[Play by Post] Yuletide Anomaly

3/3: Team meeting

Video message from Director Hilda Henchman. Duration, 00:32 seconds

So, apparently this Joan lady we’ve been following is going viral. I have not seen her latest batch of videos yet but I just received a call from Director ▉▉▉▉▉▉▉, saying that their kid is now asking about a trip to C▉▉▉ City. Director ▉▉▉▉ and Director ▉▉▉▉▉▉▉ messaged me saying that we should raise AD2412 to class AD2412-H.

So, Team, send back a status update and tell me if you think we can still contain this thing on our own.

So, this might be a lot of work and I don’t want to leave it 100% on your shoulders, so you two go and then maybe I’ll post an extra update myself before wrapping up the meeting. Let’s post an update for each one of the characters we still want in play and assume the others are missing in action? They could come back but are not in the spotlight at the moment.

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I like that idea, I’ll write up a proper post for it later today with some involved characters. This is a good time to update the doc a bit too, which I haven’t done in a while. :sweat_smile:

Video message from Hwang Hyun-mi. Duration, 1 minute 22 seconds.

Interim Supervisor Hwang reporting in from the Village. Signs of anomalous contamination are everywhere, and contact with the away team is proving curious. I have located Helper ▉▉▉▉▉▉▉▉▉, but Kip shows no sign of recognizing the established contact phrase, and there’s an odd ringing overtone when he answers me. He tells me that his coworkers are “off-duty” and refuses to elaborate. If pressed, he tugs on his chain bracelet and offers an off-model smile. No confirmation yet whether this is an unfortunate lapse in morale or something more compromising, but we will keep him nearby while we look for the others. Meanwhile, our associate Mx. Garza has no sense of gravity and won’t stop gabbing about the Team Dresch reunion. Perhaps it’s a sign of nervousness, but it’s grating. At least they’re reliably grating, reliably present. Speaking frankly, Blakesdottir had better still be a damn good shot with a tranquilizer or this will be a grim fourth quarter for the organization.

Audio message received from Helper Risk

Hello HQ! You’re probably wondering what prompted me to actually check in for the first time in who knows how long. Well, sorry to get your hopes up but this is just a recording, I myself am otherwise indisposed. See, this is set up to automatically send to you if I don’t manually block it every day. It seems that today I wasn’t able to do it.

I hope you understand my implication here that, sigh look I must be in some serious shit. Captured, dead or worse. If you don’t have helpers in my area, deploy them immediately. If you do have an existing operation, dial up the severity level immediately. You cannot be too careful, if something took me out… You can’t be too careful.

…if this message was sent in error I will call you shortly for a retraction. Good day!

no follow up message arrived


Ragna Blakesdottir’s status update is a 6 frames looping gif

The animation is composed by a series of images taken from an infrared satellite. Each frame is little more than a bunch of pixels but if you squint your eyes, you can kind of imagine a human-like figure getting closer and closer to a creature three or four times the size of a mountain lion.

When we are done with this game, I’m continuing my career writing Ragna Blakesdottir fanfiction. I’ll wrap up the meeting in a bit.



Private message from Hilda Henchman, director of Helpers, to Heather Holly, tactical team manager.

Heather, you’ve basically been in radio silence for the whole mission. Can we really bring it home? The other directors are breathing on my neck, the media is catching on that something weird is going on and, damn it, two-thirds of our team have been exposed to the anomaly and can’t even post a status update. I have no intention of spending my Christmas vacations cleaning up another mess like last year.

Private message from Heather Holly, tactical team manager, to Hilda Henchman, director of Helpers.

No worries. Everything is under control. I have a plan.

Message from Hilda Henchman, director of Helpers to the whole AD2412 team.

Okay team, I have complete trust in y’all. I’m pre-allerting the memetic-containment unit in case there’s a spillage around the village that needs to be addressed, but: keep doing your thing.

I’ll see you at the Helpers Christmas party.



And now for @creditinthestr8world’s turn!

The Lovers

One of the members of the team betrays them to defend the anomaly. Why? What personal consequences does this have for the rest of the team?


During your turn
@CultualSnowCrash’s project Ragna Goes Hunting will end, so please leave space for him to finish that after you take your Anomaly turn.
My project: Anomalous Advertising will go down to 1 turn


After CulturalSnowCrash concludes his project, you can hold a team meeting, start a new project or enact an Anomalous Action.

One of the members of the team betrays them to defend the anomaly. Why? What personal consequences does this have for the rest of the team?

!!! this game is very good. And @creditinthestr8world feel free to answer your question and wrap the project in one go if you want!


