Monday, October 3, 2022

Bread & Circuses - Postcards From Aviladad, Something Wretched This Way Comes , & An Encounter With 'Dr. Theophilus' Traveling Show' - Session Report

 “The stuff of nightmare is their plain bread. They butter it with pain. They set their clocks by deathwatch beetles, and thrive the centuries. They were the men with the leather-ribbon whips who sweated up the Pyramids seasoning it with other people's salt and other people's cracked hearts. They coursed Europe on the White Horses of the Plague. They whispered to Caesar that he was mortal, then sold daggers at half-price in the grand March sale. Some must have been lazing clowns, foot props for emperors, princes, and epileptic popes. Then out on the road, Gypsies in time, their populations grew as the world grew, spread, and there was more delicious variety of pain to thrive on. The train put wheels under them and here they run down the log road out of the Gothic and baroque; look at their wagons and coaches, the carving like medieval shrines, all of it stuff once drawn by horses, mules, or, maybe, men.”
― Ray Bradbury, Something Wicked This Way Comes

Confession time, I'm fascinated with dark circuses, murder circuses  & supernatural circuses going back to my childhood. Last year or was it a couple of years ago I used an old friend's murder circus this coming Wednesday I'm going to do it again. David Bay Miller's OSR Libary blog has hosted 'Dr. Theophilus' Traveling Show' for years now.  
And it's been a staple of my OSR game campaigns for years now. And each & everytime it's played at my table it's escaped the PC's. And since the latter part of September the PC's in a few games have heard rumors that 'Dr. Theophilus' Traveling Show' has been near where the 'Black Guard' have been. 

Dr. Alphonsus Theophilus, has found a piece of arcane  machinery to fix his gate device allowing him to move freely between time & place. And for his circus to cause even more mayhem across the planes Prime. He's not sure where or when he aquired the mechanism but it's allowed his circus to traverse the time space continuum with easy. What  Dr. Alphonsus Theophilus, doesn't know is that his planar device is a piece of the machinery of  the 'Device of Lum The Mad' which has moved across the multiverse ages ago. He has no idea how or when he repaired the gate device but he suspects that 'Boppo The Clown King' had something to do with it. 

And the circus has continued it's murderous rampage across the cosmos & this brings Magda Cordalena the Mistress of the Knives, who has even grown more disenchanted with the murder circus & it's ways. As more murder & mayhem has become the norm  Magda increasingly finds herself in way over her head. While Magda is thrilled with the locations she has visited. She finds the casual violence & occult means far more then she signed up for.   She has had contact with the Blackguard in the past and small romantic entanglement with one of our PC's. This has only made Magda's plight even more complicated. 

     The Cirque Diabolique from the Wretchedverse stands as a rival for  'Dr. Theophilus' Traveling Show' & the two encountered each other very briefly in the far future deserts outside of Avalidad. The malevolent presence of Boppo The Clown King caused these two institutions of evil to go their separate ways. Neither propeitor willing to risk a full on wizard's duel that could damage their acts. 
Zonesec is not quite aware of the immense danger both of these vistors from outside of time and space are. The Blackguard adventurers & mercenaries in tonight's game used their leverage with both circuses to gain a powerful artifact from the clutches of Jessup The Archer. 
The Blackguard were able to put distance between themselves & Jessup by putting a fake artifact in the Archer's path. But then lost the artifact to one of the assassin/prostitutes  working for the Cirque Diabolique. One of our PC's was killed by a mutant freak working with the prostitute assassin twins. So the Blackguard approached Dr. Alphonsus Theophilus, about the recovery of some valuables in Avalidad itself. He was more then happy to employ them if they could a recover the jewels in question. And b. grab an ebon Fey from among the mutant population as a replacement act among the slums of Aviladad. 
 The Cirque Diabolique wasn't done with the party however as the NPC medium began searching for the Blackguard. He didn't count on the Blackguard's own psychic however who successfully hid our party. 

The party had a running battle with six or seven knife wielding undead maniacs that belonged to the ringmaster of Cirque Diabolique. Two of our adventurers were wounded by these monsters & our necromancer had to use a scroll of protection from evil just to save the party. The player was pissed to say the least. The Cirque Diabolique vanished leaving behind a rather nasty calling card. The head of the Blackguard's contact within the mutant ghetto of Avilidad. 
The Blackguard were more then happy to deal with an entity of the Beyond to get a bead on the 
Cirque Diabolique's next otherworldly destination someplace near the Pleatis system.  So now the Blackguard are calling in favors to book passage on an interstellar frieghter bound for this system for next week's game. 

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