Wednesday, May 20, 2015

[Actual Play] Inspectres: The Wight House

Nathanial Jones: CEO of The Wight House. Former janitor, his father was a cop. Some managerial experience. Did some study into the supernatural and decided to set up his own InSpectres franchise.

Zack Spenkman: CFO of The Wight House. A college athlete whose contribution to the company's start-up funds came from less than reputable sources. He now owes debts to the wrong people as a result.

Luke Fitch: CTO of The Wight House. A former computer engineer looking for a more exciting line of work.

The Case of the Bloody Dryer
The Wight House is based out of a rented office space in Washington DC. Nathaniel made sure to find them an office in a sturdy building, since they might have to contain some supernatural creatures there at some point. They've just got started and at the moment it's just them and Sally, their secretary. They don't have any fancy gear yet since they're low on funds, so they have to make do with basic magical rituals.

At the start of the session, Nathaniel is being interviewed by a reporter from the Washington Herald, who questions the qualifications and professionalism of the company. It's pretty clear he's looking to do a hatchet job on the fledgling company, so Nathaniel does his best to assure the reporter that they know what they're doing. His assurances are not helped by Zack and Luke, who are currently practicing a ritual with candles and using a homemade flamethrower to light the candles. Nathaniel suggests that the reporter can do a ridealong with them on one of their cases to see how they operate for himself, and the reporter agrees, leaving his card for them to get in touch.

Not long after the reporter leaves, Sally announces that they have a client. Emily Merkel is a student at a nearby university campus and she's pretty frantic. Her friend, Eric Hoyne, was with her at the campus laundromat the previous day when - right before her eyes - he was sucked into the dryer by a swirling portal of what appeared to be blood. She's contacted the police, but they won't listen to her and thought she was trying to pull a prank. The Wight House are the only people she can turn to in order to get Eric back. Nathaniel tells her to meet them at the campus security office tomorrow and show them where it happened, then they'll take a look and give her a quote.

After she leaves, they do a little research. Nathaniel finds out that a man called Charles Henry Forth III used to own the land that the university is now built upon, and he was known to dabble in the occult. He was last seen by a serving girl who reported him being sucked into a portal of blood much like the one Emily describes. A note was left behind at the scene which read 'in order to get back what is lost, you must put something else in'. Meanwhile, Zack is looking into Emily's background to figure how much money they can squeeze out of her for the job; it turns out that her father is Charles Henry Forth XVIII, and that the family has a history of mysterious deaths or disappearances. Charles XVIII is a very wealthy businessman, so they can probably make a good profit off his daughter's problem.

The next day, they meet Emily as arranged and she signs them in at the security office before leading them to the laundromat. Nathaniel gets her to point him towards the dryer in question, then pokes his head inside with a candle to light up the interior. At first there's no sign of anything, but then he catches a whiff of blood and runs away in terror as the bloody portal manifests inside the dryer. The dryer itself starts to vibrate with supernatural power, so much so that it pushes aside the other dryers and starts edging its way across the laundromat towards Emily.

Luke and Zack manage to contain it by quickly arranging a circle of candles around it and lighting them with the flamethrower while reciting a binding incantation. The dryer rumbles and turns on the spot inside the circle, but otherwise doesn't make any further progress. Zack sends Luke to go and track down Nathaniel, who has calmed down and returns to the laundromat. He theorises that the blood portal is somehow tied to the descendants of Charles Henry Forth III and that it needs something from them.

We briefly cut away to a confessional scene, where Zack expresses that this is not the first hare-brained, unfounded theory that Nathaniel has come up with and that he secretly believes that Nathaniel hasn't actually got a clue what he is doing and is just a crazy old coot. (Zack puts the characteristic 'Crazy Theorist' on Nathaniel.)

Back at the laundromat, Nathaniel is now standing in front of the dryer, talking to the portal and asking it what it wants while Luke and Zack exchange doubtful looks. Moments later, Nathaniel is thrown against the wall by a deluge of pink ectoplasm that is vomited by the portal. Plastered to the front of his shirt by the slime is a note with writing scrawled on it in an eldritch glowing light.

Luke reads the note - written in old English - and finds that it requires something given by its captive, a lock of hair from the loved one of the captive and something to quell fire. If none of these are available, it will accept souls.

They get a bracelet which was a gift from Eric to Emily, a lock of her hair, and manage to get a block of ice. They offer it to the blood portal, which sucks it in. The portal seems to grow, collapsing the dryer around it and pulling it into itself, before vanishing in an explosion of ectoplasmic residue. Where the dryer once stood a naked young man now sits, dripping ectoplasm. Recognising the young man as Eric, Emily almost runs to him but is held back by Zack who warns that they need to make sure that it's safe first.

In another confessional scene, Nathaniel talks about how he and Luke never realised before just how greedy Zack could be. Back in the laundromat, Zack explains that they'll need to keep Eric under observation to make sure he's not possessed and there are no further side effects. He also writes up a long invoice for her of service charges, even though she's clearly quite shaken and distraught by the whole ordeal.

The session ends with the three members of The Wight House doing a TV advert for their company using the money they made off of their first proper case, capping it off with their slogan: 'Washing tons of ghosts in the DC area!'


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