Sunday, 10 December 2017

Carrion Crown, Session 50: Shoulda Taken The Money

Carrion Crown, as told by Inquisitor Victoria van Helm.

Dear Inquisitor Coim,

We took advantage of the rider's pause to catch our breath before squaring off again against the headless rider. The rider gives us one more chance to surrender and give up the mace.

Hecathia and Ronan try to barter with him. He doesn't want Ronan's earthly coin, nor anything that Hecathia can offer him. So she demands to know why they want the mace -- if he tells her, she'll put it down and back off.

He says it's for the will of the Whispering Way, and she agrees that's an answer, putting down the Raven's Head. I pick it up, because she didn't say anything about one of us picking it up again.

The rider tries to charge in, only for his fancy swinging chain to get caught on a gargoyle thanks to Hecathia. It stops him at just the right range for Ronan to step in and bash him with the bag of cash... which, as he remembers, is all blessed gold. He splits the bag and leave the rider bloodied.

I heft the Ravenshead, and beat him with it; it turns out to be an undead-bane +3 mace.

The horse tries to do stuff, but before it can, I bash it with the mace, and Ronan whips out and decimates it with a magic sword -- the demonwolf's sword! It goes down hard.

The horse explodes into smoke, leaving only embers, and the rider has an ungainly dismount, falling onto the ground like a chump.

Hazzard steps in, and the ominous, intimidating headless horseman is poked to death by a kobold riding a pig.

The fight over, we engaged in the traditional pasttime of looting the dead. Hazzard claimed the rider's flaming flail for his own, and Ronan found a skull-shaped amulet -- clearly cursed, and probably bad news for anyone of good alignment.

He had a very nice set of full plate, which Hazzard was very eager to wear... if only it weren't triple his size.

There was also an amulet of natural armor and ring of protection, which Hazzard also snaps up.

We gather our things, and resume our journey to the city on the horizon. About a day out from the city, Lucia and Hecathia notice things -- Lucia spots a red glow coming from Ronan's pouch, and a green smoke trail of sorts coming from myself. Before we can investigate further, we're accosted by a gigantic toad.

We charged in, but the toad grabs Lucia and swallows her whole. Hecathia bails her out with freedom of movement. The toad compensates by grabbing me instead.

The whole time, Hazzard has been stabbing the toad in the side, and he finally gets through, killing it. I'm freed from the frog's mouth, and sluiced off by Ronan.

The red light that Lucia saw is gone, but the green smoke appearently remains. I can't see it, and accuse Hecathia of jealousy.

The gates of Kalathas finally beckon us, and the first thing we do is offload our spare magical goods. I take the money from my sales, and donate 2000GP to the church, along with my logs so far for transport back to you, Coim.

After we're all done shopping, we head to Hecathia's mother's home -- nice place. We meet in the study, and Hecathia sits us down to ask us all an important question: Why are any of us here?

Me: I'm here because when you first met a man named Coim, you gave an answer that indicated you were out to dismantle the Whispering Way, practicioners of necromancy.
Lucia: Because the Whispering Way has been fucking us over since day one! They killed Lorrimor!
Ronan: Because it is my divine mission to purge the world of evil.
Hazzard: I'm here for adventure, and a spot of revenge. I don't know who they are, or what they look like.

Once we're all done affirming why we're here, Hecathia presents us with a document; a long poem, filled with gaps and ominously relevant to parts of our adventure so far.

As we discuss it, I put the Ravenshead on the table gently, as to not dent the table; I'm sure Hecathia's father would not appreciate it. She doesn't care -- such folly to disregard one's parents. Or maybe that's just me.

We plan our next move -- to beat the Whispering Way, we need an organization who's dedicated their lives to beating them -- the Unseen Eye.

We sleep on it, and as we awake the next morning, we hear news: There's been *yet another* murder. Bodies have been showing up all over, drained of fluid... and turning to ash at dawn's light.

Glory to Pharasma,

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Carrion Crown, Session 49: Cabin in the Woods

Carrion Crown, as told by Inquisitor Victoria van Helm.

