Gabriel Cantoni -- From Italy, with a lot of superior "heretic" blood on her hands.
Michael Hawk -- A native american indian, talks a lot with spirits and in touch with his wild side.
Braxton Sherridan -- Tall, lanky. Almost unsettlingly thin. There's injun somewhere in there. He stares at people's faces a lot.
Brick -- A large, heavy man whose physique has the approximate shape and weight of rock, and his face looks like it's been hit with his namesake.
Colin O'Riley -- An investigator from Chicago with a tricorn hat -- a "Psychic Investigator".
We've all been summoned by a mysterious man from the Department of War. There's been an incident that requires our... unique talents.
We're headed for Rivertown. Contact's been lost with the town for a while, and now there's word of the dead walking. We're given ferry tickets for the trip. There's an indian tribe nearby, the Abernacky tribe of the Bear. They might have more info.
All our information comes from three outriders; one who came back dead, on the back of his horse, and two with farglasses. John Harrington is one, and he's still in town.
Our mission is threefold: Confirm or deny reports of the walking dead, Find the source of the walking dead, and Destroy it.
Brick asks what a threefold is.
Hawk interprets our instructions to be "save as many people as possible."
Our pay is... variable. Braxton is getting 30 years, for example.
The party banters by way of familiarization, and go to see Harrington. Brick remains downstairs to try and read his ferry ticket. The party arrives at Harrington's room, number 6, and finds.... a dead man hanging from a rafter.
Cantoni and Hawk work together to cut the man down... and he comes to life, trying to bite them! O'Riley shouts "It's not alive!" by way of warning, before it sinks it's teeth into Cantoni's shoulder. Cantoni repays the favor by decapitating it with her sword, and Hawk moves it to the bed.
Braxton polices the head. O'Riley searches the room as Cantoni and Hawk seem to have it under control. She finds a backpack of Native American trinkets. Hawk backs off, and Cantoni puts a sword through the living corpse's heart, pinning it to the cot.
Analysis indicates the corpse was definitely meant to be dead before it decided to un-die. Brick finally arrives, and observes the man to be dead. Hawk fetches some first aid items, flammibles and firewater from the bar. Cantoni searches the body, and finds a rune carved into its chest, about a month old. She also finds a note, written in French.
Braxton fossicks through the bag of trinkets. He inflicts a small cut on himself, and observes it as he handles each item; he reacts to one dreamcatcher with a bear on it, and shows it to the freshly-returned Hawk.
Brick goes back to reading his ferry ticket. Hawk tends to Cantoni's wound; by consensus, the bandages and such will be burned when this is done. Hawk stuffs the head's mouth with salt, sews it's mouth shut, and puts it back on the corpse, cleaning up the body.
On the bureau is a note from Harrington -- it's the last 3 days of his life, the mark appeared on his chest out of the blue, and he couldn't bear the light.
Hawk finishes up with the body. While everyone's discussing the best plan, Brick takes the body and exits the room via window. It's a second-story drop, but it doesn't bother him.
The party discusses Braxton's sense of ethics as he takes on the guise of Harrington.
The party rejoins Brick outside the hotel; he is now carrying a crude statue. The party heads to the graveyard, where Brick warps the earth to inter Harrington's statue, where the stone crumbles away to reveal the body.
As we leave, the grey-suited man from the Department of War shows up; we ask if he wants to pay respects to the dead Explorer, and he accepts. He is also fluent in French and can read the french note. It's basically a visa to get back to Canada.
We finish up and head for the ferry. It's char-terd.
Brick's less comfortable on the water, but puts up with it. The party discusses what they're actually in for, and Braxton's heritage.
We draw nearer to the village, and talk about where we should head -- there's a mountain range nearby, and a forest. We're heading for the forest first, and then we'll hit up the town proper.
We reach the town. It's deserted, all the houses have doors closed and windows boarded shut. Cantoni knocks on one door, and no answer. I try opening the door, and it is not cooperative. Rocks encourage cooperation.
The inside of the house is devoid of life or bodies, save one. A corpse lies on the ground. The corpse appears intact, but on closer investigation, has the same brand on his chest that Harrington had, and... no stomach, neatly excised from the cavity. Weird.
Then we realize the boards are on the inside, and that means the outside...
Hawk, playing overwatch, sees and puts down a charging zombie. The Grey Man from the War Department appears from nowhere and rips it's head off. More are coming.
We look for somewhere defensible; a small house on a rise, surrounded by a low stone wall, seems like the best bet. We run for it, and I hang back to pump as much power as I can into making a rock field, and succeed grandly.
We watch and wait for the zombies to get within range; Hawk takes a couple of pot-shots but to no major effect. As the zombies approach the wall, I rip open a trench next to it with a bit of effort.
Braxton and O'Riley get inside the house with some effort, and begin searching it. They find most rooms empty, but in one last room, they find a man writhing in pain; his stomach is sunken.
Outside, the zombies are almost done, but Brick's ankle is grabbed by a zombie in the pit, and he's tugged in awkwardly.
Braxton gets weird and stares into the guy's eyes intently, draining his fear... and what's left of his life.
Braxton is confronted a little by most of the party.
Zombies are mopped up, we follow the trail of bodies to find the Grey Man.
We go up the mountain to the tree. Behind it lives a very small bear behind the tree in a cage, and some sort of eldritch witch. She's clearly to blame for everything, and she's got to go.
Brick spends a bit of power to grow a stone circle out of the dirt, but without much idea of what to do with one, abandons it to resort to his usual violence. But Brick is surprisingly ineffective against her; she's just too damn tough!
Gray turns out to be surprisingly combat capable, and as we all try and fail to wound the witch, he carries the fight against her, slowly.
Meanwhile, ORiley and Hawk channel power to the bear in the cage; it begins to grow, and eventually breaks out of the cage, laying a powerbomb on the witch so hard, she's nothing more than paste.
The witch will most assuredly return at some point in the future, but for now, the dead are going to stay dead, and America will be safe.