Friday night we had a session of the Golden Compass shadake game I'm trying to run. Not sure how well it's going. More preparation (in particular, more 'writing things down' instead of just thinking about them) would be helpful, but is unlikely to actually happen.
Note to self: Remember party-members' names.
So they're on a boat, with a crew who doesn't speak their language, and a guardian who seems like the least pious monk ever, spinning a story about how they were selected to hunt these extradimensional 'spectres' whose touch was worse than death, but who couldn't see or hurt children.
Except that, of course, there weren't any -- the order had succeeded in wiping them out. They did expect more to show up sooner or later, though, so in the meantime they were on a 'training mission' to clear some ghosts out of a bunch of old scottish castles the new director had bought. Non-haunted castles could be resold at a profit, and the order was currently on the verge of bankruptcy due to the completion of their mission and subsequent loss of funding.
Their spectre-hunting equipment -- that supposedly would also work on invisible poultergeists, and which they needed the practice with anyway -- was extremely impractical. It consisted of an Anbaric Spring weighing about 200 pounds, that took about 10 minutes to wind up fully, at which point it would discharge a single jolt along the line that would fry anything, material or im, touching the probe (although the rubber handles would insulate the person actually holding it).
"That's not even portable!"
To prove that it was, Wren ordered them to carry it up and down the length of the boat 10 times. Lissar (a witch) was able to float it on her brookstick, but after sitting and watching most of the other kids not help (Eric helped steady it) she refused to do the last five. So after an aborted attempt between the two foreigners (Caihong and Jana) to just carry it physically (during which it was dropped heavily and Wren, worried that it was damaged, wound it up to test it, then had to discharge it slowly into the boat's hull, making everyones' hair stand on end), Taegan (the tinkerer) disassembled some camping equipment and built a simple cart -- finally deigning to work with something so trivial, since he had no parts for all the more fanciful designs he'd been drawing up the whole time.
So no one had to go to bed without supper. Or, perhaps, everyone did, since they reached their destination around dinnertime.
The castle was obvious, looming all ruined-looking over a tiny fishing village, that didn't even have a proper dock. Wren looked suprised at the crappiness of the town -- the only sign of civilization was a weird, clockwork lighthouse. In particular, there was nothing like an inn or boarding house for them to stay at... and all the villagers did nothing but stare at them suspiciously, obviously a very inhospitable lot. So they'd have to spend the night in their castle. Their *haunted* castle.
They heard a noise while moving through the wreckage-littered courtyard, and Eric, Caihong, and Jana went to investigate. OMG, a giant creature! Shoot it! BANG!
"GRR!" growled the bear as it leapt to try (and fail) to knock the gun out of Eric's hands, "Who gave a kid like you a gun! You'll get yourself killed going and shooting random people with a popgun like that." Caihong could tell that the bear had been hit and wounded slightly.
Anyway, a *talking* bear was not something to be shot out of hand, and his counterattack had been clearly aimed at the gun, so they talked. This was 'his castle', given to him by the villagers, who let him stay there in return for not being hunted. Of course, the party knew that they were the true owners, but they weren't about to try to evict a big scary bear, if they could help it. In return for Lissar's friendship, the bear agreed to let them stay and wander around the castle as long as they needed to finish their mission, which was to get rid of any ghosts.
The inside of the keep was in better repair than the outer wall, but was still pretty old, wrecked, and thoroughly looted. Side rooms on the ground floor were full of old, rotted food and stuff, infested with bugs and rats and spiders -- they made sure to keep their distance.
In the kitchen, though, they found a much more modern-looking door back into the cliffside in which the castle was built. The handle was cold to the touch... and when opened, the freezer beyond was full of carcasses on hooks. Human carcasses.
So they slammed the door and ran back to the main room, screaming in terror.
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