Thursday, February 20, 2020

Just a Little Darkness

The students took a little while to spend some of their new-found wealth on new toys; after a shopping spree, they started looking around for someone that might have some holy water. Real holy water, that is, not the weird stuff Alistair keeps making.

After asking around a bit, they found a fellow interviewee of the Lurk Until Dawn show, one Rev. Michaelse, of the Risen Church of Longview. It's a little church, fairly conservative, but well-liked. And, more importantly, the Reverend believes that demons walk the earth, and indeed has battled them himself!

The church was guarded by one Bob, the usher - a man built like one of LeTourneau's earth-moving machines. He seemed to be the janitor, as well, and kept the church spotless. The Reverend was in a meeting with the Church Secretary, Mrs. Eliza Dolouse. As they exited his office, she kept up a string of prattle - "...just need to buy a few more bottles for service on Sunday, not the good stuff you know, just good enough that Mrs. Applebottom doesn't complain, you know how she loves to complain, oh and I think I'll get a few more boxes of tissues as the ones at the ends of the pews are running low, such a good sermon last Sunday Reverend..."

She scuttled off to her car, leaving Rev. Michaels to speak with the students. As it turned out, he didn't have any holy water - there's not really such a thing, it turns out. Just normal water, though sometimes that's enough... After listening to some of the student's stories, he finally nodded, and handed over a fairly ordinary candlestick. "I've used this myself - it's a very powerful artifact, that allows you to dispel the demons that walk among us!"

The talisman, known only as the Candlestick, can banish demons, if Rev. Michaels is to be believed. To activate it, it must be defiantly held above one's head, directed towards the demon; then, roll Spirit at -1. On a failure, the wielder is Shaken, and the talisman is unusable for 24 hours; on a failure with 1 on the Spirit die, the wielder takes 2d6 damage (directly, ignoring armor); on snake-eyes, the talisman is destroyed, in addition to the other effects. They agreed to weekly meetings with the Reverend, in trade for being allowed to use the device.

A few days later, Alistair got a text from a Veronica Nails, who asked for the group's help. They agreed to meet, and she explained that she had accidentally spilled some chemicals on herself while working in the Organic Chemistry lab. She was afraid that the lapse in lab safety would be enough to ruin her already faltering grade, and didn't want to go to the professor directly... but she felt very strange, and not in a way that getting chemicals spilled on her would be expected to make someone feel.

The group immediately set off to investigate the professor's office; after some breaking-and-entering, they managed to unlock a very expensive filing cabinet, and revealed that the professor did a little on-the-side chemical testing of materials sent to him by Homeland Security. No one knew enough about O-Chem to decipher which write-up pertained to the chemicals Veronica may have spilled on herself, but they could tell that they must have been fairly unsafe...

After carefully locking everything back up, they moved on to the lab; inside, they found the chemical, and managed to isolate some of it. They waited until the next day for Alistair to buy a book on organic chemistry, and conducted a ritual of knowledge. Now much better at O-Chem, he carefully studied the chemical; while he wasn't able to isolate the exact chemical makeup, he was at least able to tell that it was very, very dangerous, being highly toxic... and able to be inactivated with high intensity ultraviolet light.

After a very spirited discussion on where and how to find the correct lighting (including, but not limited to, using X-Rays), they finally agreed on taking Veronica to a spa for a fairly inexpensive 20-minute tanning bed treatment. Veronica was only barely persuaded, as her eyes had turned entirely black - though her night vision was awesome!

She relented, and after an uneventful 20 minutes in a tanning bed, she was happy to report that her eyes were no longer bothered by light; indeed, her irises were returned to normal!

Unfortunately, the treatment only seemed to last a day. Undeterred, the students moved to plan B: subjecting her to half an hour a day of intense UV light, created by using the TIG welder! While her tan-lines were very uneven, the treatment worked - no more light sensitivity, and no more all-black eyes.

LeTU Meets The Wolfman

Our erstwhile heroes received a hasty call from Professor Maclanahan to discuss an important new investigation, meeting at a swanky club with a biology professor named Dr. Wayne LeGrevellec. Dr. LeGrevellec showed the students a video of a woman in a lab coat, attacked by some sort of creature, a wolfman perhaps. The creature slammed the woman's head on the table, knocking her unconcious, then grabbed some vials, ripped the hard drive out of the computer, and took off. Dr. LeGrevellec explained that he works in the off-site lab with a few other LU professors, and from speaking with his colleagues, is fairly certain that the attacker was Dr. Allen Miller, who worked in that very lab. The woman, Dr. Miller's research partner, survived the attack but is under observation at the hospital due to a concussion. The attack occurred last night; he isn't entirely certain what Dr. Miller was researching, but he had gotten a fat grant from a private firm, one that had invested in many professors' research. Presumably, Dr. Miller became infected with his own experimental gene therapy and may be undergoing radical mental changes as well as the obvious physical one. While campus security believes the attacker is someone in a gorilla suit, it's pretty obvious that it's no suit.