Dear Inquisitor Coim,

After beatng the spider thing, we explored the nearby graveyard.

It was a barren place, ancient. The tombstones were more rounded, smooth lumps of stone. There was a hillock in the middle, and a stone archway marking a staircase down.

We ventured forth, and found it sloped downward, the air growing damper with every step. We eventually came to a wide chamber, where the ground becomes slippery, as if coated with slime.

Ahead of us, we heard the pitter-patter of trotters on stone. And out of nowhere, a bronze kobold riding a large pig galloped out of the darkness, pig and rider squealing alike as they were chased by something large, slimy and terrifying -- Barrow Slugs. In the main chamber, one dropped down from above to confront us.

Lucia charged in, and in typical fashion, ripped into one of the slugs. Ronan does his thing, and I swooped in to finish it off.

The kobold stood and fought the other slug, holding it at bay for long enough for Lucia and the rest of us to get stuck in for a swift victory.

The Kobold introduced himself. His name is long and unreasonable, so he advised to just call him Hazzard. He is short, and his pig is imaginatively named "Squealer".

Hecathia looks for treasure, among other things. The floor of the chamber is covered in slime and partially-dissolved items. So, too, are the walls, and a lot of detail on the ceiling. But she found the ceiling covered in strange carvings, filled with metal to make them more indellible -- the source of the magic we detected in the first place. They can't remain, so she set magic hatchets to work cutting away at the inside of the hill to collapse it.

Our job done, we returned to the cottage with our new friend; Hazzard was headed for Kalathas as well, coincidentally, and we were glad to have another travelling companion.

We reached the outskirts of Kalathas; upon a bridge, we were met by a headless rider. To our surprise, he greeted us, and asked for our names, which we gave.

He demanded that we stop interfering with the business of the Whispering Way, and hand over the Ravenshead. Hecathia asked what the hell a ravenshead is.

The headless rider answered: "Well, Hecathia-"

Lucia chimed in. "Oh my god, how does he know your name?!"

The rider confirmed the Ravenshead was the mace we found, and wanted us to hand it over. I stepped forward, and said we couldn't, we need to deliver it to Lord Bofa. Bofa Deez Nutz. Per our church's tradition, I invited the undead bastard to bring it.

The fight began. Hazzard challenged the headless rider to a 1v1. The rider gives him a ride-by, and hits him before darting very far away -- I underestimate the threat of mounted cavalry, time and time again. The rider whistled, and big wolves appear -- aside from being possibly dire, they also appeared to be somewhat dead and ghoulish.

The ghoul wolves howl and rush us; I must shamefully report that I fell over, mauled by one, and spent the fight getting pushed over.

By the time I got up, all the ghouls were dead; the rider was lining up for a second pass, and we stood ready for part two of the fight.

Glory to Pharasma,

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Carrion Crown, Session 48: Last of the Demon Wolves

Carrion Crown, as told by Inquisitor Victoria van Helm.

Dear Inquisitor Coim,

After our undersea adventures, we headed back to town, and took a day.

On the 19th, we noticed that there's some sort of... presence... in town. Things seem unusually quiet, no birds singing, frogs croaking, and suchlike. Ronan and Hecathia also appear to believe I'm being possessed by the Frog Globe. I think this is patently ridiculous, and the globe agrees.

As we discussed the matter, Hecathia noticed a mysterious aura out in the forest that retreated as quickly as it arrived. We couldn't really let this go, and went to investigate it.

We advanced down familiar paths just outside town, and around a corner found a most horrifying sight -- what was left of two deer were splattered all over a nearby tree. Whatever it was, it looked like it had torn them apart manually.

Hecathia realized this could be an offering to Griselda, god of the hungry moon. We hear breaking branches... and the one who made the offering. A large wolf-like biped barged out of the woods! The monster was especially furious with Hecathia, and she in turn seems to recognize him.

We had a turn to make ready. Hecathia hastes us, I line up my shot.

I lunged forward, and branded him for retribution, but Ronan suggested we try to cure his werewolfism mid-combat. I agree, and prepared to dispel his curse on my next turn.

