Tephra Falls: Children of Ash

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Tephra Falls: Children of Ash

Postby zircher » Mon Feb 10, 2014 11:10 pm

The year is 2035. Fifteen years ago, the Yellowstone super-volcano exploded. No warning, no tremors, over a million people were killed in the blast and pyroclastic surge that followed. The initial ash fall stretched as far east as New York and as far south as Texas. A vast expanse of North America was rendered uninhabitable. But, it was the volcanic winter, a new mini ice age that killed billions of people in the following decade. The thing that the scientists couldn't predict was that Yellowstone didn't stop after it threw over 250 cubic miles of magma into the air. It is still a volcanically active no-fly zone.

The new ice age forced the greatest migration of people and animals ever recorded. Cities not buried under ash were buried under snow and ice. The sea level of the oceans has gradually been receding rendering old ports high and dry. Untold millions of people now live on anything that floats. The United Armed Forces (the remainder of the old US military) converted their biggest ships into floating cities, the nuclear powered heart of a lashed together migrant fleet that lives as best that it can off the sea.

Tephra Falls is essentially a solo game based on Rory's Story Cubes, the Mythic Game Master Emulator, and Fate Accelerated Edition. While I have some story arcs that I want to explore and dark secrets to reveal, the majority of the world is going to be built on the fly. A some point, I hope that there will be enough interest for other people to want to join in and run their own concurrent solo game in the setting. So, this 'game' may evolve into a more traditional PbP game, perhaps it will take a MSPaint Adventure turn, or it might remain my own solo storytelling playground. It's an experiment, which is part of the fun.

There will be rules along the way. The first rule is that all game mechanics text and Out of Character chat, such as this introduction must be in spoiler tags. Ideally, this thread should read as one long continuous thread jumping from one scene/session to the next.

When/if people want to join in, the minimum game requirement will be FAE (link) which is a pay-what-you-like (link) game. While I plan to use Story Cubes (link) and Mythic GME (link) for my event randomizers, you're free to use your own such as whimsy desks, tarot cards, magic eight-balls, Instant Game, etc.

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Re: Tephra Falls: Children of Ash

Postby zircher » Mon Feb 10, 2014 11:12 pm

Kari's Story: scene 1, intro teaser Story Cubes: parachute and a clock face

A UAF snow cat braves the blizzard-like conditions, it's cargo bed contains something big but covered with a mottled grey tarp. In the middle of a trackless snowfield, it grinds to a halt, snow protesting as it slightly settles. The crew gets out and with military determination, they being their work. Their words are carried away in the wind as the tarp is ripped out of their hands by a gust of frigid air. The cargo is revealed as the slate gray barrel and mechanism of a howitzer. Working against the weather, the soldiers set up the artillery piece, pointing it a high angle into the angry gray clouds. The weapon must be pre-loaded, because they retreat to the meager comfort of the snow cat's cabin.

The lieutenant triggers the mike, "Phoenix-Actual, the package is ready. Over." A woman's voice crackles over the speakers, "Deploy the package and good luck." The LT flips the safety cover on a toggle switch with a gloved hand, "3... 2... 1... FIRE!" The cabin rattles and rocks from the howitzer blast. In a muffled voice as everyone's ears are ringing, the lieutenant is shouting "GO! GO! GO!" The driver has already gunned the engine and the snow cat roars to life throwing a rooster tail of snow. As the camera pans back, we see the snow cat racing by the snow covered wreckage of a vehicle just like it.

Cut to a chase camera of the missile in flight. As the white body of the shell hits the cloud layer, recessed fins in the nose and tail snap out and stabilize the missile. This cloud is not white and fluffy, it is angry and choked with soot. The projectile is bounced around and the fins twitch to correct its flight. As it begins to curve down, the missile breaks through the cloud layer and reveals a hellish landscape of ash and lava flows. As the missile nears a black ridge of volcanic rock, the tail end of the projectile breaks free and a parachute snaps open to brake its momentum.

Cut to a darkened control room. The main screen, larger than the rest, is showing live footage from the missile's nose. Telemetry data scrolls by on the control stations to each side. The picture quality is degraded, but the same black ridge is visible. In the upper left corner of the main screen is a digital clock rapidly counting fractions of a second. The shell clears the ridge revealing large pools of lava even some active geysers of molten rock. Heat waves distort everything.

A man's voice shouts from off screen, "There, to the left!"

The camera wildly pans and zooms in on something made of chrome and vaguely humanoid wading through the lava. The thing waves a hand at the camera, there is a flash of light, and the screen goes blank and displays, "Signal lost."

