Gnosis: Steampunk

Session 5 - Joshua's Diary

18 June 1898

Being on board the zeppelin has been a fascinating experience. The zeppelin is covered with the glow of advanced science, but it seems very weak considering how powerful the effect. Perhaps advanced science becomes mundane over time as it is accepted. That could be a key difference between advanced science and magic. With magic, even the common items require someone with the talent to create, while advanced science looks like it evolves to not require any innate talent. Room for much more thought about how supernatural abilities become mundane.

I had a very interesting conversation with Brent McTavish concerning the orange glow I saw surrounding him. As he related, this is the effect of being an “alien hybrid”. When questioned, he said that his ability was conveyed by people from another world (literally beyond the atmosphere of Earth). When I asked if he meant Mars (perhaps pulling my leg after reading the delightful fiction by HG Wells), he said no and described it coming from much further away – in fact I do not believe that he has read Mr. Wells’ work – what a philistine. In any event, the orange glow represent his ability to manipulate others minds and perhaps physiology (interesting philosophical discussion for the future on the nature of mind and self). I asked if it only worked on people and he said that he is able to manipulate animals as well. To test this I summoned a rat and had Brent control it. He did and I was fascinated with the information that the iward picked up.

I am having a hard time finding a way to reconcile this ability with magic and advanced science. If my perceptions are grounded in some concrete reality, then perhaps the source of the energy that powers the effects – further out on the rainbow are more personally powered while the closer you get to the center of the rainbow, the more it is powered by something outside. This could explain how advanced science can become mundane more easily than magic. This would also mean that the “alien hybrid” effects would be much harder to duplicate. Brent was very distracted since his “organization” was being attacked.

19 June 1898

We changed ley lines to a less powerful one on our way to Philadelphia and the captain had a much harder time maintaining a course close to the line. However the opposition changed tactics and instead of trying to find Anna, found our zeppelin instead. I do not know if other zeppelins were also found, but prudence dictated that we debark immediately. We were lowered down close to a town and the zeppelin continued on its way.

Now that Anna was out of the ward circle, we needed to come up with a new way to protect her from the location “magic”. After discussions with Andrew Mensch and Anna, we decided that Anna would need a mobile protection circle and that resurrecting a fashion from earlier in the century – the hoop skirt – would be the way to go. To this end I procured a barrel hoop (made of iron) and an iron washer. Using the law of contagion, I coerced the hoop to take on the seamless nature of the washer. I then inscribed the protection ward on the hoop, connected it to the ley lines and then a suitable skirt was fashioned.

20 June 1898

We arrived in Philadelphia without further incident. The group of us split up and I went to the telegraph office to send a note to the Order asking them about their interference with my experiments. They treated me like a rogue and I am a member in good standing. After sending the telegram, I found a place to rest and wait for the appointed meeting. I also began to get a feel for the ley lines in Philadelphia. We met again and I decided to accompany Brent to a meeting of his company. He described some interest effects and wondered if magic could produce them. I do not think magic is capable of creating the kind of curse he describes without an item of extreme significance.

We arrived at one of Brent’s places of business where a meeting would be held in a back room. On the way to the room, I spotted someone who was affected by the peculiar bgb braid. Andrew seemed to pale when he noticed the gentleman (he was scruffy, so gentleman is perhaps not the best term), but nothing was said. We entered the room and were met by a most colorful group of people. Astonishingly they seem to represent the underbelly of society – Brent is a mob boss!!

During the meeting, one of Brent’s minions stood up and tried to shoot him. This minion was affected by the orange glow but Brent assured me that he was not responsible. I could not do any experiments because guns appeared in many hands and shot him dead on the spot – swift justice indeed. Brent tried to get his minions to stay, but half of the group left in a very agitated state. As Brent was laying down the law of the mob (seems a contradiction since mob law and justice are usually at odds), a group of Pinkertons stormed in. This broke up the meeting and we beat a hasty retreat. The sunsword that Nik made me worked wonderfully on the wall.

After we lost our pursuit (others thought it was at best half-hearted), we decided to try to find out what happened to Brent’s associate. I attempted to do magic, but even though the lines were near, the magic failed. The lines have somehow been tainted. I must explore this, because the taint could be dangerous to ritual magic. We went to his associate’s house. Brent went inside, but I tried to find a place of power on the grounds. By far the best place was the family plot. I was not comfortable with that choice, but it was the best location by far. Brent revealed that he and his partner had a badge upon which they had sworn a blood oath. I assured him that the badge was not the subject of a blood oath (those require precise timing, a strong ley line and an able practitioner – all elements seeming missing). However, upon consideration, this badge is an important symbol of his organization and could be used to curse his organization. I used the badge and the ambiance of the cemetery to create a dowsing rod for Marcus. We met back up with the others (Anna is a lightweight when it comes to alcohol and Hasheem has apparent infinite capacity). We went to a safe house to rest and pursue matters again in the morning.

