The Storm Diaries: Part I. The Players and the Stage

Example of a subject in a Ganzfeld experiment.

Image via Wikipedia

The Chaos Storm game was set in modern San Francisco, in a world much like our own. While that world allowed magical and psychic powers, for many centuries they had been mere whispers – carefully hoarded by a few survivors from past ages of enchantment to support their own extended lives, and insufficient to have any real impact on recent history.

A few years before the start of the game those powers had started to rise, and various individuals and groups had begun exploiting the subtle special abilities that made possible. Those who had been most dedicated to seeking power and to peering into the shadows of the world – or who were, perhaps, the maddest – tapped into those forces first. Strange things had begun to happen, but had, as yet, little impact on the modern world.

One week before the start of the game the cycle of ages had turned – and those forces, once mere traces hovering around rituals and ancient foci, had erupted, flooding the earth with power. That surge had  ignited the hidden strengths of a thousand ancient occult bloodlines. A new heroic age had begun, even if most of its major participants had, as yet, no clear idea what new superhuman powers they now possessed.

Dramatis Persona:

The G.U.A.R.D.I.A.N.S. (Generally Underage And Rambunctious Delinquents In Another Nasty Situation)

  • Master Dao (Dr. Tristan Williams): A most notable researcher in physics and chaos mathematics, Professor Williams taught at Berkley, practiced Tai C’hi – and was a powerful C’hi Master. Currently, he’s under the in- fluence of the malevolent Crimson Bangle.
  • Changeling (Billy-Joe Cobb): A “Good Ol’ Boy” Park Ranger, “Bob” gained nifty shapeshifting and animalistic psychic powers when lightning “activated” long-dormant areas of his brain. He’s accompanied by “Ragnar” – a huge, wolf/dog sidekick/monstrosity which seems to tap into it’s “masters” powers a bit.
  • (The) Warlock (David Mayseren): A fairly powerful, if woefully inexperienced and untutored, mage, Warlock is underage, brilliant, and a bit over idealistic. He has yet to become fully aware of his powers – although quite a few magical beings seem to have ideas for him. Both his mother Andrea, and his younger brother, Joseph, seem to have some psychic abilities of their own – and Andrea seems to be a highly trained “secret agent”.
  • Lone Wolf (Robert Lee): A 15-year-old werewolf with psi-enhanced strength and toughness, Lone Wolf would be dangerous enough without martial arts training and his unfortunate berserker tendencies. Currently, Warlock has used binding spells on him, in an attempt to limit the problem. His father, Adrian, is a survivalist nut, and believes in a massive government conspiracy. While he may be right about that, he’s still a nut case.
  • TimeWalker (Solamon Riser): Originally from 12’th century england, Solamon’s was recruited, and his latent temporal powers trained, by the “TimeWalkers Guild” – an organization of “extratemporal dogooders”. He uses his own powers, and a suit of futuristic power armor, and is currently assigned to this temporal zone. Sadly, the guild has a lot less information on this timezone then it would like. There seems to be some instability.
  • Malavator (AKA; “RatMan”. Timothy Veil): A feral street thug with power, Malavator’s telekinetic powers are already frightening – and are still growing. He’s violent, unethical, a petty thief, and obnoxious – but has enough loyalty to his friends, and is handy enough to have around, to have led them to put up with him so far. It’s always nice to have a cannon handy.
  • The Voice (“Thorn”, Mark Randall): The result of a bizarre accident, Thorn is a mid-sized, rather benign, earth elemental bearing the mindprint of Mark Randall; a navy SEAL who’s minor, latent, talents for Telepathy and Summoning suddenly kicked in, and flared into terminal overload, a few days ago. Mark died, but bits of his mind overwrote parts of the elemental’s mind, creating a bizarre composite being.
  • Twilight (Desrae Grey): A talented young actress, Desrae was also fabulously beautiful; lovely enough to attract the attention of Lestat – an elder vampire. He inducted her into the vamphyic ranks – and continues to take an interest in her affairs. She has a variety of vamphyric powers and is mystically linked with Mask, her sentient “pet” raccoon.
  • Mara (Alexis Grey): Desrae’s little sister started wondering what was going on a few days after her older sister moved out. Unlike most 13-year-olds, she has vast, if still poorly developed and focused, telekinetic and telepathic potentials to use to find out.
  • EbonFlame (Louis Vanderin): Generous contributions and family connections virtually predestined “Louie” for a college slot and a degree. Louie didn’t know that his family heritage also destined him to host the power of primordial darkness as the cycle turned again. That was something of a shock – especially when the powers turned out to have a sort of “awareness” of their own.
  • Hawk (Real name unrevealed): Shapechanging runs in families. When Hawk heard from Adrian that his cousin Robert “Had been subjected to government experiments and turned into a werewolf!” he was very interested. He’d recently taken hawkform himself, and flown through the spirit world. He hadn’t seen Robert since Adrian had sent him to Bangkok, but if he was shapeshifting – and back in San Francisco – he ought to find him.
  • Azrael (No pronounceable name): Strong, tough, and powerfully telepathic, Azrael is still at something of a disadvantage socially. Being a crash-landed, scaly, blue, alien can do that. By training, he’s is a space- fighter pilot, and he’d really like a ship. He brought the group the news of a possible Zarkonian invasion.
  • The Commander (No pronounceable name): Another one of Azrael’s race, The Commander was just that; a starship captian. While his telepathic abilities are far better developed then Azrael’s, he’s spent most of his life in space and in the military – and he’s having a hard time adjusting to earth.
  • XenoMorph (Michael Thelin): While he hasn’t gotten all the details of the control systems “down” yet, the battle armor Michael found is quite powerful enough to let him play superhero. Even outside his suit, he’s a skilled hacker and a decent techno-tinkerer. Douglas, his nine-year-old little brother, was kidnapped by the Crimson Seer for reasons unknown, although, judging by the restraints the Seer used, he may be on the edge of acquiring powers of his own.

