Chicago Lightning

Little Italy, Chicago

Time and Space are a bit of a mystery when Phillie’s Diner come in to play. Azog, Mugsy, and Lovecraft make their way outside to find it much later than they might have otherwise expected. After a few moments of looking around, they make their way north into a neighborhood that Mugsy immediately recognizes, little Italy.

Indeed, they quickly find themselves across the street from an impressive, if not gaudy, structure that appears to be something originally designed as a Hotel, but converted into office space mid-way through construction. A flashy nameplate announces that the building is The Labrador, a bastion of Irish Business in the heart of a quiet Italian community.

Comments

Lovecraft sniffs disdainfully. “Strange, I can’t detect an odor of gin and potatoes, and yet here we are in an area inhabited by the Irish element.”

Little Italy, Chicago
 

“Watch it, Lovecraft.” Azog gives him a gentle poke in the shoulder, which Lovecraft feels like the butt of a mountain goat.

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“So we go into ‘the lion’s den’ to dig up dirt on our guy? This parade just keeps getting better and better.”

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“That’s Daniel. At least we’ve got each other, like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. And since we’re on the right side of things, maybe a guardian angel too.

“Oh look, the Labrador. Let’s step in for a drink—-of soda pop. Arg, it ain’t easy on the right side.”

Little Italy, Chicago
 

Azog puts a meaty paw on the shoulder of each of his companions and begins leading them up the staircase.

“I’m going to get a soda pop and a scandal rag. Who knows, maybe see a friendly face. I still got friends in this town, ’swell as enemies, you know.”

He starts and looks around. “Say, this isn’t the same place…” He trails off and looks at Mugsly intently but finds no answer to his unasked question.

“Let’s go in anyway,” he mutters, stuffing his hands in his pockets and shuffling upwards to the door.

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“Hold up, Fancy Pants.” Mugsy stiffens in an attempt to resist the force applied by the larger troll. “I want a little more info than I have right now. Besides, it ain’t the best move being wanted and then showing up to see the man who issued the warrant. You need to look different.” He turns to the third member of the trio. “Mr. Lovejoy, what can you tell me about this building and its not so visible particulars?”

Little Italy, Chicago
 

Azog feels a light tug at his sleeve and stops. He looks at the building and furrows his brow. “You know, I ain’t never been inside. I guess this place always gave me the heebie-jeebies, as they say in the funny papers.”

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Lovecraft thrusts his hands into his pockets. “Who knows? More importantly, who cares? Let’s get on with the thing. Our lives tick away.”

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“Indeed. A face hack is a standard trick—people don’t want to get phone spam after all. Lovecraft, can you do a geas on my face right quick?”

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“Get on with what ‘thing’, Lovecraft? Do you even have the faintest idea what you’re doing? I certainly do apologize for the inconvenience of the free meal and traipse about town. Feel free to return to peddling your newsstand and the wonderful existence we so rudely interrupted. If, instead, you’d like to gather information and form a plan of action by all means, prove yourself more useful than adding the trio to a duet.”

Little Italy, Chicago
 

Lovecraft sighs wearily and tries to remember his spellcasting patter. “Hep cat, top hat, jazz singer, sod flinger, late-night moaner, Duesenberg owner, presto!” [Lovecraft rolls 8+4 (5+3+4 skill), for 12.] There’s a horrible sound, like an army of chicken bones snapping, and O’Reilly contracts and expands in what looks like a deeply painful fashion for a few moments before looking eerily like Democratic politician William H Fitzpatrick, with a small shamrock affixed rather mournfully on one lapel.

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GM NOTE:

After speaking with Edward, this is a Transmutation. Lovecraft employs the Magic Rules and takes 1 Failure Rank to Dark Arts, but immediately gains 12 Style Dice with which to manipulate the world. These persist til the end of the Scene. Edward decided that Lovecraft spends 2 dice to shrink Azog’s size, 1 to Suppress his Troll Forte, 1 to re-dress him, and 1 to give him a proper Irish Brogue. This leaves Lovecraft with 7 Style Dice to use throughout the rest of the Scene, or until he casts again to add to it.

For Azog’s part, he loses the advantages of Troll, but gains an equal advantage to Bluff.

Little Italy, Chicago
 

(I will also add that the effects of the Spell will end at the end of the Scene unless Lovecraft spends a Style Die to make it last longer. He may also spend a Style Die at any time to end the effects of the Spell during THIS Scene)

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“Sweet Blarney Stone, Lovecraft! Yeev transmogrified meh wen ye shoulda disguised meh.” He feels his face with his horrible slender, (nearly) hairless hands. “A right eejit I must look, all soft in the puss.”

