Little Glitch of Horrors

Summarizing from a late night email from the guys...

While Charles was taking a look through the kid's account, Kal and Dave logged into Detective Noir for a little investigating - actual gameplay, I mean, not our little conspiracy theory.

In Detective Noir, the main plotline involves the murder of Big Tiny - a big-time mob boss, found murdered in the park. The two detectives - well, one detective and one pirate - took a taxi out to look over Big Tiny's murder scene - and the play equipment, it turns out. The old 1930s stuff was a lot more fun, I have to admit - the swinging gate, teeter-totter, and of course those old metal slides.

After an, er, careful investigation of the play equipment, they took a look around the crime scene. It had been a few weeks since Big Tiny's death, so there weren't any obvious footprints or similar clues - but, they did find the old chalkmark outline of Big Tiny himself, and a shred of police tape that had marked off the scene. The mob boss was shot in the chest, and fell under a tiny pavilion.

They searched the scene, and while they found no obvious clues, they did find a small pile of cigarette butts under a tree - I gotta admit, I had to hop on to check, and sure enough, there they were. Detective Noir is my game, ya know. There was a gap in the tree branches, just where someone could stand - smoking, naturally - and observe Big Tiny, assuming he was standing in the pavilion. My own investigation showed that it was drizzling that night; B. T. was keeping dry under the pavilion, and whoever was watching him was staying dry in the tree - and masking the smoke, too. Smart. Someone who was used to watching...

After that, the two headed to Big Tiny's place; it was too well guarded, so instead they headed over to the lone witness's place: Fred McNice, 1218 Juniper St. About the time they arrived, Charles joined; they waited for him to take a taxi over to them, and caught him up on the case.

I've interviewed Fred myself; he always says the same thing. He was behind a hill, a slight rise just past the park, and while he heard two voices, he couldn't place faces. One voice was masculine, deep, but the other was so quiet he couldn't make out much more than there was someone speaking. Two shots - medium caliber - and he headed home, hoping to avoid any trouble. The Irish mob was in a bit of a turf war with Big Tiny's guys, and as an Irishman, he didn't want to get mistaken for a mobster.

Charles - Cazeon, that is - threatened him, to no avail, of course, but then offered him a drink, which easily smoothed things over. They went over the questions again, asking about the voices, and got the one extra bit of info Fred had to give - the masculine voice said something like "...we agreed..." and "...ruin me!" before the shooting.

Now that Charles was back with them, they decided to go ahead and hop into the horror game, "The Darkness That Lurks Beneath."

Now, unlike the other game, Darkness is... tough. It's not made to run-and-gun. If you get in trouble, then you're in Real Trouble, and liable to lose your character. And, well, it's a horror game. Not my cup of tea. It's set in "just a few years ago" in "some place on the East coast". The three popped in - Kal/Dapper Dan showed up at an abandoned store, while Dave/Kenny popped up in a run-down neighborhood. Charles, however, was logged in to the kid's account, and showed up in his base - a storage area in the university's library. There were plenty of maps, notes, and odds and ends hidden there; Charles, as "Sven Van Dyne", an African-American gun owner with plenty of stealth, investigation, and survival skills, grabbed the kid's notes and left to pick up his friends. With the notes - and a little assistance from another player - he managed to avoid the more dangerous areas and reunited the group.

Unfortunately, it was about this time that Daryl pinged them - due to some job woes, he was going to be offline for a while. Which sucks, we're gonna miss him - especially since he had a character in Darkness.

After some note-consulting, the three decided that they would attempt one of the kid's ideas - baiting the monster known as "The Walker". The plan was, Dapper Dan and Kenny would move into the "dark area" around The Walker's lair, which would allow Charles as Van Dyne to sneak into the lair, and activate what the kid called a glitch.

Now, I need to explain how Darkness is so different from the other games. For the most part, the other games are massive, networked games, where every player could interact with every other player. In Darkness, though, there are "dark areas" - one moment you're walking next to a friend, the next moment... they aren't there. In dark areas, the only PC that's visible is yourself. The monster is visible, other NPCs show up just fine, but in those areas, you are cut off from the other players. Even if you're standing in the same room, you can't see each other. You can see the effects of other players, like if someone broke a window, but that's it. I know it sounds a little hokey, but it's something that really amps up the creep-tastic setting. The whole place is creepy, in a dirty, run-down city kind of way, but the dark areas are just... empty. Nobody there. People naturally avoid dark areas just because they are so weird and... dead. Ugh. Not my kind of game.

