[PBF] The Wise Are Silent


#1

[This is the game thread for the Unknown Armies RPG Horror adventure. The recruitment
thread for this game can be found here. Recruitment is currently closed.

Our players are:
@Z-Paran0ia (Game Master)
@Lassemomme (Hancock Sloan)
@NoCoastGaming (Molly Malloy)
@Foofaraw (Viscount Vicera)
@Mike (Riley Jenkins)
@chainsaw (Murphy Parrish)

Their character sheets are available for viewing here. They’ll be updated as needed.

In this thread, any normal text will be considered in-character. Any out-of-character (OOC) questions or roll specifications should be made in brackets [ ]. Any longer discussions can be made in Discord, or in the recruitment thread linked above, to ensure the story thread isn’t lost here.

Those of need in an online dice roller can find one here.

Thanks for joining us. Enjoy the show!]

Act 1

It begins in the dark, as all things do. A view like a patch of starless night, a point so remote and empty and cold that nothing could escape, would escape, no matter the vigor, the need, or the will. It is vast; it is deep; it is watchful.

Then, from the left, a branch. It draws a line towards a trunk, and soon a tree. Behind it drift another, smaller by perspective, and another, this one planted firm in a curve of gray snow soiled by the night, until soon they multiply from motes of isolated nature to a forest of naked bark and brambles. Snow falls from the sky now, has been falling since the storm started hours ago before the bus had even pulled into the station and opened its pneumatic doors to the few waiting travelers. It seems so long ago, now. A drop of normalcy feels like a lost wish when things come crashing down.

The blood flashes red on his face as he steps into view from the left, always from the left, blinking hard against the snowy wind that blows his hair and jacket collar. He staggers like a man impaired, dilated eyes darting here and there, squinting hard as his mouth hangs loose like a broken chin strap. The wind blows away the smell of diesel and scorched rubber, but his nose roils with the stink of it. There’s got to be a light, he thinks, the one coherent sentence that’s surfaced since he stepped into the trees. He plants his feet and looks for it. The darkness, defiant, stares back.

There’s a screech of metal, and he suddenly feels dizzy. The vomit comes quick, a wet cough that soaks his front before he realizes it’s happened. God, my head… Even in the blizzard, the pounding wouldn’t dull. He paws at his hat, the tender skin beneath. An ice pick to the temple each time, a shout of pain and anger–

Until he realized the shout was real, real as the wind and the dark and his throbbing head, and it was behind him, back from where he came. He doesn’t want to turn, doesn’t want to risk the dizziness, and then he’s turning, a wobbly new-born fawn, falling against a tree to keep his feet. The smell intensifies, the light rediscovered, the scene somehow alien and strange to his wandering eyes. For the brief moment it clarifies, he regrets it. With a churn, his stomach empties again.

The bus lays mangled like a roadkill deer, the side nearly caved in from turning over into a ditch after black ice sent the tires skidding against the will of the driver. Two silhouettes help haul a third, a fourth, a fifth from the broken door. One of them shouts into the trees (. . .-iver! . . .-iver! . . .) while the others congregate on the asphalt as the marquee sign above the windshield flashing “NEWBURYPORT” in jittering electrical fits. Headlights blaze and blink through the trees, burning the man’s eyes. He covers his face with a hand and feels sickness wash over him again, even there against the tree. His body feels unbearably heavy now. He shifts his feet, attempting to gauge the weight, and the tree fails him. The man falls face first into the snow, unconscious before he hits the frosty ground.

Just your fucking luck.

The five of you stand shivering near your recently slain transport, shaken and bruised from the heel-turn of fortune that sent the bus careening into a ditch for a roll in the mud. Only an hour before, each of you sat alone together on the bus, the only passengers on the cheapest line to Newburyport by US-202. You had the luxury of acceptable anonymity, then, keeping to yourself and your own purpose for taking this trip. Maybe it was a vacation, tying up unfinished business, a show–whatever it was doesn’t matter now. What matters is your bus is totaled, the driver has wandered into the woods surrounding you, and a blizzard is steadily getting worse.

What do you do?


[PBF][Recruitment Closed] A Horror Game
#2

Molly Malloy slumps down on the side of the bus, her body vibrating, still electric with the shock of the crash. She’s been hurt before. A lot. But has never been a part of something so catastrophic. Her mind is full of smeared wasps, buzzing.

