Events leading up to this location will be as normal. After Mainframe, the carnival will go into its usual travelling/transitional period for a few days, with no particular warnings or expectations. Normally this would be where I explain how the characters will entering the setting and what they will immediately see, but this is not a normal occasion.
Mostly because no one will have any idea how or why the carnival entered this universe - in fact, they may not remember entering anywhere at all.
Portland, USA is similar to the one of our modern earth in many ways, even if some of those are purely superficial. Importantly, it is the urban fantasy equivalent, meaning that standard city life is underlain with a complex civilization of 'supernaturals,' whose actions have the tendency to shake the world in unseen ways. It's a common formula in the multiverse, and some carnival workers may even come from a world much like it. The major difference here is this world in particular has managed to pull the carnival into its snare in an unprecedented way.
From the start of this visit an onward, the carnival will be rewritten into this world's rules - and in more than just a superficial sense. On day one, your characters will find themselves having awoken into completely new lives, with potentially no memory of anything that came before. How exactly this transition took place will start out unclear, and this will be a plot heavy narrative centered around investigation and the discovery of what has happened, and how those trapped here can leave.
Twenty five years ago, this world underwent a process sometimes know as "the Severing", in which a magical ritual of great power was used to severe the ties between earth and a number of otherworldly realms that had been cross-inhabiting it. The realms of faerie, heaven, and hell were disconnected entirely, stranding many of their members on earth with no way of returning home. The details of this ritual and its purpose are elusive, but its effects have spanned the globe.
Most supernatural stuff in this world is simply referred to as "magic", which is built upon an animistic reality in which all living creatures and all objects have some essence of "spirit" that can be interacted with. Casting and ritual magic is primarily centered upon esoteric means of interacting with these spirits in order to invoke various effects, while the magic of many supernatural creatures are considered to be innate traits of their species.
NOTE: This is a setting where magic is basically a "known secret", in that many people are factually aware of the supernatural, but it doesn't get talked about in public. Most people have probably seen something weird at some point in their life, but the supernatural is not officially recognized in society. Most of humanity does its best to try to pretend it doesn't exist, in order to avoid gaining the wrong kind of attention. So, you couldn't talk about doing magic on live TV, but there are a lot of places where you could get away with people seeing your supernatural traits if you keep to the 'underground.'
( A LOT MORE INFO TO FOLLOW )
|GAME CUBE PLOTTING↴|
As mentioned in the Mainframe location write up, during the carnival’s stay there, some unfortunate carnival members are going to end up having to play A Game. Simplistically put, this means that those pulled into the Game will have to take the part of the NPCs in a computer game, with their goal being to stop “the User” (also known at the Player) from winning. How do they do this?
Mostly by making the Game hard enough that the User can’t beat it. If you’ve ever been so mad at a video game that you rage quit or run out of lives, that’s what the characters inside the Game will be trying to inflict upon the User. Unfortunately , most people will be without their powers, and the Users will be designed to be proportionally a lot more powerful than the carnival workers and programs that will be fighting against it – and the cost of failure is permanent nullification. That is, turning into a rainbow slug and losing all sense of self.
The Game NPCs will have to work together in order to defeat the Users. Fortunately, they also have the advantage of being able to REBOOT.
( Honestly, canon Reboot is otherwise irrelevant to this. )
Hello, all, this is Casey and Maggie (players of Ginko and Tanyuu, your local Absolutely Not Potheads) with another small mushi plot, this time helped along by the ever so wonderful Foster whom we all love and adore. (...that’s a joke. You’re allowed to laugh.) This should run for about a week, and a log will be going up for any and all mushi shenanigans shortly.
Where Ginko and Tanyuu are from, there are creatures called mushi - strange, ethereal organisms that exist in a state unlike that of other living things. Mushi are invisible to most people, but their effects can be quite noticeable nonetheless, and they can cause a lot of trouble for humans on occasion. Usually this only occurs when there is a very large concentration of mushi in the same place, but Ginko attracts mushi as a natural part of his existence/being/soul/what-have-you. As a result, since they aren’t really bound by the barriers between realms, they fairly frequently drift into the carnival. Most aren’t dangerous, and those workers who happen to be able to see them may have caught sight of some odd, glowing creatures clinging to walls or floating around. (There is no hard rule for who can and cannot see mushi, but supernaturally-inclined characters could be more likely to perceive them. Even the most mundane person could be able to, though, so don’t feel restricted in that sense!)
Normally, Ginko and Tanyuu try to keep the number of mushi in the carnival down through the use of “mushi tobacco” - which isn’t actually tobacco at all, but a mix of herbs that, when burned as incense or in cigarettes, produces a smoke that repels mushi. However, recently, their entire supply has mysteriously gone missing (which is to say, Foster van Denend, local Talker and former cow, stole and hid all of it). As such, starting on Day 87, the number of mushi in the carnival will steadily begin climbing, and continue until Ginko and Tanyuu get hold of the repellent again on Day 90.
( ”More )
Only a small amount of preparation will be necessary for this visit. Early Day 90, everyone will be given a circular badge by the Ringmaster, who will tell you that you'll need to wear it if you plan on travelling to the new touring location. Where you wear it isn't important as long as it's accessible.