Also off screen, a woman's voice (the same one as heard in the snow cat) commands, "Rewind it to 3 point 2."

The main screen runs the feed backwards, the clock stopping at 3.2 seconds into the video. The thing is roughly humanoid and clearly mechanical even though it is distorted by the intense heat. It is seemingly immune to the hostile environment, caught in a freeze frame at it walks through a pool of lava.

"Gotcha."

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Re: Tephra Falls: Children of Ash

Postby zircher » Tue Feb 11, 2014 1:35 am

Kari's Story: scene 2, Raygun City Story Cubes: happy face and a sheep

Picture perfect green hills roll on by. The sky is a vibrant shade of blue with a few puffy clouds to provide a little shade. Down below, perfect white sheep idly graze on the grass. Zoom up close, Kari is smiling and dancing in the grass. Her clean blonde hair flows behind her and over her white blouse and black smock. Some oddly familiar but muted orchestral music plays in the background. She spins around giggling, distant majestic mountains make the scene even more familiar.

With a quick bow to no one, Kari flops down next to a sheep and impulsively gives it a hug. The sheep considers this for second, continues chewing its grass, and then says in her father's voice, "Wake up, sunshine. We're heading out."

Kari wakes up with a jolt, banging her head on the bunk above her. She's holding a pillow that has seen better days in the same position as the sheep she was hugging. Blinking her eyes, she see's that she is still in the same dingy starboard cabin that has been her home for most of her life.

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Re: Tephra Falls: Children of Ash

Postby zircher » Tue Feb 11, 2014 10:09 am

Kari's Story: scene 3, Raygun City Story Cubes: a key hole and a tall building

Is Kevin in his military dress uniform or his service uniform? Chaos Factor 5 (normal), Likelihood 50/50, GME 58 - No.

Kevin Ingle leans in through the hatch still in his demin blue service uniform, engineer's badge clearly visible. With one finger he pushes up his black framed glasses. "Kari, I just got my orders. We're moving out." Kari groans, "Oh man, did you loose a bet or something?" Kevin grins, "Not this time. It looks like I've been re-assigned. Damned strange, it doesn't say where."

Does Kari have time to say good-bye to her friends? Chaos Factor 5 (normal), Likelihood 50/50, GME 11 - Yes, NPC action (Trust - Pain).

Kevin changes the topic, "We're shipping out today. Gather your stuff and get cleaned up, you've got a few hours to say any good-byes." Before Kari can protest, her dad heads out, "Cya here at 1300 hours."

Kari rolled out of her bunk scarcely believing what she had heard. She ran through the short conversation as she hit the communal showers. It didn't make any sense. What was so urgent that they needed her dad, but the UAF still went to the trouble of making her come along. It sounded permanent. It's not that she had anything keeping her here, Ronald Reagon City was only a notch up from the shanty fleet that was moored to the sides of the old aircraft carrier. But, it was still her home and she had crawled though its guts from stem to stern.

Back at her cabin, she got ready. Not that Kari had a lot of packing to do, all of her life could fit into one of the over-sized black backpacks that her dad had. She reached under her bunk and pulled out a small lock box. The key hole was scratched from years of use. Kari pulled a thin cord from around her and took out the tarnished key.

Does the locker contain anything strange? Chaos Factor 5 (normal), Unlikely, GME 61 - No.

It didn't contain much, but they were valuable to her; a valentine from Tad - her first crush, Kari's UAF dependent ID card - she looked positively childish in that photo anf not the lean 14 year old that she was growing in to, some faded ribbons, and the little bit of costume jewelry that she claimed as her own. There were also some sketches of tattoos that she wanted if her dad ever let her get inked. Beneath it all was a locket, the silver plating worn thin. She had the contents memorized, but she opened it anyway. One side contained an empty SD card slot and the ironic message of 'Never forget.' The other held a tiny photo of a young couple; her parents posing on the observation deck of some long abandoned skyscraper. Her dad said that she was the spitting image of her mom and each year she got closer to agreeing with him.

Kari sighed, returned the locket to the box, and stuffed it in the backpack. It's not that her mother was dead or anything, but her job kept her very busy and far from Reagon City. Video calls were rare and actual visits few and far between. Kari never felt like she was unloved, just that after Yellowstone blew up, all the rules changed.

The tap on the cabin door jarred her out of her reminiscing.

There's trouble coming and it's a setup by professionals. Overcome sneaky agents at +2, they roll +-+0 for a +3, Kari rolls +--- for a total of zero. Kari moves to invoke "I've got a feeling." for a re-roll and the GM offers a fate point for "Curious about everything."

