This Chick Is Toast! Part One (Ghostbusters)
by, 19th June 2011 at 04:08 PM (1032 Views)
Last night was the third session of my "Lovecraftian Ghostbusters" game. The session started with the GB getting a flyer from GBI Corporate inviting them to the first ever BusterCon in New York, to honor the retirement of founding Ghostbuster Dr. Peter Venkman. Among other events planned was one called "The Zoo," where all of the GBI franchises were invited to bring their most exotic captures for display in ghost Isolation Units (the big freezer-looking thing where Slimer hangs out in the 2009 game). Unfortunately, the GB only have one capture, and that's Graauuff, the taxicab-possessing dog-god, who wouldn't fit into an isolation unit. While they're discussing this, there's a *BZORCH* noise and Ivan, the resident mad scientist, vanishes while messing with the Enigmatic Contrapulator Device.
This leads to a few minutes of panicked what-the-helling by Charley, Lola, and Bruno. Charley, being the next most weird-science-inclined, begins fiddling around with the Enigmatic Contrapulator to figure out what it's done, but for the most part gets results such as "a suffusion of yellow" or "low battery." There isn't enough smudge on the floor or smoke in the air to account for a vaporized body, and a PKE scan reveals trace readings similar to those associated with a black slime portal. Working on the theory that Ivan has been teleported somewhere, they set up the ectophone (a gadget created by Egon that allows telephone conversations with dead or dimensionally-displaced people) and call Ivan's cellphone.
Ivan (run as an NPC, as his player was not present this week) answers and informs them that he's been teleported back to Saturn (their pet name for the world the artist was transported to in the last session, although they're pretty sure it's not actually Saturn). He also mentions that his caller ID lists the ectophone as "a suffusion of yellow." He tells them that instead of a floating island, this time he is on a grassy plain that is populated by indigenous life-forms. "I think I avoid them without proton pack -- they are size of elephant, have four hands, and mouth opens sideways out the tops of their heads. So far, 'run and hide' has seemed like good plan." The GB attempted to replicate the settings Ivan had used on the Contrapulator to send him a proton pack, but for some reason they only managed to teleport it downstairs, freaking out the temp-of-the-week at the desk. A second attempt, using some junk mail in order to avoid losing anything valuable, just managed to turn it into an ectoplasmic echo of itself ... which Charley seemed to think might be a neat thing to take to the Zoo event at BusterCon. ("Yeah, you've got slimers and vapors and tentacle monsters -- but how many of you have ghost junk mail?") Eventually, they came to the conclusion that they had no way of helping Ivan until something changed, so they rang off to avoid using up his cellphone battery. (His phone apparently had a lot of difficulty locating the satellite from Saturn.)
At around that point, a call came in: Supervisor Gary Mendez of the Metro Authority asked them to come meet him at Roslyn station, where service had been stopped because the tracks were being torn up by a vicious, glowing beast. After gearing up and heading to the scene, the GB found Detective Bob Johnson (the skeptical cop they'd first met at Great Falls Memorial Gardens), who gave his considered opinion that it was a waste of time to call the Ghostbusters instead of animal control because obviously what was down in the tunnels was a great big bear. One of the Metro workers countered that it was no bear, but a fire-breathing dragon, which immediately made Charlie and Bruno start rubbing their hands together in anticipation. (Charley: "I'm gonna see a dragon!" Bruno: "I'm gonna BLAST a dragon!") After receiving hard hats and being advised not to worry if they spot any mole-men ("...but don't let anyone get separated, just in case"), the GB head down into the tunnels.
On the way, Charley gets a glimpse of a humanoid figure off in the darkness behind them, but doesn't say anything about it. As they near the midpoint under the Potomac river (halfway between Roslyn and Foggy Bottom), they find torn up rails (especially the electrified third rail) and an enormous foot print in the muddy floor, three-toed and taloned, like a chicken's foot, except more than a foot across. Scanning with the PKE indicates strong readings that again seem to be related to the portals to Saturn, suggesting that the creature in the subway may have come from there. Finally, they get close enough to hear crunching rails and squawking around the bend in a darkened section of the tunnel (all of the light fixtures have been smashed and/or eaten), so they poke their heads around the corner and take a look at it.
