Saturday, March 30, 2013

Hufflepuff & Ravenclaw 14

14 And the Monster of Amristar Chapter 13-15

Chapter 13 Being Earnest

It comes time for the play. Symbolically, it is not just about dual or hidden identities but the importance of family and that an identity can be restored through a sudden revelation and that all will turn out right. The play has been altered slightly to enhance the latter aspect, but I’ll stress some aspects of the former so that the players can see the parallels to the situation.

On the actual day of the play Honoria Glory, the 5th year Ravenclaw who had been cast as Miss Prism, slips and falls down the stairs – she had been so absorbed in a last minute learning of her lines (alongside studying for Ancient Runes– Honoria has independently focusing eyes that lets her read two things at once, and her general goggle eyed look has had her cast in any number of ditzy parts over the years) that she didn’t notice that the staircase had moved, sending her falling 30 feet. This school is a dangerous place!

In any event, she broke her leg and, at Pomfery’s assistance, is not able to perform tonight. Jasmine takes the stage, alongside Castor, and the stage is set! There will be a quick run through of the play in the afternoon, followed by the admonition from Prof. Ogham and Madam Hooch that the first performance in front of an audience is the one that matters, with everyone intoning their ritual magic and preparing for the spell.

An earth shattering Kaboom!

This is the 4 act version of the play, and as we close on the final scenes, just as Jasmine/Miss Prism is about to have the copious hand bag returned to her the room erupts into chaos, putting the spell in abeyance. The reason for the chaos? Olaf Woden is on the grounds, fighting with Professor Kettleburn and Prof. Briar! There is an enormous, school shaking explosion, the lights go out, there’s screaming and suchlike before the clear, calming tones of Dumbledore order the prefects to get their charges back to their rooms.  Do the players go back to their rooms? Is poor Daisy trapped between duty and a desire to keep her sister out of trouble?

Yah, right. The players will doubtless rush out to see a battle going on over the lake, with Kettleburn riding the giant squid and briar on a broomstick fighting Woden, who is by the vegetable patch. There’s little the PCs can do to get involved in this, but if they do try their presence will be the determining factor in letting Woden escape. If they don’t, Kettleburn & Briar will cast spells that collide, ricochet and generally cause a loud, bright mess. It’s hard to tell which caster moved first, but it knocks Briar off her broom, blinds the thrashing squid and gives Woden a chance to escape with his seven league boots in the confusion. 

Obviously a search is begun, with Trelawney claiming that she should be able to divine the location of the Death Eater, but even her most potent divinations are being blocked by the villain’s defenses. This being Hogwarts the school will then order everyone to go back to what they were doing, with Hagrid and Kettleburn starting a search of the Forbidden Forest while Briar says she’ll be doing her own search, with a dark, distrustful look at Jadayl.

Research, Plot and Plan

The players might pick now to do something silly, but they should certainly start doing something as time is running out. If anyone asks, Dr. Plain was in the audience, but he disappeared during the ruckus. He eventually reconnected with his wife, and given his general reaction to being in crowds of moving children his excuse that he got shoved into a side passage and got lost is perfectly believable (because it’s true).

A little more time will pass, but there’s no way I can guess what the players will do or be trying to do during that time. So this will remain blank until I can come up with something.

Chapter 14: New Life Born

Daisys Owls

Daisy as a fifth year has her OWLs. We can spend a little time on these. OWLs consist of a written and, where applicable, a practical for each class (Astronomy, Charms, DADA, Herbology, Magic History, Potions & Transfiguration + the two advanced classes, in Daisy’s case Ancient Runes & Muggle Studies), but the scores combine into a single rating, from Outstanding to Troll. Only Acceptable, Exceeds Expectations & Outstanding are passing and give points. Each A is worth 1 point, E is 1.5, O is 2.

She has to make a roll for each class she has to see how well she did. The written part of the exam is Intellect + Skill, the practical is Bravery or Ambition + Skill, depending on how she approaches it. The poor Hufflepuff get hosed again! Muggle Studies & Magic History are just written. The practical parts are harder to do, but also allow for the +3 bonus for loudly stating the spell, so it balances out. There’s no extra credit for being flashy (unless the teacher asks for it) – that’s for NEWTS. Still, Professor Tofty will ask to hear some of her music at the end of the Charms practical, which will give a +3 total.

Record how much she made or missed by in each class, with the following scores (double the amounts of the written in MS & MH):
 Combined score              Rating
+12 or more                       Outstanding
+6 to +11                             Exceeds Expectations
+0 to +6                                Acceptable
-1 to -6                                  Poor
-7 to -11                               Dreadful
-12 or less                            Troll

This must be the place!