21 June 1898

So much has happened in just a day – I shall just begin where I left off although I am not sure technically whether some of the events should be noted as yesterday or not – well on with it.

While at the safe house a confluence of events occurred. Our pursuers showed up on three side and started to fight, but that was not the most astonishing thing. A member of the Seelie Court (perhaps two, but I am not certain about the dog). He was suffused with magic and I would later learn was able to work magic. I attempted to ask him questions, but he seemed perplexed. I tried to experiment on the dog to see if eating mortal food would pin him here ( a reverse of the legends of eating under the hill), but surprisingly the dog would not eat what I provided. After the encounter with the Ogre (they can travel by means of shadows), we beat a hasty retreat because the warring factions outside were beginning to target us.

We decided to take our battle to the Pinkertons – Anna convinced us that her half brother would be a good target. Interesting that little Anna is an illegitimate member of the Pinkerton clan. We entered the house of her brother by means of Brent’s AH abilities. It is interesting to see them in use – the more I see, the better I will be able to find an integrating theory. In any case, Nicholas (not to be confused with Nik) was not there. I decided that I could use the telephone with a physical link to headquarters to find Nicholas and that using the warding washer to add the feel of the bgb braid to it would be even more successful. The dowsing rod turned out to be more aligned to the bgb braid (and possibly Nicholas) rather than Pinkerton HQ. On the way to the ancestral home of Allen Pinkerton we stopped at a friend of Anna’s. He is a very powerful practitioner of advanced science, but with a different bent than Nik. Mr. Stone appears to be a weapons expert (perhaps explaining Anna’s blue flickers) and had some wonderful items. I borrowed a dysfunctional sonic weapon, because I surmised that the artifact generating the bgb braid effect would be crystalline (it had a crystal, but ultimately Nik’s lightning gun was the correct effect – Nik hates that name, but does not have a better one). In any case, Mr. Stone agreed to talk to me about his weapons at a later date. After departing Mr. Stone’s, we followed the rod and it brought us to the Pinkerton estate.

We attempted to gain entry by impersonating a milk delivery wagon. Brent controlled the guards and convinced them that we were a valid milk delivery, but apparently the estate does not get milk delivered. An interesting side effect of Brent’s power is that it provides a one shot use for anyone affected. In our case, the guard told Andrew that he was confused and should go to the next estate (and he did).

After that failed plan, we decided to sneak on to the estate. My cloak of invisibility worked, but the others were noticed (proving the superiority of magic). After a short melee with the guards, we entered the house via the coal chute. The dowsing rod showed that the artifact was below us, but the floor was much too thick to cut through. We descended a spiral staircase to deep within the bowels of the earth. What greeted us was a vast cavern that housed a strange pool and an incomprehensible machine. I have a hard time describing it because of how the supernatural forces were swirling within it. It turns out that the bgb braid was actually a mix of green, blue and extremely dark green. Because of other clues, I think the very dark green verging on black represents necromancy. In any case, a melee ensued. Hasheem proved to be more than muscle when he ripped the desiccated body of Allen Pinkerton out of the machine and glowed yellow. I surmise that he has the ability to do telekinesis, I will ask him about that later. To help the others to understand the melee, I attempted to provide the others with the ability to see the colors of supernatural – this failed catastrophically. Contrary to providing the ability, I roused the notice of an entity of tentacles that resided within the artifact. It lashed out with the tentacles and wiped away my ability to perform magic (fortunately temporarily). During the examination, I noticed a power crystal but I think it was ultimately destroyed. While the others engaged the people in the room, I unlimbered Nik’s gun and showered the machine with chained lightning. An interesting effect was when Andrew charged the “necromancers”. He appears to have the ability to absorb magic and I found out he is a magic addict. In any case, I pummeled the machine with the electric force and finally tuned the weapon to destroy the machine. The machine was destroyed, but its destruction cause immensely more damage from which we barely escaped.

I do not know of a day recently where I have been more challenged, learned more interesting facts and had more fun!!



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