Be open to change. Recognize that no matter how much you prep, there is always a chance that your players will go the complete opposite direction, and that is OKAY. The ability to improvise, adjust and adapt will serve you well.
Best posts made by Justin
Overview of Justin's games
Hey everyone, as Pinebox has become more fleshed out – and the stories within it have become more complex – I’d like to start allowing you all (should you choose) to further explore things that have already happened when I run games. Listed below are the games I’ve run within Pinebox, along with a brief synopsis of what anyone in Pinebox would know about it (through the newspaper, word-of-mouth, etc…). Players who were at said sessions would obviously be able to give you more information, and I’m willing to expand on certain things if you have questions.
The owner of a local pizza shop, Ricardo Giovani, went missing and was presumed kidnapped by a worker of his named Trenton McCabe. Neither have been found, and Ricardo’s wife, Flora, has rarely been seen since. The night after the kidnapping, Theo Houghton (a man present at the time of the kidnapping) was found dead at the pizza shop after apparently ingesting everything edible and then moving onto other things such as aluminum foil and knives. His death is still unexplained.
For the first time, the Pinebox County Fair was sponsored by a corporation – Ceshi Industries! Little is known about them, but they added a lot to the Fair at no cost to the town. During the Hot Dog Eating Contest on the 2nd day of the 3-day Fair, there was an issue where one competitor, Aaron Tyson, viciously bit another competitor, Steven Holyfield. As both were from out of town, they were never reached for comment. The final day was marred as an administrative building burst into flames and the Fair was brought to a pre-mature close.
Death at the Reservation
A death ritual not seen in many years occurred at the Caballo Indian Reservation outside of Pinebox. According to Chief Thomas Martin, Damien Wright – a prominent younger figure in the community – died while hunting. As the Reservation is off limits to local officials, no investigation was ever conducted. However, there were rumors that there was more to Damien’s death than just a hunting accident, because common practices involving death rites were not conducted properly, among other things.
Cabin in the Woods
An older local man, Clyde Baughman, was found dead in his apartment in an apparent (violent) suicide. Clyde had been an active member of the community since retiring, increasingly so after the death of his wife Marlene. However, in the weeks/months leading up to his death, many saw him become increasingly delusional, anxious and paranoid. Around the same time as his body was discovered, a Cabin which Clyde owned in the Black Mountain National Wildlife Refuge caught fire and burned to the ground.
Camping Trip Gone Wrong / Locals Go Missing
A police officer, Ken Baker, went missing after reports of gunfire near the Black Mountain National Wildlife Refuge and Nick DuPont, a local farmer, was reported missing around the same time. Official investigations into the disappearances haven’t uncovered anything. Ceshi Industries, who has continued to purchase farmland and agricultural facilities, abandons a project for the first time – an abandoned shrimp processing plant – located outside of town.
A brutal and violent sandstorm whipped through Pinebox, with all residents urged to stay indoors. In the aftermath of the storm, locals Marty Johnson, Jeanine Martinez, and Merle Bennett were reported missing. Marty’s girlfriend, Abigail Franklin, could not be reached for comment. Jeanine’s mother, Sonya, was admitted to a psych ward after doctors say she experienced a psychotic episode. Merle has no family in the area. There were reports of gunfire at Pinebox Middle School during the storm, but that has chalked up to debris being tossed about by the storm.
Pinebox experienced the solar eclipse! Locals were surprised at how dark it got for so long, and many minor oddities – like random stone circles, graffiti, groups of people not from Pinebox, and slightly unnatural sights and sounds – were reported. When said oddities were investigated after the Eclipse ended, no trace of them could be found.
Lastly, Pinebox has become a pretty big world, and while I’m generally aware of the things happening in Jonathan Meadows’ and Andy Bates’ games (the other 2 Pinebox GMs), I would prefer not to further plot lines from their games.
RE: Jakub Nowak / Robert Webster
Updated to reflect recent session: The Broken and the Blessed, Part 2.