Acquaintances:

  • Adrian Lee: A rampant survivalist, utter lunatic, and latent shapeshifter, Adrian sees conspiracies, and the intrusion of government spies, everywhere. While he may be right about the existence of the conspiracies – if they were that interested in him, they’d have “gotten him” long ago – if only on weapons and theft charges. He seems to have an entire military arsenal on hand. An attack helicopter is not exactly easy to obtain.
  • The Crimson Seer (Jacob Emerson): Maybe a middle- aged wizard would do a better job of running the world then the current system does, but most of the group was unwilling to put up with someone who sacrificed little kids – especially uselessly. Not utterly an enemy, but hardly a friend.
  • Dr. Genos: A brilliant, if lunatic, scientist and maniac geneticist, Genos has yet to appear in person – but he’s managed to make more then enough trouble even without that, thanks to his creations, minions, money, and sewer-slime. Again, not necessarily an enemy, but often at cross-purposes.
    • The Lizard: Violent, super-strong, idiotic, and virtually indestructible, this massive “alligator man” seems to get bigger and stronger every time he shows up. Unfortunately, he also seems to be able to escape from virtually anywhere. A creation of Dr. Genos – and a definite pain in the ass.
    • Shifter: A full shapeshifter, apparently with a variety of minor physical enhancements, some lack of education – and a small problem with being influenced by random animalistic and predatory instincts. A possible ally – or maybe an enemy. Who knows?
    • The Blob: An acidic, corrosive, all-devouring “thing”, apparently sentient, if uncommunicative. Yet another creation of Dr. Genos. Probably destined to be a problem at some point.
    • Sequoya: A fairly normal-looking fellow, with various, enormously potent, plant-manipulating powers. He spends most of his time talking to plants. Maybe a possible problem, maybe benevolent – and maybe quite irrelevant.
    • Lt. Carl: Dr. Genos’s current security chief. Loyal, efficient, and quite unimaginative.
  • Equinox: An elder mage – and some sort of patron to Warlock. He sometimes helps out with magical problems, but tends more towards cryptic remarks. This may not be his “real” name, but it feels right to Warlock.
  • Lestat: Desrae’s “Sire”, an elder vampire, with a variety of quite formidable powers, and a selection of his own, special, curses. While his interest seems to be more or less benign at the moment, he’s the kind of “friend” that you’re not entirely sure you want.

