Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Cellar Collapses

There was only a moment like this: laughter, the tinkle-tinkle of glasses being gently tipped against one another, the murmur of chatting, the gentle knocking sound of hard-soled shoes against wood floors. Very quickly these happier sounds fell away. The tinkling and murmuring seemed to dissolve into the air; the laughter and the footsteps stopped outright.

Cat-tee? What are you doing?” Leaning on the toppled table and still holding her weapon, Cati threw a look over her shoulder. Only a few yards behind her, Emma was sitting up in her seat, no longer resting her hand in her hands. “You were just . . . what are you doing with a gun?” Something like understanding – but it couldn’t have been – came over Emma’s face as she looked at the patrons around her. Cati lowered her weapon a little and, following her friend's lead, took in the scene.

To Emma’s right, a man laid on the floor with his knees curled into his chest. A pool of blood was quickly spreading beneath him and he started to rock slightly on his side. Cati threw her gaze to her left, to the man who had been knocked onto the floor when Rashfal had thrown her. The joints in his legs had been strangely locked at right angles as if he had been sitting in a chair, but he was spread out flat now. His eyes were wide open but insensible; his pupils seemed as wide as pennies. There was another pool of blood just beginning to form underneath the back of his head.

Now there was sobbing. At the bottom of the staircase, the woman Cati had bumped into in her flight from Rashfal was pulling herself onto her hands and knees with the help of her companion. As she rose, her lips seemed to fall away in a torrent – blood poured from her broken nose and her smashed teeth. She clutched her ruined face. Her sobs came out as sputters and gurgles. She didn’t want to, but Cati could not help looking to the bathroom attendant. He was on the floor, leaning against the wall and pawing at his shoulder with a senseless look on his face. He was alive, but flabbergasted. None of these people could know what had happened in their midst. One second, they had been dining and drinking, laughing and enjoying the company of their peers; and in the next, they were a broken, ghastly mass of injury and pain.

Cati’s sense of responsibility had been lifted from her during her first moments among the be-stilled scenery. As the disastrous melee had worn on, it had slowly began to settle back into place on her narrow shoulders. Now, as the normal flow of events abruptly resumed, responsibility crashed down on her with staggering weight. She let her gun arm drop and she fell to her knees. Cati began to cry. “I did it . . .”

Emma rushed to her side and began to comfort her friend. “It’s alri–” Emma began, but it wasn’t.

The ragged crowd erupted into motion. The moment of collective astonishment at the suddenness of the carnage gave way into a cacophony of panicked screams, pleas for help, and alarmed outbursts. Some parts of the crowd began an uncoordinated shift to the stairway. Other individuals ran to the bar, or began lifting overturned furniture.
“He’s been shot!” someone screamed.
“My hands!”
“I can’t see! Call the police!”
“She needs water!”
“Everybody stay calm!” someone commanded, but no one obeyed.

Shocks of the grey-dressed man’s blonde hair protruded from between Thelonius’s knuckles. His eyes rolled up to meet Thel’s. “Okay. Let me go now,” he hissed.

The bathroom door swung open. “Mister White! Are you okay!” The second bathroom attendant, the one who had accepted the wizard’s sizable tip just minutes ago, had abandoned his post and his basket of towels. “Oh my God! What happened?” he asked Thelonius. “Here, let me help you with him,” he said as he knelt and moved to slip his hands under the wizard’s shoulders. “Was there some kind of earthquake?”

Clutching the saber in his hand, Henri looked to Thelonius, who had not yet released Mister White’s hair from his clutches. A fresh burden of responsibility had fallen upon their shoulders as well.

Mister White meant to snicker, but it came out a cough.


da solomon said...

(Combat is over unless one of the player characters re-initiates it.

The sudden actualization of all the forestalled carnage was quite a shock. It fell especially heavily upon Cati, who has suffered -6 sanity. Henri, whose threshold of tolerance for this sort of thing has been falling steadily has suffered less so: -2 sanity. Thelonius remains willfully in control of his faculties.

During the combat, there was a series of “resistance rolls” or contests to determine the outcome of a particular supernatural effect. Thelonius and Cati each lost one. Thelonius, however, managed to succeed in his second contest, at the price of -1 magic point.

Cati has lost another hit point from blood loss. Thel feels literally as though he is going to pass out. Both Thelonius and Cati (if she can pull herself together) know that they need immediate medical attention. This much will also be apparent to Henri, who is mostly fine and maybe just a little less dandy. Keep in mind that even if a character is not trained in first aid, they can still attempt it with a base skill of 30%.