Ah no @CulturalSnowCrash, the way projects work it’s always the person who started the project that narrates how it ends. So far it’s just oddly lined up with people’s actual turns hahah.


“–off-duty, you know? We’ve all worked hard, and for what? Fine, you can see the bracelet. Did you think it was contaminated? It’s just a friendship offering.”

"Can you take care of this, Comet? I have a pneumatic tube for it right here. Kip, I’m so glad you’re starting to open up. I know you’ve been through… something, but you have to help us understand, and you have to help us find the others. ”

“Help you. You know, we call ourselves Helpers, but we’re really just bouncers. At best, we show up, we watch the dance. At best. At worst, we shut the party down so we can sweep up the confetti–’the contamination’–and the guests can get some sleep before their next meaningless workday. We contain the things we’ve been warned about. But why? They told us at induction that we were protecting ‘festivity within the bounds of custom and reason.’ That’s not a philosophy, it’s an excuse to fetishize order, and a carnival can’t liberate anyone if they put their masks back on in the morning. Do you really want to go back to your memos and donuts?"

“Comet and I just want to make sure you’re feeling safe. I know what happened in Oslo wasn’t easy.”

"This village actually gives people what they want. It’s not just a village, it’s a choir, and every voice is lifted. I’m honestly glad you’re here. I’m glad not everyone in the organization is a killjoy.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“Aren’t you usually checking over reports, Hyun-mi? Who do you think stood aside to let you come join us? Just listen!"

Video message from Interim Supervisor Hwang. Duration 6 seconds. Formless wash of color, confused murmur in background, chiming distortion. "Situation is beyond ultraviolet! We’re simply having–”

This would be a longer update, but my laptop is dying. If either of you want to take this in a different direction, clear Heather’s name, or complicate her motives, please feel free!

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Project “Ragna goes hunting" concludes.

In Icelandic folklore, the “Jólakötturinn” is a massive and terrifying feline that devours kids that are not wearing something new the night of Christmas Eve. A pair of new socks would suffice, certainly. A pair of new socks are a modest investment for a family in exchange of the safety of their firstborn. But how does the Jólakötturinn deal with poverty? How does it deal with mean kids? How does it deal with a family of fisherpeople that are having, year after year, consistently, the worst winters of their lives? How does it deal with the industrial fishing complex devastating an ecosystem?

Answer: it doesn’t. It can’t. The world is just changing too fast.

So, how do YOU deal with a creature that has terrorized your whole childhood for incredibly futile reasons? You can swap the tranquilizer dart in you rifle with a lead bullet. You can end the life of a majestic creature, snuffing the flame of the ridicule candle it carries on the top of its head. You can stop this senseless cycle of fear. You can take sweet and deserved revenge.

But you don’t.

You can adapt. You can change. You can help kids that can’t afford a pair of socks. (You can be Santa?). You can force this creature to be hungry for years to come.

After you put it to sleep and air-mail its sorry ass back to your homeland, of course.


Introduce a Project: Risk explores the belly of a whale (5 turns)

Risk stirs awake on a stiff bed in a dim room. Across the ceiling, a fresco depicts a fish-headed page in bright clothing holding a goblet against a forested horizon. From the goblet, a man’s face peeks out, blank or quizzical. A cathode ray television mounted on the wall shows only blue static, and emits a low hiss through which a faint dripping noise occasionally protrudes. There is blood still on Risk’s hair and a cold chain bracelet on their wrist, and the shards of their phone in their pocket. When Risk can stand, they find that the door is locked from the inside, but a sprig of birch marking a place in the book of Jonah (Risk groans to see it) in a standard bedside bible can be fashioned into a lockpick without too much trouble, even after trauma. Risk limps out into a still dimmer hallway that seems to curve and meander beyond the limit of Risk’s vision, although Risk cannot swear it is not straight; the red carpeting is thick enough to muffle their steps, and the walls are streaked with coal dust. Risk stumbles forward and squints at a glowing sign on the wall; the characters look like runes, but not ones Risk can recognize. “If I can file my report,” Risk mutters, “the fire code inspectors will have work on their hands.”


The Anomaly punishes someone brutally for their crimes which were previously unknown. Who were they? What did they do and how does the punishment fit the crime?

I’m just going to bed now, I’ll run through my actual turn tomorrow but I just wanted to post the card I got because I love it. Folks this game is goood.


Joan’s video opens showing a huge banner erected over the village, people look up at it curiously as some truly ugly lads in elf garb handv out wanted posters and tennis balls all around. The banner reads “Public Demonstration for Accursed Crimes”, and she focuses in on a wanted poster that reads “WANTED: Jack Frost for bringing pain and suffering to a beloved season.”