She opens the hatch expecting one of her friends and is surprised to see a genuine government man in a crisp black suit and tie. "Kari Ingle." It wasn't a question. The suit hold out his hand as if the handshake was also required. "Agent Harvester." Irresistibly curious, shakes the agent's hand when a second agent reaches out from the side and slaps a metallic flex band around Kari's right wrist. Kari tries to pull away, but Harvester's hand is like a vice. The metal band beeps and locks in place. Kari jerks again and her hand comes free as she smacks her elbow into the metal hatch. "Ow! Damn it! What was that for?" Agent Harvester rumbles an apology, "Sorry miss. That was for your own protection and safety. Agent Sargent was only doing his job." Sargent respectfully nods but doesn't say anything.

Kari begins picking at the wide bracelet curled around her wrist. Agent Sargent offers in a surprisingly smooth voice, "It's a electromagnetic sealed tracking beacon and health monitor. The titanium alloy is remarkably durable and an order of magnitude tougher than your wrist. Unless you have the key code, it's not going anywhere."

Add the temporary aspect of "bagged and tagged".

Agent Harvester leans slightly into the room. "Would you like help with your luggage?"

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Re: Tephra Falls: Children of Ash

Postby zircher » Tue Feb 11, 2014 11:22 pm

Kari's Story: scene 4, Raygun City Story Cubes: a fish and a question mark

Agent Harvester's offer barely registers with Kari, "For real? Just like that. You slap a marker on me and then try to make nice?" Harvester grins, "Just following orders, we wouldn't be standing here if we didn't have the full cooperation of the Admiral and the Mayor. The offer still stands since we'll be heading back to the transport soon."

Kari rubs her eyes and sighs, "I suppose. I've got people to see."

Did I forget to mention that Caution is her dump stat? :^)
Does Agent Sargent try to follow her? Chaos Factor 5 (normal), Unlikely, GME 18 - Yes.

As she slides past Agent Havester to get to the ladder*, Agent Sargent moves to follow. "Oh no you don't.", as she glares at him. "I've just had my life flipped upside down and I need to say some good-byes. I don't need you shadowing me and making things even more awkward." Kari holds up her wrist, but the titanium band does not slip. "You know exactly where I'll be."

*In naval parlance, all stairs (which are usually narrow and very steep) are called ladders.
Kari attacks with clever to overcome Sargent's desire to shadow her. She rolls ---0, even with +2 for clever and +2 for bagged and tagged, the Agent still insists on following.

Agent Sargent frowns, "This rat trap is still dangerous and we're charged with your safety." Kari's temper spikes, "This 'rat trap' is my home! Just try and keep up, old man." And with that, she jump/slides down the ladder as slick as an eel. Sargent looks back to Harvester for back up, but the older man just shrugs and reaches in to the cabin to fetch Kari's backpack. Sargent hesitates long enough to hear Kari's shoes slap the deck below and he takes off in pursuit.

Time for some character stats:
Name: Kari Ingle
High Concept: Military brat
Trouble: Curious about everything
Aspects: I've got a feeling - her hunches are usually right, but her reliance on them sometimes bites back.
Accomplished liar - she's got people skills, but boredom and cleverness has turned that into a less than honorable talent.
Bilge Rat, she knows the layout of Ronald Reagon City (formerly the USS Ronald Reagon CVN 76) like the back of her hand and she can shimmy and crawl into spaces most adults can't reach. The down side is that it doesn't take her long to get covered in dust and grime.

Description: Kari is a 14 year Caucasian girl with long blond hair usually tied back in a pony tail to keep it out of the way. Her clothes typically consists of assorted t-shirts, a bra that she may or may not grow in to, khaki shorts, and third or fourth hand running shoes.

Approaches: quick +3, clever and sneaky +2, forceful and flashy +1, cautious +0
Stunts: Because I have a feeling, once per session I can make a correct guess regardless of the facts.
Stress: [ ][ ][ ]
Refresh: 3

Temporary Aspect: bagged and tagged (tracking bracelet)

I've like to see Agents Harvester and Sargent as re-occurring NPCs. So let's write him up.

Name: Agent Sargent
High Concept: Government spook
Trouble: Feels he's got to prove himself
Aspects: By the book - not always flexible as Harvester, Sargent draws strength and conviction from doing things by the book.
Placed first in marksmanship - he's got skills when it comes to shooting anything, but he too often uses it as a crutch to intimidate people.