At this session, @Gombar also rolled to resolve the hanging thread relating to Jakub and his identity, rolling an EXTREME success. This new identity is for a Robert Webster.
The Broken and the Blessed (Part 2)
This game was played on 12/30/2016
@Reuben – Joshua Lee (High School Nerd)
@AndyB – Audi Chavez (Veteran)
@westlemania639 – Cyrus Matthews (Journalist)
@Gombar – Jeremy Redtree (Drug Dealer)
@Justin – Jakub Nowak / Robert Webster (Partisan / Photographer)
@Matt – Rick Blaine (Private Eye)
Anthony – Kenneth Morgan (Professor)
Thomas – Adam Madison (Business Owner)*
*This is the same Adam Madison played by Alex Demic
Game Date: Around December 12, 2016
The party wakes up in an emptied-out and broken down movie theater with no memory of how they got there. All of us are wearing white gowns. Looking around, we find a tattered movie screen at one end and an iron door with an insignia on it and the word “Blessed” written above it in red. Adam Madison goes to check the insignia out, and as he does the world shifts: fog thickens, our heads pound, rust begins to “bleed” out of every surface, and a creature (later identified as a ghast) comes through the insignia. In this “altered” world, weapons are found and combat breaks out. Joshua Lee finds an exit behind the movie screen, but Rick Blaine destroys the ghast with a baseball bat before the escape route is needed. As the ghast dies, the world reverts back to “normal”.
As we prepare to exit the theater, we realize that we are in the Dreamlands Amusement Park, a theme park outside of Pinebox that closed down some years ago. For those who explored the carnival recently (Cyrus and Audi I believe), they see that the park looks different: more decrepit, rides that should be there that aren’t and vice versa. At the center of the park is a giant wooden statue of a cowboy, the mascot of the park called Timmy. A clown on a unicycle approaches us, and we decide to engage him in conversation. The clown introduces himself as Jacob Jackson, and Dick Blaine remembers that Jacob was an employee of the park that went missing and hasn’t been seen in years. We learn that Jacob has been here for a “long time” and that before he went missing, he met a priest with a book (Reverend Fitzgerald and the Testament of Carnamagos most likely), and that he read something about a beast called the ‘Treader in the Dust’. Jacob also said that a ‘Group in Red’ showed up at the same time we did.
We hit up the gift shop before going to the Dressing Room (where Jacob was last seen). In the Dressing Room, the world goes hay-wire again and this time we see two people: one screaming in pain, and another in a Nazi uniform. The Nazi rushes the party, is knocked to the ground by a few blows and is executed by Jakub mercilessly. When the Nazi dies, the world reverts back. For the sake of trying, we go to the entrance of the park and Kenneth decides to try leaving through the Mist. A few minutes later, we see him re-emerge, confirming our suspicions. At this point, we see that a green light has been cast down on Timmy, and it casting a green glare on everything.
As we prepare to investigate, we see five individuals in white gowns (similar to what we appeared in). They speak about the Treader in the Dust and say that he’s coming. Ultimately we engage them in combat, killing all but one who we take hostage. During the fight, Kenneth disappears into the mist and Joshua is critically wounded. We go to a First Aid tent near Timmy’s statue and interrogate the survivor. We find out that a group has broken away from the Church of the Blessed, and this sect is run by a Master Jacob. Those in red are Blessed, and those in white are Broken (all of us were wearing white, but only Adam is confirmed as Broken). He says that there is no escaping this place as long as the spell holds.
Around this time, we look outside and see ten red-robed figures around Timmy, chanting. Suddenly, the light around Timmy glows extremely bright and a massive creature with black tentacles appears and begins killing the red-robed cultists. Chaos ensues with this creature eventually vacating the area near the statue to cause more destruction. As we scramble for any semblance of a plan, Jeremy touches the light underneath Timmy and becomes a grotesque, 10-foot tall creature briefly before reverting to his human form. Adam throws the near-dead Joshua into the light, who becomes a winged beast that grabs Cyrus and flies into the air, preparing to drop him to his death. Adam also enters, becoming a small rat which is stomped on by Jakub killing both it and, unfortunately, Adam. Timmy is lit on fire by molotov cocktails thrown by those in the vicinity, and as the statue topples, we all wake up “peacefully” in our beds.