“The face sure is odd,” Joan remarks, panning over it, “They just look like a regular person, and not the kind of cartoonish Jack Frost I’d expect.”

The camera swings up to show a stage with a huge vat filled with bubbling boiling liquid. A chair hovers above it with a large target nearby.

Joan gasps, “Is that acid” a dramatic audio sting plays.
A long fingered elf next to her chuckles and says, “No it’s just water. A very very hot bath for our icy friend.”

“Oh…” says Joan in a tone of “I don’t know how to make that Content”. But then there is commotion on the stage as two elves bring forward a tall slender figure in handcuffs looking extremely irritated.

Santa follows behind waving jollily as he takes a mic. The video zooms in on Santa as Joan mutters “Santa got a lot taller all of a sudden.”

“Children, adults with magic in their hearts still and those who will soon follow. Today we have a grevious task, a terrible actor must be punished for how icily we’ve all been treated. A fitting retribution for millenia of cold winds and frosty ground, what say you?”

The crowd murmurs in confusion and the Santa sighs off mic.

A cheer rises up in response and Santa points at the target, “Ready your aim! Jack Frost, prepare to face the music.”

The handcuffed figure has been led up to the seat by the huge target and now speaks for the first time “I’m Echo now! I don’t do any of that any more! You all made the climate screwy enough as it is.”
This elicits various boos as a volley of balls flies.


Project Complete: Anomalous Advertising

The Internet has done many things to the world, the rapid, memetic spread of information that cannot be stopped is such a game changer. The Yule Lads and Krampus are creatures of old, so in their wildest dreams they couldn’t imagine a local ad getting the attention of the entire country. So they are even more ill prepared as people from around the world book flights and plan to make a special trip for this holiday season.

They justify it by saying “it’s a laugh, a quirky unique thing” and “I never travel, I really should.”

What the Krampus will soon see is that even as the magic reaches far it is not diluted one bit.


New project: Rescue Helper Echo R▉▉▉▉ aka Jack Frost will take 6 turns.
Creditinthestr8world’s Project: Risk explores the belly of a whale goes down to 4 turns

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And now for @CulturalSnowCrash’s turn

Eight of Cups

Who in the organization is overseeing the team? What is that relationship like?
Do the team ever return to the organization? What do they do then?

During your turn
My project: Rescue Helper Echo R▉▉▉▉ aka Jack Frost will go down to 5 turns.
Creditinthestr8world’s Project: Risk explores the belly of a whale goes down to 3 turns

You can then hold a team meeting, start a project or acquire/lose something.

Also as its been another turn, I’ll run the poll again about if this should be our last turns.

  • Just one more round
  • Continue

0 voters

hey folks, I’m posting just to tell you that I’m away for work this week and my post will be a bit delayed. But it will come!


Sorry again for the long delay, folks. This week has been way more packed than I expected. In the interest of time, I’m going to combine my two actions in one post

Who in the organization is overseeing the team? What is that relationship like? & Acquire/lose something

Four people are sitting at a semicircular table. They are all women. Their title is just “Director”. Their names are ▉▉▉▉▉▉▉, ▉▉▉▉, ▉▉▉▉▉▉▉and Hilda. They have just converged to an undisclosed location. And, at the moment, they are observing a looping short clip that has already been thoroughly dissected by several other experts. Their faces look like kaleidoscopes, distorted by lights that move at are pushing toward the end of the edge of the visible spectrum.

▉▉▉▉ sights and taps the spacebar on her laptop. The looping video stops and bright neon lights flood the room. «Hilda…», she says.

«I know, I know, I know», Hilda answers. «This is Oslo-level bad».

«No, Hilda, this is Great-Molasses-Flood bad. This is Baloonfest-86 bad» replies ▉▉▉▉▉▉▉. «No matter how much we spin it, no matter how many this-was-an-ARG-marketing-stunt we throw at it, this thing is going to end up on Wikipedia. People might… people most probably died».

The room remains silent for a second too long and before Hilda could reply, ▉▉▉▉▉▉▉ adds «and we aren’t even considering that we… that you might have a defector in your team, Director Henchman».

Hilda bites her lip, looking at ▉▉▉▉ with incredulous eyes. Hilda looks out of the window briefly. «As I wrote in the briefing, the tactical team manager Heather Holly interruption of communications is nothing suspicious. She’s following protocol and isolating the department from memetic contagion».