Organized Opposition:

  • Department X: A secret, quasi-official, department of the federal government, which has been in operation since some time in the 1840’s. It seems to be charged with the investigation, and containment, of paranormal phenomena, including people. They’ve been operating in emergency mode since the cycle began shifting sometime last year. Their general mode is snatch – and either recruit, or eliminate. They have training methods for low-powered telepathy, and plenty of hyperadvanced gear. They’ve been keeping track of “exceptional” bloodlines for generations – and have identified the Warlock. About 1400 agents nationwide, 6 major headquarters (Assigned 24-30 men each), about 60 major-city offices (With six men/two squads each), about 60 trainers – and around 100 “floating” agents. The rest are on vacation. The job is apparently pretty stressful. Maybe they mean well, but they’re ruthless, pay no attention to “rights” – and are willing to blow away kids for “the greater good!”.
  • The Matoshuko Ninjas: Apparently an expansionistic clan, with a base in Los Angeles and a variety of super- operatives available. They currently have a contract from his school to capture and return Mr Robert Lee.
  • The Order Of The Firehawk: These “monster-hunters” seem to be highly-trained normals – wielding enchanted silver blades that pass through “monstrous” defenses and turn supernatural talents back against their wielders. Unfortunately, they seem to be pretty undiscriminating about who and what they class as a “monster”.
  • The Zarkonians: These shapeshifting, telepathic, and reportedly-hostile, aliens have recently pirated a few ships belonging to Azrael’s species – and are now either still orbiting earth, or have already invaded. While there really isn’t any hard evidence that they’ve done so, there have been a number of incidents that seem to point that way.

Assorted Confusions:

  • Cell Foe: Warlock’s accidentally animated and enhanced cellular phone. Other accidentally-enchanted items include his TV, Mirrors, Table, Computer – and a Room.
  • (The) Ogre Brothers: This massive, indestructible, and stupid trio is relatively harmless – unless you look either collectible or edible.
  • The Secret Master (or Masters): The unidentified person or persons behind the convenience-store attack, possessed of some sort of mind-controlling power.
  • “Zardoz”: An unidentified and possibly alien being, possessed of vast strength, durability, two hearts – and advanced weaponry. “He” led a bank robbery, and escaped.
  • Troy Anderson: A responsible reporter – with some sort of mystical powers.

Others:

  • Eric Mayseren: Warlock’s father, a brilliant electrical engineer.
  • Gilead Mayseren: Warlock’s uncle, a business CEO. A fairly important and wealthy man, often worried by the antics of his son, Andre’.
  • Cathrin Mayseren: Warlock’s mother. Supposedly a corporate lawyer, she now appears to be a secret agent and to have some measure of psychic power.
  • Eidth Milner: Warlock’s aunt, a somewhat “flighty” artist.
  • Andre’ Mayseren: Warlock’s cousin (QV; Gilead), a small-time scam artist (More for fun then for anything serious). Age 17.
  • Julia Ambrose: A girl in Warlock’s chemistry class who wants to go out on a date with him.
  • Bryce Arhuss: Warlock’s sensai, a master of tiger style kung fu at the fourth – or possibly even fifth – level. For his “real job”, he’s a biotechnician at one of the local companies.
  • Cuerennos: An ancient celtic diety of nature, raw virility, and the wild hunt. He seems to have actually taken a personal interest in Warlock.
  • Spot, Fido, and Rover: Once agents of Dep-X, now pet dogs and psychic energy sources for Desrae. They were useful sources of information on Dep-X, it’s equipment and training procedures, and it’s bases – but Desrae and Warlock got most of it out of them fairly readily. At least for now they’ve been throughly bound down to the “good doggy” level.