Hecathia prayed, as she does. The beast took poorly to being touched, and mangled me severely. As I got mauled, I heard Ronan remark he's almost capable of removing diseases.

To recap on what's required to cure werewolfism, we needed a simultaneous cure diesase and remove curse. I can remove curses, and had thought the paladin capable of the remove disease. But he wasn't. Nice to know. Would have been nicer to know prior to committing to the plan.

I instead settled for some small revenge on the werewolf, dancing around him to stab him in the back, and backing off considerably.

Hecathia engaged in banter. I learnt the werewolf 's name was Atamarius, and that he was looking for the heart of Sain. He took her bait, and charges towards her -- Ronan was not able to hit him and deal damage as he pushed past, and so Hecathia took a heavy hit for her bants.

Ronan charged in, and sliding on his chest, knocked the feet out from under Atamarius. I charged in as well, and put my knife clean through his bicep.

Hecathia backed off herself, and Ronan tried to stand up. I stabbed the werewolf in a frenzy. He tried to get up, but I didn't let up. He took a step, and lashed out at Hecathia. Ronan answers by taking out his guts, and Hecathia finished him off.

Ronan offered to heal me afterwards, but I invited Ronan to "Keep your non-disease-curing hands off me, you would-be paladin".

We looted the werewolf's corpse, particularly his grand sword, and after heading back to town, left it for Kalathas.

We travelled back to Thrushmoor to drop the seastone effigy off at Ronan's house first, then moved on.

During our trip, I learnt that the werewolf was actually contaminated with some unspecified space-plague disease -- whatever it is, I'm not exhibiting any symtoms, and appear to be immune.

The journey seemed quiet, if eerie, and after a few days, we passed by a fisherman's cottage -- it looked abandoned, but not for very long. Naturally, we decided this would be a good place to stay.

Hecathia's sense tingled, as she could feel a disturbance nearby, feel some major undead further up the hill. We decided to go for it, buffing up, and step into the forest.

Almost in response, the flora and fauna got weird. And further in, at treetop level, is something approaching a rift in time and space. We'd need a wizard to close it off or something.

Lucia's indifferent about it, and suggested just leaving it, as it wasn't exactly teeming with monsters. It eventually crossed our mind that it might only be devoid of threats because the monster was already here?

A giant, 40' tall spider stalked towards us! It was tall and agile, but not terribly strong; I branded it for retribution, and the team laid into it for damage.

Somewhere, I think I heard the voices of the gods discussing our fight:

"You successfully slice through the underside of the spider. Now you're covered in spider goo."
"No, my outfit!"
"Then it falls behind you, okay?"
"It falls onto Ronan."

Ronan (Imitating GM) "Does a 36 hit?"
Gm: "No, actually, it's only thirty... actually, yeah, 36."

The spider eventually decided it had had enough, and withdrew from combat, fading out and bouncing away. I couldn't see it, but clearly Hecathia could; she was staring up at the trees, and with her magic, smashing them one by one. She smashed one last tree, and pointed where it landed with a thump.

Lucia slung a fireball at it, and the fireball hit something invisible and vanished. I ran forward and took a pot-shot with my crossbow, but hit nothing.

The rest of the party charged in and had more luck, massacring it, but not before it violently poisoned Ronan. The party managed to hold him down and pump enough restorative magic into him to keep him from death's door and let him ride out the poison.

And that's all for now; we'll be moving again shortly.

Glory to Pharasma,

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Delta Green: Future/Perfect, Ep 2, pt 2

Doctor Kilroy is absolutely not an Agent for an agency that doesn't exist named Delta Green, one of many such phantoms defending the world against things that shouldn't exist.

We watch the medevac chopper soar back into the sky with it's cargo of Zark and Magnus. In order to save enough fuel to get Zark to an appropriate trauma center, one of the paramedics, Jason Simons, has to remain behind. He's dangerously curious about the situation.

I explain an edited version of events -- Zark was an undercover operative infiltrating what we believed to be the ring responsible for the mystery deaths in the area recently. Due to the untimely arrival of Deputy Sherriff Androzy,

Androzy comes to, and asks what the hell he just saw. I lie and explain that it was two guys in an animatronic suit. An armored one, as Androzy opened up on it with no effect.