«I know that you run your department in a different way, ▉▉▉▉▉▉▉», continues Hilda. «And I also know that you experimentation with…»

«It’s not an experimentation» interrupts ▉▉▉▉▉▉▉.

«… I know that your experimentation» continues Hilda «with algorithmic team-assembling and team-management, and machine-driven containment operations have been… effective. But I fundamentally disagree that this is how we should treat our people! Both the ones we employ and the ones we protect! AD2412 is operating on deep rooted desires of humans! We can not treat it with a spreadsheet. We would be operating on the symptoms but not the disease. These… jokers picked this community for a reason. It’s clear that they didn’t intend to go viral. We can still fix the core and let the ripple effect take care of everything else. My team is going to fix it».

«No they are not» says ▉▉▉▉▉▉▉. «You have been outvoted three to one».

Hilda’s eyes widen. «There has NOT been a vote!».

«You have been outvoted three to one» repeats ▉▉▉▉▉▉▉. The look on ▉▉▉▉’s face is more of sadness than sorry.

Just to clarify, the acquire/lose something action is: we lost control over the operation. If more Helpers make it in time to the anomaly, they might act against the team


It is now @creditinthestr8world’s turn

Queen of Wands

An Avenue of research just isn’t working out. What is it? Why do the researchers decide to give it up?
The researchers become frenzied working on a new breakthrough working long nights and ignoring their health to find out more. What’s worked them into such a frenzy?

During your turn
My project: Rescue Helper Echo R▉▉▉▉ aka Jack Frost will go down to 4 turns.
Creditinthestr8world’s Project: Risk explores the belly of a whale goes down to 2 turns

You can then hold a team meeting, start a project or add a fact about something.

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An Avenue of research just isn’t working out. What is it? Why do the researchers decide to give it up?
Add a fact: New Old Bluegrass

The Percy twins sit at opposite sides of their table in the Helpers’ cafeteria, Shara drinking kombucha, Lamont drinking a discontinued strain of Monster.

Shara: So, let’s total up what we can find on Jónsson,
Lamont: following Hyun-mi’s message logs,
S: and checking old Rumors against message boards and public records.
L: Since repetition is both pleasing
S: and instructive.
L: Hotel proprietor,
S: children’s book author,
L: advocate for public appreciation of the beauties of marine life.
S: And yet,
L: records show,
S: an early board member of New Old Bluegrass, LLC.
L: Early contributors to Mitch McConnell,
S: investors in the coal industry, pioneering advocates of extraction by mountaintop removal.
L: The first mountain range they decimated has ties to a few of our older case files,
S: but anomalous reports in the area suddenly went quiet after they ramped up mining.
L: They also have interests in real estate.
S: An used bookstore in C▉▉▉ City,
L: Third Story Books,
S: was bought up by the concern not long before the mountaintop extraction–
L: the store was known in the community for their collection of monographs and private press books
S: on musicology, the occult,
L: and comparative folklore,
S: and for providing space for local punk shows,
L: despite poor acoustics and dubious ventilation,
S: but was demolished and converted into a Moby Dick fishfry
L: (“A Whale of a Sandwich”)
S: (who could forget),
L: the second largest outside Louisville
S: despite dubious ventilation.
L: No word on what became of the rare books,
S: but the Rumor applauds the new restaurant’s tartar sauce.
L: More recently, they have been moving into public event planning.
S: When a warehouse workers’ strike was entering into its second week,
L: and the Dinosaur Mechaseum workers were threatening a walkout in solidarity,
S: NOB organized a free concert
L: near the picket lines,
S: “to promote harmony
L: and understanding.” Negotiations between labor and management ended the next day
S: with a puzzling number of concessions on the part of the union;
L: the warehouse owners claimed to the press that
S: “they already gave their workers what they wanted, they just had to realize it.”
L: And now,
S: And now,
L: a message from Holly:
S: we’re wanted on an ongoing internal security detail.
L: The deeper vaults,
S: on opposite sides of the facility.
L: “The organization,” she says,
S: “cannot lose any more evidence,
L: a single sausage more.”
S: Communication outside our vigil should be kept
L: to a minimum
S: to avoid even lexical
L: contamination.

The Percys sit a moment in silence, exchange glasses, drink deep, rise and depart. Twenty minutes pass. Heather Holly walks through the cafeteria holding a plastic bag in which a kombucha mother floats like a kidney.

My apologies for the delay! How are you two feeling about pacing? Although I voted last time to continue the game, I understand one of us voted to move to the last turns, and I want to respect that–I’m comfortable with starting to wrap up if that is preferred.

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