Amnesiac City

Season Two, Episode Seven

Under the Skin

[This is a session report originally sent to Nic Williamson who was briefly an In-Fighter. It’s going to refer to players and their characters, it’s going to have a couple of ‘behind the curtain’ things. Also the grammar and tenses may be awful. I can’t let that go and will have amended what I can, but there WILL be errors.]

I intended on this session being the finale for AC, and it definitely felt like one. The players knew it going in and treated it accordingly, brilliantly.

I used the iPad’s DMDJ to give atmospheric city noises and the group even had fun looking for sounds. I might see if any of your Soundcloud pieces will be fitting for Call of Cthulhu next week. I know Bakerloo by King of Woolworths sounds train-ish. Also tracks by Squirrel Nut Zippers and Pokey LaFarge, for tunes which sound like they’re in the right era.

Anyway, Amnesiac City.

We started with a flash forward. Day 47. Mayoral Siggy Ensler and Sam Sanders are talking about city security on a television as waves lap up against it. A boat is beached, people are screaming and there are gunshots. Police sirens draw near.

Roll credits.

It’s Day Ten. Allison, Dunne, Eve and Owen set off from the pharmaceutical office they crashed in and skip the queues. They confront the guard about what they’re here for. They want to access the card-making machine, not to find out where they live like all the others. They’re let in as long as they don’t bother anyone.

They walk to the basement, and you can see the players don’t expect to be let in. Dunne swipes his card in the machine by the thick metal door. Nothing. Allison swipes his card and is let in. The room lights up with flickering bright white lights. Monitors wake up on the walls and while there’s no computer, there’s a big metal machine with a hole to place your hand in. And six long metal scorpion-tail-looking arms pointing towards the hole.

Dunne suggests Eve and Owen put their hands in, but they want someone expendable (him) to do it. Allison decides to sod them all, puts his hand in and is immediately identified as a Warden. He’s asked if he remembers and after a moment’s thought, says “yes”. The lights go out, then flash red. There’s a noise from the floor, like the ground itself is shifting. In a moment of panic, trying to cancel what’s happened, Allison tells Owen to put his hand in the machine. The metal spikes all plunge into his wrist, pinning him there and not at all stopping the oncoming horror. The ground peels away from Dunne and he dives away as gloved, claw-like hands grasp for his feet. He aims for a Trash Man, one of three pulling themselves out of the ground. Owen’s screaming and passes out when he tries to get out of the trap. Shaun and Steve are told to roll for something, but I don’t say what. Allison sees the ground rip open and the sewers below are raising up, allowing dozens of Trash Men access to the room, and in the distance, getting nearer, The Judge.

Allison looks at the room, yells to Dunne to get Eve out of there, then runs down into the sewer! He decides he’ll try and lead them away as they were after him, and after ripping Owen off the machine (sans arm), most of the Trash Men do follow. There’s a smash as the wall next to the vacuum-sealed door is broken in. Four guys and a police battering ram yell for them to get out. Dunne grabs Eve and runs as the Trash Men come for him. When they’re out of the room, the wall seals back up. Dunne looks through the window of the door, which he’d tried to shoot out. In the darkness, a Trash Man’s face looks through the window and plucks the bullets out. Then goes back, into the darkness.

The Wardens smuggle Eve & Dunne out of the building. The second they’re outside, they ask Dunne if he’s a Warden. He gets in a fight with one of them, a woman dressed as a police officer. The scuffle ends with everyone having guns drawn, and trying to keep from being noticed by The City. They make their way to the junk yard, which isn’t used, given the Trash Men’s interference. The rescuers are Dr Floyd (played by Alex), Wendy Brogan (played by Shaun), Ulysses Christie (played by Jacob) and Rutger (played by Steve). They keep Dunne in the dark, realising that he’s not a Warden, even if he’s trusted by Eve and was trusted by Allison.

He’s sent home by Negroponte, a driver whose item was a GPS device which can track people. Dunne’s flat is small and sparse. He has a beer, finds that he’s a limo driver and has a sleep.

Days pass. He’s still not trusted by anyone other than Dr Floyd (who will trust anyone). They plan to isolate and kill a Trash Man, to see if it can be done. A daft idea, but they need to know. Dunne isn’t allowed near the boss.