An image of a hooded man standing before her, and white light as he cuts her face. A gasp escapes her - a memory. Her hands feeling around her face, searching for anything different, any new wounds. Her fingers settle on her scar and is glad to see it doesn’t have any new friends.

Molly’s eyes drift towards her purse. An ancient sensation rises from her gut, a need and yearning. She tears open her black bag. Her hands dancing around lipsticks, a phone, her snub nose revolver, until she finds it and her heart turns a deep golden, a late summer sun. The vodka she picked up from her corner store, from Raymond, the elderly hispanic gentleman from which she always buys her vodka. Raymond who found Molly after the mugging, crumpled in an alleyway. Raymond, her de-facto godfather, who she will always disappoint.

The lid of the flask-sized bottle cracks off neatly and now it’s pouring down her throat. She exhales deeply. The intricate mechanisms of her brain begin to spin up in to production. A tightly knit factory. Now she’s Molly again. Molly the beautiful, Molly the brilliant. She pours a few drops on her gashed knee, black jeans splayed open. She winces, stands, ignites a Parliament Light, and looks to the others from the bus, arms crossed, one foot tilting back on the heel of her favorite black pumps.

An old guy, a college-age girl, a guy in a bizarre costume, and another young adult male. Their hypothetical pasts begin weaving structures. Inferences based on their posture, their dress, how they hold their hands and gesticulate. They become people, not just bipedal animals. She arms herself with that knowledge, of possible outcomes her conversations might have, how to position her body, what tone of voice to take. She steels her nerves, and prepares to interact with other humans.

Molly zips up her leather jacket, hands shoved in its pockets, Parliament smoke spiraling in the snow, and makes her way to the others. She sets a powerful stride, she needs to show them that she can’t be fucked with.


#3

Hancock looks up at the snowflakes barreling down towards him and the rest of the stranded. At least that’s what they might as well be. The damn busdriver must have dozed off and now here we are, stranded in a cold white ocean with no land in sight. Like a regular god damn Robinson Crusoe, Hancock curses in his mind.

He takes in his surroundings. Nobody seems to be too dinged up. The weirdo in the black duster coat with feathers looks to a bit shocked but at least the ridiculous outfit and his giant boots will keep him warm, if nothing else. The two college kids, at least that’s how old they seem to be, are not as spectacularly dressed, but the boy is clearly an athlete and the girl has the hands you’d usually see on a 40 year old mechanic. strangest thing. The real problem is the lady with the scar on her face. Hancock notices her approaching the group. From the moment she walked past him on the way to her seat in bus, with a purse that gave away the telltale sounds of glass botles and metal. She’s going to be trouble.

Hancock stops his thought train immediately. “The hell are you thinking old man? This isn’t the army, it hasn’t been for decades. these people are not your responsibility. In all likelyhood all they are going to end up doing is weigh you down. So what if the weirdo chose to dress sensibly, anyone who would would be a moron! The Jock is probably dumb like bag of hammers, little miss diesel engine could have fixed cars from here to Tuscany and it still wouldn’t save that hunk of busted metal lying in a ditch right now, and that’s not even starting on the booze hound in black. That girl is a walking breakdown just waiting to happen and I for one am not going to be there to pick up the pieces.

Hancock lets his eyes wander from stranger to stranger with thinly veiled contempt. “look at them. completely helpless, one and all. they won’t last until morning… until morning”. For a brief moment Hancocks mind races back, on a hellride through dive bars and military funerals until it stops on a battlefield in the early morning hours as his squad fiercely defend their position. For a brief almost non existent second, it’s like he’s back there, the smell of gunpowder and ringing from motar fire reverberating through him. He has to help them, he realizes. Someone has to help them.

Hancock grits his teeth. He does not take pleasure in what he’s about to do, but it has to be done. Massachusetts is a bitch in the winter, and they will have to get a move on soon or won’t matter how many ludicrous outfits either of them are wearing. He sighs inward, realizing that this will probably be the last time a while he will get to be free from actual human interaction. He then straightens up and speaks:

“Alright, if everyone’s okay we need to start moving. It’s colder than a gut-shot bitch wolf dog with nine sucking pups pulling a number-four trap up a hill in the dead of winter In the middle of a snowstorm with a mouth full of porcupine quills. We’ll need to get our hands on our luggage so we can get our hands on some warm clothes or it we won’t make it through the night.”


