"Jana Kraczmir"/Janet Knosatin (Donna) - Television Journalist
Matthew Wilkins (DavidW) - Farmer
Wendy Davis (Kendall) - University Student
Alanna Blackwater (Crystal) - Casino Worker, Fortuneteller
April 12th, 2014 (Saturday)
The morning of the Saturday dawns bright and cold, and the player envoys set off on their drive to Stittsville. Alanna Blackwater is in a somewhat distant mood, and the others try to cheer her up somewhat, but as the day warms up during the relatively short drive to the small community, Alanna becomes her usual self once more. The characters talk about how they're going to approach the case, and make a few decisions.
In the privacy of the SUV, Janet Knosatin tells the others more of what her OPD contact told her. While James Harman died of cardiac arrest brought on by high levels of stress, the slash marks found on his body were post-mortem, and appear to have been by a relatively small animal, possibly foxes or wolves. Furthermore, the amount of blood found on the scene was far less than expected. She says that he was found in the kitchen of the farmhouse, and there was no evidence that he had been moved. Taking part in the discussion, Alanna says that it's interesting that the strange incidents, accidents, and deaths at the Orbach farm didn't start until a couple of years after the death of Henry Orbach; from what she knows, hauntings (if that's what this is) usually begin relatively quickly after the death of whoever is perpetrating whatever's going on at the abandoned farmhouse. Janet says that means that something other than what they've been expecting may be going on at the Orbach farm. Matthew Wilkins says that perhaps the key is the farm itself, as there's some powerful force of the Unknown at work there, obviously.
The player characters arrive in Stittsville around 9:30 am, and find the place to be exactly the sleepy little community that they were expecting. Wendy Davis admits that she's bored, and was hoping for something more exciting. Alanna says that in her experience with SAVE so far, "exciting" may still be in their future - if they're unlucky. The player characters decide to split up and see what they can learn. Wendy says that she'll go pay a visit to the local Stittsville library, and see what else she can learn. Matthew tells the others that he'll go to the local branch of the Ontario Farmers Association (OFA) and see what he can learn there. Janet decides to accompany Matthew, much to his delight, while Alanna decides to go with Wendy to the library.
At the Ontario Farmers Association (OFA) offices, Matthew and Janet receive a somewhat hostile reception but that changes when he reveals his farmer origins in Manotick. Between his knowledge of agriculture and Janet's journalism skill and charm, the two are able to learn a good deal. The Orbach farm is located some 25 kms outside of Stittsville on the northwest side, and there are several adjacent farms but nothing really unusual about them (in comparison). The two immediately adjacent farms are the Horvath farm and the Coterill farm, both of which remain in business today. One of the staff, Helen Morgan, mentions that she saw Abraham Coterill in town this morning; he might be over at the local coffee shoppe, Jackson's, or may have returned to the farm, she's not sure. Janet decides to head over to the coffee shoppe to see if she can find him, and after getting a description from Helen Morgan, she heads out. Matthew learns several more stories about the Orbach farm and some of the doings there, but more importantly, he is able to acquire a printout of an old blueprint, circa 1958, of the Orbach farm. He thanks Helen Morgan for this, and sits down to study the layout of the farm and its outbuildings.
At the small Stittsville Public Library, Wendy and Alanna are able to sit down and go over some of the archives about the Orbach farm, and can learn more about the death of Henry Orbach. Old newspaper reports indicate that his death was ruled self-defense on his wife, Millie's, part on August 22nd, 1952, and that the "incidents" around the farm did not begin until early January, 1953, with Millie and farmhands claiming that strange things happened around the farmhouse and the outlying buildings (slamming of doors, moving of furniture and items, smashing of items, and spooking of the animals). The first death occurred in May of 1955, with farmhand Bob McCollum found dead in the main barn of the Orbach farm, impaled with three pitchforks. They are able to learn more about the history of the farm since that time, up until the events of the death of James Harman, but are no wiser as to what might be causing the events. Alanna tells her there is a pattern of sorts here - the accidents ceased and most of the events since that time have resulted in deaths.
Janet makes her way to Jackson's coffee shoppe, and is able to spot Abraham Coterill drinking coffee at one of the tables. She asks if she can join him, seeing as the place is full, and the two strike up a conversation. The two talk, and Abe (as he asks the pretty young woman to call him) realises she's from out of town, but the two have a fascinating discussion about life in smaller towns and communities versus the big city. When he starts to talk about life on a farm, she mentions the Orbach farm. Abe becomes a bit quieter, but eventually tells her what he knows of the death of James Harman. He says that he doesn't believe Harman was killed by wild animals, as while the Orbach farmland does have more than its share of foxes, wolves, and coyotes (it's abandoned, right?), James Harman knew something about these parts and would never have endangered the lives of the Riders, the folks who were planning to buy the place. She learns that the Riders have gone back to Ottawa proper for now, and they're looking into other farms for sale in the area. Janet thanks him for his time, and heads out to rendezvous with the rest of the player characters.
Back at the SUV, the player characters meet up and compare notes on what they've learned. Alanna tells the others that, based on what they've found out, they're dealing with some sort of ghost or haunting spirit. The others question this, notably Wendy, who wants to be sure of what they're dealing with before they go to the Orbach farm. Matthew points out that they can never be certain of what the Unknown will throw at them, but says that he thinks Alanna's right - some sort of ghost. Alanna says that her occult knowledge gleaned from SAVE studies tells her, based on what they have learned of the creature and the events at the Orbach farm that it may well be a form of ghost called a spectral remnant, and that they can be quite powerful. Janet asks if she should use her Art to see what she can learn, but Matthew says it could be dangerous; she tells them "Of course it's dangerous, but this is what those of us with the Art are trained to do." The other three discuss matters, Alanna telling the others that she has had no premonitions about Janet at all. Matthew gives her a look that says, "What's the scoop here?" but she merely shakes her head. They agree that Janet should attempt her Art, but that she's to be careful.
Last night's game session of the Wednesday night Chill 3rd Edition campaign was a rather good one, and was a perfect example of the investigative strengths of the current Chill 3rd Edition mechanics. The session was a good example of the players working together, splitting up into two small teams to get things done, and then fitting evidence and what they now know into a pattern of sorts. The four players had a good time of it this session, worked well together, and Kendall told me that this is the sort of cooperative game session that she really enjoys.
Overall, a good night of gaming and I can't wait to run the next Wednesday night session of the Chill 3rd Edition campaign. Look forward to seeing how the player characters progress things.