This is obviously the big wrap up. The players might be keeping watch on the Plains to see when she goes into labor, knowing that the villain’s plans revolve on that. Or they might use Astronomy to discern when the right energies for the spell as being called together. In any event, they will then have to get to the right spot to stop the event, which another good Astronomy roll might give them. The correct location is the field between the Greenhouse and Forbidden Forest, where we have repeatedly seen things take place. They might even discern this without wizardry, or they could just do a look out from the top of the Astronomy tower.

If they are still training Dr. Plain then they may well have blown it – he is pacing back and forth in the waiting room of infirmary, because 1982 Wizarding society is a little conservative in that respect. The players will eventually see him go out for a walk around the castle since he had been told it would be hours, but he really isn’t doing anything wrong. This might get them out of the infirmary and into the real plot, though.

If they’re following Briar they will see her grab a parcel of things and head out to the ritual site; she is well aware of their presence unless they have thought to take off their amulets, and because of those she is more than willing to indulge the precocious little youths; she really does like and respect them, and she will certainly alter their memories so that they will support her story. Again, with the amulets on they’re pretty much in her power. I don’t know if this will have occurred to them as yet.

I hope not, but if they have taken them off they might actually be able to sneak up on her, as the amulets will be telling her that they are in their rooms. In this case its Bravery + Mischief Vs. Intellect + Awareness. If they fail she’ll let them get close and then bind them before they can really do anything, trapping them for a bit. If they succeed they’ll be able to step in and act when they like.

If they’re following Kettleburn they’ll see him perk his head up and move to the vegetable patch carrying the Gladstone bag, having picked up the magical energy of the ritual. They will likely be a little confused to find him break in on Olaf & Slaughter. If they’re still wearing their necklaces Briar will be expecting trouble from that area and will be well prepared for Kettleburn. If not, he will temporarily have the drop on them, with a wand in either hand. The scene will be a wary one, but it is highly like to end with the Gridelwaldians beating Kettleburn, based on age, experience and numbers, plus the possible distraction of the PCs in things.

All Aboard the Exposition Express!

Kettleburn will, in a moment of drama, toss the Gladstone bag in (assuming the PCs don’t have it) and say “here Slaughter, I think these are yours.” “The bag is undoubtedly mine. I am delighted to have it so unexpectedly restored to me. It has been a great inconvenience being without it all these years.” This might key the players in to the opening they have for Dramturgy here, as completing the play ceremony will restore the child’s lost identity and strip Slaughter from Briar’s body. They might not.

Reg “I do wonder about you Pax Veneficus types. You tracked me over three decades before losing me at the last minute and you come back now. Perseverance is one thing, dear boy, but this approaches an unhealthy obsession. Why can’t you just admit that you lost? Come now, it would be good for you, release all those blocked up shakras.”

Kettleburn: “It was obvious it had to be you once the Kobolds showed up. You needed their blood to pervert the ritual in 1945, which is how they ended up in the country, and you brought them here now for the same reason. This body was born the same day I found you in Newcastle. And you couldn’t attend school because the Sorting Hat would recognize you immediately. You would have been better served if you hadn’t tried to tweak me, however. You arrogance has always been your greatest flaw.”

Olaf is irked by this little exchange of pleasantries, but is not in a position to do anything yet, being set up to take his new body at any moment, assuming that they can complete the ritual. The players might realize that to really ‘win’ all they have to do is disrupt the ritual and protect the Plain child.

This will turn into a wizarding duel that includes the use of a withering spell by Briar that will shrivel and destroy Kettleburn’s wand arm. “It’s insane that you continue this – I am over a century old, I have twice your experience as a wizard and I’m in a healthy, young body as opposed to your aging decrepit thing.”
From this point on the fight is the fight, with the factors that until the kids take the amulets off they have no defense against Briar/Reg, and that at some point Kettleburn has to have an arm blown off to fit the line from “Philosopher’s Stone.”

Chapter 15: The Naming

Explanations and History

Once the group decamps to the infirmary, where the young Master Plain is being comfortably held by his beaming parents (wrapped in the Reality Cloak). Some explanations are, we think, in order. I think we can gloss, more or less, over the storytelling, but Kettleburn will relate his parts in the affair. This will include some of his chasing of Slaughter in 1945, but he won’t detail why he did so, and Flitwick & Dumbledore will just nod sagely at this. Once the full details of the recent events are finished Dumbledore will award each of the students years 40 points to their houses. Then Pomfrey shoos everyone out so the Plain family can get some rest.

