We played for 3 hours, with only the loosest plan ahead of time that was immediately used up and/or discarded.
Initiate of Carrow
Wolfram was invited by his Carrow contacts to iron out some details. He went to the Sorvale Crypt in the cemetery of Seven Shallows, where he met a young woman. She wanted him to sit with her and wait, and he did.
Meanwhile, twins from Carrow (Fergus and Child) went to Adelaide’s to meet with Aldo. They went downstairs to the secret rooms with him, then pounced on him and poured leviathan blood all over his torso and face.
He had a horrible moment, then hallucinated he was outside time and space in the Void. There he spoke with a figure called the Outsider, who told him he was pivotal in the coming times, and he would be observed by the Outsider. The otherworldly creature gave him power, but no instruction in how to use it; it was Aldo’s decisions the Outsider wanted to follow with interest.
Aldo woke, the leviathan blood soaked into him. It left a tattoo of the Outsider’s mark on the back of his left hand. The twins bowed to him and called him master, and he protested. They thought they would unwrap a gift for him, but the gift unwrapped him. The blood was meant to allow him to pass through the enchanted crypt door, but it did much more. They were in awe, but left. They told the girl in the crematory about what Aldo became, and Wolfram just picked up “Chosen” out of their muttered ancient Iruvian.
Aldo called Wolfram and Vincen’s Coven in to a meeting, and told them what transpired. Both the coven and Wolfram felt honored to be witness to this moment, and what would come next. They went out drinking to celebrate.
Stealing the Bard
Bazso Baz, leader of the Lampblacks and good friend to Aldo, called them in to see if the crew would be interested in helping take down the remains of the Red Sash operation. Of course they were interested!
The Red Sashes ran the Tenpenny Court Upstairs Network. It was built when regulations required buildings be no more than three stories tall. When regulations changed later, 1-3 new floors were added on top, but they often did not communicate with the floors below. This warren of high construction became an interconnected series of rooms where drugs and prostitution became entrenched.
The operation was run by Lysander, an elegant bard pimp. Lysander hated Baz, who tried to take over the operation three times, and would die before helping him run it. Also, Lysander was friends with many networks, and without him the clients and service staff and connections would dry up and the business would no longer be profitable.
Baz brought in the Unrecommendables to try and sway Lysander over to working for them; not the Red Sash, and not the Lampblacks, but out of the line of fire and no longer supporting the beleagured Red Sash.
They found out Lysander was performing at the Thrice Fried Chicken, a theater pub where unwashed masses were at the bottom, skilled workers in the middle, and elite on the top floor.
They checked their contacts, and found that Wolfram’s friend Dr. Kepp was Lysander’s personal physician. He could get them invited to see Lysander. Also, to appear respectable, Aldo took Arlynne, his tavern owner friend. She agreed to be on his arm for most of the night, but planned to bed (and rob) a noble before the night was through.
Things went as planned. They got through the guards, to see Lysander. Their plan was to convince him they were investors who wanted to see him have a bigger stage to express his personal and directorial talent; then work into the conversation that they wanted him to work for them and not the Red Sashes. (Two big deadly Red Sash duelists served as Lysander’s bodyguards.)
Wolfram was utterly convincing as a star-struck fan, a hard man just opened to the world of art and beauty. Aldo played his role as investor and devotee. Even though they suggested they would fund an opera, certain it would return its investment, Lysander balked. His friends the Red Sashes were in trouble, and he didn’t have time for such a project.
They revealed more of their true nature, offering to protect his operation and give him freedom in the way the Red Sashes would not. (They thought theater was low.) Right in front of the bodyguards, Lysander told them if they could get rid of these bodyguards (who were now witnesses) he could claim it was an assassination attempt, and he would consider working with them.
If they did make it out, he would work with them if they would secure for him the Worldstage Theater, an abandoned theater under the Tenpenny Row upper rooms operation. He could then stage his production there. They agreed.
They flashed back to ordering their adepts to get hired as wait staff; the adepts were too manky and weird. So, Aldo flashed back to bribing a waiter, and arranged for the two bodyguards (who were closely watching Aldo and Wolfram, unsure how to react to this new situation) some drugged wine.