Description: Sargent is a pale and soft spoken 20 something with red hair and green eyes. He's normally seen wearing a black business suit. The suit is a little lose on him for added flexibility and so that he has easy access to his pistol in the shoulder holster.

Approaches: quick +3, cautious and sneaky +2, forceful and clever +1, flashy +0
Stunts: Because I am a quick draw, once per session I add +2 to quick to create an advantage to intimidate someone.
Stress: [ ][ ][ ]
Refresh: 3


The older Harvester chuckles to himself as the 20 something Sargent heads down the steep stairs. "Old man... kids are growing up too fast." He frowns a bit as he hefts the backpack, it's disappointingly light.

In FAE, a chase is a type of contest where one or more characters have multiple exchanges and roll for victory on each. The one with the most victory points at the end wins. Both Kari and Agent Sargent have a quickness of +3, so you can imagine that it will be a flat out run. For this chase, I want three quick exchanges.

To reduce clutter, I'll roll the numbers up first and narrate the results.
Round one: Sargent gets a +3 and Kari gets a +5, let's give her a +1 for the head start and say she wins with style, call it Vanished without a trace.
Round two: Sargent gets a +4 even with the -2 for vanished, Kari only gets a +2.
Round three: Sargent scores a +5 and Kari gets only +2. She decides to spend two fate points on bilge rate and I've got a feeling to bring herself up to +6 and win the contest.


Kari grabs the rail at the end and whips around in a fast 180 degree and catapults away. Agent Sargent hits the bottom of the treacherous stairs and is surprised to find a completely empty corridor. He's about to give up when he hears someone angrily shouting, "Watch where you're going!" Sargent puts on a burst of speed and rounds the corner to see a busy corridor. While people don't make way for a skinny kid, they positively flatten against the bulkheads as the Agent runs through and gains ground on Kari. With the Agent on her heels, she ducks into a mechanical and vaults steam and water lines like a gazelle. While Sargent is navigating the pipes, Kari hits the fantail. Instead of hitting the gangplank down to Raygun City (the mass of ships and barges lashed together that trail the old aircraft carrier), she follows a hunch and takes a right and finds the last available zip-line heading down. She smiles and waves as Agent Sargent looks on from the aft railing.

Does Agent Harvester know more than he lets on? CF 5, Likely. GME 71 - Yes.

Sargent pulls out a cell phone with an extra long antenna and hits a button. He catches his breath and speaks, "Damn, she's fast. She ditched me at the back of the boat." Agent Harvester's voice comes through the phone, "She's headed for the fish market. Cut the poor kid some slack and let her think that she has still has a choice in her life." Agent Sargent opens his mouth to ask a question, but stops when he realizes he doesn't want to know the answer. "Right, I'll meet you back at the transport."

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Re: Tephra Falls: Children of Ash

Postby zircher » Wed Feb 12, 2014 4:22 pm

Kari's Story: scene 5, Raygun City Story Cubes: a credit card and a scarab

Kari enjoyed her small victory against the government man as she slid down the cable to Raygun City, the lower half of Ronald Reagon City. There was always a haze and general funk to Raygun City caused by cooking fires, bilge water, floating refuse, and not enough fresh water to go around. Still, it was alive with people and wide open compared to the guts of the big ship. The zip lines ended at a big flat bed barge that was large enough to support the weight of the cables. Being one of the few locations where there was space to walk around, the barges formed the foundation for a local market and served as the crossroads for catwalks, small docks, or mooring point for other boats.

The market teemed with people shopping, eating, shooting the breeze, or trying to sell you something of dubious value. Most of the stalls sported a large umbrella or scavenged awnings and tarps to keep the sun and the weather at bay.

Is there anything keeping Kari from reaching her destination? CF 5, 50/50, GME - 62, No.

Kari weaves through the crowd with as much grace as possible and manages to avoid all the pick pockets, perverts, and peddlers along the way. It doesn'take her long to reach the fish market and Verde's booth. She hops up on one of the duct taped bar stools that are bolted to the front. "Hoy! What does a woman have to do to get fed around here?" The tall black woman bent over the sizzling grill turns around smiling, "Kari! Good to see you. How is the day treating you?" Kari wrinkles her brow, "Not so good Miss V. Is Tad around?" Verde straightens up her apron, "I've sent him out for errands. He should be back in a few." Verde gives Kari a looking over and decides, "Girl, you need to feed whatever is eating at you." That gets a smirk out of Kari and she points out a stick with grilled fish chunks and crunchy seaweed. As Verde hands it over, Kari plunks down a fiver*.

