Actual PlayETU

ETU with the Roll20 Gang: Into Hell

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In the last session, the heroes confronted Helen Lane, the leader of the Sweet Heart Foundation, and persuaded her not to kill everyone in the Raven’s Nest, but instead find a non-mass-murderous way to stop the Convergence. Helen admitted that there was at least a small chance the seniors could stop the Convergence by travelling to a demon dimension and finding/destroying its source, and to help them do so, she gave them arms and armor and created an interdimensional portal.

  The heroes pass through the portal into the so-called demon dimension. The immediate environment (the supercollider tunnel) remain apparently unchanged, but Helen and her staff are merely flickering ghostly forms, and Ryo’s spirit wolf Keeba is a solid, glowing presence. While Troy, Matt, Ryo, and Marco take stock of the situation, CP checks out the position of the ley lines, which are actively bending toward conjunction overhead, and Mariana notices that the team’s artifacts, like the Zippo Lighters from Hell, are noticeably radiant. Even brighter light beckons from the depths of the superconductor tunnel, and they collect themselves and head down the tunnel, toward what they hope is the source of the Convergence.

  The source of the glow is a pair of artifacts on matching pedestals; a long spear with a golden head etched with Meso-American symbols and a blue eyeball encased in a glass sphere the size of a baseball. Tapping into their Ritualist knowledge, CP and Matt determine that these artifacts parallel two artifacts from their world—De La Garza’s Cross and the Lantern of the Deep. Worried that Helen is lying to them, that she is actually furthering the Convergence instead of stopping it, CP recommends removing the artifacts from the pedestals, but doing so has no apparent effect.

  The group heads back up the tunnel to the elevator, still looking for the source of the Convergence. As they pass through the control room, where the ghostly forms of Helen and her staff continue to flicker, Ryo touches a chair and notices that his fingers drift slightly into its surface. Startled, he tells the others. At the elevator, the seniors try to press the call button, but are unable to get the button to light up. CP tries prodding the call button with the spear, but without success. Mariana, impatient to get this mission over with, simply walks through the door, into the elevator shaft (good thing this is the bottom floor, or Marianna might have had a nasty fall). When Troy tries to follow her, he hits his head on the doors in his first attempt, but phases through the doors on his second attempt. The rest of the group phases through the doors into the elevator shaft without incident.

  After a long climb up the elevator shaft via the service ladder, the heroes exit the shaft to the stadium concourse, which is eerily silent. CP again checks the bending ley lines, which are still actively moving into conjunction on the center of the field. With that, the seniors walk through one of the tunnels onto the sidelines and huddle to a horrified halt. In the center of the field, a four-armed demon the size of the Stature of Liberty looms high over the stadium, holding up an obsidian obelisk. Arcing blasts of energy from the tip of the obelisk seem to be bending the ley lines into a bright blue, star-shaped density over the stadium. A haze has formed around the demon, and through the haze, the heroes can see panicked crowds from their world fleeing the stadium; the parallel worlds are converging.

  The sky over the titan’s head is thick with monstrous, bat-winged demons, some clutching ghostly bodies in their talons, which they deliver (with much flapping and roaring) to a black-scaled, lizard-like being that stands at the feet of the titan. As the heroes watch, horrified, the black-scaled figure clutches and releases the writhing ghosts, much like a priest welcomes sinners to his congregation. Upon release, the ghosts shamble into the roaming bands of imps and minor demons, who, when not snapping at each other, prod impatiently at the haze of overlapping realities, looking for access to the shadowy humans panicking on the other side.

  Troy and Matt notice that the titan appears to be weakening with each blast from the obelisk, and Matt speculates that the titan is the obelisk’s power source. Kill the demon, stop the Convergence.

  Steeling themselves, the team heads onto the field, drawing the attention of three ghostly figures. The seniors hesitate, unsure, but Mariana charges, firing her Glock. Not sure it’ll work, Ryo stabs one of the ghosts with his cold-iron dagger, and to his surprise, the ghost falls back, wounded. Troy takes another ghost down with his shotgun, and Marco joins the melee with his bat, swinging left, right, and center. The heroes clear a path to the titan but find themselves face-to-face with the black scaled lizard demon. Slashing with his katana, Ryo carves a line into the demon’s scaly flesh, and dodges a surprise blow from the creature’s weapon—a flaming morning star. Matt, Troy, and Mariana shoot at the demon, but things are getting crazy, and they all miss. Marco winds up and whacks the demon with his bat, but the thing’s hard, black scales repel his blow. As it turns to snarl at Marco, CP approaches from behind and cracks it hard in the back of the skull with his extendable baton. Staggering, the priest-demon waves a beckoning gesture at its minions, drawing six earthbound ghosts and six bat-winged demons. Mariana, CP, Troy and Ryo are horrified to see that one of the ghosts is their old friend Casey from freshman year.

