Thursday, August 4, 2016

JAMS ep01 : Inspectres

07/20/2016
Javier's Armed Men Squad

Episode One
"Ley Lines"

Inspectres

#TableFlip / #TobieEats really just started as a joke when Flip was about to run his FATE game and insisted I cannot join (cause he would be too intimidated to run for a guy who always is his GM).  So I began livestreaming the hilarity of it all, and someone recommended me do this more often and call it #TableFlip.  The #TobieEats was because I was happily eating corn during this time.  After further reflection, this proved to be a great way for me to a) give a glimpse of how I run games, b) give a chance to see actual plays of other systems, and c) have a chance to experiment in running super short game sessions for future quick events.  Maybe even to the point of one hour sessions!  Who knows, maybe in future Gamers & GMs Philippines events, I can run a series of quick one hour one-shots for a variety of people during the event?

Anyway, back to Inspectres:
You can watch this session at this link
https://www.facebook.com/tobieabad/videos/vb.669832513/10153752656097514/?type=2&theater

Three unlikely men have gathered together to find spooks and rid the city of unexpected horrors!  Meet the members of the city's Inspectres franchise: Javier's Armed Men Squad or J.A.M.S. They are always given an alias every mission to make sure they are never followed back.

Gary is a resigned police man who knows a lot of people.
He is named Jesus for this mission.
Contact 4
Athletics 3
Academics and Tech 1
He is played by Flip.

Aiden is a former life guard.
He is named Jimmy for the mission.
Contacts and Athletics 3
Tech 2
Academics 1
He is played by Carlo.

Lucius is a self-proclaimed fortune teller.
He is named Josh for the mission.
Academics and Tech 3
Contact 2
Athletics 1
He is played by Josh.

The three are funded by a man named Javier, an old bald man stuck in a wheelchair since his first encounter with the supernatural.  He is aided by his loyal butler, Jalfredo, his maid, Jenny, and his driver, Jato.  

Getting the Call
The three received a call from a skeptical housewife who claims to be having haunting from her bathroom.  She believes it comes from a parallel dimension.   Javier gives them their new names for the mission and reminds them to "Just do it."

Research/Investigation
The three quickly spend some time investigating and learn from the neighbors that animals have been disappearing in the area.  A nearby Animal Shelter also confirms that there have been growing reports of vanishing pet cats.  Aiden gives the house a preliminary visit and learns that the skeptical housewife, though she fails to give her name, claims strange cats have also been sighted in the house - given her four cat fur babies, she now sees there are around twelve in total that wander in her home.  Aiden notices the other cats look like slight variations of the primary four.  

Lucius throws some rice and does a general reading and senses that the general trouble does seem to happen to numerous households.  The group meets a ten year old Asian girl who mysteriously complains that they are wasting her time - she could be studying right now instead of wasting seconds talking to strangers.  She tells them outright that the dragon ley lines have gotten tangeld up in the area.

Suiting Up

With that, the group mobilizes into activity.  The group prepares to bring with them a good amount of cat food, lengths of rope, a leyline reader meter and one of the experimental ectoplasmic cannons which Aiden feels should help out.  They contact Jato to pick them up and he arrives with their ride, a car.  Jimmy yells shotgun and when he tries to pop the doors open, Jato tells him to stop!  He pops the doors open and they rise upwards.  Jato tells them the car has a flight mode! The group heads to the location.

Fieldwork

Enroute, they discover the sky shifting in colors as they journey to the suburb.  The sky becomes reddish hue, then shifts to yellowish, then orange, then it leaps to a brilliant shade of blue and green, and suddenly where the houses used to be, strange vistas start to come to view.    Jimmy peers at the meter and finds the arrow going completely wild to the point it explodes!  As Jimmy struggles to swat the flames away, the sparks bounce on Jesus, who tries to swat them out.  When they scatter on Josh, as well, he nearly instinctively leaps out to jump, drop and roll... seven stories up!