Androzy recalls the dashcam in his car, and reckons it has footage. We step in to sabotage recovery of the footage, but... Androzy does that on his own.

We return to town, to pick up a flamethrower from Androzy's house. During this, we get a few phonecalls. Magnus calls, and advises Zark will live. Probably. We're also running out of time, as an actual FBI response team is inbound from Bakersfield, about 8 hours out, in response to the EMTs phoning in the shooting of a FBI agent.

We lock and load, and go back to the site to go dinosaur hunting. It's now closer to 4am, and the traces of last night are pretty damn clear. Jason figures out that it weren't no animatronic.

Agent Jacob comes clean. We're hunting genetically modified monsters created by the FDA. Ex-nazi science projects gone wild. Jason and Androzy are on board with it.

We track the dinosaur about two kilometers to a culvert; it's strange, the tunnel is lined with green vegetation... in Death Valley. There's tiny red flowers that are bright, and I suggest not touching them if possible. Jacob notes that they're surrounded by dead bugs. "Don't touch the flowers", he says. That's literally what I just said.

We head in. The water seems to rise and fall, like waves. As Androzy crosses an intersection, and a dinosaur-shaped blur darts across and snatches Androzy away. Agent Emily opens up on the dinosaur, felling it, and Jacob double-taps it, but in our panic, the rest of the team opens up, including myself with the flamethrower.

If Androzy didn't die on first impact, he's certainly dead now.

With a bonfire blocking this tunnel, we press on down the main one. There's been a cave-in of sorts, rebar blocking our way, and I realize we're probably back under the imploded Hunt Electrodynamics. I try to squeeze under it, but slip and severely injure myself.

Moving on, we enter a large dome room. The source of the ticking is a geiger counter hooked up to disposable car batteries. I unhook one of the terminals to shut it up. The plant-life here is thick.

We press on, and find a second, larger dome room. The vegetation here is larger, and the water deeper.

We find a mysterious black stone archway. In it, various places filled with assorted gold cubes, each 6.04cm cubed. There's an empty slot for a cube, much like the one we found in the dead guy's house. The archway proves very difficult to damage or dismantle. The arch is filled with a mysterious fog, and water appears to be pouring out of it.

Jacobs tosses a rock through the portal, and it doesn't hit the other side. Definitely a portal, then. He sticks his head through, and promptly gets sucked in.

Meanwhile, Jason has found a stick with a timable camera on it which could be used to take a picture of what's on the other side. Emily and Jason stick it through and look at the film, but it's just a blurry mess. Almost like they ruined it by looking at it.

Jacob's been gone for like, half an hour by now. He's probably not coming back. We decide to mess with the arch. I predict that removing the cube activated it, so putting it back in turns it back off.

They put the cube back in, and there's a *pop*. I toss a stone through the arch, and it makes a noise, hitting the other side.

Agent Emily tries to call Magnus. Her phone's dead, fried. Not hard to guess how.

They put the cube with another rune facing inwards. The whole chamber begins to shake, and our vision blurs. We see visions of a tunnel. The stone test suggests the portal is still portalling. I stand next to it, and prepare to go through if Agent Jacob does not return in time for a last-minute escape.

Jason and Emily manage to escape the chamber. I watch them go, and enter the portal.


Agent Zark made a recovery, and eventually returned to field duty.

Agent Magnus never really found out what happened to his team, and nobody knows if it really bothered him.

Jason and Agent Emily escaped, but suffered extreme radiation poisoning; they were picked up by DG operatives and taken to a medical facility for debrief. Afterwards, they vanished, never to be seen again. Jason is survived by his son.

Nobody ever found Androzy's corpse. Probably.

Nobody ever found out what happened to Agent Jacob. The portal took us to different times, and further back each time the portal is used, so he's probably several dozen million years ahead of me in the future.

And me? I'm standing in a lush, swampy area. I see vegetation and creatures that haven't been seen on earth for millions of years. I'm stuck in the past, a fossil in training. If my severe radiation poisoning doesn't kill me, myriad diseases and swamp diseases will.

