The pendulum of the old clock punctuates Jessy’s every step, the ticktocking of its exact machinery guiding the pace of all things in this place. She is guided down a hallway of closed doors, no names, titles or signs of life other than her and the withered receptionist. At the end, a heavy wooden door states with a gold plate: SOL. The door is opened for Jessy by the receptionist’s starved remains, and she is quick to step inside and confront whoever has orchestrated all of this. The man waiting in the room, tall and broad in a checked suit of brown, greets Jessy with a heavy handshake. He has a sturdy figure and small beady eyes. At the far end of the sizable office stands a desk of dark wood, a massive piece of furniture that looks completely immovable. Behind it, just above the exquisite leather chair, hangs a map of Toronto and all its boroughs. Every road, alleyway and tiny walking path is a thin line on the map, lines which continue past the black, narrow frame and out onto the wallpaper. The entirety of the room’s walls swarm with a myriad of lines, an endless city surrounding Canada’s finest metropolis.
Despite her headache and definitely not wanting to go, Jessy does head out in the morning for her first doctor’s visit since her ‘accident’. The hospital’s bright lights and long wait times already have her in a bad mood by the time her doctor, Edward, enters the examination room. Jessy’s new bandages and wounds, sores made from a thousand needles burrowed into her skin, force Edward to ask many worried and intrusive questions until Jessy guilts him to stop. She had sex. It was consensual. Deal with it. While examining and redressing her shoulder wound, nearly healed, the doctor asks Jessy about her head injury. Has she experienced migraines, mood shifts, noises, flashes of light, anything else strange? While Jessy tries to explain to Edward that she’s been hearing and seeing her grandmother, he at first appears to ignore her response entirely and later dismisses it as dizzy spells. Jessy gets the sense that what she tried to tell him and the words that actually came out of her mouth didn’t match up. She told him something different.
Jessy sits in the bedroom, confused, and listens to James run down the stairs. Carolina and Daisy immediately go to check on him. Realizing this situation might get out of hand quickly, Jessy hurries to catch up to James. He is on the verge of tears, trying to give Daisy a rambled recollection of what happened. He was terrified, stuck with suffering and pain for an eternity. No joy, no passion. He sought his god, and found only torment. Carolina and Daisy are shocked, but Jessy approaches and tries to mend her now ruined relationship with James1. She didn’t mean him any harm, she only did what she thought he wanted. She cares about James and making this right, but right now he needs to calm down. Carolina has already called Tan, recognizing the weight of what’s unfolding, so perhaps they should just wait for him. Daisy leads the temporarily placated James to a chair in the lounge, and when he asks for his 3DS she gets it for him from the staff lounge. They all sit down and wait for Tan, with the cheery sounds of Animal Crossing as background noise. Jessy’s mind is running at full speed, trying to piece together an excuse or explanation Tan might listen to.
The text on Jessy’s phone is clear. Carl wants to talk. Specifically, he wants to call her. With little time to prepare, Jessy grabs her headphones and sits down on the balcony in the cold afternoon. She’d rather not be overheard by Tan’s staff for any reason, and she doesn’t know if his camera surveillance also picks up sound. Better not take any chances. Carl and Jessy haven’t been talking, since his wife is apparently close to discovering his relationship with Jessy. Now, though, he is worried. Jessy has to explain to him how she got into the hospital and why she wasn’t registered as a student at the university. It’s all one big sob story, and one big lie. According to herself, she couldn’t keep her grades up and was forced to leave. Carl in turn tells her that he’s bought a place for her to stay, as he promised that he would. It’s up in Brampton, a bit far away, but at least she won’t have to stay with friends. Jessy isn’t nearly as excited about this as he would have expected, telling Carl that she’d rather not be alone right now. She explains it away with her wounds, which she still needs help tending to. Better to just stay with friends for the time being. Thanks anyway.
Finally. After a week at the hospital, though only half of it lucid, Jessy is allowed to leave. She listens, not patiently, to her doctor once again rattling off all the things Jessy needs to keep in mind with her injury. No strenuous activity, no alcohol, take pills daily, dress the shoulder wound once every two days, weekly checkups at the hospital. Not even her doctor seems too invested in the conversation, days of having to deal with Jessy enough to dampen the enthusiasm he usually has for his work. Tan, there to pick her up, has brought Jessy new clothes to leave in. The blood and filth-soaked ripped rags she came in with have been disposed of as biohazardous waste.