The next morning we hear a radio commercial that the First United Church of Pinebox (Reverend Fitzgerald’s flock) is sponsoring a Hell House – a place that can scare you into being saved.
-- ROLL CREDITS --
Jakub Nowak / Robert Webster
Jakub Nowak, or Robert Webster as he is better known now, is a newcomer to Pinebox. He is Polish, looks to be in his mid-20s and recently purchased the Jensen Farm on the edge of Pinebox, after the tragic death of Freddie Jensen. Initially he lived with local drug-dealer Jeremy Redtree at the Caballo Indian Reservation, who took him in after he "arrived" in town, but started looking for a new place after Jeremy was forced to burn down his trailer because of some weird things happening with his Father. Jakub is extremely indebted to Jeremy -- When Jeremy found out that Jakub didn't have proper immigration paperwork, he took it upon himself to find him some, ultimately getting him the identity of Robert Webster. With his new persona, "Robert" was able to get a job as a photographer at the Albuquerque Gazette alongside (now-dead) reporter Cyrus Matthews.
To those around him, Jakub comes across as a survivalist. He carries an antique looking combat knife at all times, feels at home in the woods, and is uncomfortable around new technology. Although it pains him, Jakub has also started carrying momentos from his friends who have died: A bullet on a chain for Cyrus Matthews, a torn out page from William Lee's book with his autograph on it, a note from Freddie Jensen. Despite this, he is very eager for human interaction and is doing what he can to engage in and learn about life in Pinebox.
This enthusiasm was put in check by the realization that people in the town were becoming either Broken or Blessed after looking into a telescope owned by a (now-dead) Professor Hart and his successor, Claude Bryant (also dead). He also knew that Reverend Fitzgerald (dead), the leader of the First United Church of Pinebox, and a book he owned, The Testament of Carnamagos, had something to do with this, but not entirely what. Jakub had a strange experience at the Dreamlands Amusement Park where it was discovered that there was a rift in the Church of the Blessed, and that worshipers were trying to summon a creature called the "Treader in the Dust". Following up on that, Jakub went to the Church's Hell House to investigate the death of a young girl who committed suicide there. While there, he learned of a group called the "Agency" who were attempting to keep the "Treader in the Dust" at bay. That creature is now believed dead. Finally, a visit to William Lee's grandmother uncovered a letter indicating Reverend Fitzgerald was preparing for The Rapture and that it was time to end this. With friends, Jakub helped destroy the telescope, and while they weren't able to kill Fitzgerald directly, they destroyed the abomination he unleashed.
Although Jakub has enjoyed much of what he has experienced in Pinebox, he has come to hate the Wolves of Blood and Honor. He believes them to be an extension of Nazi Germany and believes they should all be jailed or killed (preferably by his own hand or gun). He first encountered them while visiting the Hollow of Cross-O Mountain and investigating what the "survivalist" group was doing there (among other things). Following this experience, Jakub believes many of them to be dead, but knows that April Jackson still lives and believes there are probably more out there.
People will note that Jakub has a particular fascination with Nazi's and World War 2 in general, but shies away from discussing the reason for this.
Connections: Jakub knows these people in Pinebox.