*After the disaster, the American currency tanked adding more chaos. While it has slowly regained some of its value, the UAF navy needed a more immediate solution. So, the machine shops of the various carriers started stamping out chits to suppliment the barter system. After all, they were the only ones with the tools to make them. Roughly one chit is a meal in value. Throwing down a five chit token for a fish kebob is spending way too much.

"Hey hey, your credit is good here." Kari nodded, "I know, but I need to pay up." Verde arched an eyebrow, waiting for the rest of the story to drop. "It's strange.", she said between bites. "My dad got some orders to move off ship. Like today. And, I guess I'm included." Verde gives a sympathetic nod and seems to notice the titanium bracelet for first time, "I see. Well, you best finish that stick. I can see Tad heading this way."

Kari whirls, the old bar stool squeaking in protest, fish kebob forgotten.

Tad is making his way through the crowd with a red plastic bin half filled with fish. Maybe a little older than Kari, he's got a slim but muscular build from hauling goods all around Raygun City. He's got a slightly darker complexion than Verde, but then he spends a lot more time out in the sun. A scarab tattoo adorns his left bicep, clearly seen since he's wearing a sleeveless t-shirt.

"Kari, looking good." He sets the fish down behind the counter, "I'd give you a hug, but I smell like sweaty fish." Kari begins, but falters, "I... I got..."

Does Tad notices the tracer bracelet? CF 5, 50/50, GME - 98, Exceptional No.
Does Verde clue him in? CF 5, Unlikely, GME - 65, No.

Verde chips in to give Kari some time, "I'll take the fish over to the edge and clean them." "Sure, mom. I'll mind the store."

Tad then stretches to work a kink in his back. Kari seizes the moment to jump off the stool and gives Tad a full on hug and buries her face in his neck. A surprised Tad gently returns the hug, "Hey, I miss you too." Kari squeezes tighter, "I want to remember what you smell like." Cluelessly, Tad replies, "I didn't know fish and sweat had this effect on you." Kari continues talking into his shoulder, "You're an idiot, but I can live with that."

Tad gingerly pries her loose so he can talk to her face to face when his hand closes around the bracelet. "Oh shit, did you get busted for sneaking into the reactor again?" Kari shakes her head in the negative, "No, but it has been a strange shit kind of day. My dad got some orders. He's shipping out and I have to go." "Oh, how long will you be ga..." Kari stops Tad with a long desperate kiss. When they break, Tad breathlessly finishes, "...gone." Kari puts a finger to Tad's lips, "This isn't a temporary duty. I have no idea how long I'll be gone, but I wanted you to know how I really feel." She gives Tad a more gentle hug and sits there silently until she has to go.

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Re: Tephra Falls: Children of Ash

Postby zircher » Thu Feb 13, 2014 11:16 pm

Kari's Story: scene 6, Raygun City Story Cubes: a directional arrow and a clock face

Time passes too fast and Kari eventually makes her way back to the cabin. Kevin has a duffel bag slung over his shoulder when he notices Kari's down turned face. Gingerly, he lifts up her face by the chin, "Angel, I know this seems like a raw deal, but it isn't the end of the world." Kari smiles, but her puffy eyes betray her sadness, "You know, I never thought I'd miss this tin can of a room." Kevin offers an ironic chuckle.

Does he notice the bracelet? CF 5, 50/50, GME - 48, Yes.
Does he freak out about it? CF 5, Unlikely, GME - 28, Yes.

Kevin tilts his head and looks at the tracking bracelet. "What the hell? ... Shit! We need to get that off of you! ... Damn, they're all going to think that you're a criminal." Kevin starts to drag her down to engineering. Kari tries to interrupt, "Dad." Kari's father continues to fret, "Jeez, did you buy that down at the market? These things have like a one thousand byte encryption key. I bet the idiots didn't sell it with the crypto-key, did they?" Kari raises her voice and digs in her heels, "Dad! I didn't buy it. Some suits from the UA* put it on me." "What?", says Kevin as he almost runs into the frame of the hatch. Kari continues, "After you left, some G-men in suits stopped on by and slapped that on me. They said it was for my safety." Kevin comes to a stop, "You don't say, that's odd. Well, I guess they don't want you getting lost during the move."

* UA is short for United America, the official 'occupation' government when Mexico merged with America and Canada to create a new country after the exodus. The UAF, United Armed Forces, is one of the departments that grew out of the creation of the UA.