He points an accusing finger at Mugsy. “Ne’r provoke a wizard, fool!” He sighs resignation, then perks up and takes his human compatriots by the shoulders. “In we go, lads.”

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“One moment,” says Lovecraft, and he mutters something under his breath, expending three more dice to appear as a bestubbled tradesman. “Okay boys, let’s get goin’.” He sticks a stubby cigar in the side of his mouth.

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“Neat trick. You might be useful after all. Watch out for the man at the newsstand. Poke around and see what you can find. I think my shoes are looking a bit dull. I’ll catch up to you blokes.”. Mugsy saunters over to the shoeshine stand looking for the chap who shines the shoes.

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“A fine time fer a shoeshine!” O’Reilly huffs. “Off wit’ ye then. I’m for me paper an’ a bottle o’ bubbly.” He approaches the soda fountain to order a Coke. [Whom does he find?]

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GM Note: There are two entrances to the building – the “Main” entrance which opens into a lobby, and the entrance for Goose Bay. Mugsy is heading towards the main entrance. Where are you chaps heading, McAzog and Lovecraft?

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[What do you think, Ed, Goose Bay? Maybe we can get some cigars on Fitzpatrick’s tab.]

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Mugsy sits down on the stand and sts his black and white saddle shoes up on the pad. “William, my boy! How is it today?”

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[If we head for Goose Bay now, we risk splitting the party. But I feel that shoeshine boys know great men more intimately than their closest friends, and we risk exposure otherwise.]

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[Mugsy seems to want a private moment. Azog’s all out of sorts. You decide.]

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William hops to work instantly on Mugsy’s shoes, reacting to his familiarity with an indifferent composure through which Mugsy easily sees. The boy is at the same time proud to be recognized and cautious of the threat that recognition brings with it. “Hey Mister!” He replies enthusiastically, without answering the question.

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“Goose Bay!” Lovecraft leads the way.

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“How has business been today?”

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“Seeing as nobody knows I be me…” thinks Azog aloud, “perhaps ‘tis me chance to indulge in a bit o’ the devil’s brew. You wouldn’t tell nobody, right Lovecraft? ’Specially the gabby gals down at the Salvation Army?”

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Mugsy: “Good, sir!” they boy makes himself busy, but Mugsy catches the knowing smirk on his face. He knows you’re here to go fishing, but he knows his game as well as you did at this age.

HP and McAzog: You walk into Goose Bay and the grimy atmosphere of Chicago is swept away in pleasant lighting, live piano, and the clink/chatter of guests dining. A Maitre De steps up to the two of you, “Good evening, gentlemen, your names?”

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“Don’t ye recognize an Alderman when ye see one, boy? ‘Fitzgerald’ is the name. A table please, upwind o’ Greeks o’er yonder.”

[Azog guesses wrongly, but he reckons half the Irish politicians in town have Fitzgerald or Fitzpatrick in their name somewhere.]

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“Well, my boy, I’m glad of it. There’s a lot of no-goodery about and keeping busy in a worthwhile occupation is the tonic for such offenses. Matter of fact, I heard news of a bit of commotion on the train this morning.”

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Neko: Give me a Bluff Roll, use your Troll stats.

Mugsy: William flashes you a grin and begins applying shoe polish, “Zatso, sir?”

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Roll 2+5=7. Plus 2 for Good. Success?

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McAzog: The Maitre D’ gives you a plain faced look, “I see, sir.” He pauses then turns on his heel, “Very well, right this way….Alderman”.

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O’Reilly takes Lovecraft by the elbow and brings him along. His brogue has degenerated into a gibber interrupted only by punctuated laughter at his own unintelligible jokes.

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“Indeed, that is what I hear and unfortunately that is all I’ve heard. I expect you’re day was regularly routine what with all your business today.”

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Lovecraft laughs at what he gathers are are O’Reilly’s jokes, in roughly the fashion of how he imagines a workingman might laugh.

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Mugsy: The boy shrugs and keeps buffing, he’s not volunteering anything.

McAzog and Lovecraft: The Maitre D’ takes you to the table which Fitzgerald indicated, seats you politely, then walks stiffly away. Lovecraft is socially savvy enough to know that something is amiss in how they’re treated. Indeed, even the Greeks “Downwind” seem to be eyeing the pair suspiciously. Or it could just be paranoia.

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Mugsy eyes his shoes. “Keep it up, Willy, thats looking mighty fine. What have you seen of the owner and his entourage today?” It was a question he often asked the boy.