Jeremy Redtree (Local Drug-Dealer) -- @Gombar . WoB&H 2. B&B 2
Cyrus Matthews (Reporter) -- @westlemania639Dead. Killed by Crowbar. WoB&H 2, 3. B&B 2, 4
Darren (College Student) -- @Jackson . WoB&H 2
William Lee (Author) -- @KyleDead Killed by Angel. WoB&H 2. B&B 3, 4
Joshua Lee (High School Nerd) -- @Reuben . WoB&H 2, 6. B&B 2
Grey Wolf (Veteran / Author) -- Geosif. WoB&H 3, 6
Brad McKraken (Athlete / Mechanic) -- @Judge_John . WoB&H 3
John Poemie (Engineering Student) -- Aaron. B&B 1
Sgt Audie Chavez (Veteran) -- @AndyB . B&B 1, 2
Adam Madison (Car Dealership Owner) -- Alex / Thomas.Dead Killed by Jakub: Stepped on. B&B 1, 2
Claude Bryant (History Teacher) -- AnthonyDead Killed by Phillip Landstrum: Crowbarred. B&B 1, 4
Kenneth Morgan (Professor) -- Anthony B&B 2
Rick Blaine (Private Eye) -- @Matt . B&B 2
Reginald Beauregard (Lawyer) -- @Lane . B&B 3
Clarence D'avigne (Coroner) -- @swoooo B&B 3
Phillip Landrum (Engineer) -- @ElliottPaul B&B 3, 4
Lucretia Mott (Nurse) -- @Amanda B&B 3, 4
Father Corvine (Priest) -- Kelvin.Dead Killed by Phillip Landrum: Run Over by Car B&B 3, 4
Donovan "Boom-Boom" Hunter -- @westlemania639. B&B 4
Penelope Marston -- Geri. WoB&H 6
**If any of these tags for people are incorrect, please let me know and I'll remove it.
Sources of Mystery Investigated and Related Forum Activity
- Achtung Cthulhu game run by Andy Bates at Slur Your Roll
- Wolves of Blood and Honor Parts 2,3&6
- The Broken and the Blessed Part 1
- The Broken and the Blessed Part 2
- The Broken and the Blessed Part 3 - Hell House
- The Broken and the Blessed Part 4 - To Hell and Back Again
- Researching Professor Hart
- Master Jacob and his Sect
- After the Hell House
RE: After the Hell House
Jakub will take the letter, fold it up and slip it into his pocket. Freddie was a good friend, and if it weren't for him, who knows if Reverend Fitzgerald would have been taken down.
In the yard behind the Jensen farm, Jakub will find a shovel and dig a shallow grave. Picking up Freddie's body, Jakub will carry it and place his body respectfully in the grave. Jakub will head inside, grab a beer, and arrange it neatly in one of Freddie's hands. And although he knows Freddie can more than take care of himself, Jakub will place the AK-47 in the grave next to Freddie in case he needs to shoot the shit out of anything on the other side.
"Rest in peace friend" Jakub will think to himself as he re-covers the grave.
The Broken and the Blessed (Part 3 - Hell House)
@Lane – Reginald Beauregard (Lawyer)
@swoooo – Clarence D’avigne (Coroner)
@Justin – Jakub Nowak (Photographer)
@ElliottPaul – Phillip Landstrum (Engineer)
@Kyle – William Lee (Author)
@Amanda – Lucretia Mott (Nurse)
Kalvin – Father Corvine (Priest) – Died via suicide
Keeper – @Jonathan-Meadows
Game Date – January 27th, 2016
Jakub receives a frantic call from Frankie, where he rambles about how fucked up things are and about a girl who had committed suicide. Recognizing the girl (Kathy Landstrum) from a story in the Pinebox Gazette, Jakub decides to meet with Frankie. He picks up William Lee and Clarence D’Avigne on the way, and they see that Frankie has aged some 50 years over the span of a month! Frankie talks about how he and Kathy were working on the Hell House being constructed by Reverend Fitzgerald and how he believes the devil is in the house. Frankie believes that the Reverend has something to do with Kathy’s death, and that he felt himself aging whenever he went into the School Shooting Room, the same place Kathy died. Finally, he tells us that the funeral is tomorrow and that Reverend Fitzgerald will be there.