.
The Storm Diaries of David Mayseren, Fit the First:

(Setting up for the weekly role-playing game).

Now THIS is cool… I think I’ll run the game down here this weekend. Talk about ATMOSPHERE. Nothing like a real cave to play in when you’re describing the lair of a dragon…

Interesting ring. I wonder who lost it? Not much of a chance of finding out I suppose…

Never mind, I’ve just about got everything set up for the game.

Where the hell did everybody go?

(On the Phone): How the hell did I do that? What? The DRAGON!?! I was describing it and it actually came around the corner? Everybody ran? Err…. Geez, it was just a smoke pot and a projector… (It must’ve been the atmosphere). Yeah, Right, I should work for Lucas. See you next week…

Power of suggestion maybe? Some sorta fumes?

A DRAGON?!?

??????????????????????????????????????????????????!

This is getting seriously weird… Either somebody slipped me something or I’m seeing auras. Weird stuff just keeps on happening too…

OUCH! What the fuck… How could I burn myself when it’s not even hot? Couldn’t be an electrical shock… It’s just an old iron skillet. It hasn’t even got any wires!

Iron.

Cold Iron.

Oh NO. It COULDN’T be…

David was rather preoccupied for the next few days, as a series of cautious experiments revealed that – if it wasn’t magic – he’d certainly acquired some strange talents… Still, magic was hard for a physics student to accept. He decided to ask his favorite professor (Dr Tristan Williams – a notable expert on physics and chaos mathematics) about it.

He stayed to talk to him after class. It turned out that Dr Williams had recently had a rather eye-opening experience himself; On a recent sabbatical (in Tibet), he’d managed to bring his C’hi into focus… He’d been more then willing to talk to David. The boy’s aura was very strong – and very strange. Of course, while they were talking, in burst a park ranger (He’d been having some very odd experiences, and decided to ask one’a them thar professor guys, and the department secretary sent him to the most “weird science” professor they had), and his enormous dog…

UFFF! Get Off! GETOFFAMEYAMUTT! Yeecchhh… Wait-a- minute… Maybe I can clean things with magic… (That might be what’s been going on in my apartment!). Yeah! Cool… Take that you mangy mutt! Next time I’ll throw in some perfume!

This is GREAT!

They opted to continue the meeting at Dr. William’s house… David stopped by his apartment to get out his various rulebooks. If he was a mage, what kind of mage was he? AD&D? Champions? Runequest? (Hopefully not)

Whether luckily or unluckily, his route took him by the bank – where a group of crooks had decided to take everyone hostage and demand a huge ransom… He was just riding past the front of the bank when the police came screeching up… Sensibly enough, David stopped – just in time to get yanked inside as another hostage.

Police?! What’d I… Not me, OK. I’m getting out of the wayyyy… Errrkkk!

Lessee… onehandholdingmebythethroat-an’oneholding agunthatfeelslikeacannonagainstmyback.beveryveryquiet. they’vealreadyshotatleasttwopeople…

Outside, the professor was also passing by… Well, he’d proposed being socially responsible and acting as heroes… This looked like a good time to start.

Thanks to cosmic coincidence, a man wrestling with his newly-active powers of cosmic darkness was already inside…

Ok; In with the other hostages… I think I’ll just lay here and see if I can throw some shield spells. It looks like I can… Oh great. That guy over there is turning into a balrog and firing darkforce bolts… I wonder if I can manage some sleep spells?

Cool.

Things degenerated into confusion rapidly. Between an invisible darkforce wielder, the Professor’s shapeshifting talents, and people falling asleep, the thugs never had a chance.