The colors shift constantly and the buildings change to towers, to windmills, to all these other places.  They wonder if anyone has seen these kind of sights before, but no one has.  Jato seems unfazed, however, staying calm during the whole flight.  As they descend towards the house, it shifts to a castle to an igloo and back.  Jato turns to them and tells them they arrived.  He looks amused that they all seem worried.  He explains that the master Javier prepared masks to work despite the shifting realities.  He asks if any of them got one, but none of them did.    He keeps the vehicle hovering above the roof, and the three begin to drop down.

Jimmy lands in full grace on the roof, but as he poses, he stumbles to the edge.  The rooftop vanishes changing into the roof-less open courtyard of a castle.   Jesus and Jato land painfully as well, hitting things wrong.  The whole place has transformed into what looks like some medieval building. Cats swarm in the area.  A woman in a long flowing gown rushes to them, and they recognize her to be the skeptical housewife, but she seems to find them strange in some way.  The familiarity seems to take a while to sink in.  Jesus asks for the rest room, and she admits she isn't sure where it is anymore.  Jimmy asks where her husband is, and she snaps at him, "How could you ask me such a question at a time like this?!"  Oddly, she then turns to Jesus and flips her hair.  Josh gathers the rice in his hand and scatters it in the air, willing it to sense the rift that they should track.  Most of the rice falls to the ground, but one grain floats and begins darting towards a specific direction.  Josh chases after it and tells the rest to follow.   Jesus draws out a pistol and tells the skeptical housewife to stay back, warning her of the danger in the situation.     She apologizes for acting that way... "I don't know why I am acting this way. I am already married."  Jesus wonders why she never mentioned this before.

As they chase after the rice, the see the cats moving to block their progress.  As the group closes in...

Confessional #01
Gary stares at the camera and he talks about how when they were in a room full of cats.. which reminded him of when he first met Lucius.  They were also in a room full of cats.  "I didn't realize the guy could be a cat person."

Updated record:Lucius is a self-proclaimed fortune teller.
A cat person.
He is named Josh for the mission.
Academics and Tech 3
Contact 2
Athletics 1
He is played by Josh.
End Confessional

As the cats close in, Josh remembers his cats from back home.  He reaches down to stroke them, saying how they look like Percy... and Jackson...  He kneels down and asks them to point him to the source of all of this weirdness.  To their surprise, the cat replies, "Sure! Your friends are weird... they probably are dog persons."

Another cat remarks, "Never say the D word!"

Josh asks them to lead the group to the source of all of this.  He points to his badge and tells them, "I am a professional."  Jesus and Jimmy have calmed down enough to run alongside.  A hand grabs Jesus to stop him, and he sees it is the skeptical housewife.  She asks him to stay behind, but she asks him to stay with her.  "I'm a Princess right now and I don't know why."  A green wave rolls over them and the whole world shifts once more.  The others have vanished.  The castle is gone.  All Jesus can see are tall trees, soft sand, and waves. Music is playing in the background.   He turns around and sees he's at some kind of beach party.  skeptical housewife, in a swimsuit, stares at him just as confused.  A man offers them fizzy fruity drinks from a tray. They take a sip and its pretty good.  "Riiiight.." Jesus shakes his head, "I think we shouldn't drink this."  A voice calls out his name, "Gary!" and yells at him to go ride the banana boat.  "But I don't want to go on the banana boat!" Jesus hisses back.  A beach ball smacks him on the face, and his gun flies from his hand.  Jesus tells skeptical housewife they should stay put.  "Whatever happens to us is going to happen again."

Back inside, a bluish swirl washes over the cats and them.  Josh sees his hands are now gloved.  Everything seems reddish in his view.  He looks around and the cats are gone.  Women instead are present, all with a letter J displayed on some part of their body.  Josh looks around searching for Jimmy, but a tabby cat woman with orange shoulder pads and a belt wraps an arm around him and asks her what's wrong.  She tells him her name is Sinclair.  The whole room is now a room of white walls with blue glowing lines of light.   Josh sees Jimmy headed straight into the blue wave, which closes in on his friend but it seems to be invisible to him.  Josh tries to yell at him to turn back, but Jimmy only hears part of the words. His "Turn back!" makes Jimmy instead turn his back towards Josh.  He sees Jesus and the Princess standing in the distance , but when the blue wave hits, the two are gone.  Jimmy now only sees the white walls of the room, with lines of light.  Jimmy looks down and he's changed into a man made of metal.  "She's Domino... she's Feral... She's Wolfbane.." Jimmy comes up to Josh, not clear on what is happening.  Josh pulls out the rope the brought and ties himself to Jimmy, "I think we should not get separated."   Jimmy is amused how its a really short rope.