As per the explanations given here, each character with an appropriate skill may administer first aid or medical treatment once to each wound suffered by themselves or another character. To review, Thelonius suffered a blow to his head. Then he had his face smashed into a doorframe. Following that, Cati was thrown and had a table dropped on her (counts as one wound). Henri was then thrown into the bar. That's two big hurts for Thelonius, and one each for Henri and Cati.)

Thelonius Jones said...

The battered reporter released his grip on the wizard's hair, flopping to the ground in a controlled collapse before he fainted dead away.

He lay on his back, hoping that he could remain conscious long enough to encase the wisps of the wizard's hair in his left hand in one of the grimy handkerchiefs he kept crammed in his pocket.

That's for later....sympathetic magic my ass.

Thelonius chuckled out a thick mass of spit and blood as rolled on his side, and attempted to staunch the flow of blood from his mouth with the second less than clean handkerchief that he had in his pocket.

(that wound be a base First aid roll for the facial wound)

da solomon said...

Thel squirreled away a few strands of White's hair in his interior jacket pocket, where it would sit with the remaining vial of mercurial fluid. As consciousness drained from him, Thelonius wondered if he should keep that vial or give it back to Cati.

He pressed his other handkerchief against the wound on his mouth - a wound that really took up much of his face, a split that very likely ran into the deeper layers of his head. The handkerchief quickly soaked through with blood, dampening the reporter's fingers.

Strength left his neck. Thelonius laid his head down. He remembered the implements in the bathroom - could they be useful as evidence? It was an inane question, but the sort of thing one might expect from a slowly fainting mind . . .

(Thel failed his first aid check.)

Monsieur Henri DuMonde said...

A quick glance told Henri that Jones looked in worse shape than Cati. He dropped to his knees next to Jones and set aside the saber.

"Okay, my friend, just relax a little," he said, hoping his voice sounded calming. "Let me see if I can do anything for you."

(ooc: Henri will first try first aid on Jones. If he succeeds he'll move on to Cati before returning to Jones. If he fails on Jones he'll go for a second attempt on Jones on the second wound before moving on to Cati.)

da solomon said...

From somewhere, Henri recalled a modicum of training that he had once received and tried to apply it to Thel's wounds. First he examined Thel's second wound, which seemed the most egregious. He pressed his own handkerchief against a place where he thought he could staunch the blood flow, but quickly found that the damage was too dispersed around Thelonius's face to effectively cover that way. Examining more closely, he realized that while Thel's facial bones were probably broken, most of the blood flow seemed to be coming from the split on his crown he had received from Rashfal's first attack. After applying pressure there, Henri found that he was able to mop up some of the excess blood. With the help of a glass of water on nearby table, he cleaned a splinter of doorframe from the reporter's cheek.

By the time he had moved to Cati, she was already beginning to climb the steps out of the basement, but not on her own power. Emma had her arm around her and was mostly carrying her. Henri took a quick look at Cati's face, which was bruising now, and found that he couldn't determined the source of her wounds as easily as he could with Thelonius. She seemed woozy - hadn't she landed on her back and her head? A concussion? "I'm a doctor!" someone called from above.
Emma replied, "Hey, come down here!" She looked to Henri. "Help me lay her out for the man!"

The doctor was wearing a tuxedo. He reached the bottom of the stairwell whispered a quick warning to Emma and Henri: "The police are upstairs. I don't want to be seen down here. We all should go."

(Henri has attempted three first aid check. He failed the first and the third attempt, but his second attempt to help Thel has succeeded. Thelonius gets +2 hit points and his bleeding has stopped.)

Teresa said...

"Do like the fella says, Emma. He's the doctor." Cati leaned into her friend and let Emma help her up the stairs.

Monsieur Henri DuMonde said...

Henri, seeing Cati was being helped out, went back to Jones and, trying to be extra careful about things like cracked or broken ribs, put his arm around Jones under his arms. He drew Jones' arm across his own shoulders and tried his best to take most of Jones' weight and walk him out of the speakeasy.

"We'll get you well away from here, my friend," he said in what he was hoping were reassuring tones, "and if that man is a doctor he can give you a look, and if he's not, we can find you one. So let's just not get arrested again."

da solomon said...

(The world feels a little safer now that the player characters have managed to rout Rashfal and the diabolical Mr. White. They’ve garnered a few points of sanity. Thelonius has earned +4 sanity, Henri has garnered a thankful +5 sanity, and Cati, who was probably quite bothered by all the shooting and breaking of innocent bones that she did, got only +2 sanity.

Action continues for Thelonius and Henri in Breaks for the Broken. Cati picks up in A Family Matter. Hit point recovery for Thel, Henri, and Cati will be covered in those posts.)