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Willy shrugs and keeps shining, pausing in conversation in such a way that Mugsy guesses he’s checking his peripheral vision. “Came ’n went. Just him, four Orks, and a dame. Nice gams.”

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“Where’s the waiter with me cigar? And I believe I wanted a bottle of Coke and a newspaper.” He catches the eye of the Greeks at the other table. “How much for ze women?” he calls after them, loudly.

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“Excellent,” says Lovecraft, acerbically, “we’re certainly staying inconspicuous.”

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The Greeks scowl in response to McAzog’s jibe, one of them even begins to rise, but one of his tablemates simply places a hand on his arm, and the man sits.

Momentarily a shadow falls across the table, and our two would-be-diners look up to see the form of a massive Troll looming over them. He is quite well-dressed and greets them courteously, “Alderman Fitzgerald! Please t’ fergive the roodness o’ my man Greshem. He’s noo here and dinna realize that ye be deservin’ a better dinin’ accomodation! If ye’d please ta faller me towards the back?” He gestures with both arms in genteel fashion.

Little Italy, Chicago
 

Falling into the role (indeed, half-believing that he is Alderman Fitzgerald, though as far as he knows there is no such person!) Azog rises and smiles warmly at his troll-fellow. “Why thankee kindly, my boy! Come, Love—er, Mr. Blake. Our table awaits.”

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Lovecraft rises and follows Azog and the troll. He keeps a weather eye cocked, suspecting that the jig is up.

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Azog begins whistling “Danny Boy” as he sends Mugsy the text:

Escorted to Goose Bay Xcutive suite. Expect lavish treatment. Join when able. AO’R.

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Mugsy fumbles in his pocket for his phone. As he secures the girating device, he half flings half drops some coins down by the shoe shun pedestal. “Oh dear me,” he exclaims. “I see. Is there nothing interest going on?”

Little Italy, Chicago
 

William gathers up the coins and pockets them deftly, “Depends on what you mean ‘interesting’” he grins, “But I seen you here a lot, always nosin’ about.” he shrugs and continues buffing, “Might be I saw the back utility door get left unlocked earlier tonight.”

Little Italy, Chicago
 

McAzog and Lovecraft: The Troll points you down an aisleway towards the back of the restaurant, then falls in behind you. Ahead of you, double mirror-glass doors open, revealing what appears to be a posh room, with two well dressed Orks just inside. They are standing easily with hands clasped in front of them. Smiling broadly, they nod towards our erstwhile Alderman and his companion.

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Azog doesn’t like the look of this one bit, but he keeps whistling. Then he pratfalls into the orks, flailing his arms and legs about and pinning one with his bulk. “Ooo, clumsy me! Sorry lads. Help an old man up, me lad.”

Little Italy, Chicago
 

“Oh jaysus, sair,” exclaims Lovecraft, broadly. “Jaysus, Mary and Joseph. Ye old sot, not even supper and ye’re drinkin’ again, fit to beat the band.” His heart is racing; Lovecraft wonders what he’s gotten into, and goes over the casting of the lethal “Flesh to Tapioca” transmutation spell in his head.

Little Italy, Chicago
 

As you might imagine, the trio of heavies are not at all impressed with the theatrics. The troll steps quickly to heft McAzog off of the ork, and mutters in surprise at McAzog’s weight. The restaurant, moderately populated, goes quiet as the trio of suits work to get “Fitzgerald” back to his feet. Having done so, the Troll and one of the Orks both grip McAzog’s arms tightly and pull him into the room. The remaining Ork curtly gestures Lovecraft into the room, then pulls the doors shut.

Little Italy, Chicago
 

[How does the crowd feel? Is there a chandelier?]

“Thankee lads. God bless. Ooo, not so tight on these old bones, son!”

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“Well, that certainly does these shoes a world of good. In my line of work, you can never know enough. I thank you kindly, William.” Mugsy reaches in his wallet and chooses one of his dozens of business cards. This one reads: Walter Winestich Importer of Fine European Goods and lists a phone number. This he hands the boy and goes to find the dangerous duo.

Little Italy, Chicago
 

Mort enters the Goose Bay and looks around to see any signs of his companions.

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Mugsy sees no sign of his companions. (Give me a Private Eye roll)

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Neko: The crowd is nonexistant inside this room. Just the two of you and three enforcer types. The room is nice enough, however. No Chandelier.

Little Italy, Chicago
 

Mugsy puts on his smoothly irritated face. He looks for the greeter/Maitre’D. “Hello, hi, how are ya?” He offers his hand quickly. “Did you happen to see two guys come in here not too long ago? A short little thing and a leprechaun?”

