Friday, February 4, 2011

Season of the Witch: Episode 4

Episode 4: Under a Cajun Moon

Late Summer / Early Fall 2004
New Orleans, Tara is possessed by the same spirit that had possessed her mother. Learn more about the summer that Bob met Megan.
Special Guests: Eliza Roberts as “Megan O’Kelly / McClay” and Eric Burdon as himself.

Synopsis Willow and Tara arrive in New Orleans. They are still getting used to the idea that Bob is tagging along as a ghost. He keeps reminding them that they need to focus on the mission, the girls remind him they are not on a mission. While sitting outside at a bar enjoying some gumbo (Cajun food was a very big deal for me when working on these adventures), a band begins to play some hypnotic song. Tara, unbidden gets up and begins to dance in a highly erratic fashion. Willow snaps her out of it, but not before she is seen by a tall man with his face painted to look like a skull.

The man is a voodoo priest, known as “Bone Man” and he works for a local crime lord/voodoo practioner Guillaume “Papa” Le Basque.

Papa Le Basque kidnaps Tara, who he sees as a pure conduit to the power of Loa. He takes her to Cottoncrest Manor. Le Basque is a legba hougan seeking the power of the forgotten “dark Loa” he knows is trapped in the manor.

The former owner of this manor was a cruel woman that turned an old slave plantation into a brothel. She eventually tried to burn the place down with all the girls trapped inside to cover her increasing debt. When it later became an insane asylum in the 1950s the women inside were driven to murderous rage to kill any man. Even mild depression became a murderous rampage. The government shut it down after a mother of two went on a rampage and killed 12 inmates and half a dozen staff. Even in notorious NOLA it was never used as a drug den or vampire nest for very long. The last known death was a when teenage couple came to the place after a night of tagging to drop some LSD. The girl who was 16 and described by everyone as shy, butchered her boyfriend. She was discovered days later naked, covered in blood and in a fetal position. She was never the same.

Bob and Megan had been here before and this was their last mission. Most of his team was killed, and Megan was possessed. They thought it was a simple poltergeist. It was a demon lord, Hysterix. A demon that feeds on the despair, fear and pain of women. He was trapped in the burned out house by occultists years ago. Occult Poet Eric Burden remains so he can make sure it does not escape. Le Basque believes Hysterix is a powerful but forgotten Loa. (His corporal form was destroyed, but he bonded with the house).

Bob always felt a little bit of the demon remained in Megan. Hysterix claimed he would have their daughter (they were not married yet, though the demon predicted that Megan’s daughter would be a powerful witch) and her daughters as well. Bob was relieved when Donny was born, but horrified when Tara was born a year later. Bob had to admit his love to Megan to drive the demon out.

The house is filled with the ghosts of all the slaves and prostitutes killed there, of all the people in the asylum, and even memento mori and apparitions of past sufferings. Also illusions created by Hysterix.

Cordy doesn’t want to go in unarmed…she switches to full angelic form. What can I say, the idea of a asskicking angel is just too good to pass up.

Demons feed on fear, uncertainty and doubt, but are repelled by love.
To force the demon out of Tara, Bob (not Willow this time) must confess his love for her and seek her forgiveness.

Part of the episode is also played in flashback with Tara’s player taking on the role of Megan, Bob’s playing Bob, Willow’s playing Nigel and Cordy’s playing the groups medic. The idea here of course is to get the Players to enact the same scene as in the past, with Bob confessing he loves Megan in the past and now making the same confessions to Tara in the present.

Notes: Obviously I wanted to focus on the relationship between Bob and his daughter and Bob and Megan. While Willow is somewhat sidelined in this episode, I came up with the flashback idea to keep her player busy at least. There were still plenty of ghosts in the manor to fight and Cordy and Willow were the only ones with the firepower to do it.

Again, and it may be a dead horse with me now, but I wanted to once again show that there is power, real power, in love. The demon is very much Charmed influenced, with the proclamation of love needing to kill rather than beating on it. The manor is based on this reoccurring nightmare I have had since I was small that I called my “Very Haunted House”. The woman who owned it is still in the house, mummified.

Papa Le Basque is of course killed by the demon, as most human dupes for demons are. But Bone Man, a character from my early Chill days, is still out there. Eric Bourdon appears mostly because I am a fan of “The Animals” and “War” but also due to a documentary I watched about him.

The biggest critique of this episode though came from my players and it is a good one. Basically this is another “Tara in peril” episode. I could not disagree. While I wanted to change things around, the truth is I needed this episode. It sets up the relationship between Bob and the Girls. Had to be done. Plus the demon makes a prediction about the future and that had to be said now. Sure there were other ways I could have done that, but this worked out well enough.

This episode I also introduced some items/plot from my old Chill game.  I had considered running the flashback in Chill, creating characters and having even a little bit of combat.  But that never really panned out.

Next Episode:  Willow, Tara and Bob find Faith in South East Texas hunting Bigfoots with the last person they expected to see in “Veteran of the Psychic Wars”.

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