Kevin scratches his head, "Yeah, that might explain the hush-hush nature of my orders. The spooks probably need some kind of engineering support." As the two leave their cabin for the last time, Kari is surprised to see that they are taking the ladder up. "Dad?" Kevin smiles, "You're in for a treat. We're leaving the old girl in style."

It takes a few more decks, but the pair make it up to the flight deck. Well, it was at one time. Now it is a maze of cargo containers converted into housing. The containers are held down with steel cable and sometimes stacked up to three high. Each one customized by their occupants. They move aft, they clear the last corner and see Reagon Field, the only open space left on the deck. Parked in the middle of the painted lines for various sports sits the awkward shape of a V-22 Osprey in navy gray. Kari picks her jaw off the deck, "Woah."

Standing next to the plane are Agents Harvester and Sargent who are chatting with the crew as the last of the supplies get loaded. Sargent points at Kevin and Kari and Agent Harvester walks on over smiling. He shakes Kevin's hand, "Petty Officer Ingle, I'm glad you could make it on such short notice." He nods to Kari, "If Miss Ingle has not told you, I'm Agent Harvester and over there is my associate, Agent Sargent. If you hand your bag over to the crew chief, he'll get that stowed and we can get ready for take off."

Any problem with take off? CF 5, Very unlikely, GME - 87, Exceptional No.

The interior of an Osprey is actually pretty tight, about five and half feet tall and wide. The men have to duck to avoid hitting all the exposed cables, fuel, and hydraulic lines. Once settled in the fold down chairs, the crew chief starts handing out an odd device that is part helmet, part ear protector, and part goggles. He helps to fit one on Kari, "It's called a cranial. Sorry, we don't have any in pink." Kari rolls her eyes, but even the Agents have to wear the goofy thing.

With practiced efficiency, the crew goes through their checklist. Kevin points out a headphone jack next to Kari and she sees that she can plug the cranial straight into it. Instantly, the crew's conversation become much easier to follow. Most of it is techno-gibberish to her, but she does pick out a few things. The V-22 is referred to several times as 'priority flight' and that all nearby air traffic is diverted.

The auxiliary power kicks in, the engines spin up and roar, and the only indication that they're even airborne is a gentle bobble and change in engine pitch. Soon Kari is looking down on the carrier and can see the old lines of the original runways. As they fly over them, they're pointing North.
Last edited by zircher on Sun Feb 16, 2014 8:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Tephra Falls: Children of Ash

Postby zircher » Sat Feb 15, 2014 3:08 am

Kari's Story: scene 7, inflight movie Story Cubes: a foot print and a plane (well that one is easy)

The Osprey lifts smoothly, gains altitude, and as it clears the carrier it transitions to flight mode. There's a change in sound when the craft goes from fighting gravity to letting the wings do the lifting. Kari tries to look back at the only home she knew, but she can't see behind them. It's almost like the plane itself was saying that there is no looking back.

After a few minutes, the pilot activates the intercom and addresses the passengers in a Texan drawl, "Hello, this is your captain speaking. Welcome to flight zero to parts north of here. This is a non-stop flight unless we need to stop for directions. The inflight movie will be, Looking at the Person Across From You, playing time is three hours. If you have any detailed questions, feel free to ask your Crew Chief, Sgt. Lawson. He'll roll his eyes and try to be helpful."

Kari looked over to the pilot and back to her Dad. She didn't say anything, but the look of confusion on her face was easy to read past the goggles. Kevin smiled, "Welcome to the friendly skies."

It doesn't take long for the plane to cross the gulf waters and hit the coast, even with a receding coast line, Houston is still a major port. It's urban sprawl extends from horizon to horizon. There are still bits of green here and there, but the blight of too many people is visible even from this height. The Osprey continues north, the city giving way to country only to turn back into a city as the Dallas/Fort Worth metro area comes into view.

Does the V22 continue flying North or land here? CF 5, 50/50, GME 54 - No.

There is no discernible line, but after 20-30 minutes the countryside takes on a grayish pall of volcanic ash. Shortly after that, they hit the snow line and even though it is spring. Still, they press on to the northwest. Agent Harvester nods to the crew chief and Lawson heads to the back of the plane. From a couple of crates he pulls out some winter long coats.