Little Italy, Chicago
 

The Maitre’D does not accept Mugsy’s proffered hand. He stares at him cooly and replies, “I am sorry, we have many guests who come in, I am afraid I cannot keep track of them all. If you’ll excuse me.” He turns and begins working on something at his stand.

Little Italy, Chicago
 

“Oh. Its that kind of establishment. My apologies. Ya see, I have these two clients of mine who I was supposed to meet for dinner, flew ‘em over from Europe. They ain’t from around here and don’t know the lay of the land. I tell em to meet me at the Grey Goose and they get all discombobulated and don’t show. I get a message saying they’re here and so here I am.” A dollar stealthily finds its way down amongst the things of the stand.

Little Italy, Chicago
 

The dollar disappears just as stealthily. “Clients from Europe? We have had no such individuals. Individuals posing as fictitious Aldermen, however, we HAVE.” He looks pointedly at Mugsy, “But certainly these are not the men of whom you speak.”

Little Italy, Chicago
 

“Gentleman, you may let go now. I am safely aright.”

Little Italy, Chicago
 

McAzog: The “gentlemen” do not relax their grip, but instead begin leading the supposed Irishman towards a door in the back. The remaining Ork lays a hand on Lovecraft’s shoulder and motions towards the rear. “Let’s step into a more private office an discuss, shall we?”

Little Italy, Chicago
 

“Oh do show them all, me love,” says Azog, grinning evilly back at Lovecraft.

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“Oh boy. That sounds exactly like them. You know how people get when they come to a new place with new sights and new people. They get wined and dined a little and suddenly they think they own the joint. So what are they going to think when they mistakenly show up to the wrong restaurant and nobody recognizes them? Will they do the prudent thing and realize they’ve made a mistake? Surely not, they want to be important. So they bluff like they’re big shots and want special treatment. Tell you what. Let me have them and we’ll end the disturbance by not sullying your fine eatery with their exploits?

Little Italy, Chicago
 

[Lovecraft will undo his transmutation spell on Azog, converting him back into the formidable giant he normally is.] Lovecraft snaps out the magic words: “A priest released/forgets the hows of his vows/for fun with the nun.” Zoop! Next, Lovecraft decides to summon a Byakhee, a bat-winged horror from beyond Euclidean space, to provide some chaos for his exit. There’s no words for that one; it’s a spell of desperation, pulled out whenever the wizard feels threatened. [GM, what do I need to roll?]

Little Italy, Chicago
 

GM: OK, Spend one style die to un-transmute Azog. I think that leaves you with 2 magic Style Dice left. Your options are either to use those style dice to create the Byakhee, or to cast again (taking another failure rank to Dark Arts), and use THOSE style dice instead. (they will not be additive to the previous pool)

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Mugsy: The Maitre’D smiles crisply at him, “They have already been escorted out, sir. I am sorry but there is nothing more I can do.”

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“What? Where? I wasn’t too far behind them, I swear. Which way did they go?”

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The force of Azog’s transformation into an even broader figure staggers his escort and he throws off their hands with a snarl and flex of his great arms.

Then he turns and assaults the troll… with a fusillade of words.

“Watch the meat hooks, brother, this is real Merino wool.” He adjusts his coat and hat. "Now don’t tell me this is your first day gooning. You can’t trust appearances, no sir.

“Say, why don’t we do each other a good turn here? You send your boy with word that Azog O’Reilly is present as requested for a pow-wow with the big boss. You can tell him I would have come sooner but my phone was on the fritz and I had to replace my coat. And in return I won’t tell nobody that you overlooked to frisk a guest for arms.” He pinches the small revolver by the handle with his thumb and forefinger and drops it into the other troll’s pocket. “I’ll just let you hang on to that for me while I have my meeting with the Boss. Oh, and these.” He produces a pair of enormous brass knuckles. “But be careful with ‘em. They was me muther’s.”

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[Lovecraft rolls an 11 on his Byakhee summoning.]

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“Oh Isaiah six-five,” swears Azog. He retains the brass knuckles and prepares to run for dear life.