I have my revolver, a spare bullet, and am looking for somewhere dry and safe to leave what I hope is an interesting corpse.

And on the wall, I will leave my legacy. A chariacture with a large nose, poking over a wall.

Kilroy Was Here.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Necessary Evil: Prologue: The Fort Kincaid Heist

Necessary Evil is a Savage Worlds campaign where supervillains (or unpopular heroes) are the last line of resistance against alien invaders named the V'Sori.

This campaign is being run by yours truly, starring:

Marshal Lawless - Old western hero turned undead, turned supervillain.
Warhead - A hulking, butt-ugly mountain of a man who glows faintly. Occasionally mutters to himself about lizard people and a hollow earth.
Wattlad - A young, cocky brit with a confident swagger. And electrical powers.
Roux - A mercenary for hire with god-awful luck, a phobia of wet footwear, and a jetpack.
Torment - Missing an arm, but otherwise pretty normal -- almost like an accountant. Also really into the slap and tickle.

It's 2001, and with the K'tharen, or "Fins", recent ravaging of the earth, things are tight all over, but humanity's recent salvation from the webbed hands of the V'sori has not only turned things around for mankind, but produced a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

A man named E has come across the inside running of the decade -- in a show of appeciation for the V'sori, a celabratory ceremony is being planned, and most of earth's remaining heroes -- including the Champion and Alpha Force -- will be in attendance.

Of course, life goes on, and the world doesn't stop for a party, no matter how big. And in reality, E has discovered that the recent war with the Fins has left gaps in the military roster, and in the chaos following the attack of the Fins, more than a few critical positions have been propped up with the personnel equivalent of a bluff.

Normally, this paper tiger of security would be supplemented by the world's heroes... but they'll all be busy attending the ceremony. With no immediate backup from the Champion or other major heroes, there's a window of opportunity to do something major to one such supply line.

E has his eyes on Fort Kincaid. The fort is one stop in the journey of a high-security convoy for a rare and precious alien mineral: Argyllium. This strangely-patterned crystal is poorly understood and rare, but filled with power and potential, and normally under extremely high guard.

Even at it's reduced guard, it's a formidable target for one attacker, and so E has put out the word, looking for allies. He's made no secret of what the objective of the day is -- the reward is an equal share of the Argyllium, although E is certainly willing to take as much as he can get in exchange for a cash payout.

E outlines two options: the team can break into a bunker at Fort Kincaid, and extract the Argyllium before dawn, or they can hit the convoy en route -- he leaves the choice to the team. Whatever they pick, E will arrange any hardware or personnel required for the mission.

Fort Kincaid is aware of it's cargo, and has fortified their paper tiger security with mercenaries from Longsword International.

The team opts for the pre-dawn raid on Fort Kincaid, and decides to go in over one of the watchtowers. Wattlad finds the fence to be electric and shorts it out, while Torment goes over the top with a grappel hook, and demonstrates the strength of his pain-inducing touch. Everyone else joins him, and descends into the compound.

As they do, the sentries are alerted by the shorting out of the fence, and send two to check it out. As they get close, Marshal Lawless jumps through a nearby window, causing a commotion. As the sentries are further led to investigate, they run into Warhead who slaps them into the wall and fence for being "Globalists".

Meanwhile, Torment and Wattlad are checking out the electronic keypad locking one of the large hangar buildings. Wattlad shorts it out, deadbolting the door. E steps in, and melts a hole in the door.

Warhead, who was cleaning up his mess, rushes to the second hangar, and primes himself to explode.

Torment, Wattlad and E get their door open, and find eight trucks, parked bumper to bumper and laden with shipping containers. The trucks are locked, but the containers are not, because their contents are individually locked -- the Argyllium.

Warhead detonates, blowing a hole in his door and entering the hangar to find a handful of the usual millitary vehicles... including a modernized M4 Sherman tank.

Warhead asks for keys to drive the tank, and the Marshal kicks the door of the nearest building in, looking for keys. Warhead suggests a desk, and the Marshal finds keys. He grabs them all, and throws them all at Warhead once outside.