  Enraged at the abuse of his dead friend, Casey, Ryo neatly decapitates the black-scaled demon with a slash of his blade. Three ghosts reach toward Troy with grasping hands but are unable to gain purchase. Two of the ghosts grab Matt by the arms, and Matt suddenly feels his strength draining away. Marco runs to Matt’s rescue, but his trusty bat does little damage to Matt’s ghostly attackers. Swaying in the grasps of the ghosts, Matt fires his M16 upward at the titan, grimly satisfied to see a few bullets hit the target even though the titan only seems modestly effected. Any success is good at this point.

  Mariana, Ryo, and CP are each attacked by a pair of demons. Ryo open the chest of one demon with his katana; CP and Mariana, however, dodge the demons, firing their Zippo Lighters from Hell at the titan through their scrabbling claws. CP scorches the titan, but Mariana blasts the gigantic demon squarely in the face, sending it into thrashing howls of agony.

  Still pinned bodily by the ghosts, but free enough to maneuver the M16, Matt shoots again, and, with a deadly accurate three-round burst, brings the titan and the obelisk crashing to the ground. The obelisk hits the goalpost on the away side and explodes into shards. Above, the ley lines reverse course with a snap, bending back to their natural positions. Noticing the de-convergence, CP yells, “Run for it!” and the group makes a beeline for the elevator shaft, with a swirling flight of bat-winged demons in pursuit.

  All Hell has literally broken loose, and Matt and Mariana both trip over a sideline bench. Winded from the ghost attack, Matt has a hard time keeping up, taking several clawing blows from the pursuing bat-winged demons, but his body armor deflects most of the force. CP, Troy, Mariana, and Marco all make it down the elevator shaft, back into the command center, and through Helen Lane’s portal, leaving Ryo as rearguard for Matt. Desperately fleeing the flying demons, Matt dives for the portal, but it momentarily flickers out of existence and he crashes to the floor. Ryo holds the flying demons off while Matt makes a second attempt to cross. As Matt makes attempt number three, CP reaches through the portal and hauls Matt through. Ryo dives after him, and the portal snaps shut.

  Safely back at the Sweet Heart command center in their home world, the seniors find Helen Lane muttering to herself in a corner. Her hair has turned completely white and her eyes are glassy. From her scattered, self-addressed monologue, Helen seems to be reliving her college student days. The heroes head to the surface and into the stadium concourse, where they find university staffers ushering families and students back into the stadium to continue graduation, with toothy, nervous reassurances that the bizarre light show and invasion of demons has all been just an especially well-executed fraternity prank. Aren’t they great! Young people these days. What’ll they think of next.

  Graduation proceeds without the heroes; sadly, some of them are injured and they don’t have time to exchange battle gear for cap and gown. After the ceremony, however, university President Nelson tracks them down to express his gratitude. “Well done, all of you. You’ve rendered extraordinary service to the University.” With a knowing wink, Nelson hands each senior a leather diploma folder.

  The heroes have earned their bachelor’s degrees from East Texas University!

Postscript


  Marco Martinez went on to enjoy a successful career as a shortstop for the Houston Astros.

  Matt Damiano pursued graduate studies at ETU and replaced GlenMac on the faculty as a Professor of Folklore.

 Mariana Beck secured a lucrative position with the Sweet Heart Foundation as a “troubleshooter”. She doesn’t talk about her work much.

  Ryo Akiyama returned to Japan and became a police detective on the Tokyo Metropolitan police force. For two years running, he has taken third place in the All-Japan kendo competition.

  Troy Bergsma landed a job at Google as an information security engineer, hoping that their former slogan “Don’t Be Evil” still held true. (He was VERY happy to get out of Texas.)

​  CP West wrote a novel about his college experiences. On book tours, when asked where he got his ideas, CP tells everyone that books are all autobiographical. No one believes him.

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