Their alien boss with the energy-weapon was another matter altogether. He crashed out through the wall and got away… By the time the SWAT team got to the bank, it was all over – though they did manage to take a few potshots at the darkness-guy…

The Professor wasn’t very happy though… He hadn’t meant to kill anyone.

Oh great… Interviewed by the police. Well, they’d never believe the truth anyway. Hell… they probably wouldn’t believe the bank cameras. At least he hadn’t done anything that would show up on film.

OHSHIT! The officious pest was calling his father! He’d have a fit!

Eric did. He also made a most embarrassing fuss over him… Right in front of everyone who’d come down from the college to see the excitement.

Oh GREAT. I’m NEVER going to live this down. Why such a fuss? I wasn’t hurt or anything…

Meanwhile, the Professor / “Master Dao” escaped in a bodybag. His powers let him pretend to be dead very, very, well – although the driver nearly died of shock when one of his “passengers” got up…

The professor had to jog the rest of the way back – although he did find the time to strip the clothes off a few muggers along the way.

He didn’t hafta drop me off… It wasn’t very far. Jeez, you’d think I was six… Now what? It’s that guy with the darkness powers falling out of the sky? Not a good thing. Wonder if I can use a spell to catch him? Looks like I can… Cool. Now what should I do with – He’s out cold. I’ll wait for the professor. It’s his place. UHFFF! GEDOFF! BAD DOG!

This time I’m gonna perfume the damn thing.

The meeting got a bit confused, but they did decide to work as a group… David’s rulebooks were actually fairly helpful at first. At least they had a long list of powers to check for. David also found that he could heal people…

Huh. Cleric/Magic-User? Can’t be… I’d have to be demihuman for that. Maybe it’s Champions. I might have a power pool. Huh.

At about that point someone/thing? tapped David on the shoulder… Some guy in a white and black outfit whom nobody else seemed to see. He (?) disappeared a few moments later.

Whaaa… OK! Now I’m seeing weird guys in bizarre costumes… What Professor? What am I looking at? You don’t… He’s right over… Now I don’t see him either Never mind. No, no, nothings bothering me… What was that? You’re right; I do need a disguise. Dad came and got me right in front of all those people from the college.

No, I can’t stay any longer. I’ve got a composition class to get to and a game to run this evening.

Class was an ordeal… He was a bit tardy, and the pesky instructor made a point of it. Still, he didn’t have an answer for the statement that “I was late because I was busy being held hostage in a bank robbery”, even if he believed that it was only a creative excuse at first…

The game was worse. Only two of the six regular players showed up – and they seemed pretty nervous. It got worse when that fool ring started glowing… David damped it fast, but Kevin still made excuses and left – quickly.

Michael’s curiosity was much stronger – and he wasn’t going to swallow any more half-assed “explanations…

Urrr… Well. It’s like… Well I wasn’t sure you’d believe it. I’m still not sure what’s going on, but it seems like I can work magic…

No I haven’t made a deal with any evil powers!

They experimented a bit – and concluded that David was at least fifth level… Michael thought that the “fly” spell was really great – and was hoping to develop his own powers any time now. Still, it all gave David an idea – a motorcycle racing outfit would make a good costume; tough, strong, concealing, and protective.

I’ll have to make time for a visit home tomorrow… simply to assure mother that I’m free of bullet holes.

Ok, so she won’t be home till Tuesday… What’s Dad working on? A strange circuit design with a gargantuan current capacity? (Hey, Dad? What on earth would anybody want something like that for?)    Unfortunately, his father had no idea what it was for either; it was simply part of the specifications.

David said hello to Joseph – and headed up into the hills behind the house to experiment a bit… He felt like he could manage shapeshifting.

Being a wolf felt really weird. Hmm… It kinda felt like his C’hi had been boosted too. He’d have to check that out later.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: