Wednesday, January 6, 2021

TwK: Thales and Strauss (A Contact for Lighthouse)


                                                               source unknown

The idea for Lighthouse originates from here.  For additional support, you can contact: the fitness blogger and professional strongwoman Jubilee and her life partner, Briggs; or David S. Terrence, professional computer programmer/crazy person.  You might also find help from Radio Live Free, the most anti-society show on the market, or from prostitute-revolutionary Evalynne Goldberg.

Ethan Thales is the most feared civilian demonhunter on the East Coast, a 50 year old man who lives across the street from his silver-haired mother and an employee at a local grocery store. 

He served Lighthouse faithfully through the 80s and 90s, before retiring after he failed to prevent 9/11.  He wasn't the only one who failed that day, of course, but he places far more blame on his shoulders than is warranted.

But back to his past- Thales was a talented demonhunter while he worked at it, his mastery of computer systems and pattern recognition enabling him to parse through large amounts of white noise to find omens of Demonic activity before the creatures could claw their way into our universe.  Unlike the demonhunters of today, who can rely on computer algorithms, satellite imagery and 24 weather forecasts, Thales had to put in the effort worthy of naming him Gumshoe.  He wasn't the best at actually fighting, but there is no shortage of fools willing to risk their lives for humanity.  But there aren't nearly as many who are willing to endure boredom or suffer pain with patience.  Yet in both of these, Thales was exemplary.  Unfortunately, even he has a breaking point.  When he finally hit his, he hung up his gunbelt and got a job piling up apples and arranging heads of cabbage, as it was the only thing he was qualified for.  Turns out "Demonhunter" and "Lighthouse Chapter Master" are not things you can put on a resume.

As such, he now works piling up apples and helping clueless middle class folks find out where the peanut butter is.  He claims to hate his job, but he's been working here for almost ten years and shows no signs of going anywhere. 

Appearance - A short white man in his 50s with a thinning brown hair and a matching mustache
Manner - Exasperated with people, short-tempered and grouchy
Wants - To stop getting involved in paracasual nonsense
Morality - To defend the innocent, to fight evil
Secret - He doesn't trust his partner, who he suspects has been compromised

                                                by Autumn Skye

Deoborah Strauss was one of the most proficient mystics in Lighthouse's long history.  She has a talent for channeling the power of Beyond and was able to use this for some truly impressive feats.  Similarly, her natural constitution and irregular mindset made her ideal for conjuring spirits and speaking with Outsiders. 

As such, she joined Thales in his demon-hunts and the two became partners, working together or with others.  They always had each other's backs, and were able to accomplish some truly spectacular things.  Once, she and Thales were able to take down a room full of armed men with two bullets and a road flare.  This was possible because Strauss was able to use her abilities to determine where the natural gas line was from three rooms over.  She then guided his shot to puncture the line and fill the kitchen with flammable, invisible gas.  Your imagination can fill in what happened next.

However, Strauss is not entirely positive.  Her extensive contact with the Beyond has cracked and distorted her perceptions of reality to the point where she is almost universally regarded as a kook, even among other Understudies.  Despite the fact that much of her odd beliefs come from sources most would consider untrustworthy, she clings to them like an article of faith. 

She is also a bit of a narcissist.  She believes herself to be smarter than most people, if not all of them.  She refuses to be questioned on the validity of her ideas and if you attempt to present arguments for the other side she will insist she doesn't have time for this and find something else to do.  But if you flatter her, you will find it very easy to convince her of things, even if they seem crazy.

Strauss ended up getting hired by the same grocery store that Thales works at, perhaps by chance, but neither of them believe in coincidence anymore.   

Appearance - A chubby white woman in her 50s or 60s with thick glasses and graying hair
Manner - Utterly self-confident
Wants - To carry out the special mission she was given by a spirit
Morality - To serve the Goddess
Secret - She (believes she) knows what form the Great Culling will take           

                                                                   by Rayinmotion, from here



1- The store pharmacy recently received a new shipment of experimental vaccines.  Steal them for us, and then bring them to the rendezvous point.  I want to study them myself.
2- Some Lighthouse volunteers came in need of intelligence.  Unfortunately, to do the reading they asked for, Strauss needs some rare ingredients.  Go retrieve them for us.
3- The loss prevention lady has been watching me and I saw her and the manager talking to a man in a grey suit who everyone thought was important, but cannot agree on what he was.  Find out what they were talking about and with who.
4- Recently, the store recently switched to a new delivery company.  The new drivers all seem to be weirdly similar and a lot of the food/products they deliver seem to be slightly, off.  Stow away on or follow one of the trucks to see where it goes.
5- I saw a man come to our store, helped him find something, and then he left.  That evening, I saw him on the local news in a stand-off with County police.  Then, two weeks later, another one of our customers was involved in a car chase with Highway patrol.  Find the connection before it happens again.
6- I was approached by a man who gave me a box and told me to transport it to a specific location by a specific time, not to open it and not to let anyone question me on it's contents.  I'm giving it to you.  If you hurry, you can make the deadline. My only condition is if you decide to open it, you'll invite me.    

Insight Buys:

Customer Profile (I-1).  Strauss can do a reading for you on an object or person.  She can't reveal everything about a person, but she can reveal it's original origin, purpose, major events in its history and even gain a glimpse of it's potential futures.   

Bargain Hunter Bait (G-1). Thales gives you some powder that when sprinkled on an object or creature, attracts other creatures to the thing sprinkled in powder.  When first seeing, smelling or hearing the affected object or creature, other creatures must save.  On a failed save, they will go investigate the thing that was sprinkled in the powder.  Thales will give you a bag that contains enough powder to mark 1d6+1 objects.       

You're not in Uniform (I-2). 
Thales gives you a magical outfit that when worn, can be transformed into the uniform worn by the employees of any company or organization.  If a company doesn't have a uniform but does have a dress code, the outfit transforms to be something within the code's guidelines.  Additionally, when worn, outsiders to the company or organization will believe you to be an employee of that organization, unless they are told otherwise.  However, this does not apply to those who work for that company or organization.  As such, they are not magically influenced and will react appropriately to the presence of a stranger in their workplace.     

Corporate Audio Guide (G-3). 
Strauss teaches you how to call upon a spirit of Logos and knowledge.  If you call upon such a creature, it can gain near-perfect knowledge of any location you are in, as long as that location has easily definable borders, such as a building, a dungeon, a fenced-off area.  This spirit will speak to you through some medium, such as the PA system or your phone and inform you of coming dangers and hazards, as well as answering any questions you might have.  For example, if you are sneaking down a hall and the room you are about to enter has a trio of armed guards playing blackjack in it, the spirit will tell you.  The spirit will only remain with you for 10 minutes, after which it will leave.  To summon it again, you must offer it a sacrifice of information, such as an important memory, rare books, important documents or something else.  If you succeed a CHA check as well, you can try to get the spirit to stay for an additional 10 minutes, but this will require another sacrifice.  Once the spirit leaves, it will only return once it has been compensated for the services previously rendered.  

Company Car (I-3).  Thales gives you the keys to a car.  The car is magical, able to shapeshift into any sedan or smaller four-wheeled vehicle, altering its shape, size and color.  It has the ability to come whenever you whistle for it.  The car can hear it's owner from any distance away, but it still has to drive there.  However, the car is as fussy as a prize-winning stallion.  Unless lovingly pampered every day, given daily washes, consistently tuned up, waxed every 2 months, taken for calm drives through the countryside and kept/stored with other cars (it gets lonely), when you whistle for the car or try to start it, you must roll under your CHA to get it to start/obey.      

