Welcome back, true believers! It's been a long, long time since we've visited the Borderlands campaign, but that's what we did last night. If you want to read the last entry before proceeding, you'll need to go all the way back to May 24.
The session opened, not surprisingly, with the characters trying to figure out what they were doing, and why. The consensus was that they were on their way to visit the oracle known as Miss Hiss, but nobody was really sure why. The best they could come up with was a vague concern about a threat to the Mundane World, possibly embodied by the goblin constructs who attacked Tamsin, and possibly the subject of a warning that an Ichthyos relayed to Tamsin before that.
Upon entering Miss Hiss's domain, the party found a lot of smoke that was forming uncomfortably serpentine patterns, but couldn't discern an actual person. It turned out not to matter, as Miss Hiss addressed the party from the gloom, took the retsina, and offered advice. Chucky attempted to outline the situation in an oblique manner, but Tamsin cut to the chase and asked about the threat to her boss and her world. Miss Hiss informed the party that pursuing this line of investigation would only lead to their deaths. She then went on to prove herself the most specific oracle in history by telling the party that their fate lies instead in the basement of the New York Public Library, third stack from the east wall, fifth shelf, third book from the left (or something like that). She then informed a stunned party that the oracle business isn't what it used to be.
The party, knowing a GM warning when they see it, decided not to pursue certain death, and got out their library cards instead. They discovered that there are several portals back to the Mundane World from Greektown, and found themselves on the docks, near the East River. A quick subway ride brought them to the library. The basement section is off-limits to the public, but Tamsin's skill in bureaucracy and research quickly eliminated that obstacle.
The party found the book rather quickly, a hand-written manuscript from the end of the 19th century with some unusual qualities. The book was in Latin, and the left-hand pages were written in mirrored writing, possibly in a different hand altogether, although it's difficult to tell. The forward pages were the diary of an alchemist, researching immortality. The mirrored pages were the journal of an occultist, who was attempting to summon a demon. The illustrations were graphic and disturbing, and appeared to depict animals. The author of the book (both halves) called himself only “Y,” although the Y was stylized to appear like a pitchfork.
Obediah immediately denounced the book as Eeeee-villlll, and went upstairs to bother the librarians. Fitz browsed the stacks for a bit, realized that he didn't have much to contribute to the research effort, and followed Obediah upstairs. Tamsin set to translating, and Chucky attempted to assist with the other books in the special section. They discovered that the identity of Y was still a secret, but that theories abounded in New York occultist circles. Evidence indicates that Y was a member of a private social club (did we get a name for this club?) active around 1900, but since disbanded. Wilder theories suggest that Y was Teddy Roosevelt himself, but most theories conclude that Y was either a man named Hill [Cornell Hill], an inventor who specialized in electrical devices, or…gah, I'm forgetting the other guy's name, except that it started with a Y [Richard Yarnall], and what he did. Both met mysterious ends — Hill vanished out of a cab and was never seen again; the other guy was brutally murdered.
Chucky did some research into prominent “unusual” crimes in New York around the time that Y was active, and came up with a series of incidents of people being attacked by wild dogs in Central Park, possibly dogs of the giant-sized variety. Chucky and Tamsin determined that the attacks come in sprees, approximately every seven years, and have continued to the present. The most recent attacks were eleven months ago, but was much worse than any of the previous incidents.
The party went home to rest and eat at that point (Obediah also thinks Chicken McNuggets are eeee-villll, if you're keeping score). The next morning, Tamsin met Victoria Savage at the office. Ms. Savage was concerned, in an understated way, about the damage to the premises inflicted by the goblin constructs, and said that the story of people who dissolve into goo reminded her of a case from a few years back (“The Case of the People who Dissolve into Goo” — literary cleverness is not among Ms. Savage's skills, evidently), but she was not inclined to investigate further at the moment. She suggested that Tamsin take a week off, if she feels that she is in danger. Ms. Savage herself is off to a Greek island whose name I've forgotten [Naxos], but she can't tell Tamsin much more than that. Tamsin took Ms. Savage's cell phone number, and went off to round up the guys.
As it happens, Mr. Hill (Professor Hill?) had an small manor house on the northern end of Manhattan island, which is now the administration building of Hill College, a small liberal arts school (a fact that inspired varying levels of dread in the players). Tamsin suggested that a visit to the college would probably reveal more about Hill, so the party took a cab up there. There were two exhibits dedicated to Mr. Hill, one a collection of documents, the other a display of his scientific work. The party decided to investigate the inventions first, which were located in a dusty room in the basement of the science labs. The room wasn't open to the public that day, but nobody had bothered to lock the door either, so the party walked on in. The displays seem to be a rather mundane collection of early-1900s electrical devices, and the placards didn't have much more information about them. When Tamsin asked Obediah if he got a funny feeling from any of the inventions, he identified a metal pole with a number of wires connected to it. The placard read “Function Unknown.”
What's next for our intrepid explorers? Will they discover the function of Professor Hill's Party Pole? Will they find out what Ms. Savage is doing in Greece? Will they meet Certain Doom anyway? How long can they manage to go without blowing something up? Mike's barbecue is on August 1, so you'll have to wait until the 15th to find out!
Some short notes: