Wesley and Po comes to the aid of their downstairs neighbor, a dimwitted, epileptic giant whose home is haunted by a howling persistent and totally unexpected ghost. In a backup story, after all of his nighttime patrols, Po comes to one of the most frightening places in his career: A Laundromat.
GM Notes: In Walking the Dog, the game picks up on a non specific time frame between June and July. Another role-playing experiment, the session was spent telling two short stories.
In the first story while Julian Raven is in California on business, Paul Strathern, the land lady’s son, asks Wesley for help in trying to break into his apartment’s bathroom. Paul’s mother had another epileptic fit and fell unconscious on the toilet. Wesley’s roommate, Po, would join the pair and assist in rousing Ms. Strathern. While they were helping the Stratherns, both mages notice something supernatural in the apartment, as if the apartment is haunted. Their investigations would reveal that the apartment is haunted by an Umbrood spirit known as a Nemesis. The Nemesis was created when the previous apartment residents, the Marshes, abused their pit bull terrier. After a few incidents, the Marshes switched apartments with the Stratherns. But the Nemesis continued to haunt the Marshes, particularly Kevin Marsh, and scared the family right out of the apartment. Kevin Marsh later brought a priest, an amateur exorcist, who instead of banishing the dog spirit; he instead bound it to the apartment building. Po and Wesley unravels the ward and release the Nemesis. Unfortunately they soon realize their mistake. They knew that the spirit would track down the Marshes and would attempt to kill them in retribution. The two mages rush after the spirit and were able to defend the family, but stood by and allowed the family’s possessed dog to tear apart Kevin Marsh to bloody pieces. Once the Nemesis left his host, Po quickly absconded with the pooch from the crime scene. Wesley would later learn that the Nemesis is one of many Umbrood spirits that escaped into Earth during the Black Pyramid Chantry’s ritual on May 5. They also hear reports that this isn’t the first case of animal attacks in the city.
In the second story, Po heads to the laundromat. There he meets a colorful cast of characters and waits impatiently for his clothes to be cleaned. He meets three old asian women who are regulars at the laundromat and they share a story about their dead friend, Florrie, and how she committed suicide. They claim to be waiting for Florrie to return from the dead. After a tedious hour spent in boredom and anticipation for Florrie’s return, he begins to notice odd behavior among the other people at the laundromat. Po is contacted by someone in Yomi (the Asian Hells) via the laundromat’s telephone, taunting and mocking him with a prophecy. Po comes to realize that the three old asian women waiting for their dead friend was telling the truth when Florrie arrives. He comes to the defense of the other people in the laundromat by leaping into combat against the Chijh-Mei, a risen from the Asian Hells, and defeats Florrie and her friends. After questioning Wendy Yu, he learns that Florrie and her friends were members of a death cult that murdered their husbands. From their conversation, he suspects that there may be more members of this death cult in the city, as the old women at the laundromat spoke about a convention.
The Triat are three of the greatest entities in the spiritual hierarchy: the Wyld, the Weaver and the Wyrm. In the mythology of the Garou and other changing breeds, these three are responsible for the creation, preservation, and destruction of all things. As in most mythologies, there are multiple stories of the Triat, many contradictory. Opinions differ as to whether they created or were created by Gaia, and whether all three were created at the one time, had always existed, or created each other in a specific order.
Theurges debate whether the members of the Triat are great spirits or another order of entity entirely, but it is known that, like Gaia and the Celestines, they are beyond the comprehension of mortals. They are never encountered directly, and even the mightiest of their spirit children never claim to speak for their patrons. The Triat are primal forces rather than gods, and their personification seems unique to shapechanger mythology; mages who are students of Spirit are rarely aware of their existence, even when visiting the spirit world, though they recognize similar concepts in three of the Avatar Essences: Dynamic (Wyld), Pattern (Weaver) and Primordial (Wyrm). By contrast, shapechangers generally see all things as influenced by the Triat, able to detect the “taint” of Wyrm or Weaver on mundane and spiritual things.
All shapechangers agree that originally the Triat were in balance. Some say Wyld created raw matter, life and spirit while Weaver gave these creations form and function, and the Wyrm destroyed them to make room for new creations. Others insist that the Wyrm was once known as Balance, selectively destroying the creations of Wyld and Weaver to create harmony from the opposing forces of chaos and order.