#4

Riley knows a concussion when he feels one. His head swims, his vision is blurry in his right eye, like looking through white stained glass windows, and he’s not sure he’s not about to throw up. A shake of the head like he’s done countless times before, normally with a trainer looking him in the face, brings some focus back. His earphones hang down the front of his hoody, still playing a Wonder Years song, fearing the worst he slides his phone out of his jean pocket to find the screen spider-web cracked, little pieces of glass prickle his thumb as he slides it unlocked and pauses the song. He’d paid $50 to get the screen fixed only last week, which he realises is potentially the least of his worries right now. He checks the signal bar, nothing.

Riley realises he’s zoned out and has been ignoring a man from the bus talking, he can’t quite put together his words but he’s saying something about the storm and luggage and suddenly Riley notices he’s shivering. So is the girl stood next to him, though she’s gritting her teeth something fierce not to let on. Not the girl in the leather jacket though, she’s already smoking and looks warmer than she possibly can be in this weather. He shoots an envious look at the guy in the duster and his big boots, are those Docs? Riley always wanted a pair of docs. He’s suddenly aware of the sharp cold wetness seeping into his converse and remembers he has much more suitable footwear in his bag…which is currently in the luggage hold of the bus.

Not sure if 3 seconds or 30 have passed since the old guy finished speaking, Riley speaks, not really to anyone :

“The luggage hold, we need to get the luggage hold open”


#5

She hadn’t seen the thing that caused it but she could feel the gut wrenching turn of the bus as it was flung into the ditch on the side of the road. She knew what hitting a deer felt like, and this wasn’t it.

She needs her backpack. There’s a sting in her ribs, but she needs her backpack. The cold is creeping into her hands now, why didn’t she grab it when she was dragged from the bus? She looks down at the white ground and then up at the sky, squinting at the falling snow. If I don’t put another layer on soon I’m going to freeze she thinks, her mind accounting for the smaller things before she even thinks about where she is, lost, in the wilderness, in the snow, at night, with strangers. Someone’s talking and she shakes her head lightly, pulling through the fog in her mind. The boy next to her says something but as she turns, a sharp pain in her side. Her hand goes to it quickly and something definitely feels wrong but she relaxes her arm back to her side, trying not to to let on.

She’d never broken anything before, amazingly, but she is imagining broken ribs and splinters in her lungs and-

Attempting to remain calm, she takes a gentle step towards the bus. I need my backpack.
Pain shoots up and down her left side, from ankle to shoulder. Her boots are leaky, the soles not completely water tight and the pain and cold is making her limp but she keeps stepping forward, peering into the crumpled bus, looking for her seat. Her eyes scan the general integrity of the creaking mass of metal and, deciding it looks about stable enough to hold her, she starts to climb back in.


#6

The college girl groans with effort, toeing the underside of the bus to lift herself back onto its upended side. It’s a painful maneuver, longer and more taxing than she wanted, but after a retry and few more moments she steps back up to the open door inside the vehicle.

Murphy drops down, the crunch of broken glass under her boots. Electricity snaps and sparks down the aisle like something from a horror house or an avant-garde installation piece about “prisoners of the commute”, accentuate by the warped seats and stanchions, the partially crushed side (ceiling, now?), the snow already starting to leak in from the empty windows.

And there it is: her backpack, dangling from a lopsided seat by the arm strap, already dusted with white.


#7

The college girl hears a thunk on the metal of the bus and jumps in her skin, ribs aching, and turns to see a burning cigarette - a small bonfire in the dark. It’s hard to make out, but she see snow clinging to a woman’s cropped black hair, peering in to the bus interior.

“Hey hon, need a hand? Call me Molly.”

When seeing the college girl move to the bus, presumably to find her belongings, Molly’s mind snapped to a new plan of immediate action, diverting her stride to the rest of the cast-offs. Molly needed to find her bag. In it was not only her camera (and in turn, her paycheck) but her knee-length peacoat. Her thin leather jacket wouldn’t be enough, even if it was offset by the warmth of her vodka. Originally the plan was to send one of the men in to the wreckage first, probably a younger one, but the college girl would do in a pinch.


#8

Looking up at Molly, Murphy nods once, muttering “Murphy” and then turning back to the task at hand.

Gingerly she steps towards her backpack, treading lightly. Stepping across the broken windows, she pulls the strap off the chair arm and pulls it onto her good shoulder. She says, loud enough that anyone outside might hear “Is there anything else y’all need from in here?”


