We had our seventh session of the Bibliophage Sorcerer story Friday night. The whole thing is detailed here, along with previous session logs.
This was an interesting, but kind of “in-between” session, mostly because so much had happened in the previous session and folks were still processing it.
Right, on with the show.
Last session, everyone (which is to say the three PCs, Yvonne, Ken’s rescued girlfriend (Susan), and his sister Hanae) were basically trapped in Ken’s house by the blizzard with a bunch of Need-y demons. In the process of feeding those Needs and summoning up a new demon to help with healing folks up, Val ended up seducing Ken’s sister Hanae, Yvonne revealed that most of what had been happening had been at the order of Candace Lynn Voight (Val’s mentor), and Val lost 3 humanity during the demon summoning and was feeling a bit less than on top of the world.
I don’t have my notes with me, and until the end of the session the order of things don’t quite matter, so I’m just going to summarize a bit by character and try not to miss anything.
Faced with a laundry list of ‘to-do’ items and worried that they might be interrupted by CLV at any point, Ken opted for an activity that he could cut off at any point and started calling back the board members of OsatoSoft. That done (and Ken missing empathy-type Humanity tests to read between the lines of these conversations), he sat down in his study to start the preliminary coding of a ritual to bind his father’s amulet (which demon is becoming more and more insistent about its Need — it’s not far from seeking greener pastures).
Val’s having a bit of a rough time following the demonic summoning and binding. He’d always been more of a dabbler when it came to things sorcerous, and reaching out to the Place Beyond had left him feeling a bit hollow… the kind of hollow he felt like filling up with something from Ken’s liquor cabinet. Unfortunately (Ken’s extensive vodka selection notwithstanding), he didn’t really feel like that was a great idea, considering what he now knew of CLV and what might happen.
While he pondered a half-dozen flavors of Absolut, Hanae sidled up to him and started a conversation. Very obliquely, the two discussed the situation. A translation follows:
Hanae: I sort of thought my brother and father were in to this kind of thing, but this is bit more serious and fucked up than I’d imagined.
Hanae: But you know about this stuff.
Hanae: Listen… my brother and father use this stuff to get ahead in the Company, and I want to get ahead in the Company, so how’s about you show me how this stuff works and I shag you like a tour groupie for the duration?
Val: Umm… let’s go back in that other room and… work out the details… again.
GM’s Bang-note: Hanae asks Val to train her as a Sorcerer, since Ken never will.
Shannon is in a deep sleep of exhaustion from the ritual work, dreaming and re-dreaming the vision she was assaulted with when Osato-san Hint-ed her. After some time (and a few Lore checks), she wakes with a start to realize that the text that the three sorcerers were using in her vision (see Session Three) is one that she’s seen before… in fact, there’s a copy (or the original?) in her personal texts at the Library.
GM Bang-note: Shannon realizes that the key to what’s going on is in the Library… over hill, dale, and snowdrift.
Shannon gets up and starts looking, then shouting, for Shade (the only demon around with a decent chance of getting to the Library with any kind of speed) and/or Val. Shade resists her orders to ‘come here’, since he’s got all kinds of bonus dice at the moment, due to getting his Need fed (again). She eventually figures out that Val, Hanae, and Shade are all missing and that there’s a locked bedroom door — ahh. While they’re all ‘wrapping up’, she brings Ken up to speed.
Ken starts poking around the campus computer system again and notices that someone has accessed the old “soniel” (Sean O’Neil’s) account again… from the computer in Shannon’s office at the Library… recently… and it’s apparently still on. He checks the activity log and notes that the account user simply logged and printed off a file from the ‘soniel’ network home-drive. Ken accesses the same file, downloads and prints it.
Finally, everyone gets back to the same room (Hanae asked to leave, but listening in from nearby). Val agrees to send Shade for the Book In Question while Shannon sets about ‘warding’ the house in case CLV makes a move with demonic servants. (We decided ‘warding’ was basically a reverse-Contain around the house). They leave the Contain un-finished until Shade gets back with the book.
Shade returns with the book, commenting that it looked like someone had been in the office, but hadn’t touched much of anything. Shannon looks over the book — she hadn’t read up on it much in the past since it didn’t deal with sorcererous rituals as much as with various demonic and sorcerer-plagues and curses… the pages that looked familiar from her vision deal with a … creature? demon? curse? known as the Bibliophage… something that hunted down and killed (kill-ected? curse this ancient Sumerian->Greek translation!) Sorcerers.
The document Ken prints out from his hacking foray seems to be key excerpts from the text Shannon’s reading, plus a few extra notes that seem to be directions to and lock combinations for a storage room in the basement of the library…
Shannon suddenly rolls her eyes and points out that they have one of the three sorcerers who were involved in this thing in the first place right in the house — Osato-san could provide answers and should be compelled to do so.
Ken trys to ask nicely for Osato-san to show up, but the ghost is having none of it. A summoning roll is used instead — the roll itself is successful, but Ken blows the Humanity check, so I actually have Osato-san temporarily possess Ken and talk through his body. Osato-san explains that he and the other two in the coven considered releasing the Bibliophage when they were young and foolish — it kills sorcerers and binds all of their knowledge into books that appear within a chamber deep in the Earth that’s (symbolically, they hope) referred to as the Belly of the Beast… those who waken the Bibliophage are immune to its pedations, so if it’s left to run its course, the thing will eventually (a) destroy all the other sorcerers in the world (b) give you all their knowledge. Pretty sweet deal if you can get it.
Apparently, the old coven started to waken the thing when they were younger, but (no explanation) decided not to… or put it back to sleep without letting it finish the extermination… something. Osato-san is unclear on this and no one asks for details while he’s around.
It seems Candace Lynn Voight (who was an apprentice to both Alonzo Clarence Shaw and Sean O’Neil at different points in her early career and present during the old coven’s first attempt) has decided to loose the thing on her own. (What’s better than being a powerful sorcerer in a world full of mundane people? Being the only one.) Osato-san still thinks CLV doesn’t have the guts to try something like this, but he’s also a misogynist of the first order.
Val has Shade search the garages of Ken’s neighbors for a likely SUV. Shade finds a good Landrover and together the two of them take it out through a Warped hole in the garage door. Everyone piles in and heads for the library.
Long story short, they get to the library through the white-out conditions (though they are forced to walk the last couple blocks due to drifting between campus buildings) and, following the directions on the print-out, find a passage behind some racks in the aforementioned storage room that lead down into the bowels of the earth.
(Yay! Roleplaying in the steam tunnels under a college campus! Yay! :P)
The cement stairs give way to teakwood after an interminable descent and finally let out into a vast, many-pillared, shadowy space with a well-lit circular area at it’s center, lined with shelves-upon-shelves of books-that-were-once-sorcerers. Shannon is, at this point, telling everyone to shoot first and fuck the questions, Ken wants to split up, and Val wants to stick together.
From somewhere out in the pillars, CLV calls out “we’re so glad you figured everything out in time, it’s very exciting to have you here for this.”
CLV: “We were hoping we could have a chance to explain the whole thing to you and bring you in, now that we’ve made all the preparations.”
Shannon: “I don’t think so.”
CLV: “Shannon, you particularly have some things you need to hear.”
Shannon: “I doubt that.”
Sean O’Neil steps from behind a pillar near her, not looking at all several-years-dead. “Hello, Shannon.”
Shannon blinks, then punches him in the face.