A roar draws Jesus and skeptical housewife to look up.  From above, a man with golden skin and a full mullet peeks out from the side of the vehicle.  They recognize it to be Jato.  He asks Jesus what is going on, but Jesus tells him not to move. "Stay in the same spot so we know where you are... kind of."  Jato says he sees a green wave coming in.   Jesus asks for the mask which allows the wearer to filter away the dimensions.  Jato hands it over.  

The cat girls lead Jimmy and Josh to the danger... the source.  Jimmy mutters, "Aren't we supposed to go to the bathroom?" They move through a circular door that seems pretty high tech and reach a long corridor.  "It should be there on the left side," the cat mumbles.  A swirl of colors dance out of the doorway, but an almost black wave closing in.  Josh asks Jimmy how he feels right now, and Jimmy admits he thinks he can run.  Josh admits he feels very exhausted and hopes the guy can carry him. "I can't feel my legs right now."  Josh draws out more rice and tries to foreshadow what is about to come.  He drops them to the ground and before he can read it, the black wave pours at them.  If they dive for the corridor now, they can avoid the black wave but the cats will be left behind.  Josh unties himself from Jimmy and tells him to go ahead.  "I'll take care of the cats! Girls, behind me!"

Jimmy runs, sliding into the corridor to avoid the black wave.  He sees it overwhelm Josh and the girls.  They are gone.

Jesus walks into the living room of the house.  Thanks to the mask, he can see despite the swirling dimensional shifts.  He sees Josh with the cats crouching at one side.  He sees Jimmy rush into a corridor.   He walks up to the skeptical housewife, who seems preoccupied by some visions she alone can see.  He decides to leave her in her vision and continues towards his friends.

Josh is struggling to stay aloft in the waters.  Dark waters swirl all around him, and he feels himself sinking deeper and deeper into the waters of the sea.  The women are screaming like cats as the gigantic waves attempt to separate them.  Josh pedals, yelling at the cats/women to hold on to each other.    Jesus walks up to Josh, fascinated as the man seems to be pantomiming swimming while trying to extend an arm with a rope at a bunch of cats that seem to also be pretending to be swimming in human like ways.  Jesus reaches to grab Josh.  In Josh's perspective, however, a great white shark emerges from the dark waters to bite him!  He leaps away and swims to the women to protect them, kicking hard at the shark!  When Jesus grabs Josh's ankle to stop him, Josh ends up screaming believing the shark had bitten his foot!  Jesus sees Josh diving atop the dodging cats, then kicking at the air in his direction.

Jimmy enters the pulsing glowing chamber and sees a humanoid form lying in a... grave. On his chest, a glowing psychedelic hue pulses.  Studying him, Jimmy notes the man lacks having any skin.  He draws out the ectoplasmic cannon and pokes the man with his foot to check if he would respond.  The man slowly turns to face him.  Jimmy fires, hitting the man with the cannon bathing him in plasma and energy, but the man begins to rise from the grave, insisting, "You cannot be more powerful than my stare!" The lights battle for dominance.

Josh continues to kick at the shark to try to get free!  The kick smacks Jesus on the face, forcing him to tumble backwards.   Josh sees something glinting in the water near the shark.  The shark seems to be rolling back and forth in the water.  Josh paddles to the surface to recover some air.  Jesus realizes the mask was knocked off.  Josh feels the mask and upon sliding it on, sees Jesus on the floor with a bloody nose.  "You kicked me in the face!"  Jesus asks Josh to look for Aiden, and Josh sees the light at the corridor.

Hearing the lich once more taunt about the strength of his stare, Jimmy pulls out one of the cat food cans in his pocket and throws it at the lich!  It conks squarely on the undead thing's face and drops him back down into the grave...  the can pops open as it hits the ground.  The scent reaches the cats outside the room.   Josh and Jesus suddenly feel the cats all rush away.... as a yellow wave washes over them!  They suddenly realizes they are in a field with running two-legged dinosaurs running away from them.  Jesus tells Josh to guide him with his voice as he walks to find him.  Josh, wearing the domino mask, sees Jesus blindly walking and grabs him to walk beside him.  The question on what are they running away from comes to mind.  Jesus turns to look and sees the answer:  flaming meteors are falling from the sky!   Jesus tries to run off but Josh just walks and guides him to the corridor.

The cats charge, swarming at the lich from the open doorway! Jimmy laughs as the animals smack the thing back and forth as they swarm for the cat food.  Jimmy can see the body is the corpse of the husband.  He sees the cuts on both arms, suggesting the man had committed suicide in the tub.  As Jesus arrives at the door, he sees the Lich at the corner!  He runs to tackle it away from Jimmy. Jimmy pulls back the ectoplasmic cannon as Jesus rolls on the ground with the dead body.  The visuals continue to shift for Jesus and Jimmy... switching from a lich, to an octopus god, to a strange dark shadow...  The group pries Jesus off the thing and Josh sees the glowing object at the central part of the monstrosity.  "You will not... my heart!" the Lich screams as Josh  reaches to grab it and rips it from the thing.

Lights swirl in all directions as the other dimensions collapse and fragment from the real world.  The skeptical wife looks around, now alone with nary a beach party in sight.  The house looks like a house again and any hints of the castles, the sea, the dinosaurs and the like are gone.  Josh looks at his hand and sees the jade statuette of  a dragon in his hand.. the pendant the husband wore.  On its back, "Forever, Christopher + Young" is etched on the flat surface.   The ley lines are realigning and the world has snapped back to normal.  Jimmy blows on the ectoplasm cannon and places it back on its holster.

"So it is over?" the skeptical wife asks.  The three confirm so and step out of the house.  They see Jato outside,  waiting.  The skeptical wife comes up to them and asks what happened.  Josh asks if her name is Young, and when she says yes, he tries to explain that her dead husband must have been the focal point of the event due to the magical pendant that he was wearing.  She admits it was a thing they purchased from Hong Kong.  Josh recommends she does not buy anything anymore from such places.  Young seems shocked, however, only now realizing her husband was dead.  Jimmy asks why she was not aware of his death, and she admits she doesn't know why she didn't grasp it sooner.  She was just waiting for him..  all this time... thinking he was just busy.  Jimmy tries to ask more questions, but Jesus interrupts him and tells him now is not the time to ask these questions.

Clean Up
The group confirms the man's cause of death was suicide and the time of death was three weeks ago.  Young never noticed the body all that time, and the ley lines began to get disrupted as the days passed.  Given her busy life, she admits she hasn't been using that bathroom - she had been showering at work or using the bathroom while outside.  Once home, she just feeds the cats and falls asleep.
Vacation
The group learns sadly they have earned NOTHING from the job.  All the finances they earned has to be spent for medical expenses to help them recover.  Javier informs them that the loss was so big that Jato himself has quit working for them.

"What about that," Josh asks, "Can't we sell that or something?" he motions to the jade medallion.  Javier smashes it against the wall and tells them it is too dangerous and it is best destroyed.  Word on the street however has spread how JAMS is reliable.  And that is why, to ensure their discretion, Javier is assigning them all new names.  Jesus complains that makes no sense!  But Javier simply tells them to make sure they bring money back in the future.

"The world is full of danger and it is only Javier's Armed Men Squad who can save it," Javier muses.  When Jesus... ahem.. Gary tries to insist it is a terrible name, Javier reminds them they were the ones who suggested it.  Javier calls for Jalfredo who hands him his chequebook.  He pulls out three checks, fills it up with their names, then rips it apart.    He sends them away.

Epilogue

Javier and Jalfredo discuss whether having these three was the better way to go.  Jalfredo admits he still feels Javier could have done much better if he handled things alone.  "Maybe, but then again my parents are still back home and I don't think that would work for them," Javier admits.  "If only your parents..." Jalfredo muses but goes silent.

The two head back home and Javier sees his parents waiting for him at the dining table.  "So son, tell us what you did today.." Javier smiles a secret smile.



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