At the funeral, Reverend Fitzgerald speaks and as he does, Mitch Landstrum (Kathy’s father) throws a beer can at him and accuses him of Kathy’s death. His nephew, Phillip, helps to calm him and a lawyer, Reginald, speaks to him about a wrongful death case. A new priest to Pinebox, Father Corvine, speaks to Fitzgerald about the church and accommodations, and Fitzgerald asks to meet with him later. Overhearing this, Jakub heads off Corvine and tells him to be wary of Fitzgerald. As all this is going on, Lucretia (Lucy) appears behind a mausoleum.
The party finally convenes as we speak to Mitch Landstrum about wanting to help him discover what truly happened to his daughter. Around this time, we also speak to a police officer, Aaron Martinez, who shares Kathy’s suicide note with us. She wrote some variation of “Satan is here” on the walls of the School Shooting Room, which was subsequently painted over by the Church. He also tells us, and Clarence confirms, that Kathy’s autopsy was intentionally rushed, seemingly as a cover-up. When we are alone, Lucy begins telling us about something called the “Agency”, how she has been sent in time from the Civil War Era, and how she has been sent to look into one of their old Headquarter buildings, where a being known as the “Treader in the Dust” has been bound. Other research indicated that the Hell House is on the same grounds.
That evening, Father Corvine meets with Reverend Fitzgerald, where he is taken to the observatory at the edge of town. There he meets Claude Bryant, the professor who took over the Observatory after Professor Hart’s untimely death. He is instructed to look into the telescope, and when he refuses, a fight breaks out. Corvine loses the fight and is forced to look into the telescope, becoming “Broken” in the process. Ultimately, Corvine chooses death over being a slave.
The next day, we finally decide to investigate the Hell House. In the woods outside the House, we meet a man who talks about wanting to protest the opening, but also whispers about burning it down. Inside the house, we meet with a woman named Dawn, who knew Kathy well. She tells us that Kathy said she was seeing Satan in the mirrors, and that she sees him too. Dawn tells us that Satan wants out. As she gives us a tour, we see someone almost get killed in an accident involving a chainsaw. While we save the person, it becomes obvious that most people here have had some accident.
In the School Shooting room, we have a strange vision of 4 men in black coats (presumably from the “Agency”) tying down an alien creature. They see Lucy and one says “Oh fuck, this goes wrong doesn’t it?” and then we snap back to reality. Lucy tells us that to the Treader, time means nothing. Jakub looks into a mirror, where a voice tells him “I know what you want. I can send you home. Just help release me.”
A teenager with a rifle comes in the room, and laughs about the scene he gets to enact in this room where he “kills” people with his rifle. Around this time, Mitch Landstrum breaks into the Hell House, firing a shotgun that inadvertently hits Jakub. As party members talk to Mitch, people smell smoke and realize that the man we met outside has set fire to the house. Also at this point, the kid in the School Shooting Room starts killing people in the room – Chaos has erupted. Jakub kills the boy and Lucy goes upstairs, hoping to figure out how to keep the Treader contained. The Treader begins to materialize in front of her, having spawned from the chaos. Combat ensues, and somehow we defeat it.
Session closes on us casually walking away from a burning building.
RE: August 13 Game Thread
It is a beautiful Sunday morning in Pinebox, NM and a group of people get together at Dr. Lisa Sands' home for some mimosa's and light conversation. Suddenly, a radio broadcast goes out saying that a sandstorm is fast approaching Pinebox and that it is the recommendation of the Weather Service and the Pinebox Police Department that all citizens stay indoors.
A few members of the party, looking out and listening to the storm, hear a disturbance next door. When they go to check it out, they see a group of 5 hooded figures trying to abduct a couple. Two of the kidnappers tell the other three to block their escape as they grab the male in the couple. Bob recognizes that one of the five is an old co-worker, Joshua Wright, and is able to talk him down. Bushrod chases down the two making a break for the backdoor, but is hit with a powder which causes him to hallucinate. Albert attacks one of the three, ultimately killing him in a violent rage. In the end, one kidnapper dies, two escape (with a hostage) and two are placated.