A warm summer day, window shutters clattering lightly in the breeze. MTV Cribs is playing on the TV, but Jessica is only half paying attention. She’s sat in her family’s old-looking but comfortable living room, flipping through a magazine her younger sister had brought home last week. It’s not particularly interesting to her, but it’s something to do. Marie, her mother, appears in the corner of her sight. She enters the living room, her glazed eyes slowly moving over all the details of the room, taking it all in with great, but sluggish, interest. Another one of her weird episodes. Jessica tries to get her attention, but she only half-responds with a dragged out nonsense sentence before finally snapping out of it and asking Jessica what she’s reading.
Hello, Kultists! Last year on this blog, I presented session recaps of my ongoing Kult campaign titled Jessy’s Story. It got so far as eight sessions in, when I decided that a hiatus was in order to allow my wife and artist some time to move on to other projects and commissions. At long last (read: a bit overdue), Jessy’s Story is finally returning! The preliminary schedule will be to have one session posted every three weeks until the campaign is DONE! There is quite a ways to go, so there is lots of content to look forward to if you enjoy Jessy’s descent into madness (and eventual rise to power). However, I imagine there are those who either haven’t read all the first eight sessions, or have forgotten much of the details. Not to worry – below is a summary containing some of the major characters of the story, and what happened in each session.
Hello, Kultists! I hope you are enjoying your holiday season. I’m writing a lot, though unfortunately a lot of it is for projects unrelated to this blog. You will see it in due time. On the horizon in the short term is another one-shot recap, and the return to Jessy’s Story. Likely in early spring of next year, the second arc of Jessy’s Story will be posted with some regularity. Each session will still have an illustration by my illustrious wife. I am super excited for this, and hopefully you will be too after checking out the dope art and sneak peak below!
“The cult of Dehu and Mil undresses, spreading out through the large conference hall and helping Tan prepare for the ceremony. Tables are pushed aside, kisses are exchanged, a large black cloth is unfolded below the dark stone throne towering at the far end of the room. All of this is done under Tan’s guidance and watchful eye, directing his flock from the elevated platform the throne sits on and surrounded by truly grotesque, surreal art of a being with two goat heads breaking chains and violently penetrating its lessers.”
As session 8 concludes, we find Jessy unconscious and facing an uncertain fate. Well… not entirely uncertain. She will return at the start of next year, facing new challenges and getting further involved in the madness that seems to surround her. This campaign is an undertaking. It’s bigger than I first anticipated when I started writing and certainly bigger than anything else I’ve done in this style. I come from a D&D background, so my concept of campaign writing was largely limited to building dungeons with more rooms and cooler monsters. More narrative-driven games, such as Kult or Tales from the Loop (another favorite of mine), are newcomers to my game arsenal, and so Jessy’s Story has been an opportunity for me to learn. A lot.
For instance: I think I have finally figured out how I like to write scenes! In the past, I’ve always written my own scenarios and campaigns in terms of locations and events, but Kult: Divinity Lost and many other narrative-heavy RPGs ask you to think in terms of scenes. This was a huge change for me, and I’ve stumbled quite a lot with it. I expect myself to stumble for several more years before it becomes easy for me. Even so, I’ve now come up with a way for me to write scenes that I enjoy and think works for me.
Jessy’s left shoulder has started to hurt, the wound from her clash with the monster getting worse by the hour. She talks with Honey about her plan – go back to the sewers they found themselves in earlier, and try to find a way up from there. Honey has his doubts, but Jessy has the flashlight. They snake their way back the way they came, often turning off the flash light in the long corridors to conserve battery. Darkness and silence, interrupted only by their own footsteps and the occasional flickering emergency light embedded in filth. They find their way back to the stinking sewage, and explore from there. Somewhere out in the darkness, a person calls out for help. Jessy turns the flashlight off and makes sure both her and Honey stay quiet. Splashing in the water and the panicked voice of a young woman pass them by, and Jessy waits until she’s long gone before they continue moving. She can’t afford another person slowing them down, if it even was a person. Hard to know in this place.