From: "Bodhi" (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Subject: IN) A silly vignette
This is not a SERIOUS piece for me. Instead, it is something to do with the players when you want something purposefully silly. Here's one to play for Dark Laughs...
This isn't really an adventure seed... more like a vignette, with possible future references...
The PCs are told by Jean that a new breakthrough in technology has occurred; one that threatens the status of the War by having humans become too interested in the workings of the Universe before they are morally responsible enough to handle the knowledge.
A secret government agency, hidden deep within the machinations of the "regular" intelligence community, is devoted to unearthing paranormal activities, alien encounters, and such like. The head of this department is a paranoid delusional, Special Agent Thornton Cash. Thornton has managed to garner the attention of certain "higher-ups" with some of his more marginal successes investigating strange phenomenon and unexplainable happenings. He is obsessed with U.F.O.'s, ghosts, vampires, witchcraeft, and all manner of things strange and surreal. He is also convinced that there is an even more secret government agency, hidden higher up than his own OMEGA BRANCH, that is actually in possession of technological secrets unearthed from the Roswell, New Mexico crash site, and pieced together in the mysterious Area 51.
He may be right. Who knows...
However, his own superiors have come to recognize that he is becoming dangerously unstable in his beliefs, his methods, and his public-relations. He is becoming an embarassment to the OMEGA BRANCH, and in response they are about to saddle him with a new "partner", a female scientist who is under strict orders to gather evidence de-bunking Cash's claims that "The Truth is Out There".
Cash has a number of people working on his "team", all of which are marginal personalities at best! He has an ecclectic group of theology students, science grads, mystics, psychics, and nut-balls. All of them are wierdo's. They are all, also, fiercely dedicated to their theories about conspiracies, magic, and the super-natural.
One of his more enterprising compatriots has recently had a "breakthrough", in which she claimed to have isolated a certain "tracable element" linked to supernatural activities. With such a device, she claims that the OMEGA BRANCH can track down supernatural creatures. The eventual hope is to isolate such creatures, and then figure out how they-do the voo-doo that they-do...
Unfortunately for the PC's, the infernal gadget works!
The Frequency Analyzing Re-integrating Transmogrifier (which unfortunately seems to have fallen prey to the obvious Acronym...) is a ridiculous looking contraption, with bits and pieces that variably inflate, deflate, beep, burp, ping, blink, and whistle. It also, with an alarming degree of accuracy for a mortal-made device, detects essence expenditure.
The device is able to detect the "signature" of consciously-spent Essence with the same degree of accuracy as a mortal with 5 forces and a 3 perception. While this doesn't seem like much, it has a few of the Celestials and Diabolicals worried.
If humans learn how to detect essence being spent, then it will soon follow that they will analyze how such expenditures affect the world, how to create such changes consciously, and it will crack open the whole working-model of the Universe. Thus, the ability to spend Essence may (within a few decades) become possible through technological devices rather than through earned cosmic experiences. This bodes not well for the War.
Thus, various Celestial and Diabolical forces are marshalling, either independantly or conjointly, to ruin Cash's reputation once and for all. If they can thoroughly humiliate Cash and destroy his credibility, the DEVICE will be thrown away and lost in the junkpile of technological widgets that failed. Thus, the War can continue unimpeded by pesky paranoiac mortals.
This situation is brought to the PCs attention, but the method of de-bunking the OMEGA BRANCH should be left up to the player's over-active imaginations.
Example: Infiltrate the BRANCH by having a PC pose as the new partner. Thus, even when amazing, supernatural things are going on, the PC can pose logical-sounding explanations, and remain stoically unconvinced as to the existence of supernatural beings. She will NEVER believe, much to the annoyance of Cash! (and the amusement of the PCs)
Example: Kyriotates (and/or Shedims) can possess the various members of the team at inopportune moments, making for humourous and potentially destructive events in game-play.
Example: Have the PCs set a "haunted house" (using Songs, attunements, etc.),call the BRANCH in to investigate, and have Cash convinced that he has the PROOF he has been looking for. Once the PCs manage to whip Cash into such a fervor that he calls a press conference, they can publically humiliate him with a trumped-up "real" explanation. Hopefully, the BRANCH will be disbanded, and the DEVICE can be lost through a little more PC intervention.
The point is, leave the actual mechanism of de-bunking the BRANCH to the PCs. Let them have complete control of the scenario. This is as much an exercise in role-playing as it is in creative humour.
Finale': While there is little doubt that imaginative PCs can come up with a plan to thoroughly frustrate, humiliate, and aggrevate Cash to the point where the BRANCH is disbanded, Cash will continue his activities privately. He will be more convinced than ever that the mysterious "Conspiracy" was behind the efforts to destroy his reputation, and hide the Truth. Thus, Cash can be a recurring character NPC, who sniffs around, gets underfoot, and generally makes a relatively harmless yet oddly endearing footnote to any future game situations.
Walk in Beauty,
Rob Wolff / Bodhi
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