Back at Lisa's, some information is learned: Abigail, the female in the couple from next door, tells the party that shortly after the sandstorm started, a group of people stormed in and threw some black powder on them, making her and her boyfriend Marty hallucinate. She remembers that she was asked about her purity, where she felt compelled to answer truthfully -- that she wasn't. Marty said he was, so they decided to take him rather than leave empty-handed. She remembers them saying that the "backup woman" was at the Middle School.
Joshua tells the party that he's unsure why he was following the orders, but he had no choice -- that when he was told to come to this house and kidnap a woman named Abigail, he simply complied. When asked who gave him his orders, he tells them it was Martin Cavanaugh, the Pinebox Chief of Police. He also says that he remembers hearing that 4 kidnapping were to take place: one here, one at Vestal Hills Mobile Park, one at the Old City Landfill and one at the Middle School.
Armed with this information, the party decides to go to the Middle School. Once they get there, they see more hooded figures guarding the place. Ultimately, they discover the woman, Jessica Barnes, and a boy child, Irving Carson, inside the music room. They are not able to escape silently however and are forced to fight their way out, but ultimately succeed in getting Irving and Jessica to safety. As they leave, the sandstorm seems to abate.
Feel free to edit/expand, or let me know if you'd like to follow up on anything.
RE: Bob Barret, USPS
With respect to Alex, he's willing to help you with any "Downtime Activities" you might do with respect to Jeanine, the Police Chief or anything else to do with what you told him. He's a bit older, a drunk and not very good with technology, but he'll do what he can to help out.
RE: Bob Barret, USPS
Because you told him what you saw and believe, my thought was that it would be more on him initially. If he didn't believe you, I was going to give you a chance to Persuade him, but thankfully you didn't need it!
I KNEW IT! I knew all that shit bout lizards n alligators n snakes n aliens bein in the government n poisoning the water n shit was real! Oh man Bob, X Files was right -- The mothafuckin truth is out there! N we got it, we got the truth Bob!
He pauses for a second, his eyes get real wide and he starts whispering. "Aw shit Bob, ya know what? I bet all that shit bout Ms Martinez goin crazy is some right bullshit. They got ta her! But where is Jeanine? Whaddya think Bob?
RE: The Subterranean Empire of K’n-yan (Wolves of Blood + Honor)
Thanks for this write-up Andy!
Few added things from a player's perspective:
- The teutonic cross on the jeeps was identified by someone in the party as the Iron Cross -- a symbol commonly associated with Nazi Germany.
- The octopus-headed idol and serpent-headed idol were taken by members of the group. I believe one of the Lee Brothers took one and maybe Derrin took the other -- @Reuben , @klwint02 , @Jackson can you confirm?
- We asked Gn'ag about that nude albino woman. I believe he said that she was being punished for something and that was why her corpse was reanimated.
- The large symbol surrounded by glyphs on the door was not identified, but it looked like this:
- The suggestion to Gn'ag was ingenious, so allow me to elaborate. Because Gn'ag was possessing the body of Marcus Jackson, the brother of Randall Jackson, he could easily get close to Randall and the other Wolves. We handed him an AK-47 and told him that once he was close to go nuts and have a good time. Admittedly, we high-tailed it out of there very quickly after this, but we did hear lots of gunfire and screaming, so hopefully the job got done.
RE: July 30 game thread
@Justin Also grab the laptop from the office and see if there is more useful information on it.
You open up the laptop and you see a grey background with a large symbol that looks like this: in the middle of the page. You recognize the symbol from the van outside.
The Username is listed as TMcCray and the password field is blank.
RE: The Subterranean Empire of K’n-yan (Wolves of Blood + Honor)
Thanks for doing this. I've got notes from the past two sessions of yours that I can put up in the next day or so.