Warhead, upset, goes to try all the keys in the tank, hoping to find the right set.

While he's doing that, Marshal Lawless barges out of the admin building he jumped into, just in time to see one of the two sentries following up on their friends. Roux puts an arrow in one at extreme range, while Marshall Lawless quietly shoots the other with a loud revolver.

Torment begins cutting a hole in the roof of the hangar to extract the Argyllium. He finds a acetelyne torch, and with surprising luck, gets it working and up into the rafters to begin cutting.

Outside, the rest of the guards start pouring out of the barracks. Roux takes a shot at one and misses, but Wattlad smokes one and stuns him.

As the guards stack up near the corner of the hangar to attack, Warhead guesses the right key and gets the tank running. They notice the sound of the engine, but not before he ploughs through the wall, crushing them flat.

The rest of the team makes quick work of the three remaining troopers, and hears an incoming helicopter. They think it's their goons coming to extract the Argyllium.

They are wrong. It's the Longsword Emergency Response Team. Warhead makes use of the tank to snipe it at range, but two angry jet-propelled projectiles detatch.

A long time ago, in the 80's, a villain named The Destroyer was rather active. He went missing one day, presumed defeated, but nobody ever figured out what happened to his trademark power armor... until now.

The two power armored mercenaries engage the team. One is immediately eliminated with a pain touch, falling off the edge of the hangar to his death.

The other takes off, and zaps Torment for smoking his buddy, inflicting a wound. Wattlad and Roux engage him in turn, stabbing and electrocuting him to death alternately.

The team grabs their reward, and gets out with the tank in tow, and no sign of the Champion or Alpha Force anywhere.

Whether they check the news or not, they find out by tomorrow why -- both are dead, along with most heroes, thanks to an unforeseen double-cross. Whatever assets they have taken from this adventure will need to go into storage and wait until the aliens are gone, for now the team are all wanted felons for being supers, one and all.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Carrion Crown, Session 47: Boss Fog

Carrion Crown, as told by Inquisitor Victoria van Helm.

Dear Inquisitor Coim,

We caught our breath after the fight.

Resuming our investigation, next to what we now know as mulcher are a number of bodies. A couple of scum, and three males and one female corpse, including the mayor. All the human corpses have had the tops of their skulls carefully removed, and the contents emptied.

Lucia wants to feed the leftover bodies through the mulcher. Ronan and Hecathia would prefer if she didn't. They compromise, and let her feed the plant things and scum through.

On the wall, there is a door which we spotted just before the fight. Well, it looks like a door. The stone is unnaturally smooth, and seems like it's been shaped, rather than crafted.

Hecathia also notes that she's getting bad omens about this place; it feels like the veil between planes is thin here, and it's getting weaker by the minute. If we don't do something soon, Bad Things will happen. And the future that the Frog Globe showed me will come to pass.

There's one way out of this room that isn't the one we came in by, so we go through it. It's a long corridor, and time seems to flow strangely here, and I feel much better much quicker than expected.

We reach the end of it, and our way is blocked by a doorway filled with a mysterious, impenetrable fog. On the other side is an octagonal room of steel walls, filled with mind-numbing terror. Strange machines. Steel, bloodstained operating tables. The walls at the base of the dome are transparent, and we can see the murky black water outside. At the apex of the dome is a dark grey orb, moving around a bright orb. Our solar system? Beyond it, the dome is shrouded in darkness and I can't see it.

There are also four more plant-thing vivisectors, two of them manning the tables. And on one of them, an unfortunate soul with things sticking out of him. They fiddle knobs as we enter, and he explodes into some monstrous... thing.

I waste no time, point and declare "BEGONE, THOT." It works, and is cursed.

Lucia busts out a new party trick, and a monstrous fireball erupts from her hand, and flies into the room.

A vivisector flies down and points his globe-thing in our general direction. We're hit by a cone of cold mist, and I feel it. We're now immersed in fog, and can't see shit.

