A little over a week ago, we had friends over and played another episode of the adventures of Damon Sainte, P.I., an ensemble cast setting my husband wrote for the game Bloodshadows from West End Games. I’m a bit late with this recap but I finally found my misplaced notebook. The previous episode was posted here. Our player characters this time were Damon Sainte himself (Paul), Cat the former pit fighter and current casino owner (Maureen again, like in last episode), Granite the gargoyle (Steve P.), and Ubaid the talking cat (me). Character backgrounds are found here.
An hour or so after sundown in Galitia, three thugs with glowing, clearly magical submachine guns burst into the front door of the Cat’s Claw Casino. Granite, on the lookout as usual, barely had time to yell a warning. Cat rushed in from her office to intervene, and Granite flew down to help her. The patrons ran in terror, the thugs peppered the casino with bullets, it was pandemonium.
Upstairs in Damon’s office, Ubaid dove under Damon’s couch then used his magic to reappear in the back alley behind the Cat’s Claw. A fourth thug was there, lobbing an incendiary bomb towards the open back door, but Ubaid managed to confuse the thug and spoil his aim so the fire bomb splashed harmlessly onto a brick wall in the alley.
Damon, rushing out of his office, discovered that a first bomb had already set the upper floor on fire. Frantically, he started stamping out the fire and pulling down curtains to smother it.
Damon/Paul, after failing a Manoeuvre roll: “OK, I don’t know how to pull down curtains…”
Cat/Maureen: “You don’t know how to put them up either.”
Downstairs, Cat was showing the thugs the business end of her enchanted dagger. Granite was not, by nature, a fierce fighter but he was an excellent shield. Two of the thugs having gone down in flames thanks to Cat’s fury, the last decided they had made their point and started to run back to the front door; a dark limousine was waiting in front of the door. Unfortunately for the assailants, Cat reached the limousine too and stabbed the driver with enough magical force to incinerate him. The one running decided to continue on foot and ran for his life.
Damon having finished putting out the fire upstairs was coming to Cat and Granite’s assistance, and Ubaid saw the fire-bombing thug from the back alley run out around the building and try to clear the driver’s seat of the limo of ashes, but Damon, Granite and Cat captured this last one. He was not very useful to interrogate, but Granite’s ability to speak with the dead allowed him to interrogate the very recently deceased boss of the little band.
Thus, they learned that the ruffians had been sent by Arl, one of the major crime lords of Galitia, as a warming to Cat’s patron, the cult leader Aloysius “Mercurial” Jones. Arl was known for running a very nearly magic-free syndicate, occasionally using magical equipment but hiring no sorcerers in its ranks. The thugs had been briefed on Cat, Tor (who was on his night out) and Whitie’s highly flammable nest under the eaves, but knew little about some of the other regulars like Granite or Damon.
At Ubaid’s suggestion, Cat sent the ashes of a dead thug to “Mercurial” Jones with a note.
Damon called in Officer Hunter, of the Sentinels (see last episode), to pick up the live prisoner, and probed his various Sentinel contacts. A little digging for information revealed that there had been an attack on Arl’s headquarters a few months ago, accompanied by a lot of magic, leaving a lot of dead bodies and sending Arl into hiding until recently.
He also learned that a good neutral spot to meet Arl was a restaurant here in Esler Disctirct, Pyro’s, known for (1) extremely good food; (2) live food cooked from the inside out at your table; and (3) anything or anyone cooked to your liking. Pyro’s was expensive, upper-scale, and the only nice restaurant in Esler, primarily deluxe slumming for the very wealthy.
The next afternoon, Ubaid went to visit Pyro’s. Sneaking in from the back door to visit the kitchen, he found himself greeted by an angry fire elemental; if he had not been recognized by Pyro Cross himself and made suitable apologies, he might have ended up on the barbecue menu. Instead, he sent word that Damon and Cat wanted to speak to Arl without causing trouble. Pyro refused to commit to anything, but took Ubaid’s reservation for four.
Cat went to visit her patron, “Mercurial” Jones, and got a good view of a new piece of art in his office: a painting with a disturbing shadow and in a corner of it, a portrait of one of the dead thugs running away as in terror. Jones apologized for the fracas, saying he thought the matter would have been settled a few weeks ago. He assured Cat that he had had no interest in Arl until Arl himself had chosen to “involve or align himself with the wrong forces in the upcoming God War.”
Everyone regrouped at the Cat’s Claw to discuss how to approach Arl and convince him to leave Cat out of his war with Jones. By that point, the perp picked up by Officer Hunter had already been extricated by a lawyer’s paperwork…
Damon, Cat, Granite and Ubaid headed for Pyro’s that evening and were indeed met by Arl. He said he didn’t know why Jones had decided to attack him in the first place, but Granite examined him closely and identified him and his men as paladins of Order! Arl seemed confused and denied having any involvement with gods except for rote service to Saria, the Philosopher-Goddess since his childhood.
