Dec 21, 2012

Sept 12, Z-Day + 283

Joanne questioned Mayor Jacque-Andres first with Trevor’s help but he was preoccupied with all the fine latina baes walking around. She wanted to know how he has survived and his religious affiliation if any. At that he smiled ruefully and said “We hide a lot.” Basically they don’t try to defend their home against groups. They don’t have anything really to steal anyway. Food is scarce but he knows some desert plants and sometimes brings home fish or small animals. It is enough to get by. He shows you how loose his pants are. “I’m like a young man again!” And he points to the church on the hill, both of which he built. “I’m a Christian. Catholic.” he answers while making the sign of the cross. And what is your story? Who is your leader?

Joanne responded that she is the leader of the group, and tell him that we are waiting for someone to meet us. They were in southern Arizona at last call. In the meantime, we will offer to help out however we can, and Joanne reiterated that she has some medical knowledge and mechanical skill.

Jacques is curious how their group came up with Felicity as a place to meet. After all, it isn’t even listed on maps. And where are you going after meeting your friends? Surely not staying in California or going into Mexico? You know that Las Vegas and the FEMA camp was overrun months and months ago, yes? Wouldn’t you be better off meeting them in AZ?

Your answer here.

Joanne’s questions for the Priest

  • What is his name? Father Esteban Gutierrez Ramos
  • Where did he and his group come from? All over. Chihuahua, Sonora, Nayarit States. We met on the road.
  • How long are they planning on staying at Felicity? They are leaving in the morning. There is no reason to stay.
  • Where are they headed next? Does he have a plan? It isn’t certain. They don’t really have a plan. (This might not be wholy truthful)
  • Why does he disapprove of the Santa Muerte religion? It is Santeria. The Vatican says “It’s not religion just because it’s dressed up like religion; it’s a blasphemy against religion,” They might see themselves as devout Catholics but they have been led astray.
  • Does he disapprove of all cult/folk religions? Yes, there is but one way. God’s way. And Jesus told us not to worship false idols. It is here that he invites you to celebrate Mass with them.
  • Does he know ancient Sumerian? He blinks his eyes in apparent surprise. “What a strange question. No, I do not.”
  • Has he been granted any powers by his god? You sense he gets a little cagey. He says that God works through him.
  • If there was a ritual to stop the zombies, would he be willing to help? He would have to pray on it. Maybe this is god’s plan

Father Esteban Gutierrez invites them to Mass later that night after everyone has settled in. Joanne and Milhouse at least will go to the mass and talk to the priest afterward. Maybe hearing the mass will give us some answers without asking; at the least it will butter him up a bit.

They excuse themselves and walk over to the pyramid where the Santa Muerte group is talking. One of the followers acts as a translator. Some of her questions he answers himself.

  • What is her name? Call her Niña Blanca or Santisima.
  • Where did she come from? A little village in Sonora State
  • How did she come to the religion of Santa Muerte? She learned from her mama as a child.

Here she interrupts. The translator asks why you wear a skull mask.

  • What are the names of her companions/followers? The translator introduces himself as Eduardo. He doesn’t bother naming anyone else.
  • How did she come to lead them? We came to her. We follow because she leads. She is Santa Muerte. The dead respect her and she keeps us safe. (Although she interjected something the answer comes from Eduardo)
  • Has she heard of the Rosicrucians? Never.

Trevor asks if she is single? Does her religion allow her to date? Before he is interrupted.

“La Santisima is our guide, our protector, our blessing. She plays no favorites and reaps all both young and old, rich or poor, beautiful and ugly. We all have bones.” Then he glares at Trevor. “The White Lady is not interested in stupid boys.”

For her part she looks on with curiosity. Is that a twinkle you detect in her dark eyes?

  • What does their religion think of the zombie apocalypse? There is great trouble in Mictlán. Death takes all. There was always a place for everyone in Mictlán, but now the dead walk. The 4 horsemen of the apocalypse ride among us.
  • Why are they at Felicity? We heard that there was a pyramid here. We did not believe it. Our ancestors built pyramids you know. But this is fake. It was built by that fool.

