeant and riddles holes through the wall behind him as well and tearing up his uniform however the combination of his uniform armor and his cyborg body prevent him from taking any major harm.
Rhonin calls forth his power and with a puff of crimson and black smoke a sword materializes in his hands as he darts forth to smite the creature with less than hoped for results. Meanwhile Shilo scores a well aimed hit with her C-60 Maser and scores a horrible wound on the beast. Shortly thereafter a combination of attacks fells the beast. As it collapses it discharges a burst of errant energy which blows out most of the roof of the garage. The creature begins to rapidly dissolve as the rain pours in through the shredded roof.
As Sergeant Thomas secures the spinner and calls to have APD forces cordon off the area surrounding the asylum the rest of the team proceed into the asylum hoping that they are not too late to save the patents and staff from whatever may be transpiring within. As Sergeant Thomas hurries to catch up with the squad he hears and then sees an approaching robotic camera drone. He blasts it from the sky with the last shot remaining in his C-90s clip. He quickly reloads and hurries inside, while calling dispatch to inform the APD to keep reporters out of the still dangerous area.
Entering the ground floor of the asylum through the shattered door from the garage the squad soon finds a thoroughly ripped up building. The building is pitch-black and the stark beams of the squad’s flashlights soon pierce the gloom. They soon find bodies of the asylum staff strewn about the ground floor. Many are ripped apart, some appear to have committed suicide by whatever available means they could find and others looks as if they died from bizarre physical ailments. There is smoke and heat damage in various places. The ground floor is cleared as quickly as possible and the squad heads up the stairs.
They top the stairs and see a fire burning at the end of the hallway. Rachel senses evil, though not as strongly as before so the squad proceeds cautiously. Most of the rooms in this hallway seem to be patient cells though there are no traces of bodies. A shout from Rachel alerts the team as half a dozen Class I Entities charge out of various doors to attack the officers. Mirko soon finds that his protective barrier is effective against these weaker foes though just barely. The fight is brutal but brief and the squad manages to dispatch the low level entities without suffering any further harm thought the entity sickness still affects some of them.
After this battle the squad fines a lone survivor. An intern by the name of Jeffrey R. Wilkins is trapped beneath some rubble but the cyborg muscles of Sergeant Thomas soon free him. Other than being quite shaken the young man is in remarkably good shape. Wilkins was studying under Dr. Spencer the chief physician of the facility. He claims that the entity emerged from D Block and gives directions as to where that is.
On their trip to D Block it becomes apparent that there is no trace of the inmates. There are no bodies; they seem to have simply vanished. They find Ed Bentley’s cell in D Block with the door and surrounding doorframe completely blasted away from within. On the walls of the cell are letters and pictures inscribed with dried blood. The writings are mostly nonsensical but vaguely allude to impending doom. One picture is clearly a crude rendering of the Animus Mortis. There are also names of various members of the Patton family along with the dates of their deaths. As the team studies this the lights suddenly come back on, startling the group. A quick radio call determines that APD units are on the scene and that one of their techs used an outside electrical box to resupply power to the building. Sergeant Thomas grumbles that in the future they be informed about such things.
The squad finds Dr. Spencer’s office and start examining his notes and records regarding Ed Bentley. Dr. Spencer noted that Mr. Bentley made initial progress when first admitted but then began to backslide and became more and more mentally unstable. He was visited twice a year by his brother Marcus Bentley. His behavior continued to worsen until 16 March 2112 when he cut himself and began to write and draw on his cell walls with his own blood. Ed Bentley had no contact with the outside world for other a month and Dr. Spencer was mystified as to how he knew the names and dates of death for the various members of the Patton family. In the late afternoon of March 16th Ed became practically frantic, an audio recording of various ravings is included most prominently is his cry of, “I can’t hold it back anymore!”
It has been a long day and the squad heads back to the precinct house to end their shift. They are all filthy. The day started off with them in crisp and clean new uniforms and now they are all covered in grime, smoke, gore and other stuff they care not to identify. A hot shower and a good night’s sleep will be welcomed by all. On the way back to the precinct Ian Carnegay calls Officer O’Shea with the info she requested.
The Order of Enoch knows that the Animus Mortis is a very powerful evil artifact. Ian cautions that if Rachel finds this item it could be very perilous. They believe that the painting has a sentience of its own and it “wants to be restored.” Anyone in close proximity to the painting for too long is in danger of falling under its influence. Ian suggests that the Alec Lafitte, the curator of the Darwin Memorial Art Museum, might have more info on the painting since he specializes in paintings that were lost in the cataclysm.
Return to Shadows Angelus II