Since he didn’t need to eat, Granite then flew off to go perch on the eaves of the building across the street to keep watch while his companions discussed business with Arl. After some negotiation, Arl conceded that he would leave the casino alone and no more “messages” would be staged there, but he warned Cat that he would still hit any people of Jones’s that went there if he saw an opportunity.
Suddenly, Granite saw a large shadow in the moonlight from overhead and squawked a warning. A large demonic creature landed in front of Pyro’s, folded its wings and shuffled in. Cat and Damon moved to another table, but Ubaid remained under the table cloth to listen to the conversation between Arl and the demon. The demon sat at the table and started picking through Arl’s food, telling him he would not only die but suffer horribly unless he left town by sunrise. Arl go up, paid the tab for the entire table, and left quickly. Granite followed him to a warehouse in the Docks area.
After a confab, Damon and Cat went to talk to Officer Hunter in Frenzy. Damon told him that two mob heavies were about to collide again and asked him to get innocents out of the way. He would have preferred to deal with only the regular Sentinels, but Hunter thought all he could muster were his White Hats; the Sentinels would never go against Aloysius Jones in any official capacity.
Everybody went to keep an eye on the Docks, but nothing happened that night. In the early morning after sunrise, Arl came out to speak to Damon. “Well, nothing happened,” he announced; “none of my operations were hit.” Damon grumbled that this wasn’t over and he was concerned about innocents getting hurt.
Ubaid and Cat returned to the casino; since it was now daytime, Granite stayed on top of a warehouse near Arl’s hideout (Granite is almost entirely paralysed during daytime.) Mid-day, Arl’s men came to hoist Granite off his perch and take him inside so Arl could talk to him. Arl asked the gargoyle to convince his friends to get Mercurial Jones to back off; then Granite was returned back to his post.
Meanwhile, Damon had gone out to speak to Jones himself. The cult leader argued that it was better for Galitia to align entirely with one faction than to be divided among both in the upcoming God War and serve as the fighting ground. Naturally, he favoured his own side, that of Chaos. He called Damon a dreamer and described himself as a pragmatist. As an incentive to an alliance, he offered to give Damon information about the cult that had killed Damon’s family, in exchange for a favour to be named later, but Damon did not want to sign a blank check.
Damon’s further investigation into who stood to benefit from Arl’s demise and align with Jones indicated that Caiphas Bennington, a City Elder, might be happy if Arl was removed from the game. In fact, Bennington was a regular worshipper at Mercurial Jones’ church…
Back at the Cat’s Claw, Ubaid suggested that Arl might have more power than he knew, and that was probably why he had survived Jones’ first attack. After dark, Granite went back to talk to Arl, telling him he “glowed” as a paladin of Order. Arl was incredulous, saying he just wanted Jones to stop attacking him so they could all get back to doing business. He gave a Granite a message for Cat: “Tell him I said ‘thank you’.” Granite returned to the club and delivered the mysterious message.
Ubaid came up with the brilliant idea to harness Arl’s untapped abilities. He had Granite take him to meet Arl and spoke earnestly of his own divine power, promising to fight with Arl against Jones. Ubaid was so supernaturally eloquent that he converted Arl and his men! But Granite’s keen magical eyes saw that they had immediately lost their paladin aura… Granite decided to go tell Jones that Arl was no longer aligned against him, but he also baldly revealed that Arl had lost his magical protection.
That night, despite trying to keep an eye on his new followers, Ubaid felt them be destroyed while he napped and sensed the glow from their new faith leave him.
In the morning, a limo came to pick up Cat and drive her to Jones’ mansion; he extracted a new oath of allegiance from her. Ubaid was left depressed, and Damon regretted having stopped drinking.
[Cat’s allegiance to Chaos and Granite’s allegiance to Order both went up by one point; Damon chose to take a new one-point allegiance to Order; and Ubaid decided the Oathbreakers were the way to go.]
Credits: The character pictures were selected several years ago by the GM so I’m not entirely sure of the sources; this is my best guess based on some Google searches. No copyright challenge intended.
- Gargoyle from Notre-Dame de Paris, unknown photographer.
- Body painting from the “Make-up Art Cosmetics Body Painting Cheong-sam Spectacular” held in Shanghai Toronto Art Gallery on October 28, 2005.
- Private eye from the Private Investigator Directory.
- Black cat from Friday the 13 Readings.
- Balrog from “The Lord of the Rings” by Winddragon24.