At this point she says something to her translator and turns away. He tells you that she is going to pray. You can talk again with her in the morning.

Sept 12, Z-Day + 283

Slightly south of the river crossing they spot Lost Lake Resort. Formerly a riverside RV/mobile home resort, it was transformed into a military camp. Mexican military according to the flags. They appeared well armed although not in possession of any heavy equipment or vehicles. It was probably a good thing that they had taken the detour.

Not long after the bus engine overheated in the 100 degree heat. They pulled over and Joanne opened the hood. It was a leak in a radiator hose. Behind her Trevor kept an eye out and spotted a gross zombie-looking dog slink out of the ditch. It barred it’s teeth at the boy who called for Milhouse.

The dog rushed Trevor and the doctor took a shot in front of it but the dog with the mange didn’t stop. It snapped at Trevor who backed away and drew his sword. With a might overhand chop he severed its spine and drove it into the ground. Joanne was able to finish repairs unmolested.

The rest of the journey to Felicity was unremarkable.

At their destination they saw that they were not alone. On the south side of the highway was a dilapadated RV park with numerous individuals and vehicles moving about. On the north side lay the small collection of buildings constructed around the so called Center of the World. Several people ran out of the post office and into a nearby pickup truck. Trevor slowed down and asked what to do.

He continued to slow down as the others debated. Then he took the exit. Neither group looked like military. They looked Mexican which is what they had been told to expect. The decision was to visit their main objective and he pulled the bus onto the gravel drive as the pickup truck backed out of it’s spot. The two vehicles passed each other on the driveway.

On first survey the place seemed deserted. The bus pulled around the parking lot and stopped at the first building which contained the post office, ticketing, and visitor center. Behind the building was the 21 foot pyramid. The other side of the parking lot was flanked by what appeared to be a large residence and behind that were some other buildings. Trevor and Graves thought they saw someone peaking through the blinds from an upstairs window. In the distance was a low hill topped with a small church. Graves, Marcel, Milhouse, and Xanthos exited.

Marcel didn’t feel or see anything supernatural.

The quad explored the different areas of the structure. It was soon very obvious that many people had already done the same and they began to loose interest. Other than providing shelter from the scorching sun the building did not have anything for them. They left and stood in front of the little pyramid. It was really small. Six steps separated them from the south side which was pierced by 2 large wooded double doors.. Xanthos took the lead followed by Marcel.

The gamemaster was babbling about traps and such. The doors did not look trapped though he burnt his hand on the sun-heated door handles when he tried to open them. Marcel joined him and they carefully opened the doors. It was empty and they entered.

Meanwhile the folks in the RV park crossed the street. Some were on foot and others took vehicles. It was men, women, and children. Various weapons including long guns were spotted in the crowd. Trevor started up the bus and put it in drive. As the Mexicans cautiously approached he began slowly driving through the lot. The others moved out of his way when they needed too. Trevor looped around the parking lot ending up near the house again. The Mexicans parked their vehicles scattered across the lot and armed individuals warily kept an eye on the double decker bus.

They were led by a priest who waved to the bus. Trevor inched up to the man in his dusty black suit. The others on both sides took up a defensive posture. Trevor and the priest stuck up a conversation. Joanne recognized the increasing nervousness of the priest’s group and radioed for the other three to return.

At the pyramid Graves and Marcel discovered a circular brass emblem in the center of the floor. It marked the “Center of the World”. The three Gifted individuals could feel a certain energy inside the walls. Dr Graves concluded that there was a mystical energy vortex there. Perhaps it was a remnant of something from ages past. Marcel was standing in the exact center when the call from Joanne came over the radio. They hustled back to the bus.

There was a fear that someone might get nervous and pull a trigger so Joanne bade Trevor to drive across the street and park there at a safe distance. There some kept watch while the others scrounged around but everything was picked over already. And it was so hot outside. Marcel wanted to slip into the bathtub with their water supply but was not allowed.

