Session 7: Desperate Measures

This is a session recap for my current Kult: Divinity Lost roleplaying campaign. Jessy Button is played by my wife, who also does the art, and I am the game master.

This post contains sex, violence and gore.

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Jessy makes her way back to the apartment she’s currently staying at – Ethan, a college student living with two roommates, allowed Jessy in after hearing about her break-in. Ethan is in his room when she comes to grab new clothes. If she’s going for a shower, he’d love to join. Jessy relents1, and hurries to hide her blood-drenched clothes at the bottom of her bag of makeup before Ethan comes into the bathroom. She can’t hide the bruises Tan gave her, but explains it away by being ‘oh so clumsy’. Ethan, overjoyed at having Jessy naked with him, doesn’t question her further. 1 Influence Other
Result: <9

The shower sex is emotionless to Jessy. She goes along with it, of course, moaning and thrashing and doing everything Ethan expects, but more than anything she’s staring at the razors by the sink and wishing she could use one on Ethan. Maybe if she cut him, this would at least feel like something. Once cleaned up, Jessy sees that she has an email waiting for her, from Granger Fine Jewelry. Jessy reads it, but puts it out of her mind for the moment. She has other things to worry about.

The next day, sleepless from her constant nightmares, Jessy groggily decides that perhaps she should actually cook some food for herself instead of just stealing Ethan’s supply of frozen microwave dishes. She heads to the local store, walking slowly on icy streets with the traffic plodding along equally slow beside her. She picks up meat, just meat. It’s really all she can keep in her mind at the moment.

On her way back, Jessy feels watched. A homeless man dragging bags of garbage behind him stares as she passes, as if recognizing her, and she sees another wiry person across the street do the same. Staring. She slows down to assess the situation2 and realizes that she’s being followed – the guy who passed her has turned around. He’s keeping his distance. Frustrated with what is now well over a week of harassment and nightmares, Jessy walks down a narrow alley and into a quiet, isolated parking lot. The man with the garbage bags follows. 2 Eye For Detail
Result: 10-14

She demands, pepper spray in hand, to know why he’s following her. In the large, gray jacket, the man’s expression is hard to read, but he is stuttery and unfocused when he speaks. Jessy, intense, drags the answers out of the man. He’s been told to follow her, that Wilma needs eyes on her. Wilma, the lady below, she wants something from Jessy, but he doesn’t know what.

In the middle of the conversation, the wiry person from before approaches. Tall, lanky and with large bulging eyes on an emaciated face, they seem a lot more aggressive than the man in the gray jacket. Confusion erupts over what’s going to happen, with the newcomer demanding Jessy come with him for the good of everyone. They can’t sleep. Jessy refuses, of course, and gets punched in the face for it3.

She stumbles back, her pepper spray falling to the ground as she loses her grip4. Head still spinning, she runs to grab the pepper spray and shoots it straight into the newcomer’s bulging eyes5. They fall, screaming, and Jessy points to the homeless man who stood motionless as the situation unfolded. Take her down to this Wilma. She’s done dealing with this. Before leaving, the man walks over to his screaming accomplice, grabs their head, and bashes it against the asphalt twice. They stop screaming. A part of Jessy wonders if she should have been the one to do it6.
3 Avoid Harm
Result: <9

4 Endure Injury
Result: 10-14

5 Act Under Pressure
Result: 10-14

6 Keep It Together
Result: 10-14

The man Jessy goes with introduces himself as Honey, and aside from his staggered and confused speech he seems mostly harmless to Jessy. He takes them down to an empty offshoot of the PATH. Honey sits down in front of an unmarked door and taps it repeatedly in no particular pattern or rhythm, after which he opens it. The room inside is small, and contains only a ladder down. Honey doesn’t want to go down, but fails to convince Jessy to go alone. He sees Jessy brought a package of steaks with her, which seems to comfort him.

Walking through old, trashed maintenance tunnels with only Jessy’s phone for light, the two begin to talk. Honey tries to explain that Wilma doesn’t let them sleep, and that she’s been looking for Jessy for at least a month. Honey also overheard someone else, he can’t remember who, saying that Jessy is the same person that Wilma demanded they find several years ago. Jessy keeps all her knowledge to herself, not telling Honey about being attacked for her ring nor that she knows Wilma wants it. Honey mutters something about the monster in the tunnels too, how he doesn’t want to think about it. Can’t let it get into your head, can’t ever listen to it. Down in the dark, he clams up, but maybe Jessy could interrogate him about it on the surface7. If she ever gets back up. 7 Read A Person
Result: <9

After descending stairs and getting lost in a labyrinthine expanse of filthy cement corridors and strange excavation sites, a locked metal door hinders their advance. An inhuman snarl from the room they just passed causes a panic. While Honey works on getting the door open by screaming off the top of his lungs and banging his head against it, Jessy steels herself for whatever is coming and arms herself with a knife she picked up on their way down. The phone, their only light source, she drops to the ground to have a free hand.