Agent Harvester comments, "Sorry, we couldn't tell you where we were heading and have you dress appropriately. It would have been obvious as hell if you were carrying parkas in the Gulf of Mexico." Kevin nods, "Makes sense." Just then, the pilot calls back to the passengers, "Agents, you might want to take a look at this." Harvester unbuckles and moves to the cockpit. Down below, in the snow covered wasteland, they can see foot steps. Based on the frozen cars along the highway, they're giant footprints.
Last edited by zircher on Tue Feb 18, 2014 3:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Tephra Falls: Children of Ash

Postby zircher » Mon Feb 17, 2014 1:14 am

Kari's Story: scene 8, flight delayed Story Cubes: a cell phone and a castle tower

Is the plane in danger? CF 6, Somewhat, GME 22, Yes, NPC action (Inquire - Suffering)

We'll roll out a little game text here. Agent Harvester tries to create an advantage 'red alert'. The unknown is attacking and the pilot is defending by taking evasive action. Round one: AH, -+++ = +4 success. Unknown, ++0+ = +5 vs pilot -+-0 = +3 for the warning, plane takes damage. Round two: Sgt Lawson looks for a safe place to take the wounded Osprey. The unknown fires again with the pilot evading. SL, 0--+ = -1 failure. Unknown, --++ = +2 vs pilot, 00++ = +4. Round three: Sargent tries to raise the base on his sat phone. Harvester has to overcome a pitching and dodging floor. Lawson spots. Unknown fires. Pilot evades and tries to increase range. AS, ++0+ = +5 success. AH, +0+- = +1 and is bounced around for minor damage. SL, -+0- = -1 fails. Unknown is +00+ = +4 vs pilot -0++ = +3 and the plane takes more damage, the next hit will take it out of the air. Round four: Sargent sends GPS data. Harvester buckles in. Lawson spots. Pilot 'may days' and ditches. Unknown advances. AS, +0-- = +1 fails. AH, 00-- = +0 fails. Lawson 0++0 = +2 success. Pilot emergency lands, 0+-- = +3 with spot fails but only by one.

Harvester sees the foot prints and shouts, "Take us down, now!" The pilot starts to dive when a gout of flame and sparks cuts through the wall next to Kira and runs down the fuselage. Kira's screaming, the cranial probably kept her hair from catching on fire. The rear of the plane is filled with smoke, spot fires, and the sound of roaring wind and grinding metal. In the cockpit, a dozen lights start blinking and screaming for attention.

Sgt Lawson shouts over the noise, "We're stilling ducks up here!" Frozen trees and scrub rushes by, offering no place to hide. The pilot launches the V22 into a series of violent maneuvers. There's a red flash and a crack/snap of vaporized air.

Agent Sargent pulls out his satellite phone and hits a few buttons, "Phoenix Command, this is Rook Two. We are under attack. Sending coordinates..." Just then, Agent Harvester is thrown off his feet by the violent actions of the plane, he slams into the deck and sends the phone flying down to the back of the wounded plane. A third bolt shatters the cockpit glass sending bits of safety glass everywhere and unleashing a blast of arctic air rushing through the interior.

Agent harvester tries to get into his seat when the Osprey violent pitches up to avoid a rocky hill. He tumbles and slides into the back with the cargo. Sgt. Lawson up in the cockpit points and shouts, "There! You can put it down in that clearing." The pilot barely has enough time to drop speed while rotating the props back so they don't immediately collide with the frozen ground. Still, the old bird hits hard badly jolting everyone, When the nose digs into the snow, it's like turning on an industrial snow blowing inside the plane, the small fires in the back are instantly snuffed out. Something breaks, the lights go out, the craft sickly yaws to one side before slamming into something, leaving the occupants in a smoky frozen darkness. The wreckage tings, pings, and sizzles as it settles in the snow. The emergency lights flicker on, in time with the sounds of distant heavy foot steps before they fail completely.

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zircher
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Re: Tephra Falls: Children of Ash

Postby zircher » Wed Feb 19, 2014 12:09 am

Kari's Story: scene 9, flight delayed Story Cubes: a crescent moon and a rainbow

Is the giant coming to investigate the crash? CF 7, Likely, GME - 71 Yes.
Is the giant looking for Kari? CF 7, Unlikely, GME - 54 Yes.
Does the giant want to kill Kari? CF 7, Unlikely, GME - 58 No.

As her eyes became adjusted to the darkness, Kari could make out a circle of light coming from the left rear of the wreck. One of the emergency access hatches was picking up the difuse light of the setting sun. She could hear ground groans comming from the front and rear of the plane. She could hear the sounds of people moving around and un-doing their safety harness. She fumbled with hers and flinched when a pair of hands joined hers. Her dad's voice came out as a whisper, "Let me help you with that, angel. I've got a parka right here." Until then, she hadn't realized how cold she was or that some of the shivering wasn't due to shock.

