Little Girl Lost. A seed.
This is the first in a series of thematically similar seeds. Sort of my own Cycle, as it were. I tried to make it generic enough for anyone to plug in, and hopefully I succeeded. Comments and criticism are welcome.
It was a beautiful Sunday morning in Sometown, and rows of neatly-trimmed lawns butted up against the neatly-paved driveways, which were rapidly filling with neatly-dressed people getting into neatly-waxed cars to go to church. Except for the house of the angels.
Mr. Jones tried to comfort his wife, who had been curled around the bassinet in tears all morning. "I've called the police, dearest. They've promised me they're doing everything they can."
"They took her, Peter. They came into our /house/ and they took her. And they have her now."
Mr. Jones frowned, acutely concerned over something. "She hasn't been hurt, has she?"
Mrs. Jones shook her head. "No. I'd know if they did. They're just...holding her."
Her husband nodded, holding his wife close to himself. "Then we'll find some way to get her back, my love. I promise."
And across town, in a warehouse long since abandoned, a hard-featured woman cooed to the infant in her arms, as her business-suited minions stood guard. "You're Mommy's little angel, yes you are. A perfect little angel..."
This is an plot seed and not a full adventure, so it contains mostly backstory and vague NPC outlines. You will also notice a deliberate sense of genericness in names/places/etc. This is because I am not only trying to make this open for any campaign, but also because I'm terrible with names. It's expressly designed for angelic PCs, so altering it for demons is left as an exercise to the reader. There is a large potential for combat here, although it is not the only method of resolution available to the players.
Sometown, USA is a terrifyingly normal suburb of whichever city happens to be reasonable. Think "Leave It To Beaver" for the 90's. Yes, it's Suburban Hell. Tract homes, manicured lawns, and everyone friendly and neighborly.
Why, you ask, did such an anomaly pop up? Novalis. Or more specifically, one of her Cherubim. This angel has been assigned to Smalltown for more than twenty years, and charged with doing nothing more than spreading peace and goodwill. And, in one of those shining moments of the War, it has worked.
Mary Jones, the aforementioned Cherub, is an active member of the Sometown community. She's part of the Women's Association, the Sewing Circle, the community church, and she also does charity work in her free time. Professionally, she's an author, specializing in horticulture how-to books.
Her husband, Peter Jones, owns and manages the arts and crafts store in downtown Sometown. He coaches the elementary school baseball team, teaches art classes at the local senior centre, and is regarded in the community as a model husband and father.
Peter is fully aware that he is married to an angel; in fact, he is one as well. A Mercurian of Creation, he has been Mary's lover for close to a century now, and the two of them have lived as Mr. and Mrs. Jones for more than two decades.
Thirteen months ago, Peter and Mary approached Novalis with their desire: They wanted to have a child. But, they explained, they wanted to raise the new angel as a /child/, and petitioned Novalis to create their offspring as a Reliever, who would, when the time was right, fledge on her own. Novalis was curious, and agreed. A Reliever was created nine months later, and given the Vessel of a newborn infant. And in Sometown, Mr. and Mrs. Jones proudly announced the birth of their first child. The Jones household remained a bastion of familial bliss for four months after that, with little Lucinda ('Cindy') being fawned over by her parents and nearly every other adult in Sometown. And whenever they heard the phrase 'perfect little angel', Peter and Mary would just smile.
Last night, that all changed. Mary woke up with a start. Something had happened to her child! She ran to the nursery without even taking the time to wake Peter, and there her eyes told her what she knew in the core of her being. Cindy was gone. Only the receding taillights of a dark car were visible on the street outside.
Now, she's a mess. She knows from her resonance that the infant is not harmed, nor in danger, but Cindy is still /gone/, being held on the outskirts of town. Her husband is almost in worse shape, though. He not only feels the rage his wife cannot, but could also act on it to save his child, if it were not for one thing: The kidnappers are human.
And not only human, but Hellsworn Soldiers. The kidnapping was the brainchild of a Habbalite of Fate, sent to Sometown several months ago at the personal behest of Kronos. Any town this perfect, Kronos figured, must have some darkness hiding at its core. The Prince of Fate sent Jezaniah, one of his most promising young Punishers, to find that heart of darkness and bring it to the fore.
Jezaniah set out gladly, pleased at such a prestigious assignment. As time went on, though, she became wary. Sometown was, almost literally, perfect. Even her keen sense for the secret shame of humanity could find nothing out of place. She began to suspect Divine influence, and Divine influence she found. Peter and Mary Jones, radiant over the birth of their daughter Lucinda. And in her mind, the plans were laid to bring the family low, and Sometown with it.
Jezaniah sought the Fate of Mary, and saw how precious Lucinda was to her, and how low the Cherub would fall without her. Even unto a literal Falling, as the grief and loss brought her to lash out against her very nature. The Habbalite returned to Hell, and presented Kronos with her findings. She asked only one thing in return: The child.
Kronos considered. A Reliever, young and inexperienced, brought to Hell. Would it Fall? Would it retain its divinity? The Prince became as curious about the whole situation as Novalis was at its inception. And Jezaniah wanted a child, a pure, Heaven-born child, to raise as the angel she was. He granted her request.
