Paper Places: Report of Wild Things #3

The third Wild Things session had five players for Paper Places, on a trip into the jungle.

The job: Travel to a village in the Congo Jungle, to negotiate for a permanent landing strip for future safaris.

The team:

  • Sergeant Sam, a Street Samurai with no mercy for no soldiers
  • H.R., a bow-wielder who fights for bovine freedom
  • Eiger, a non-social bodyguard troll who realizes just fine when she’s being scammed
  • Will I Am, a Survivalist Expert ready to act without hesitation
  • Mae, a Spirit Whispering Face whose Spirits help her whenever her smooth tongue won’t

Wild Life Incorporated had a few troubleshooters grab planes towards the airport at Johannesburg, to go on as team from there. They got their briefing near the gate from their usual contact, who was a bit delayed due to splurging on his duty-free shopping. The job seemed simple really. The company had recently obtained map-data indicating there was a village in the jungle near where Wild Life Incorporated wanted to host activities. If they could find a suitable place to land LAVs and convince the villagers to keep the landing strip safe and clean, they could make proper use of the location.

The company wanted Mae to go there and broker a deal, or at least a pre-deal for a temporary landing strip for more negotiations. The rest had to escort her, keep her safe and look menacing without opening their mouths please, because we all know what happens if you start talking…

This time the company supplied the team with two heavy-duty Commlinks, enhanced to have as much reach as possible as to let the team communicate. Sam already arranged one himself, so that meant the team could split into three groups if needed inside the jungle. Furthermore they got supplies, bugnets and 1 cubic meter of bugspray because the company bought an entire frickin’ crate. Oh, and socks against snakebites.

After doing some duty-free shopping themselves, which a few more familiar with Johannesburg were better at, the team went to their airplane for the trip to Congo. On the way there the airplane encountered an attack by a trigger-happy tribe, so the pilot got to dodge a missile strike, then decided to open fire on a few planes that came after the group, a dogfight he easily won. Thanks to their knowledge of Congo Militaries, the team could give the pilot a tip on who to call for a sign of gratitude.

A bit delayed the team landed at a village next to the jungle, unloaded their supplies and scouted for info. They received some info from a local soldier, who was surprised they were travelling to the middle of nowhere without civilization. He did note there were some tribal people, poisonous blowguns and all, but those lived 80km to the north, about 5km into the jungle. The team wanted travel 70km northeast instead.

Since 70km through the jungle was too much of a pain, the team decided to instead travel north over the savannah by car, then walk east into the jungle so they only needed to walk approximately 40km to their destination. They tried arranging for transportation, and Eiger soon ran into someone trying to scam her in broken english. Ignoring him, she just walked away and returned to the group. Mae got two people to transport the group, meanwhile H.R. encountered an African Buffalo and tried bribing it with hay. The animal pushed him away before eating though.

In the jungle Mae would have been the slowest teammember, but thanks to help from a Plant Spirit she was fast enough to keep up with the rest. Thanks to that they only spent two days travelling, which H.R. spent leaving hay breadcrumbs just in case. Near their target-coordinates, the team noticed tracks of patrolling people. With their intimate knowledge of Small Unit Tactics, they figured out both the formation of the locals, and where the place the patrols were circling was. This seemed to match their prior intel, so Mae sent a spirit there to scout from the astral plane. The spirit soon reported it had found a village, then that it was surrounded, and only seconds later it was disrupted by astral combat.

Shaken by this knowledge, the team made sure to prepare well for dangerous contact with the locals. After fatiguing summoning they were Concealed. They had three commlinks, and with H.R. and Will.I.Am both incompetent with Electronics, it was easy to determine who got to use them. With Mae and H.R. as center of a triangle-formation, the team soon encountered four locals which likely were the patrol from the previous tracks. Two decently-visible in the middle, and one on each flank hidden well.

As they approached, William realized something was off about the local he noticed on the flank. With horror, he realized the guy was showcasing a Termite Shamanic Mask*. He quickly took out his hunting rifle, switched to APDS, shouted “Danger!” and dropped the guy in a single shot. A quick fight later, the team asked for an explanation, and after receiving it joined in on the double-tapping. Then they proceeded to the village, ready to finish what they had started.

The village turned out to be several huts connected together with strange material into one big building. Six villagers were outside and a shaman came out to greet the group. Despite both the Insect Shaman and Mae pretending nothing was wrong, combat quickly started and all villagers present were identified as bug spirits. Soldiers burst out from inside as well, and while Mae’s spirit did not owe her any services next to the Concealment, he chose to protect the Spirit Whisperer all the same. And on his prompting, out from the jungle burst a certain African Buffalo.

Thanks to their smart formation, blowing up a bugspray canister to serve as gas grenade, the spirit drawing fire and the distraction supplied by the Buffalo, the team quickly took down all enemies. They called their boss, who was rather shocked to find out the company had been fed false map data. Just as shocked as he was to find out they had received help from a hunter-killing beast with a bounty of twenty grand on its head. He quickly sent an extra team by plane to help secure the location, interrogate the shaman and get everybody back out.

As it turned out, the shaman came from the blowgun-local village, where he had been turning some villagers into bug spirit vessels before having to flee. At his new base they had been discovered by some treasure hunters, which they had captured and converted as well. The same thing he likely would have tried to do with the team, had they not discovered the face behind the mask so soon. Glad that it was all over now, the team said their goodbyes to ‘Buffy’ and returned to civilization.

* Insect Spirits are spirits called over by an Insect Shaman. Unlike other spirits they cannot materialize or possess people. A living being must be prepared as vessel for them to take over, otherwise they grow weaker over time. This inhabitation ritual is lengthy and kills the original living being.

The inhabiation process can result in hybrid forms which are stronger but are visibly no longer human, or flesh forms which look the same as the original vessel. A flesh form will even have the same magical aura as the original, and have their knowledge and skill available.

Insect Spirits gather in hives and try to build up their forces, their final goal is basically to destroy the entire human race. As such, the best solution is to exterminate with extreme prejudice. The only exceptions are Mantis Spirits, who prey on other Insect Spirits for reproduction.

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