In Ashfield, [Blank] is training his people up and as they control the dairy, they’re scouting Naraka via milk float. He has a dream that Sky Father is angry. The Wardens he should have killed escaped, and as Naraka has dealt with one of them, then a sacrifice will have to do instead. He sees the beach, and the sand is washed away to reveal Christine underneath. [Blank] wakes and starts sending his children out with the milk floats, acting as scouts.

Dignam (now played by Alex) and Christine are found by the Wardens on the edge of town. Christine’s a wreck, mute, shaking, clutching her bow and arrows. Dignam found her alone in the woods. Jacob elected to take ‘emotional detachment’ and ‘suspicion’ as derangements, both voluntarily. She’s skittish and when they talk about quiet ways to take down a Trash Man, she suggests her arrows. Dr Floyd uses the RU486 which Dunne has, making a poison for two arrows.

During this time, Tuford (played by Shaun) is enthusiastically trying to follow [Blank]‘s wishes, calling him ’father’ and getting really jealous that [Blank] is more interested in finding Christine. He gets lost in the city and spends a week trying to live off stray animals (of which there are very few).

The Wardens decide to smash a café in a park, so that they’re in an open space. That way when The Trash Men come, they can isolate one, kidnap it in a police van (stolen by Dignam and his police ID card) and take it apart. As they debate about how best to vandalise the café, including Wendy Brogan secretly putting explosives inside. Christine smashes a window and everyone hides. Badly. When the Trash Man Van turns up, rumbling into the road, the streetlights flicker out. Two Trash Men head to the café and one of them immediately notices Rutger and walks towards him. Christine’s first shot does nothing to the Trash Man replacing the window. She fires another shot. And another. Rutger and Brogan rip the Trash Man who’s after them apart with shotguns and it still claws at Rutger, slicing his arm open. They load the legless thing into the back of the van and drive to a barn out in the woods.

The thing, the Trash Man, is operated on. They tear the gas mask off, which is hooked into his head. The skull opens up and something pours out from where the brain should be. Something blackened which smells of burning plastic. When the front of the gas mask is yanked out, a long plastic tube is in his mouth and there’s a horrible ripping noise when they tug it out of him. Dead eyes track any movement near it. Torn arms reach for anyone nearby. The jaw has been broken to fit the tubing and the teeth removed. Even worse, the Wardens recognise it as one of their leaders, Scott Lerner (an antagonist in season one who was murdered by The Judge). Christine stabs it in the throat and it doesn’t die. She rips the head off and again, it’s looking for a target. In the end, they make a pyre and burn it.

Tuford is found by [Blank]‘s children, pale, starved, and without Christine. He’s really apologetic and desperate to prove himself.

Dunne and Dignam share a flat, with mattresses from the mall which is less of a shanty town than it was in the first days. People are finding their homes now, about 40 days in. Things are looking much more normal. Christine stays at Dunne’s flat and he tries to get her to open up, be more human. He and Dignam take her to the beach, now that the Wardens are trying to fit in with society less (Dunne’s City Awareness is at 3/10 now, so he needs to slip away more).

scouts spot them at the beach, and he drives Tuford to the site, gives him a gun and waits in the car park.

It’s a busy day at the beach. Families are playing, people are relaxing, cafés are full. It’s nice. Dunne and Dignam are trying to get Christine to relax, but she’s tense and a little crazy. Her composure breaks a little when she sees Tuford, her friend. He’s pale and thinner thanks to malnutrition. His hand is behind his back. Tuford pulls a pistol out and fires. Dignam takes the bullet for Christine, and panicked, Tuford fires wildly. People panic, they scream, they flee. As Tuford’s about to take a second shot, a small yacht smashes into the beach, knocking him, Christine, Dunne and Dignam aside. We pan out and see [Blank] drive away, and police cars driving to the scene of all the chaos.

And that is the end of season two.

This was a good season, but not an easy season. It felt hard, brutal, with no one safe and a lot of horrible PVP decisions to be made. People got the tone though, and played to it. Despite some frustration with Alex, he really brought his a-game and even got the finale’s MVP vote for playing a legion of NPCs. He did mention that Allison wasn’t seen dead. [discussion about Allison which none of you need to see]

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