Session 1: Burnin’ For You
One day in Arcadia, the groundskeeper Mabel found herself without orders. For weeks, the thought of escape had been on her mind, ever since a mysterious message in the form of a copy of her wedding ring. Contacting the Keeper’s special project, Connor, she chose to urge him to run with her. Heading to the factory, they still found no sign of their master, but instead discovered Frederick where he was supposed to be, working away. The trio then headed to rescue Frederick’s friend Martin, who was imprisoned underneath the mansion.
In the basement, though, the group ran into their first obstacle: a mechanical hound guarding the cells. Using a wrech he’d grabbed from the factory, Frederick charged it head-on and pummeled it to submission. Upon being freed, Martin was at first shocked and unresponsive, but after recognising Frederick he came along with the others. On their way out, at Mabel’s insisting, Frederick grabbed the robot hound to carry with them.
They group moved through the rookery next. There, Mabel grabbed a robot pet of her own: a clockwork bird. At the back door of the rookery, though, a barely successful attempt at forcing their way through the door tripped an alarm, and released the hounds upon the escapees. Running into the woods, they dashed through the Thorns, and finally found a doorway suspiciously waiting to take them back to Vancouver.
Stumbling out into a public toilet at the back of a café, the group hesitated at how to proceed. Not knowing anything about their new status in life, or even knowing for sure whether they were on Earth or not, they ended up running out of the establishment while trying to distract the people by pointing the other way and shouting “ALIENS!” However, the fact that Frederick was carrying the robot dog, which appeared like a presumably-dead hound to the muggles, did not aid in their subterfuge. And so less than five minutes back to Earth, the changelings had already gone viral.
Running into the alleys, the refugees almost ran into another Changeling who tried to intercept them, but most of them fled instead, not trusting the stranger. Only Mabel stopped to listen to her. She was given a card with instructions to what must be the town’s Changeling freehold, and a convenient baseball cap and shades for Connor to wear just in case he happens to be wanted by the law. She also took the unconscious robo-hound which the others had ditched at the sight of her.
Finally finding a storage room in which to catch their breaths and get their bearings straight, the group made their introductions to each other and found out that they were back in Vancouver, but in the year 2016.
Mabel: A native American pharmacy-student with shooting skills, who’d also been taught the art of clockwork-magic in Arcadia. She was taken from a happy marriage, in which she’d had two children.
Connor: A boy taken at fourteen years old from his life at school, and then toyed for what felt like much longer than the actual seven years it’s been since he last was here. He can barely remember anything from his before-life.
Frederick: A rich man of noble heritage, turned to a mere physical toiler, he is well past his seventies, and yet the most physically imposing in the group. He also knows of the occult, which was an interest of his.
Martin: A Ger…russian (?) trader who sold Frederick his occult books, insisting that was his occupation, and yet who would later proceed to reveal talents in theft and deceit.
Not knowing where it’s safe to go and whether their former homes had been abandoned, sold, or condemned, they instead headed for Martin’s emergency stash at a bus station not too far away. Martin found that while his stash did indeed have a fresh set of clothes and a fake passport from the year -93, the gun and cash he’d also left there was nowhere to be found, and instead a remote-activated camera and strange mechanical object of mysterious properties were left behind.
After Connor identified the mystery object as a USB stick, the crew read the slip of paper attached. It identified Martin as “a changeling” (dismissing the previously prevalent theory that the Keeper was an alien, and the crew had been abducted to another planet), and what’s more Mabel’s divinations of the stick’s past revealed that a 50-year-old dobbelgänger of Martin had put it in the stash.
The existence of fetches was further strenghtened when the group arrived at Frederick’s old house, which had been turned into a public housing building after its owner donated it some years ago. This put Frederick to a state of mortification from which he didn’t fully recover for the rest of the session.
After acquiring the old man more inconspicious clothing by bartering with a hobo, the crew fed themselves at a soup kitchen and then headed for a cheap motel which Connor remembered from his youth. Upon arriving there, though, they found out that Connor is apparently wanted for jewelry store thefts in the last few years. The motel owner hesitantly agreed to not give him in, and to house the group, in exchange for chores and accolades.
At Martin’s insistence, the group stayed at the motel for three nights, in order to acclimate to Earth and get their shit sorted before they headed to the address on the card they’d been given by the mystery Changeling who seemed to know Connor would need a hat and sunglasses to hide his face. Connor spent this time researching each of their fetches (discovering that all of them seemed to have started to act irregularly in the past few years), Mabel reverse-engineering the bird she’d stolen from her Keeper, and Martin making them money by stealing cellphones and selling them in the black market, as well as testing out his old underworld contacts in Vancouver.