I press on anyway; I dodge around the eviscerator as I try to flank it, only for a massive tentacle to lash out and grab me, yanking me towards the giant creature. It pins me to the ground, and small suckers nibble on me, draining my strength!

Lucia charges in, growing massive, and lays into the enemy before they attempt to do the same to her; she has the devil's luck, though, and nothing seems to be able to touch her!

Ronan and Hecathia emerge from the fog to join the fight proper. I struggle feebly, but can't escape. My strength wanes. I'm in dire straits.

The thing charges towards Lucia, trying to trample her; she stands her ground, laying into the thing.

Ronan obliterates the eviscerator that was spraying us with cold. I keep struggling, and lose a little more strength.

Lucia tears into the creature once more, breaking it's spine and shredding it to tiny little pieces!

Ronan helps me up, and Hecathia restores my strength, before telling us that the place is coming down, and we need to put a hustle on, now.

Lucia tries to loot the table, but is interrupted by the whole place shaking.

Hecathia tries to use the machines lining the walls to try and stave off the collapse of the dome.

I fish a suit of chainmail from the poor bastards' gear, a fine set of shadow mistmail. (Blur)

Ronan gets huge, to try and scoop items into the now enlarged opening of the bag.

Lucia charges forth to clear a path. Hecathia signals Croon to get the sub ready. I run ahead to scout for any foes, and between Lucia and Ronan, they manage to find the sub and get us back to it.

As the sub goes up, we watch the dome implode on itself, corpses washing out of the tunnels. On the surface, Croon even noticed the effects of what we killed; there had been a monstrous squid below him, and suddenly everything dropped as water was displaced.

We search the guy's gear; aside from a number of items, he had a letter from "A.A.", instructions for the guy on the slab to trade a statue stolen from Leppistadt. Clearly, he hasn't completed his job.

But we've got a suspiciously barnacled mace, and the courage to take his place...

The boot's on the other foot now. Onward to Caliphas. Time to put an end to this Carrion Crown.

Glory to Pharasma,

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Deathwatch, Mission 1, pt 2: Tantalus Prometheum Refinery

The Deathwatch: The black line in space, humanity's first and best line of defense against the ever-encroaching threat of the Xenos, whether mankind knows it or not. The best of the superhuman Adeptus Astartes make their ranks, and with a licence to kill that is very Yes, we go where larger armies cannot, and shoot everything that mortal men should not know.

Kill Team Six is comprised of:

Ultramarines Lexicanum Solomon -- The team Librarian. Very shiny armor, has he ever been in a fight? Favors a bolter and a force-sword.
Iron Hands Courras -- The team Devastator, narrator, and bearer of his beloved Heavy Bolter, Erlund.
Raven Guard Inigo van H**m -- A tactical marine with a flowery accent, prettiest man on the team. Self-proclaimed teen idol.
Space Wolves Asmund -- A handsomely-rugged ginger giant of a tactical marine, with flowing hair.

We arrive at the compound. In a ravine, a mere 16 guardsmen are perched on top of their transport, holding the line. Amidst them, one Commisar standing tall and strong without fear. They're surrounded by dead tyranids.

We descend and meet with the Commissar and set up lines of defense. I set up on the corner. Asmund sets up grenades with tripwires on the entrances.

Commissar Falco Sander introduces himself to Solomon. He guesses that he's the last ranking officer on the planet, and is ever so slightly hopeful that we're here for them. We're not, but fuck it.

We hear a roar, and the time for talk is over. Here comes the horde.

They trip the booby traps and it takes chunks out of them. Asmund biffs another grenade into their midst.

Courras' time is nigh, and he opens up; Erlund sings, and although the horde is some distance away, metal storm rounds shred the enemy. It's Space Hulk Oddyseus all over again.

Solomon waves his hands, and acts like the Psyker that Winter York thinks psykers should be. Lightning arcs across the horde; we smell ozone.

Above us, the grenade booby traps at the main gate go off... and two Big Boys emerge from the smoke, Tyranid Warriors.

Asmund rips into them with full auto-fire. Courras tries to follow suit, but his gun jams on a bit of Tyranid. Solomon lets his powers loose once more, floats up, and suddenly explodes, dropping back down and passing out.

