Jean André Bernard (Steven P. Ross) – Unstoppable Cop/Gendarme
Celeste Dubois (Tammy Powers) – Cyberwitch/Fashion Designer
Jacques Dumont (GM/NPC) – Realm Runner/History Professor
April 3rd, 2017
The players create their characters for the Torg Eternity roleplaying game. The players begin with an introduction to the world of the Torg Eternity Roleplaying Game, learn some of the basic mechanics of the game, proceed through the introduction to the game world and the basic Glossary, and partake in several samples of combat that teach them the basic mechanics of the system. And how deadly the combat system is.
April 3rd, 2017
The place: Core Earth. The continent of Europe. The country of France. The city of Orange, some 30 kilometres north of Avignon. The time: the early spring (April 3rd) of the year 2017 AD. The player characters are Jean André Bernard (SteveR), Celeste Dubois (Tammy) and Jacques Dumont (GM/NPC). It is a mundane day of the week, but things are about to change in so many ways – and not for the better.
The adventures begin in the small French city of Orange, some 30 kilometres north of Avignon, France. The mood in Orange is nervous. The skies in the direction of Avignon are dark and stormy. Strange lightning flashes and threatening winds blow through the streets of Orange. The storm looks strong enough to cause problems, but what has really got the people really on edge now was the prophecy of the strange priest who passed through Orange about a month ago. He made wild proclamations about the end of the world, but a lot of it sounded like lunacy: Dragons, demons and nightmares would appear to punish the world for its hubris. Add the other strange occurrences since last night, and well...
Celeste Dubois, a fashion designer from Avignon, and her sister, Francine, are on an outing for a couple of days to Orange to see the sights and spend a bit of time together. Francine decides to head to a small art shop to purchase some painting supplies, and tells her sister that she’ll catch up with her later. They agree to meet for the evening meal at Le Petit Restaurant (which only seats 20); Francine made a reservation for them.
Jean André Bernard, a French gendarme from Rouen, has come with his parents, Henri and Eloise, on a vacation to Orange to see the sights and enjoy some time together. His parents tell him they want to go sightseeing for a bit on their own, but he gets the impression there’s a bit more something else involved in this. Three’s a crowd, his father hints. They’ll see him for dinner at Le Cointreaux later on. Jean is left to gape at them as they move off on their own, leaving him in the town square.
Jacques Dumont, a history professor from Avignon, is visiting Orange with his wife, Cecile, and his 10-year-old son, Dolland. The professor and his wife are trying to reconnect with each other romantically, but Dolland is getting in the way, although they’re having a marvellous time as a family together. In some terrible fashion, a conversation about Dolland’s wardrobe turns into an argument between husband and wife, and Cecile storms off with Dolland, saying she’ll go shopping with the boy since he [Jacques] can’t agree with her about the wardrobe the boy needs. Jacques is left somewhat baffled in the town square.
While the three heroes-to-be wander about the town square for a bit, unsure of what to do, the Maelstrom bridge drops in nearby Avignon, and Core Earth reality is replaced by that of the Cyberpapacy. The ground shudders, and the characters nearly fall over as a wave of panic starts to spread among the inhabitants. Every mobile phone starts functioning again, sort of… the message “Upgrade in Progress… GodNet Installing” appears on every phone. People start murmuring, and then as the phones’ installation of the GodNet completes, one of two new messages appear on the phone… “Remain calm” or
“Emergency town hall happening at the Roman Theatre” appears on the phones of everyone. The player characters attempt to call their loved ones, but receive an apology from the phones saying that the upgrades and access to the network have not been completed yet. Before the characters can react futher, they are stopped by the sight of translucent heralds floating above the streets, looking like semi-transparent blue birds. Trumpets sound as they fly overhead, and repeating a message of peace and salvation being at hand.
Celeste notices large numbers of people starting to head for the old Roman Theatre, but she decides to go and check out the art store where her sister, Francine, went. The art store stands deserted, and she cautiously goes inside. There is a body on the floor, and slowly approaching it, she sees that the body is that of a young man, with slashes along his chest. But it becomes clear to her that’s not what killed him – he died of the slit throat that still oozes blood. She starts to make her way out of the art shoppe, but sees there are now strange, armoured police in the crowds. The armour is unlike any she’s seen before, and the weapons are impossibly advanced. She backs up, taking partial cover at the art store.
Jacques moves off in the direction that his wife, Cecile, took, but realises that he won’t be able to find her or Dolland that way. The chances are good they have headed for the Roman Theatre. As he returns to talk to the two people he’d met in the town square, Celeste and Jean, he notices the Church Police types moving around the area. There are a lot of them. He slowly moves to where he sees Jean watching some of the Church Police harass some people.
Three of the Church Police are harassing an older gentleman, who refuses to go to the Roman theatre. He attacks one of them with his cane, but doesn’t even draw the lasting attention of the streetbeater. Another one takes offense and slugs the oldtimer with his mailed fist, who goes down in a heap. Incensed by this act, Jean lunges for the Church Policeman, but doesn’t harm the man at all. He has his “Moment of Crisis” as he does so, and is momentarily dizzied. The Church streetbeater strikes Jean several punishing blows [dealing him 8 Shock], and the stunned Jean goes down. The Church Police announce that he’s under arrest, and will be taken for “upgrading”.