The thing isn't a dragon in the traditional sense of "fire breathing lizard," but is a strange alien creature a bit smaller than a tyrannosaurus but of a similar shape, with tattered, bat-like wings. But beyond that, it's hard to describe, being not altogether a crow, nor a mole, nor a buzzard, nor an ant, nor a decomposed human being, but something the GB cannot and must not recall. They also notice a similarity to the artist's sculptures of demons from the hell of lost car parts. The thing glows in the dark, and has wisps of electricity playing across its flesh. And it's eating metro rails. Their scans show that it is a transdimensional creature, which means among other things that despite its physical nature it should be trappable.
The GB pull out their neutrona wands and do the Hero Power Walk into position, and open fire as soon as the thing spots them. They quickly discover, much to their annoyance, that glancing blows with the proton packs are not effective -- the thing seems to feed on electricity. So instead they switch to the slime blowers to incapacitate it, and once it's immobile, covered in goop, they come up and blast it at point-blank range, overloading its resistance and essentially causing it to short-circuit. This weakens it enough for them to trap it, after which they triumphantly return to the surface, happy to finally have a second specimen in the containment grid.
They call Ivan again to discuss the captured thing, since it seems to be from the same dimension that he's currently trapped in. When he hears the description of it, he tells them to look under 'B' in the Spates Catalog of Nameless Horrors, where they find a similar (but not identical) creature called a byakhee, which are "trained as flying mounts by the denizens of Leng and Kadath." Ivan declares their capture to be "an electrophagic byakhoid," but has no concrete ideas about how it may have gotten into the metro tunnels. He does suggest that there was a significant interdimensional rift during the events at the artist's apartment, and that perhaps the byakhoid entered our dimension then "like a moth flying in when you leave the door open, yes?" He also informs them that he has spotted a city made of green stone in the distance and is headed there, mainly for lack of anything else to do.
Although Charley is still wanting to go back to the Great Falls Memorial Gardens and deal with the unfinished business of Vanity Duchesne and the strong PKE readings of her grave, the group instead decides to go back to the metro tunnels to poke around some more, hoping to find a portal through which the byakhoid may have come or something else of interest. After a lot of tromping around and finding nothing, they eventually come upon "Auxiliary Generator Room #4," off in a long-disused side tunnel, which has been smashed, chewed, had all the light fixtures eaten, and is coated with black slime. After some discussion of the merits of trying to get the generators working again ("Are you sure you want to charge up the black slime?") and whether or not that would give Ivan a gateway home, Lola eventually decides they should hose it down with positive slime to prevent any spontaneous portals on the grounds that you can't predict what might be on the other side.
Before leaving the tunnels, Charley and Ivan decide they want to do some mole-men hunting. Since the recurring warning from the metro guys has been "don't let anyone get separated," Charley takes a walkie-talkie and goes off on his own, narrating his path into the walkie-talkie so Lola and Bruno can follow up if they need to. After several minutes of wandering, Charley finds a deep pit -- by virtue of falling into it -- and communication is broken.
When Charley wakes up, he is in complete darkness, and all of his equipment has been taken. A gravelly, snuffley voice in the darkness begins interrogating him on who he is and why he's there. After letting Charley spout for a while, the voice demands a good reason why they shouldn't just eat him. A second voice in the darkness counters that if they eat him, other people will come looking for him, and that he "looks important" because he has a uniform and is not one of the "light-heads." Eventually, the whatever-they-are in the dark toss Charley back his walkie-talkie and say, "You can find your own way out."
Lola and Bruno eventually find Charley, and with the help of some of the metro guys' rescue gear, get him out of the hole he's in. They all head back to HQ, annoyed at their lack of success with finding any good info, as well as having lost all of Charley's gear, which more than likely eats all of the profits from catching the byakhoid.
That was the first half of the session, which was a long one! I'll write up the second half a bit later on, as I've got to get out and take care of some errands. This session's title, "This Chick Is Toast," refers to the return of Vanity Duchesne, which is what the second half will cover.