A blue-white star of light appeared from the cockpit. The pilot, she never caught his name, had a LED pen-light. He was covered in a fine powder of snow. "Agent Sargent can you help me with Lawson? It looks like he caught a face full of glass." Sargent was already unbuckled and paused, he was already moving to the rear. "Ingle, check on Agent Harvester, please." Strangley enough both Kevin and Kari nodded agreement at the same time.

Kevin took the lead as they struggled to the back of the plane while kari donned the long coat. She was still wearing shorts, so it didn't do much for her legs. Some of the cargo had broken loose and snow covered the slanting deck making navigation tricky. Her dad paused at the port side emergency hatch, pushed the button on the release handle and pulled. At least to kari's abused ears, there was a soft 'whump' and the hatch was kicked away into the snow. That allowed some of the smoke to escape and let some light in. She could clearly see the collapsed wing, engine nacelle, and rotor, surprisingly intact given the abuse it had recieved.

Did Harvester recover Sargent's phone? CF 7, Very unlikely, GME - 78 No.
Did Kari spot it? CF 7, Unlikely, GME - 02 Exceptional Yes.

Movement in the back drew Kari's attention back to her task. He dad was moving some boxes and cabling that had come loose. "Grab his other arm." Agent Harvester looked pretty beat up, we was moving, but his actions were not coordinated. He kept losing his balance on the sloping deck. As she was watching their footing, she spotted Agent Sargent's phone and scooped it up. The display showed some kind of mapping program and a message - 'Send location? Yes/No'. She hit the yes button, and jammed the phone into a deep pocket of her parka. It took both of them to carry/steer Agent Harvester to the emergency exit and get him through it.

When kari looked back inside, she was surprised to see Sgt. Lawson at the hatch. Helmet missing, his whole head was inexpertly wrapped in gauze and he still managed to look like a mess as blood covered the neck and shoulders of his flight suit. She must have audibly gasped because Lawson replied through the gauze, "It's not as bad as it looks. Head wounds bleed like a son of a bitch. Damn stupid of me to have taken off my goggles right before the crash." He needed just as much help as Harvester since he couldn't see where he was going.

Everyone piled out of the dead bird. The pilot, his name tag said Kowalski, J. T., was the last one out. Slung over his shoulder was an olive drab satchel. She hoped it was some kind of survival kit. They wouldn't last long out here without one.

Kari step away from the wreck to get a better feel for this alien land. Sure, she knew what snow was, but it was hard grasp snow and ice from horizon to horizon. She saw where Captain Kowalski had brought the Osprey down. At one time it might have been a country road, nice and straight until it turned ninety degrees at the base of a hill. As Kari continued to turn, she froze in her tracks. Standing on the other side of the hill was a giant... thing. If it was a robot, it was like nothing she had ever seen before. It's at least 30 meters tall, maybe more. Still as a grave, it didn't make any noise as it watched them. It's chrome exterior catches the last rays of the sun behind the atmospheric haze.

As if noticing Kari for the first time, the giant holds up its left hand and Kari flinches expecting the thing to fry her to a crisp. Instead, its four opposed fingers split and fan out. Four, eight, sixteen, thirty two... essentially making something like a satellite dish which it points at Kari and the others. The giant makes a decision, its multitude of fingers form back into four digits and it walks forward in great strides. This alerts the other survivors and they spring into action. Agents Harvester and Sargent pull pistols and fire to no effect. Kevin screams out Kari's name and runs forward picking up the emergency exit door to use as a futile weapon or shield. Kari is rooted to the spot petrified and fascinated at the thing's grace and fluid motion.

The giant reaches down for her. Kevin tries to impose himself between it and her. The chrome monstrosity flicks him aside like a bug. Kari finally screams, "Dad!" But, she loses sight of him as the giant envelopes her in its huge hand. She was expecting a bitter cold touch, but the metal is surprisingly warm. The blood rushes out of her head as it lifts her off the ground.

She can't see it, but she hears something else. A primal animal roar, there's a titanic impact as something collides with the chrome giant. Kari catches glimpses of something huge and white and terrible before she passes out from the shock and G forces on her body.

---

The room is white and warm and smells of antiseptic. The sheets are crisp against her skin. Something woke her up, strange metallic notes, like from a wind up music box. Something oddly familiar. Kari slowly turns her stiff neck and sees a woman handling a child's wind up mobile. Stars, moons, clouds, and rainbows dangle from threads. The woman smiles. Kari blinks and tries to get her brain working again. She croaks out in a parched voice, "Mom?"


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