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Fergus the Byakhee enters the terminal phase of his dive about a hundred thousand feet above Chicago. It was an arduous flight from beyond the edges of rational space, and he simply plummets earthwards, flashing past a Ford Trimotor at around six thousand feet before striking the roof of the Labrador with the force of a cannon. The high-vaulted ceiling could withstand the impact of a flung el train with ease, but this is too much, even for it, and the transhellish horror crashes through in a shower of masonry and melted ice from Fergus’s great leathery phlogistonic wings. “Graaa,” says Fergus, not needing or caring to draw breath, now or ever, and Lovecraft is knocked flat by the sonic emission. “Graa,” he repeats for emphasis, casually kicking through a load-bearing pillar. [Fergus rolls 5 on his Obey Lovecraft check.] “SMASH,” yells Lovecraft, pointing at the heavies. Lovecraft uses the commotion to serpentine away from danger.

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Mugsy: Just as as you ask the Maitre’D your question, there is something akin to a thunderclap within the building, and plaster dust shakes down from the rafters. A wave of palpable terror washes over everyone, and the crowds within Goose Bay begin to run pell mell towards the door.

Azog: As you are in mid-curse, the ceiling caves in over your head and a beast from out of your nightmares plunges into the room, kicking through a pillar and emitting a purely demonic sound. Your skin crawls and it is everything you can do not to cower. (Give me a Troll roll, TN of 7 not to cower)

Lovecraft: Your order seems to be heeded, as Fergus bounds forward into the three hapless enforcers. The walls are quickly painted a chunky shade of red.

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“It’s extremely questionable as to whether or not he’s obeying me, or merely in a fit of pique!” shouts Lovecraft to Azog. “We must away, before he runs out of other patrons!”

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“Great Gatsby, I don’t care who those guys are, it is time to flee!”

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[roll 5+3=8]

Azog hears nothing of Lovecraft’s florid command to fly. He is scampering on all fours before the first subordinate clause is finished.

Perhaps motivated by sense of duty, or perhaps fearing to be separated from the beast’s master, he catches Lovecraft at full gallop and tucks him under a massive arm like a football, barely slowing his tripodal knuckle-walk.

Azog is retracing his steps through the building. In a moment he will return to the dining area of Goose Bay.

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Mugsy: No sooner do these words escape your lips, than you see a door in the back of the restaurant bursting open revealing a very Troll-in-appearance Azog, football carrying Lovecraft under his arm, barreling past patrons and tables alike as he makes a beeline for the front door.

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Mugsy runs.

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GM: OK guys you all flee the building. I need a statement of intent. How far do you run, how quickly do you try to regroup, what is your short-range intent? I need to determine whether or not to end the Scene, or if you guys still have more you want to do in this one.

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Outside the Labrador, strange happenings. Fergus’ arrival made a splash in the luminiferous ether and there are knock-off effects. Psychic sensitives are crouched on the sidewalk in agony. The dusk sky is sickly lavender. The rectilinear arrangement of the city-scape seems peculiarly out of alignment. Dogs howl.

Azog is in a blind panic. He spills into the street among the crowd, flings an iron manhole cover like a Frisbee, and drops into the gap. Lovecraft has been deposited on the pavement.

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Lovecraft almost thinks better of following Azog, but the overriding need to get as far away from the debacle he’s created impels him to follow the troll into the sewers.

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Mugsy runs as many blocks away as he can before stopping to regroup. He wants to visit his mother and sister to make sure they are okay. Before doing so he decides its better to change clothes. He visits a safehouse he has set up in the neighborhood [-1 Style die] and effects the change before calling on his mother and sister.

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HPL and Azog: The tunnel is dark, barely illuminated through open manhole above you. Above you the sounds of panic continue. Fergus continues to SMASH as long as he is able to maintain his presence in the Human Realm of Existence, causing further pandemonium. Outside the terror level seems to have dropped some, and the sounds drifting down the manhole are more those of aftershock rather than panic.

Mugsy: It will take you roughly an hour to make it safely to the safehouse, change, and make it to your Mom’s.

GM: OK, Ethan, if you want to actually roleplay through the interaction with Mugsy’s mom, we can start a new scene for that. If you’d like that event to take place off camera, I’m fine with that as well. If you want the Scene, go ahead and start a new Adventure Log post. Edward and Neko you’ve got two choices, climb back up and stay in the Scene, or go down the tunnels and we’ll start a new Scene.

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[I vote new.]

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[Just to clarify, the vote is not New Scene or Same Scene. The decision is Go back up the Manhole, or Go through the Sewers]

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“Let’s go sewers”

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(New thread Neko!)

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Mugsy: You make it safely to your safe house, heart pounding and hands trembling, but you get inside and you’re pretty sure you made it here unnoticed. You’re about to get changed to run over to your mom’s house, when you remember the secure Etherphone you just got activated for her last week. (Spending the Style Die that the GM got from Neko earlier).

Little Italy, Chicago
Neko_Bijin

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