With Darius busy recruiting students for his “School of Siege”, our heroes abruptly realized that they were in an orphanage full of children and it was Halloween. Oh well. Time to take them out. At least there were enough adults to split them up into groups of ten and still leave a skeleton staff, the Chauffeur could run overwatch, the werewolves were perfectly willing to come along and play guardians (although they had to be persuaded to wear costumes other than fur), and the Hauntsman could stick around to handle any problems that came up. There shouldn’t be much: after all, what could go wrong in a mansion overrun with random magic, hosting a crypt of death, filled with strange artifacts and spells, and watched over by the Hauntsman on the most shadowy and spirit-filled night of the magical year? Especially when Ranko had decided to invite an Aztec War God along when Trick-or-Treating with her infant son Isacora?
Come to think of it, did anyone have a time-travel effect big enough to skip the entire night?
Meanwhile, the White Necromancer had asked Monopole to make him some self-censoring computerized glasses to keep him from seeing anymore naked werewolves and had started advertising in the afterworlds for some teachers, Ranko had determined that the two “stray kids” who’d been “left on the doorstep” (and promptly “adopted” by the pack) were actually Vasilko’s – he’d apparently wanted to hide the fact for some reason – and was quite cross at him (making him extremely nervous), and the Hauntsman wanted to decorate – and soon discovered that Arioch the Deceiver, Lord of Illusion, Master of the Mind, He Who… (etc, etc, etc), otherwise known as James, their resident teenage illusionist, was decorating in his own fashion.
Of course, things went wrong. The first difficulty was explaining “Trick of Treating” to an Aztec War God. Oh well: “Offerings for his Son” on a “Holy Day” was close enough for their purposes. Unfortunately for the idea of a peaceful trip, they were near the mansion power nexus – and all the nut cases were out for Halloween.
The White Necromancer had problems with a (genuinely living and only a week old?) house that was eating people. It snatched a bunch of the kids with him – albeit not the ghosts – and dragged them into an underground maze full of bizarre (and mostly ineffectual or totally illusory) traps, bio-engineered zombie pirates, and other special effects for his latest epic – “The Zombie Pirates of Harlington Cove”. If it wasn’t for his general sloppiness about safety precautions, tendency to cast roles by kidnaping people at random – and his using kids this time – the Producer might be fairly tolerable. At least he’d set up a system to promptly evacuate any with serious injuries to the local hospital. The maniac would just start over somewhere else if he put a halt to it, so he settled on running safety overwatch and let Ranko get back to her own troubles.
Meanwhile, the War God had run into an anti-Halloween (Paganism!) Religious activist, who grossly upset and berated the children – so his son got a new pet cat. Back at the orphanage, the black sun of the underworld had started to shine around the crypt of the death – and something was coming through. The Hauntsman put up a barrier, but eventually decided not to interfere with – a ghostly German Hero/Villain from WWII? Why would he be coming back? OK, he was cross at the Indestructible Man, but wasn’t this leaving it a little late?
Secondarily, there was Arioch’s somewhat overenthusiastic decorating to consider – as well as an attack by that possessed businessman again: evidently the night had brought out the monster inside him again. Fortunately, being possessed by the forces of shadow also made him vulnerable to banishment.
Ranko had to leave her husband alone with the kids again when she discovered that someone was stealing the souls of other children. They chased down a minor demon-aspect, who used the souls of gullible children as scouts and servants, leaving their slowly-petrifying bodies as anchors to hold their spirits in the physical world. That called for actions from everyone – although they eventually had to rely on the War God to block the Demon from escaping long enough for them to bind it and seal it away. After all, killing it would be a temporary measure at best. At least that broke its grip on the souls of the local kids: hopefully the others would wake up someplace survivable.
When she got back, five of the kids had horses to ride. Apparently her husband had run into some junior thugs, and now the kids had some riding animals. There was a minor row after that, but he’d already given them to the kids: they’d have to talk it over with the kids tomorrow – maybe they could just trade them some real horses as replacements. New Rule: If you must take an Aztec War God Trick-or-Treating DON’T LEAVE HIM ALONE WITH THE KIDS!
They eventually traced the WWII ghost-summoning to some drunken skinheads, who’d apparently been led by someone who’d drunk themselves unconscious long ago – and had been possessed by the spirit Deathurge, A.K.A. Theodor Eiche, once the Necromancer-Commandant of Dachau. Great: he was back and – since it looked like he’d pulled through several ghosts – now he had a whole team of super-powered specters to help him with his latest plot.
Well, the War God answered some idiot would-be “Witches” using a spell they got off the internet and mildly cursed one or two people who were rude or were playing nasty pranks on the children, but at least nothing much else went wrong before they got him safely back to the mansion and to his own dimension.
3 XP all around.