One guard passed out, the other was too big and tough; Wolfram blew Aldo’s trance powder in his face, then ordered him to heft the other guard, and the four left happily together. The doctor enjoyed the rest of dinner with Lysander, and Arlynne went noble hunting.
Once out in the night air, Wolfram and Aldo delivered the two men to their Carrow contacts (to be disappeared and used however they liked.) They sold their swords and jewelry to Amancio for a fine profit.
The Worldstage Theater
Aldo asked around to see who owned it and what it would take to get ahold of it. He heard a bloody story from nearby building managers. Hiesmann and Jelyn were critics that were savage hecklers. One night as they were attacking a performance, someone laid into them with a machete and cut them apart, spraying their blood everywhere. Since that night, they lethally haunt the theater; first they heckle, then there are accidents, then the blood sprays.
In better news, the theater was available for back taxes only. If they could get the money together, they could buy it fair and square. Then they would have to clear the ghosts.
Meanwhile Wolfram began vetting people to put together a gang of thugs. And he didn’t care who knew about it!
They also scraped together the funds to rent a small shop space. Aldo asked Amancio if he would do them a favor and expand his business on their behalf, and Amancio graciously agreed. Now their fence runs a pawn shop!
Wanting to demonstrate there were no hard feelings, they decided to go talk to Jettilyn. Sure they invaded her space and stole her boyfriend, but that was then and this was business. They approached her at home, and told her of the job. She agreed to work for them for a small fortune, and consider whether she still felt vengeful or not.
Not wanting to borrow money from the Lampblacks or work out any other loan, they decided to pull a heist to raise the money to buy the theater. They checked to see if the Dimmer Sisters had any work for them.
The Aspect of Tsathoggua
The Dimmer Sisters’ assistant Marcy led them through gates, past giant invisible guard dogs, and into the house to meet the sisters as they knit spidersilk with their fingernails on their thrones. The Dimmer Sisters offered them a way into a secret forgotten temple space; the actual space was filled in, but there was a memory of the space under a Temple to the Ecstasy of the Flesh. The Sisters gave them the combination of stairs down, up, and down to get into the memory. The Sisters wanted a statue, the Aspect of Tsathoggua.
Aldo got acolyte outfits and figured the temple’s public open hours. Then he slipped in with Wolfram. Jettilyn agreed to help, if she could keep one item (besides the Aspect.) They agreed.
The adept gang threw horse manure at guards to lure them away from the break-in. Jettilyn tried to get through the locks magically, but they were warded; she borrowed some of Wolfram’s life force to help.
They went into a back corridor in the dark, with candles. They found a door, triple barred but unlocked. Going through, they descended, then ascended, then descended, as proscribed. Moving through increasing dankness, they found themselves in the half-remembered lair. It was a feeling of lazy hunger carved into reality’s sense memory.
While the others fought off the feel of Tsathoggua’s mind pressing into theirs, Wolfram accepted the touch. His worship of the Forgotten Gods demanded it, and he was curious to see what he would learn.
In the dim candlelight (the candles burned low and green) they passed big mushrooms haunted by large centipedes. Then they crossed a mud flat. Jettilyn animated dragonfly jewelry to light up and fly, to find their goal; they saw a column rising out of the mud. It was like an extruded intestine made of stone.
Climbing it, they found the top had a square hole down into blackness, four ceremonial sacrificial daggers, a ceremonial frog-man mask, and the Aspect. The Aspect kept changing perception and size, and Wolfram tried to grab it only to find it was as big as he was. Jettilyn splashed it with electroplasm then grabbed the statue and Wolfram, and when it seemed to be the size of a head she swept it into a bag. She broke the spell on the daggers briefly, and they grabbed those and the mask.
Then they heard the croaking! Huge things shuffling and jumping in the blackness. Jettilyn smeared both of them with glow paint, so they could see as they sprinted for the exit. They managed to get out without seeing what pursued them.
Moving up to the temple, they then put on acolyte outfits and Aldo shepherded them out. They were stuck in traffic, but eventually won free.
After taking long, thorough baths, they took their prizes to the Dimmer Sisters. Jettilyn kept the mask, but they turned the rest in and got paid enough for the theater and some left over.