Across the street the Mexican group was checking out the house. They had been warned by Trevor and Joanne that there was someone inside, potentially a sniper, watching them. Undeterred a large group of them circled the building while a few others disappeared into the post office/visitor center and others guarded the cars. From the east, the direction of Yuma, Arizona, a white Suburban was kicking up dust as it approached.

The SUV slowed way down when it arrived and carefully turned into the parking lot. It stopped well short of the other group. After some hand waving and conversation, the driver slowly drove over to the PO and pulled the SUV around so it was facing the exit. Several people got out including a young girl with a white painted face. Trevor perked up at the news from Dr Graves who was watching from the upper deck with his trusty spotting scope. “More Mexicans.” he said. And then, “the girl seems to be in charge.” From behind the house came the group that had gone looking plus one more. The new guy was wearing a sash that said “Mayor”.

Now curious they decided to rejoin the people across the street. There was an animated conversation in progress.

Trevor and Joanne inserted themselves into the proceedings. The girl’s group was already at a distance intently examining the pyramid. When asked the priest disapprovingly said that they were worshippers of Santa Muerte. Xanthos recognized that as an indigenous folk religion combining aspects of Catholicism and pre-Columbian beliefs. The “Sacred Death” was usually depicted as a sort of female grim reaper or perhaps a skeletal Virgin Mary. That explained the face paint. The Mayor had invited the priest’s group to stay in the four guesthouses for the night as it was getting late. He apologized that there was not more room for them, but Joanne explained they were perfectly fine spending the night in their double decker bus. Trevor, Joanne, the priest, and the mayor continued to get to know one another.

1 dog killed

Highway to Happiness
Sept 12, Z-Day + 283

After loading up and some mods with a bathtub, the adventure bus leaves Tehachapi and travels southeast via back roads toward Felicity. Along the way, Graves gets some amazing rifle practice. First he drops two thugs robbing an old lady of a bad in front of a small roadside convenience store, then again when two vehicles pull out behind them and start to pursue. It was a thing of beauty.

The trip through the apocalyptic landscape proceeded without too many issues. They busted through a small crowd of undead walkers and even managed to acquire some diesel out of an old tractor. Then they avoided a potential ambush just north of Lost Lake Resort. They took an alternate route and crossed the Colorado River where the bus was thronged by Spanish speakers attempting to trade them water for things like bullets and fuel. Lies, stories, and glares got them through that and the bus proceeded south on the other side of the river.

4 Thugs Killed
0 PCs Killed

Sept 12, Z-Day + 283

Marcel and Joanne participate in a ritual to ask Papa Legba some questions about their mission, Xanthos adds some obscure religion knowledge, and there is some various planning of their route south.

The group loads up the bus including a scavenged bathtub from the burn down home across the street. They fashion a pater and wax plug for the drain and fill it with water and use plastic garbage bags and duct tape to seal the tub up as best they can.

It is late morning when the bus inches out the front gate. Coming down the road is a small group of people. The ranch hand at the gate tells them that these are the “Redistributionists”. They are led by a former aid worker named Andy and there goal is to spread around the ostrich “wealth” at the ranch. Obviously the owners have been resisting the calls to pass out ostriches to people.

Bill comes out and argues with the people telling them that they don’t even know how to raise ostriches let alone are owed ostriches by the ranch. Trevor eases the bus forward onto the road. Dr. Graves notices that the leader is none other than A-Money. The despicable loser from the early days of the apocalypse that fled the fire station and stole their ride with all it’s supplies. Joanne recognized him too. They decided that their mission was too important and too immediate to do anything but drive away.

Lord Xanthos
Sept 12, Z-Day + 283

An old friend, Lord Xanthos, arrives at the ranch in the morning. His entrance is shockingly humiliating as he is dragged by the stirrup alongside Tragina his horse. He meets Marcel and a few ranch hands at the gate and introduces them to his knights Sir Broncanus and Sir Lazoid.