And so, things were set in motion. Jezaniah drafted the services of Soldiers from the city, organized criminals thoroughly under the thumb of Fate. She knew that the angels would be helpless against human assailants, and she was confident that within weeks, the angels would be shattered, their influence on Sometown would be shaken loose, and she would have her darling little angel daughter.
She forgot one thing. Player Characters.
The backstory above gives What Has Gone Before. Peter has already called the police, but he has little faith in them, espescially in as crime-free a town as this. So he's pulling in markers. Any angels in the area that he knows are likely to get at least a phone call. If necessary, he'll ascend to Heaven (There are no known Tethers in Sometown, though, so it's not his first choice.) and seek help there. One way or another, he'll eventually come to the PCs.
Peter will relate the story so far, as much as he knows anyway. This means that to the PCs, this will be something without /direct/ demonic intervention, althought one can never be sure when dealing with Soldiers. If Mary is spoken to, she will be barely coherent, fraught with worry for her child and the consequences if little Cindy is harmed. Neither of the Joneses will offer to accompany the PCs, and if asked will refuse outright. Both have their Roles to protect, after all. In addition, Mary will explain in a coldly calm voice that she wants, actually wants, the kidnappers to be hurt. This alone should convince the PCs that the matter is serious.
Finding the kidnappers is fairly straightforward; Mary can tell the PCs exactly where the child is being held. Once they arrive there however, matters become complicated. Some of the PCs may not be able to harm humans. And while loyal Soldiers of Hell and criminals besides, the kidnappers are still human. A skillfull combination of ingenuity and careful violence should see them through, however.
Then there is the problem of Jezaniah. She is, like any good Habbalah, quite thoroughly insane, and has already 'adopted' Lucinda as her own daughter. In fact, if there is any great commotion in the warehouse, Jezaniah will come out of a small office, holding the child and strictly admonishing anyone present to avoid 'disturbing the baby'.
If the PCs take the fight directly to Jezaniah, there will be problems. She is a capable combatant on the celestial and corporeal realms both, and has a particular fondness for using Temporal Projection on anyone who presents too much of a threat. In addition, if it seems that she is incredibly outmatched, she will have no qualms about using Lucinda as a hostage. The PCs should know that this is a very real threat to Mary, who is already teetering on the brink of dissonance, and take this into account. For this scene, play up the tension of any hostage situation, magnified by the personal nature of the stakes.
There really is only one 'good' resolution to this plot. Through careful negotiation, sneaky tricks, or violence so swift that there can be no reciprocation, the PCs get the child from Jezaniah. Assuming they make it out alive, life in Sometown will settle down to normal within days, and the PCs may or may not (depending on her survival) made an enemy of Jezaniah.
If Lucinda is killed, either by Jezaniah or by misfortune, things will get bad. Mary will go over the edge at a frighteningly rapid pace, and the PCs will soon have a frothing Djinn on their hands if nothing is done about it.
If, somehow, Jezaniah manages to escape /with/ Lucinda, even vengeance is no longer an option. The PCs have out and out failed, and Kronos gets to see just what happens to a Reliever in Hell. See above comment about frothing Djinn, although it will take much longer for Mary to go down the slow slope rather than go over the precipice.
There are few if any material rewards from this, either corporeally or in terms of Archangel rewards. This is, primarily, a situation in which the angels can make friends, enemies or both. The only Archangel with any real interest in the matter is Novalis, and she might possibly be generous to those who helped her Servitor if things go well.
(I have not included stats. Just some general notes.)
Mareshah, Cherub of Flowers -
9 Forces, due to the birthing process. Celestially weighted, most likely. Her Role as Mary Jones is at a significant level, 4-6 probably, and her skills reflect this. She is /not/ a combatant in any sense of the word. In fact, Novalis gave her the Seraph of Flowers attunement at the beginning of the Sometown assignment, so violence is even less of an option. She is neither dissonant nor Discordant yet, but she honestly is on the brink. If anything were to happen to Lucinda, she'd be in bad shape.
Peter, Mercurian of Creation (in unofficial service to Flowers) -
10 Forces, again lowered due to the birth of Lucinda. Etherally weighted, with a significant number of Artistry skills. His Role should be equal to Mary's, and likewise supported by skills. He is not a completely incapable combatant, but it is not his forte, and he is probably ineffectual compared to the PCs. In addition to his Choir attunement, he also has the Ofanite of Creation and the Abracadabra attunements. Note that as a Mercurian of Creation, he /can/ make Talismans - You may want to use this to supply PCs with them, if you see fit.
Lucinda, Reliever -
5 Forces. If you need stats, do whatever. She's too young to be used for anything, really.
Jezaniah, Habbalite of Fate -
10 Forces and a fast-track demon. Spread them out evenly, she's a good all-around adversary. She also has the Fated Future /and/ Temporal Projection attunements, so feel free to skimp a bit on Songs or Skills.
Soldiers, Mooks of Fate -
Standard 6-Force Soldiers. Tough in a group, not too much trouble individualy. Gear the numbers towards the number of PCs.
It's my first posted seed. Be gentle.
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