#9

The Viscount stands tall, cutting a black figure into snowstorm. He takes a slow breath in and slowly tenses each muscle in body, probing for broken bones. No sharp pains. Likely a few bruises and sprains. I’ll live. He opens his eyes and pushes up his circular sunglasses. The winds begin to bite at the naked sides of his head, the bitter cold reminding of its presence. At least I’m warm. These other… people appear as though they have never heard of winter. They do appear largely uninjured.

Eyes scanning the horizon, he sees a body crumpled by a tree in the snow. The tracks remain visible in the pour snow, so it must be new. The Viscount quickly strides toward the body, black duster slowly becoming frosted white and trailing behind him. “Are you ok?”

As he shouts at the body, his mind lances back to the bus. His journal, his guitar, and a few other unmentionable items sit in storage. Things can wait. They are broken and lost, or they are not.


#10

The body, the driver in a navy jacket and hat, doesn’t respond. You’re not sure you would’ve noticed him had the headlights not buzzed to life every few seconds. As you gaze into the gloom at him, you noticed some of the snow near his head has bloomed to a dark crimson.


#11

Riley glances back at the guy in the duster, he’s walked over to what looks like a body in the snow.

“Is he okay?” he yells, trying to carry his voice over the wind.

Turning to the grizzled older man he says “that guy doesn’t look he’s moving”


#12

The dark red halo slowly grows. Viscount’s stomach twists.

“No. He’s wounded.” He shouts. “Maybe worse.” He says under his breath.

Viscounts kneels in the ground, and checks for signs of life. A puff of breath against the cold, a pulse.


#13

Careful not to touch the driver too much, the Viscount digs a small hole next to the man’s mouth and nose. To your relief, a small (too small?) cloud of breath blows out, irregular though it may be.


#14

“Well hello, Murphy. Can you grab my bag? It’s just a little farther up, I see it resting next to seat E5. That small black duffle.”

Molly exhales smoke and sizes up Murphy: She poses no threat to me in terms of attractiveness, but she’s pretty enough. Her veins bulge slightly in her hands, she’s used to working with them. Useful. She’s quiet, so I’ll need to talk for her if necessary. She’s favoring one side, slightly bent at the waist - she’s sustained an injury. There’s no way anybody else is out here, but if we do comes across trouble, she’ll be slow, which could be both useful as well as a general difficulty.


#15

Viscount reaches into his pocket for his phone.

“He is breathing, but it is weak.” He calls out to the group. “I’m calling 911.”

We’ve got a couple kids, a loudmouth grump, and a pretty girl reeking of alcohol. Great. The old man looks like he can handle himself, at least. The rest are going to be like pups with their tail between their legs, aren’t they. I’m not going to be able to make my show. Certainly not if this is the group that has to pull together and do something.

At least I won’t see Them tonight, and I’m sure this will make for good material. Now we just need this weird-o Bus Breakfast Club to see if we can’t save the drivers life.

He pulls his phone from his pocket, whispering a wordless incantation, hoping the phone still works and that there is cell service out here.


#16

Murphy glances around and eventually spots it. Gingerly, again, she walks to your seat, the bus groaning under her weight. As she reaches for the bag, her fingers grazing the strap, the stretch makes her wince. She lets out a strained breath. Please no broken bones. Reaching up again on her good side, she pulls the bag onto her shoulder and goes back to where she climbed into the bus. She carefully slides both bags and herself out, back into the snow.


#17

After a moment holding down the button, the screen of your phone springs to life. It’s a boost of assurance, quickly drained–no bars, no signal.

Nationwide coverage my ass.


#18

Molly takes her bag from Murphy.

She’s in more pain than I thought. Shit. I should have grabbed it myself. Let’s lean on a loving tone and cadence.

“Thank you so much Murphy, very sweet of you.”

Molly puts a hand gently on Murphy’s arm, testing the waters, seeing how Murphy reacts to physical interaction.

“Let’s go see what the boys are yelling about, shall we?”


#19

She’s acting awful sweet for someone who dresses like she wants to scare people.

Murphy pulls from you, gently, putting a bit of distance between the two of you. She nods, taking a few steps before she sees the scene of the driver. She stops in her tracks a few feet away.


#20

Viscount curses. Tapping the driver on the arm, he says “We’re going to get help for you.” He quickly stands up and hurries toward the bus.

“My phone isn’t working, no service. The driver appears to have a head injury, but he is still breathing. Does anyone have cell service? Or know any first aid?” A few of them look like life has beaten the hell out of them. You don’t have that cold of an exterior without some harsh reasons to build the wall. Hopefully they’ve learned something useful and we don’t go from injured driver to dead driver.