Celeste and Jacques are taken aback by what has happened, but the two are diverted by the attention of an old man, a seeming priest, and with shock both recognize him as the priest who came to town with his grave prophecies from his picture in the Avignon newspapers. He introduces himself as Father Anonyme, and starts to lead them down an alley, but then realizes “you are both not yet ready for the test ahead” [they’re not Storm Knights yet]. He tells them that their loved ones are likely at the Roman theatre, and that is where they should go look for them, although their new friend is also in grave peril as well.
Upon reaching the Roman theatre, Celeste and Jacques find themselves at an Assembly where a priest, his eyes covered with a metal visor, wearing rich black and red robes, and carrying a long staff criss-crossed by wires and circuitry, is speaking to those assembled. He preaches the glory of Pope Jean Malraux, the benefits of the arrival of the Cyberpapacy, and the threat represented by demons and witches. When a young woman is accused of being a witch, riots break out as some demand her immediate execution while others declare their innocence. The Church Police wade into the scene, and a full-fledged action to quell the riots erupt. Realizing that their loved ones aren’t present, Celeste and Jacques try to leave but find themselves facing several Church Police. In a fit of rage about his missing wife and child, Jacques attacks one of them bare-handed, and triggers his “Moment of Crisis”. Celeste fights off her own foe, and also triggers her “Moment of Crisis”, preferring to keep the Church Policeman off balance with her witty barbs. The two attempt to use the weapons of the Church Police streetbeaters (they later learn these are called GodMeeters), but are unable to do so for some reason. They discard the weapons, as they are seemingly useless.
Before they can get into more trouble, Father Anonyme beckons them away from the Roman theatre, and leads them down an alley near the town square, and through an opening into a small coin-du-rue house. On the ground floor, he offers them tea or coffee, and then gets down to business. He explains that he comes from Magna Verita, the home “cosm” of the Cyberpapacy, and that while he served as a Proclaimer for the Cyberpapacy for some years, he has come to realize that the Cyberpope is a bringer of destruction and that Core Earth (as he calls it) is closer to God than his own home. He explains a little about reality to the now called Storm Knights, and offers them some weaponry that they can use - a GodMeeter that has been hacked so that anyone can use it (Celeste takes that), a Power Dagger (that Jacques takes), and several of the Church Police riot sticks (Celeste and Jacques take one each). He tells them of the the “upgrades” being given at the Central Hospital, but that others are sent for “confession” to Avignon via train. The two decide to go to the hospital, as it’s the logical place to start their search for their loved ones.
The trip to the Clinique d’Orange Hospital is relatively easy, and they see what appears to be moving gargoyle of some sort, red scanning beams emitted from its eyes, on the roof as well as lots of Church Police and a hover tank (!!) of some sort in the hospital parking lot. Joining the crowds of civilians heading inside, they keep their weapons concealed and (seem to) pass the gargoyle’s scan test outside. The hospital has changed, and the new technologies of the Cyberpapacy can be seen everywhere. Inside, one of the nuns in blue habits asks if she can be of assistance; when they say they’re looking for a friend of theirs, she allows them to access the nearest computer terminal, and turns away to help other people. Jacques’s computer skills prove useful, and they learn that his wife, Cecile, is in Room B2 while Jean Andre Bernard is in Room B5. Both are scheduled momentarily for “upgrades”. Sneaking into a changing room, the two don Orderly robes over their own, and then make their way relatively easily to where the two prisoners are scheduled to be upgraded. Jacques goes to rescue his wife, while Celeste goes to rescue Jean Andre Bernard.
The two face opposition in the form of a Church streetbeater and three Orderlies for Celeste, and three Orderlies for Jacques as he attempts to save Cecile. The fighting is somewhat brutal, with Celeste’s use of the hacked GodMeeter triggering the alarms in the building. Victorious, the two Storm Knights free Cecile and Jean, and head down one of the corridors looking for the way out. Worriedly, Cecile tells Jacques that Dolland has been sent to Avignon for “confession” (whatever that means). As the four race down a corridor, the ground shakes, and he characters fall to the ground. The wall at one end of the hallway explodes inward, and the ceiling at the other end of the hallway collapses in ruin, trapping the player characters, as they see the baleful, red eyes of the cybergoyle staring at them malevolently from the massive hole in the corridor wall….
Sunday afternoon's opening game session of the Torg Eternity campaign was a lot of fun, and I've not enjoyed myself gaming this last little while so much as I have these two sessions on my Friday and Sunday gaming groups. I had a good time of it, though my voice started to wear out and the coughing increased by the start of the last hour of the session. The players seemed to enjoy themselves, though things went a bit off the rails when SteveR's character, Jean, got captured as the result of a roll of "1" during the first attack against the Church Police streetbeaters in the town square. I was able to quickly adjust for that, and it turned out to be a better story as a result. I was glad to actually start the campaign, and gave the two players a bit of the feel and flavour for the game during the course of play, so that was enjoyable as well.
I'm quite looking forward to running the next session of the Sunday Torg Eternity campaign, and can't wait! :)