I haven't got a group to GM currently, and this seed wouldn't be appropriate for the grab-bag of ages at a convention, but I need to get this out of my head so I can focus on my other winter con scenarios...
WARNING: Not that it will matter to 99% of this list, but the following does contain sexual themes (though no naughty words). Viewer discretion is advised.
The Essence of Pornography
"Hey...Rubbing Man's back!"
Mark disengaged himself from a pile of overdue video printouts and peeked over Adrian's shoulder at the grainy image on the security camera. "I don't get it. All he does is take a cassette out of the box, do that little wiggly thing with his hands, puts the cassette back in the case, and picks up another one."
Adrian moved his finger across the screen. "And it's always the same ones! Watch - his next stop is riiiight....here!" And, as if on cue, the figure took three steps left and picked up the store's copy of Video Amateurs: Please Undress, L.A.! #23. Opening the plastic case, he removed the cassette from the case, gripped the cassette with both hands, and did...SOMETHING with his fingers. The thumbs were lightly moving over the top of the cassette, but there was obviously some other movement going on out of sight, on the underside of the cassette.
"What I don't get is why he's even INTO porno videos," Mark muttered. "I mean, LOOK at him. Women must be lining up to date him, and it's not like he smells or anything..."
Adrian looked at him. "When did you smell him?..."
Mark flipped him off. "You know what I mean. He's friendly and good-looking, so why does he have to come in here five times a week and do...THAT?"
Adrian sighed as a small hand deposited a pair of Disney videos on the counter in front of him, with a mother in close pursuit. "I dunno. As long as he returns videos on time, who cares? All I know is, if he starts rubbing something other than the videos, THEN I'll worry..."
Any demon that has ever had to cower in hiding for a day, trying to perform a Rite or wait until sunset to get back to a single point of Essence, has had to envy the Impudite's resonance. To be able to fill back up on Essence, and having so many choices of where to get it, has caused much Infernal wondering as to how they might somehow replicate this resonance for themselves.
Mundane humans expend all their Essence in one shot when they really want to do something (p. 46). Andrealphus's minions have noted that one of those instances can be upon orgasm. Consequently, Andrealphus has had several projects over the years with Vapula to come up with ways to harness this potential source.
Home video has given them the tool they needed. By imbedding sigils at certain...climactic moments in pornographic videos, this sudden rush of Essence can be trapped inside the videocassette, and then released through the use of a special VCR. This has been a very quiet undertaking so far, since exposure would cause Nybbas to demand a cut (or mass-produce the technology, making it very noisy), or give the Angelic side a BIG incentive to crack down on access to adult videos. Andrealphus doesn't want this shut down for both selfish (Essence) and immoral (Lust) reasons; Vapula just likes the extra supply of Essence he gets kicked back.
Normally, select Infernals gather up a cross-section of the titles at a given video store, and haul them across town to a warehouse or other such large structure (or a Tether) for "downloading". (This usually happens over the weekend, causing a noticeable drop in available adult videos at your local video purveyor.) VERY occasionally, certain operatives of Andrealphus and Vapula have also been issued a VCR from Vapula, with a massive manual describing a long list of bizarre instructions in order to access the Essence for their own use.
The "special VCR" is a small misnomer; certainly the VCR issued to the select few Demons involved in the project is more than mundane (see below). However, the secrecy and ritual that Vapula has impressed these underlings with conceals the fact that it's moderately easy to strip the Essence out of the videocassettes for an enterprising young infernal. And who better than an Impudite to tackle the task?...
Gyldan (Gil Dane) is your typical Impudite - a good-looking Vessel, winning personality, and a devoted group of friends - but he's also an Essence junkie. Granted, all Impudites have a taste for Essence, but Gyldan is remarkable in the depths he will go to be able to have Essence to use. In the past, he would be dangerously obvious in his stripping of Essence; every favor done for another demon had its price in Essence, to the point where more than one demon has been known to sarcastically refer to him as "wannabe Lilim".
All that ended when he stumbled onto the video scheme above. (How is left as an exercise to you, dear readers.) Now, those who know him find him as generous as he was previously stingy. He always seems to be "fully charged", and he'll use Songs at the drop of a hat with a seeming disregard for the Essence cost.
- Someone's been spending a lot of Essence about town. A LOT. Find out who...
- A fledgling operative of Jean who works in an electronics repair store has had someone bring in a VCR with a tape jammed in it. The thing is registering pretty high on the Essence scale, and he has called for help. (A great chance for the GM to roleplay electronics geek/puppy-dog sidekick!)
- The weekly Essence harvest from Project Porno is down. Find out why.
- Asmodeus has received a very interesting report about Gyldan. Investigate said demon.
- The cassettes that store Essence appear mundane until touched (and the CASSETTES must be touched, NOT the case). Your average video store may have up to fifteen or twenty of these "special" cassettes (meaning lots of searching for the right ones). Treat them as reliquaries minus regeneration. Destroying one of these cassettes releases the Essence stored (up to 5 Essence), with the requisite Disturbance. I envision the final scene as one where hundreds of these cassettes are lying around...
- The VCRs that offload Essence, when used as described in Vapula's documentation, require whatever goofy rituals you choose to make your PCs perform, culminating with their sticking their hand into the cassette slot to gather Essence (and a mild electric shock). It will play mundane videos normally, but if set up for TV reception, will always find and broadcast the Jerry Springer Show if available at a given time on any channel accessible to it. (Internationals may substitute their own local odious talkmeister.)
- Use your own imagination as to the specific cassettes that contain the necessary encoded triggers; the process that overlays the sigils was prone to abuse by those in Vapula's lab (along with the triggers, other random Angelic abuse can be found interspersed throughout the video).
- I'm not providing a writeup for Gyldan; personalize him for your campaign. Use a standard Impudite shell with lots of Charm and Songs; he'll always have a cassette or two hidden inside a coat pocket, or a briefcase, or something else appropriate. Don't give him too many Forces (10 or 11 should do); he's gotten lazy with just throwing extra Essence at problems to solve them. (If you really want the full character writeup, send me a note and I'll fire it off to you.)
I thought about making this a tad more serious, with expositions on orgone and other energy theories, but Kobal snuck onto my machine at lunch and fiddled with the wording a bit. Suits me better now, anyway. Now, I can get back to more important things (like giving demons drivers' licenses...stay tuned!)
Alex Yeager YeagerAW@Maritz.com MIB 0230/FoL/INWO Local 23
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