Some skinless horror, nails twisted into mean curled knives, throws itself out of the darkness at Jessy. She meets it with her knife8 which slashes through its face while claws dig in deep into Jessy’s shoulder9. A large, slick tongue falls out of the creature’s mouth, severed from the knife cut. With no time to lose, Jessy stabs the monster in its guts, hitting it again and again until it falls over. She hunches over it, and continues her rampage.

The knife plunges deep into the monster’s stomach, and face, and chest. Blood splatters over Jessy, pours in thick streams in all directions, and her ring burns on her finger. Far away, something breaks10. Jessy senses it, as if a rumbling machine she’d listened to all her life stopped. Her knife cuts straight through the mutilated creature, and blood turns to sewage pouring like a fountain from the cavity she’s created. She hears a voice calling out to her, a voice she can’t recognize though it feels familiar. Dark, filthy water continues to gush out of the cadaver until it fills the corridor.
8 Engage In Combat
Result: 10-14

9 Endure Injury
Result: 15+

10 See Through The Illusion
Result: <9

Jessy finds herself, and Honey behind her, knee-deep in stinking sewage water, and darkness. She picks her phone out of the water, but there’s no chance of saving it. Somewhere in the distance, a tiny light. With no clue where they are, the two head towards it. A old flashlight has been dropped here, the only source of light they could hope for now.

A corridor of mortared stone becomes their path forward. Thin, black beetles, as large as your forearm, crawl and flutter here. They shy away from the light and disappear into crevices in the walls as Jessy and Honey pass them. Since neither of them know where they are, they are completely lost in these strange underground paths. They pass a corridor in which several dead bodies lay scattered, a bloody rampage now silent, and hurry away from the scene. Now is not the time.

After hours and hours of wandering hopelessly onward, Honey decides that he has to rest. They need to lay down, focus themselves, and think of a plan. Well, Jessy needs to think of a plan. Honey needs heroin, which he stole from his murdered accomplice before going with Jessy. They stop in what looks like a place of worship, fashioned from bedrock. Rows upon rows of stone pews, but where one might expect an altar is instead only a large pile of bones, inhuman skulls leering at them from the other end of the room. Jessy turns the flashlight off, and finds a place to collect her thoughts.

The darkness and emptiness is overwhelming. For a long time, Jessy lays still and listens to the silence until she hears things she cannot determine whether they come from her own mind or from the corridors and halls outside their resting place11. Finally, she decides that she has to sleep. Honey has said nothing for a long time, perhaps he finally found some rest too. 11 Keep It Together
Result: 15+

When Jessy wakes up, candles burn with a black flame at the front of the carved stone cathedral. The pile of bones has reformed into a massive altar on which Wilma, the woman who’s been tormenting Jessy with nightmares, is laying. Jessy is still dreaming. Behind the altar, another figure is visible. Or rather, the black and lightless outline of a woman can be seen as if a three-dimensional shadow is cast against the space behind the altar. This figure reaches down and inside Wilma, and extracts something out of her. Images of snakes shedding their old skins come unbidden to Jessy’s mind as she watches, but the lightless woman soon sinks into the background and leaves a gaping abyss behind her. The entire wall falls into endless nothingness, as if the room exists on the very edge of reality itself.

Through a tense conversation, Jessy explains to Wilma that she has come to see her. No, Wilma still can’t have the ring. Through rambling and whispering interlaced with threats, Wilma lets out that she needs the ring because the other ones have gone missing and they’re her only way to reach the city of Ktonor and the liberation of all waiting below it. She helped Jeremiah create the ring, so she more than anyone understands its power. She doesn’t care about Jessy, to the point that if she handed over the ring Jessy might be allowed to leave completely unharmed. She seems unhinged more than angry12, and Jessy starts to believe that perhaps Wilma can be manipulated with the right lies. 12 Read A Person
Result: 10-14

The conversation deteriorates, and Jessy lunges with her knife at Wilma to bury it deep into the woman’s neck. Wilma screams, her face distorting, melting and growing old before Jessy. Their eyes meet, and Jessy feels her entire body spin underneath her while her head stays locked in place. A sickening crack, and the dream goes dark as Jessy wakes. Honey mutters something to her about not falling asleep again, but Jessy demands he get up. They need to get moving. She thinks Wilma might be angrier than before and she’d rather not stay in one place right now. She wants this over with.

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