Evacuation Plan (I-5).  Strauss is still owned a lot of favors, but she can lend you some of her personal Karma.  As an action, you can spend some of that.  When you do so, Strauss' extradimensional allies will teleport you and any of your allies out of a dangerous situation.  When you choose to use this, make a COG save with a penalty equal to the number of creatures you want to bring with you.  On a successful save, choose a destination.  That is where you arrive.  But on a failed save, you arrive at a location similar to your intended destination, but not the one you intended.  For example, if you wanted to go home, you end up at your Mother's house in Maine.  If you critically fail this save (20 in roll-under saves, 1 in roll over) you instead teleport into a location that is equally dangerous to the area you're currently in, but in a different way.  For example, teleporting from a top-secret military base to the middle of the Amazon rain forest.   

You're Fired! (I-5).  Thales gives you a mostly empty notebook full of light pink papers.  As an action, you can open the notebook and force a creature within 30' to save.  On a failed save, a storm of pink papers rip themselves free of the notebook and pour outward in a maelstrom, surrounding and plastering themselves all over the target creature.  Then, the papers fall away to reveal no one was covered in them.  The creature has been taken somewhere else and will reappear in 1d8 hours, 1d20+100 miles in a random direction.  These creatures will be found naked, covered in scars and teeth marks and must save or be rendered permanently insane.  Every time the notebook is used, the user should a CHA save.  On a failed save, 1d4 of the notebook's pages are covered in scribbled black notes, containing blasphemies, schizoid ramblings and drawings of eyeless creatures bleeding light.  On a successful save, only 1 of the pages is covered.  When all 14 pages of the notebook are covered in these drawings and scribblings, use at your own risk...   

Emancipation (I-10).  Thales and Strauss discovered an instrument of immense power, but only used it several times, because of the immense danger it posed.  The instrument is a flexible metal frame, resembling the structure of a bat's wings, covered in pale white feathers that is worn on the back and strapped to the arms.  It is a pair of artificial wings.  When worn, if the user jumps off an object high in the air or is thrown up into the air by something strong, that creature gains the ability to fly.  This flight is silent, quiet as an owl soaring through the air.  The wings also grant the user the ability to conjure a sword from the ether.  This sword, when conjured, forces all creatures who enforce laws, rules or are otherwise tied to an Organ of Power to save.  On a failed save, those creatures become frightened of the sword's wielder and get -1 to all attacks against the wielder.  They will also refuse to approach the wielder and must check morale each round they are in combat with the wielder.  On a failed morale check, they will break and flee. 

Major Goals:

Find out who the Operator is.

The local radio stations all have begun broadcasting a new DJ who never identifies him or herself by name.  The Operator, as he* has been dubbed, has been repeating cryptic messages, long strings of numerals and mad rantings over the air.  Those who hear him report headaches, strange dreams, night terrors, sleep paralysis, hallucinating strange creatures watching them.  Thales has also noticed that he is only broadcasting in a small area, and that area has seen a sharp uptick in mental illness, psychotic breaks and violent crime.  The Operator must be found and stopped, before he causes anymore harm. 

Escape the Great Cull.

The Masters of the Universe have long been known to despise their ignorant, oppressed Normal subjects, who do not know about their dealings on this, or the other side, of the Masquerade.  It has been suspected for a long time that they planned on doing something drastic to the existing human population, but this was only theoretical up until the 1970s, when Prophets and Seers first began receiving omens of a great catastrophe that would befall the Earth and scour much of the human race.  Some believe this to be a form of population control, while others say it will be something much more dramatic, perhaps a nuclear war or the "accidental" release of a bio-weapon.  Regardless of what form it will take, Strauss is convinced that the prophecies are all true and that the Cull is imminent.  She hopes to escape it.  Thales is convinced that the Masters are planning something like that, he just doesn't think it will work, or that it is going to happen soon. 

Find out who is talking to Strauss.

Thales is concerned that his partner is being misled by an entity that claims to be righteous, but may have ulterior motives. Strauss' behavior has become more erratic recently and she is extremely defensive of her new activities, refusing to justify herself.  And unlike her, Thales never trusted the spirits, always confident they had their own agenda.  He needs your help to find out who is contacting Strauss and what it wants from her.             

                                                           by themagnusaaaaaa

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