The Walker
The Walker - artist's rendition

So there they were - Kenny caught sight of the Walker, and oh good God in heaven I am so glad I did not join them. The thing was dark, alien-looking, with long "toes with toes" that it gripped the ground, hanging - and moving - as if it would fall away from whatever surface it was clinging to. Its feet scraped the cement with a raspy grate, and Kenny took a pot-shot at it and ran like hell.

The idea was that with Kenny and Dapper Dan harassing the thing, Van Dyne could sneak in - and sneak he did, heading through the lower floors of the parking garage. Oh, did I not mention that? Oh yeah. The game is full of those "liminal spaces" like parking garages, stores, churches, all empty, because of course they are. This place was a two-floor parking garage with another two floors beneath as storage. While Kenny was blasting away in the parking garage, Van Dyne moved through the hallways, following his map and notes.

Van Dyne kept his flashlight off - all the better to sneak with - and managed to get pretty close to the lair before the Walker turned around and started heading back towards him. Kenny took another shot, and the Walker was momentarily redirected...

The light he was following were getting dimmer and more flicker-y; Van Dyne found a strange, rope-like twist of something, like a big, sticky net, stuck to the wall. He finally turned on his light as the lights went out entirely - and revealed a room full of spiders. But not like... actual spiders, oh no. More like spiders with human skin. Freaking NOPE.

Soooo yeah. While Dapper Dan and Kenny did all they could to keep the freaky monster from dashing back to its lair and eating Van Dyne, he was pushing past the spiders. He found a weird, weightless, multi-faceted block, that glistened like light was shining on it from an angle it couldn't be shining on it. Shrugging, he reached out, and grabbed it... and felt a cold hand lock onto his wrist and yank him forward into a dark room!

Dapper Dan, meanwhile, hears the dripping water in the garage quicken, and is suddenly yanked backwards by clammy hands into freezing water! It's all he can do to kick to the surface. Kenny, running from the monster, turned to see a flood of water wash down the passage, sweep the monster off to the side, and crash over him... and suddenly he was standing on a ship. Or, kind of what a ship would look like if you put a picture through that weird Google image thing, the one where you would put in a picture of a landscape or something and it would try to make everything look like dogs. Except for ships. It looked like Powder & Sail, except all the new equipment seemed to work just fine... they were in Tilt-a-Werld.

Van Dyne, as it turns out, was in the hold; Dapper Dan was hauled out of the rushing seas, and into the oddly-bright deck of the ship. A weird, motley crew of pirates faced them... There was an ogre in a leather vest, holding a cutlass; a goblin with an eyepatch; a bug-alien from Space Marines III with a peg leg; and, in the middle of them all... Captain Scar!

Kenny challenged the pirate to a duel, with some terms that the Captain of course agreed to and then immediately went back on his word about. I mean, seriously.

"Soo, ye be tryin' to find me booty, aye? Well, let me settle the score for ye. Ye'll never defeat me, and without me to guide ye, there's no hope of findin' me treasures. Savvy?"

The six pirates and their captain immediately began swinging swords and firing flintlocks - the Captain immediately dealt a wound to poor Kenny, and battle was joined. It raged back and forth, with the pirates keeping the upper hand, and the group's luck rapidly draining - until Van Dyne tried a script he had picked up. He let loose a little hacking, and suddenly the dark, placid skies were filled with rolling clouds and bright flashes of lighting. A moment later, lightning filled the area - the captain was struck, as were two of his crew (one had already been killed), but then... so was Kenny. Still, it turned the tide - with the Captain wounded, and half the crew dead, the group's numbers began working in their favor, and soon, two more pirates fell, and Captain Scar was slain. As he lay dying, he croaked out, "Aye, ye bested me, but I carry little more than a warnin' for ye. Ye be marked, now, ye ken? Marked..."

His corpse faded away, and with that, the three received a new unlock - one I haven't heard of, by the way.

"First of Many"

And at that, they logged off, and hopefully got some sleep. I got that message at like 4am, and it's a workday. I'm typing this up before I head to work myself... See you next time, imaginary readers (and real ones, too!)