If the players press Kettleburn later (or Flitwick for that matter) about the Pax Veneficus, he will smile a grim smile and say that it was an ideal, now lost to time.  

The end of term

The first years may have some weeks of classes with rumors flying about concerning their activities even as everyone studies madly for their exams. The first few days of Herbology class are spent cleaning up the greenhouse, with extra points awarded to those who spend more time helping out. The first years are also invited to join the Care of Magical Creatures classes as they watch the hatching of the Occamy. This is absolutely beautiful to behold, even with Kettleburn’s comments during it; once born the female Occamy devour the egg shells, replenishing their supply of sliver to provide the seed of their own eggs in the future. Kettleburn uses this as an example of how humans can alter an entire creature’s life cycle with their greed. Hagrid, not surprisingly, wants to keep one, but Kettleburn is adamant – now that they are safe to travel it’s time for them to go home.

The End of Year Banquet

The hallway is decked out in Ravenclaw colors (no need for the big take away from Gryffindor, as the points were awarded earlier), with Hufflepuff coming in a very close second. More Ravenclaw than Hufflepuff players, you see. At the head table there are not only all the professors (with Professor Pellinore sitting in Briar’s place, harrumphing through his huge walrus moustache about the problems with taking a class over in the last few weeks of the year) but Dr Plain and the little baby.

 “And so another year is gone,” Dumbledore begins, “and I must delay the feast for a few moments to bore you one last time. I assure you that the imagining of the food now will make it taste better later…at least that’s always how it worked for me. Hopefully your heads are as full as your stomachs are empty, but we have a whole summer to empty them out for next year. Move the old knowledge to the back to make room for the new, and don’t spill too much out the ears in the process.”

 “For those of you wondering after the state of our missing Defense Against the Darks Arts teacher, Miss Briar is doing well. While she was a trifle disoriented by her last act as an Auror, she has just left St. Mungos and has opted to retire from her previous field for a time. She has instead followed in her father’s footsteps and become a beekeeper. She has said she will still consult, from time to time, to aide those fighting the Dark Arts, which she has struggled against from the very moment of her birth. But that precludes her returning to our school next year. We wish her well and would like to thank Professor Pellinor so ably covering her exams.

 “Now then, I understand the house cup needs awarding, and it has been a strange year for points. Up until Christmas break Slythern was well ahead, then some staggering Quidditch upsets put the Gryffindors in the lead. Then both were usurped right after the most excellent tragedy of Pyrmus and…No wait, it was Importance of Being Earnest this year, wasn’t it?” He shakes his head, “If I don’t get to see the end the story just blurs together in my head,” He turns to professor Ogham, “Does that happen to you? In any case, the events of that night had several students of Ravenclaw & Hufflepuff assisting in the birth of the new Plain, earning their houses no small number of points. That put Ravenclaw in the lead, which they held despite Hufflepuff’s hard fought victory in the final Quidditch match against Slythern, all eight and three quarters hours of it. The final scores are Slytherin with 392 points, Gryffindor with 412, Hufflepuff with 423 and Ravenclaw with 425. An excellent year all round – each house competed with honor. So well done all.” He hands the cup to Flitwick, who levitates it over to Alyssa to much cheering.

 “Now one last thing before we begin the feast, Friar?” The ghostly Far Friar floats over from the Hufflepuff table to the Plains, who are holding their child for the christening. “It is time for you to give your child his formal name, to be known by all. Have you decided?”

Professor Plain stands up, “It wasn’t easy – we had so many to thank for this that no one name seemed to do. We settled, in the end, on Jason Plantagenet Plain.”

 “Captain of the Argo, and a flower” the Friar beams (fitting Castor and Pollux, Daisy & Jasmine; shift the name for your player group of course). “Fitting, I think, considering who helped deliver him.” And with that he performs the Christening, the food appears on the plates and the feat begins. The baby is shown off to all the students (again) and Dumbledore is caught trying to give the six week old a lollypop, for which he is scolded most fiercely by McGonnagal.

The next morning, everyone takes the train home with plans to meet up again before the end of the summer. And who knows what adventures await them next year?

1 comment:

  1. I just realized there's something that needs correcting in this adventure: using Kettleburn. You set him up as the Suspicious But Ultimately Good Guy, but since all the players have presumably read HP&PS, they _know_ he's still going to be teaching Magical Creatures a decade later, so while they may be _curious_ about him they won't think he's the villain. Which was indeed the case during play.

    Something to think about if you ever wish to revise it.