Shapechangers also agree that the Triat is no longer balanced: the Weaver draws on the strength of humanity – it’s cities, technology, industry, and science – and is stronger than ever before. The Wyld’s influence retreats as natural resources are plundered, the wild places of the world destroyed and nature forced to do man’s bidding. Most dangerous of all, however, is the Wyrm – it feeds on evil and destroys without distinction. Something holds it in check, but Garou see its power growing and fear the day it will break free to bring the ultimate destruction – the Apocalypse.
Stories differ as to how the imbalance came about, but one of the most common tells that Weaver trapped the Wyrm in her webs, allowing her order to be imposed without being destroyed while the imprisoned Wyrm, unable to escape, fell into madness. In contrast, some claim the Weaver is insane, and the Wyrm’s lust for destruction is in order to destroy the overabundance of order.
As a result of the threat of Wyrm and Weaver, most shapechangers revere the Wyld above the other members of the Triat, seeing it – and Gaia – in need of protection. There are exceptions, however; the Ananasi, for example, revere all three equally, though each individual champions just one. The Wyrm has only one group of devoted shapechangers: the Black Spiral Dancers, a tribe of werewolves once loyal to Gaia who were corrupted while battling the Wyrm. The Weaver’s main allies are human, though the activities of the Technocracy also give it great strength. Vampires bear the taint of the Wyrm when scrutinized by Gifts; this and their love of cities and civilization, bulwarks of the Weaver, are the source of the hatred held for vampires by most shapechangers.
Yomi Wan, literally meaning Thousand Hells, is an artificial spiritual reality created (or stolen) by the Yama Kings to serve as their bolthole and headquarters. The Yomi Wan were created from a combination of the spirit worlds of the Yang World (Umbra) and the Yin World (Underworld). The Yomi Wan are often called the Yomi Worlds, and are often referred to in the collective form as Yomi.
Originally, the Yomi Wan were simply the private domains of the Yama Kings; at the beginning of time, the Yama Kings were purifiers and redeemers, necessary jailors who obeyed the August Personage In Jade. As such, they had their own pocket dimensions where they enacted their necessary, if unpleasant, duties. As the Yama Kings fell into corruption, they carved spiritual lebensraum out of the Yin World and Yang World. These stolen dimensions were crudely welded together by the Yama Kings, resulting in visible scars throughout Yomi Wan.
Yomi Wan is a crazy-quilt domain; each Yama King claims some space as their own personal Hell. Most hells are Yin- or Yang-aspected, a function of their Yama King and original territory, but there are visible scars throughout the realms – unstable fluxes in reality that occasionally move, wreaking havoc everywhere they go. The Yama Kings war over territory on a regular basis, usually by claiming each others domains for their own. As a result, Yomi Wan is unstable and in a perpetual state of flux.
The domains of each Yama King differ widely but are connected in some fashion, one could theoretically walk from Kakuri to the Wicked City, however the active interest (and knives) of the Yama Kings prevents this from happening easily. Similarly, there are passages to the Yin and Yang Worlds, but traversing them is insanely difficult.
The major activity in Yomi Wan is torture, and the extraction of Chi from individuals suffering extreme pain. As a result, sinners are everywhere in Yomi Wan, with horrific and painful things happening to said sinners. The Yama Kings are firm believers in advancing the craft of pain, and have found exciting new uses for rubber tubing and dental drills. Almost everyone in Yomi Wan is a sinner, Akuma, Demon or Yama King. Anyone else is still likely to find themselves in the torture chambers pretty quickly.
No matter how horrible the Thousand Hells are for the sinners, they are ever so slightly worse for their ostensible jailers. Despite everything they have done, there is something not quite “right” (as far as Yama Kings are concerned) about Yomi Wan; righteous individuals like Jizo wander throughout Kakuri Hell with immunity, souls escape, things mess up in the most ironically redeeming of ways. These events are not common, but they are visible and well known enough to make the Yama Kings wonder if when the August Personage smiled and turned away, he was the only one who got the joke.