Later on Day 90, the Nightrunners will be sent out to do a quick security check of the new location - so, they'll be discovering all of this sooner than anyone else, and it will be their jobs to report on it. There are a few security concerns, which will be outlined OOCly for them in the comments below. As well as whatever can be gleaned from this general info post.
Entrance to the new location will be done with the transition portal through the woods, out through a "forested" area filled with weirdly low polygon trees. Glamours will be in effect, though the appearances of the locals are variable enough that appearances will not have to significantly change in a lot of cases.
Mainframe is a city inside of a computer. No, not like the Matrix - as opposed to a virtual reality simulation that the denizens think is real life, it really is a civilization of programs that know what they are and live accordingly. In contrast, the local's perception of any world outside of the Net is very hazy, and "the User" (IE, the beings that actually use the computers they live in) is seen as either a god-like entity or malevolent demon, depending on who you ask. Either way, the User is most often something the inhabitants of the Net are forced to combat rather than cooperate with. Life within the Net is the only world they know, and the Ringmaster will advise that you leave it that way, or else they'll probably get all weird about it.
The Net is actually a real, physical plane of existence for those inside of it, so visitors from the carnival will be under the same threat of injury or death that they would be otherwise. The programs have very different biological features (or a lack thereof), of course, but the glamours will be able to conceal these differences as long as no one does anything really weird like bleeding all over the place. This also means that you'll be able to take objects back into the carnival as souvenir, and that they won't just poof into metaphysical data when you leave. Weird, though.
This isn't the exact Mainframe as in the show, to be clear. There is a different Guardian and different viruses at play, for those familiar. Aesthetically and culturally, however, it is very familiar - though about three times the population size. Ostensibly they are without those 90's animation budgets.
( MORE PLOT DETAILS BELOW )
So, backstory. In Atlantis, Strange picked up a cursed potion that boosts one's magical power at the expense of things like "rational decision making" and "morals." In the Celebration, Strange learned that his wife Arabella isn't actually dead, but is held captive in his world's realm of Faerie. So naturally the sensible thing to do is to chug the potion and try to summon the faerie who kidnapped Arabella despite having no idea who the faerie is in the first place.
Obviously this does not work. That magical boost gives Strange enough power to summon a faerie, but instead, on Day 76 he summons an ice faerie who's a bit of a dick. Nothing actively harmful will happen to the characters, but for the entire day, the ice faerie will be hanging around, just generally causing trouble and making things inconvenient for everybody. Most of the cold effects will be hanging around the carnival but some will slip through into Alola. Notably...
( more details under the cut, click the cut y'all )
As indicated in the Celebration setting post, vampires are about to become a thing again. As such, a want to go over some of the basics with you, so that you will be able to plot with and NPC them for yourself during the masquerade event.
The vampires that the carnival has been having trouble with are of a demonic variety - a new vampire is created by infecting the freshly dead or dying body of a victim with the blood of their vampiric killer. This is accomplished by drinking from them, and then orally feeding them your vampire blood. This will infect them with the vampire curse, fully killing the victim and then resurrecting them unto a kind of undeath, that is not quite living and not quite dead. Any creature with blood is capable of being given this infection - but it has to be something that actually serves as blood, and not just oil or fuel. Most robots or inorganic creatures will be excluded, with a few possible exceptions.
( AND THERE'S MORE! )
As Day 57 comes to a close, it would seem that no one has taken the Ringmaster's time of weakness against her - and boy, is she thrilled out it! Her explanation of those events will be covered by an IC post, but suffice to say, she was touched by each and every show of loyalty and care that she received from her workers during that time. It surpassed even her wildest expectations! As such, she will announce, she is going to take the carnival somewhere she personally considers very fun, as a reward for their service and to celebrate the end of the second full month of the carnival's new season.
There will be a couple day's journey between dimensional locations, during which the Ringmaster will take the opportunity to get into some further nonsense with the supervisors that will be handled in another post. After that, on Day 60, the carnival will sync itself to a new dimensional realm, one that she claims of the home of an endless party that has been going on for centuries. Whether or not that sounds awesome probably depends on your personality, but once you've been escorted from the carnival to the Celebration's grounds, you'll discover that it really does have something for everyone.
Workers will be free to enjoy all of what the Celebration has to offer, leading up to a grand masquerade ball at the end of the week. That said, they should put costume shopping on their list of things to do - thankfully, free clothes in many exciting styles are one of this location's key features.
The Celebration is apparently some kind of pocket dimension, passingly connected to many realms but not fully part of any of them. The entirety of its universe lies within the walls of some kind of grand resort - organized and run in a way similar to a cruise ship, to anyone familiar. Of course, in this case, there is no ocean and there are no tourist stops. It's just glamorous hall after glamorous hall, filled with fine liquor, fine food, and luxury, luxury, luxury. Rooms are pristine, messes are cleaned up before you can call for a maid, and all the Host asks for in return is your enjoyment.
Pretty sweet deal, right? Right.
Upon entering the Celebration's realm, the wait staff will be ready for you. Carnival members will be escorted to their rooms, in the pairs already determined by their trailer park arrangements. They'll be able to bring whatever belongings they wish along from their trailer, but after they've arrived there will be minimal travel between the carnival and the Celebration grounds, so you better pack smart. You're going to be in for a trip.
Not least because the gilded exterior of Celebration life hides some troubling realities which the Ringmaster may be too damn fae to notice.
( MORE PLOT DETAILS BELOW )