They spend the day sharing information among themselves over some ostrich eggs prepared by Sarah. Lord Xanthos put his own twist on it but here is the gist of the story.

For awhile he was in with the “Archangel” Michael. Michael called him The Templar because of his esoteric knowledge and that he rode around with a sword on a horse. What Xanthos gathered was that Michael was a survivalist with a gun store before Z day. The Reverend Jeremiah Thompson met him and convinced him that God had a plan for him. They had plans to start a church. Then Z day happened and Michael got progressively more delusional. He thought that he was actually the Archangel Michael sent to earth to lead God’s army.

To make a long story short a large mythology built up around Michael and the Reverend. Things fell apart rapidly after his army led zombies into the survivors to purge the wicked unbelievers. There was a coup and Michael and his hardcore followers fled north to the little resort town of Lake Isabelle. At some point, Michael and the Rev had an awakening. The Christian God was actually the great deceiver and had hoodwinked the world for two millennia. God was actually the devil but Michael figured it out.

The true God revealed himself to them. It goes by many names. Gozer is one name and if you pray to him, he will answer. At least that is what they say. Basically what is left of Michael’s army has become a cult. You try to stay far away now. Michael is too unstable.

He also knew that the Rev became an itinerant preacher trying to gain converts around the valley. You saw him yesterday headed north, pedaling furiously on a bike.

And Xanthos was pretty sure that some of Michael’s child soldiers have been planted around the area to keep an eye on things.

Then they make a trip back to the prison to talk with some former lieutenants in Michael’s Army. That filled out the story a little bit. It is thought that Michael has about 30 hardcore followers left with maybe half of them being kids.

Xanthos made plans to join them on their quest to the Center of the World.

The Reverend
Sept 9 - 11, Z-Day + 260 - 282

The group spent a few days decompressing at the ostrich ranch. Joanne and Trevor volunteered at the prison hospital. Milhouse spoke with animals. Marcel helped with the ostrich ranching. Dr Graves made himself scarce and studied. Sammy continued fighting the rodent problem.

They met with Mayor Weidemam who recognized Marcel. They updated him with some of the things that they have done and seen but he didn’t seem to believe their story. He did agree to have any arriving Rosicrucians directed to the ranch.

On their way out, a dirty, disheveled man in a robe waved a sheaf of papers in their faces. He told them to repent. He told them to pray and the One True God will answer. About then Trevor and Marcel realized that the crazy man was actually the Reverend Jeremiah Thompson, the former right hand man of Archangel Michael. Clearly he had fallen on hard times. Marcel laughed at him. Then the Reverend gasped. He pointed at Milhouse and said, “You’re the worst!” Poor Milhouse was shocked and maybe a little hurt. His gaze moved to Marcel next. “Second worst!” They started insulting him and he responded by telling them he was Saved. He said that he had been a con man working for a crazy man. Now he knew God. “You need to repent!” Joanne pulled off her mask and intimidated the man. He squealed and thrust a fistful of papers at her then ran off.

Back at the ranch, Dr Graves thought that some of the ravings showed that the guy knew something of the occult. Looking at the papers Marcel and Trevor remembered something Milhouse had said back at Lake Tahoe after the fight. They showed him and he pointed to one of the symbols. He said that the Stabby Poo man with the knife had that symbol carved in his body. Then he started sniffling because he remembered that Hasty and Growler died in that fight.

That night Voorman contacted Graves with a Sending. He told his pupil that he finished at Lake Tahoe and did not see an organized threat. They had done what they could to redirect Rosicrucians south and he was on his was to Tehachapi.

The Return to Where it All Began
Sept 8, Z-Day + 259


The group returns to where it all began for them after 3 months away. Their last night in town they snuck away as the Archangel Michael’s Army of God took over the area.

They drove in from the east taking a convoluted route due to the fault line severing the main highway. There was a group monitoring the wind farm and mesmerized zombies from the west but they didn’t pursue. The English bus stayed on the southern end of the valley where it was the least built up. The area seemed calm and free of zombies.