After answering a few questions, Dr. LeGrevellec handed the group a slip of paper with the addresses for Dr. Miller's lab and home, and his lab assistant's name (Aubrey Wright), and closed by saying that while he and GlenMac are too conspicuous to openly investigate, students are largely overlooked, and should be able to investigate without much trouble.

Together, the students went to visit Aubrey Wright in the hospital; they found her arguing with the doctor, who wanted to keep her for further observation. Finally, she convinced the group to assuage the doctor's fears... by getting them to convince the doctor they would keep an eye on her. After a little persuasion, she was released, and somewhat warmer towards the students. Somewhat.

She wanted to go straight to the lab, and after running some blood tests on herself, was much calmer, and suggested they go investigate Dr. Miller's house. After peering in some windows and trying the door (locked), they found a fake rock in the garden. Bingo! The key to the front door!

Inside, Ms. Wright went through some mail, heading towards the study; the students fanned out, leaving James to keep an eye on her. Apart from a mean-looking full-size poodle in the back yard, and a rather more luxurious house than most (any?) LeTourneau professors, there was little to uncover. The house was there to be fancy, not to be lived in, it looked like. In the den, Will found some important looking papers, but apart from a header that read "SH 211 B, Lab 2" and "SH 211", as if referencing different labs, there wasn't a lot to go on.

After befriending the dog, Priya snooped around the doghouse - the heated doghouse, with its own running water - but found only a squeaky toy. Ms. Wright refused to go anywhere near the dog, as she rather hated it...

After one final sweep of the house, they decided to head back to the lab. A printed note on the door announced that the room was under lockdown, but the students waltzed in, sure that they could find Dr. Miller. Everything had been cleaned up, and the computer replaced, though yet to be set up. The students snooped around, carefully investigating, until finding a trickle of water dribbling out from under a cabinet. Nothing useful was in the cabinet, but when Will dragged the cabinet backward, the wall behind it moved too, revealing a only-just-now-awakened Dr. Miller!

He greeted them, and kept them talking for a few minutes, all too eager to spill the beans... he had been hired by EyePhi to develop what he was sure was some sort of weaponized werewolf drug. He was given some strange ash and a few other chemicals, and after much trial and error, was able finally perfect his - er, the - concoction. Well, almost. It seems that while the user would retain his or her humanity, there was a substantial amount of hair growth.

About this time, the students noticed Dr. Miller was rather bulkier than when they entered the secret lab... and then long, curling hair grew out of his body, as his grin turned a little more feral. Oops.

Will, Priya, and James took the front lines, frustrating the wolfman in doctor's clothing by blocking his (quite powerful!) attacks, and occasionally landing some decent blows. Unfortunately, the damage seemed to just melt away; only silver can harm a werewolf! Or at least, this werewolf. Alistair dashed for his car, realizing he needed his silver bullets. Will took a hit, and Priya narrowly avoided getting slashed, deciding to back out of the fight and look for something helpful. Remembering Alistair shouting something about silver, she grabbed a bottle of colloidal silver from a shelf, and dumped a few ounces onto her spear. She tossed the bottle to Will, and got a good stab in! Will sprayed down his katana, and passed the bottle to James; together, they hacked and smashed, wearing down the wolfman's defenses... then slashing him through the heart, and finishing him off.

Just as the wolfman shrunk back down to dead-human-sized Dr. Miller, Ms. Wright (having heard the commotion) entered the lab. She didn't seem too bothered about the corpse of her former collegue - in fact, she was quite willing to help "sweep it all under the rug", if only they would hand over the hard drives and bottles of serum they found in Dr. Miller's desk. After some thought, they decided they would do just that, and quickly left. Well... almost. James, feeling adventurous, pick-pocketed the hard drives from Wright's pocket, without her noticing a thing.

Back at school, they called up GlenMac, and soon, Dr. LeGrevellec arrived, all too happy to "clean up any mess", including the possibly back-stabbing Ms. Wright... And, for their help in the matter, each student was awarded $500.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Light and Shadows

After the last adventure, there were a few lingering details to go over... killing a man does that, as it turns out. There was an informal hearing with those present and a judge; the judge agrees that Niles Henry was, indeed, a serial killer. Evidence gathered showed that along with Krista Levens and Dawn Ramirez, Niles Henry had kidnapped at least two other girls. He kept a detailed journal, and frequently wrote how he hoped to be found, and relished the thought of a fight to the death. It was obvious that no matter what, Niles Henry would have used lethal force.

After hearing the evidence and testimonies, the judge thanked the group for their quick action, but warned them against future vigilante behavior. "This isn't the first time your names have come up, and while this court finds your actions to be excusable homicide, future courts will view similar action as a pattern vigilantism."

Finally, the judge ordered those of the group not already attending sessions with a psychologist to do so.