They didn’t spot people again until the Banducci road checkpoint where there were some well concealed firing positions and someone on the hill above watching them. They halted when the stop sign was raised and someone approached. He asked a bunch of questions and walked through the bus taking notes. He told them that things were pretty good here. Michael’s leading of the zombies through the valley was the beginning of the end for his army. Not long after, there had been a coup and Michael fled north to Lake Isabel with the Angel Trudy and his most devoted followers. Mayor Weideman was still in charge although technically California was still under martial law. The US civilian government had moved to Denver. He told them to check in at the prison soon and let them through.

They reunited with Bill and Sarah at the ostrich farm and caught up with the couple. Sammy Whiskers the rat catcher was still there also. The place was in good shape and had a lot of people employed although the herd had been somewhat depleted by Michael’s people when they left. And they discovered something incredible. Bill and Sarah knew where Felicity was located! It is a town of 2 people built by an eccentric Frenchman down near the California/Mexico/Arizona border. What luck!

A New Set of Wheels
Sept 8, Z-Day + 259

They traveled south until the van ran out of gas. After some debate they decided to lock it up and hike down the road in search of a vehicle to hot wire or drain of fuel and return to the van that contained so much of their supplies.

Along the way they met a lone man walking north. The grizzled individual told them a little of the south including that Michael and the Army of God were more of a cult now and that south of there they should watch out for roving bands of Mexicans both civilian and army that were fleeing Mexico.

When they arrived in Pearsonville they found it well looted already but did recover a vintage English double decker bus that was being restored in a garage. Joanne put her skills to use and finished adding the cow catcher to the front bumper and chicken wire to the lower deck windows.

0 Zombies Killed
0 PCs Killed

In Search of the Center of the World, or at Least Some Safety
Sept 8, Z-Day + 259

They once again contacted Papa Legba through a ritual and though the loa did not know the specifics of the Morturom Demonto’s ritual, it did answer that the “Center of the World” was in Felicity, California.

Trevor gifted Max 5 buckshot and the team bid farewell to Taylor, Max, and Voorman and took the van into South Tahoe hoping to find the location of Felicity, CA at the visitor center. Thanks to Trevor’s good driving the van sustained only mild damage. They did not find any hint of a location called Felicity or other variations of that name. Marcel even discovered a Lonely Planet guidebook to Baja California and looked there to no avail. Disappointed they got back in the van after killing another two runners and got on 395 South.

There were some obstacles but nothing the group couldn’t get around. For the downed tree across the road, Joanne pulled out a survival saw. It took an hour but they cleared the tree and kept going.

Mono Lake, Yosemite, Lee Vining, Mammoth Lakes all passed without incident. After Mammoth Lakes they picked up a follower on a motorcycle or dirt bike. The rider was catching up but Milhouse and Joanne crawled to the back doors and took aim. Graves and Marcel switched places. Milhouse took aim and shot through the window making the 200 foot shot to destroy the front tire. The rider kept control but obviously the chase was over.

The van continued south passing signs for Bishop, Big Pine, Kings Canyon, and Death Valley into the evening.

9 Runners Killed
1 Impaled Stick Zombie boy
0 Watchers Killed
0 PCs Killed

Dr. Graves, always Dr. Graves
Sept 7, Z-Day + 258

That night as exhausted defenders packed supplies and rearranged gear, Voorman and Dr Graves disappeared. This was hardly noticed and those that did winked and smiled.

The knowing smiles disappeared at the sound of a muffled scream that must have come from Dr Alex Graves. Everyone rushed back into the main house as fast as the heaped bodies allowed. Silence.

A thud from the basement. An unintelligible shriek of abject terror. Ready for the worst, everyone ran to the basement door and threw it open. Downstairs in the dim light two figures were visible. Christopher Voorman stood over the incoherently babbling Dr Graves. Alex was squatting in the fetal position and Christopher was holding his shoulders.

“Nothing to see here.” said the elder magician. “Rosicrucian business.”

Soon Dr Graves recovered his composure and assured them everything was alright. Both Rosicrucians smiled.


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