Three guardsmen are snatched off the edge of the vehicle for standing too close to the edge.

Inigo finally does something noticeable, and full-autos on one of the Tyranid Warriors converging on us. He somehow hits every weak point and fells it in one salvo. It is nothing short of a miracle -- a Raven Guard has finally done something worthwhile!

Asmund rips into the remaining warrior, firing over Courras' shoulder. Grumbling something about Erlund "letting the team down". he pops a frag grenade and drops it into the horde with precision, decimating the majority of what's left, and allowing the Guardsmen to finish it off.

Inigo once more displays unusual courage for a cowardly Raven Guard, and decimates the last Tyranid warrior. "No beakie helmet wearing, shadow-hidin', Istvaan-abandoning Raven Guard"

Sander salutes us, and is glad to volunteer what remains of his men for our mission in any way they think possible. They were here to cover the escape of senior officers and staff.

There's two good places for the drop beacon -- the hills above the refinery to the northwest, and the comms relay to the southeast.

We head to the rail station. Most of the team smells or senses someone hiding in the building, and goes in to fish them out while Courras babysits the guardsmen.

After a while, Adept Hellas scampers out of the building, spotting the Guardsmen and gladly joining the retinue. We formulate a plan. Courras and the Retinue will head West along the rails to point 8 on the map. The rest of the kill team will head East, and investigate point 7.

As the kill team heads towards 7, they pick up the trail of blood once more. It heads south, angling towards the rear of the compound where we picked up the Guardsmen. Behind a cluster of rocks, they find a lurching, red-robed figure.

They find the Magos, and his datacore. He seems to be on auto-pilot, robotically advising them of the situation and following the kill-team. Courras and co are called back for exfiltration.

We catch up, regroup, and bunker down on the hill as we wait for the ship to arrive. As we watch the horizon, we see a dark shadow sweep across it -- the horde. Eugh. Above us, a shadow -- our ride out?

Wrong. It's a flying Hive Tyrant, here to fuck our shit up. Asmund cuts loose with hellfire rounds, as does Inigo. Courras throws a krak grenade The Tyrant takes solid hits, but lives and slaps Asmund's left arm clean off.

Solomon becomes the psyker we all want him to be, and unleashes a stupid amount of energy on the hive tyrant, cooking it... and because it has a blast radius, Courras as well.

He does not dodge.

What feels like an eternity later, the Thunderhawk finally arrives; everyone piles on, just in time as waves of Tyrannid surge over the ground we'd been holding, and we kick rocks as fast as possible.

At base, the team is commended for their success, and Courras' body is returned to the iron hands. Kill Team Six is given a little time to rest up, but will be redeployed soon, for the enemies of Mankind are many, and the Deathwatch few.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Carrion Crown, Session 46: Twice the Adventure

Carrion Crown, as told by Inquisitor Victoria van Helm.

Esteemed Witch Hunter Coim,

It's still the 15th of Desnus, 4715, although it feels like it's been months. Plant pod widsom is quite a trip. Lucia and Jeff are standing idle, like the force that controls them is absent.

Now that we're done with the pod, there's two chambers we could explore. I press on into one; it's octagonal, blessedly empty save for a few cobwebs, and seems to have some sort of multihued lighting going on, despite there being no source of light.

There's a low hum in the air to go with it, and we notice that Ronan's staring off into space. He seems to come to. He's a bit odd, but okay, so... I guess I'll let it go?

The next room is also empty, but doesn't seem to have been for long. There's weird patterns in the dust of this room. It looks like something was standing on a tripod, and/or had wings that disturbed the dust. This chamber has weird lights going on as well.

Using detect magic, I can see the barrier between worlds is extremely thin here. I suspect the people given to the Neighbors were taken here by Scum to be sacrificed for this purpose; we're standing in prison cells, but not for things of this realm.

We need to bury this place, if possible. We move on, We take the only tunnel out of here, and come to a fork in the road, heading south. The tunnel widens into a large chamber, where we see a single scum standing there.

It has clearly just finished summoning something. To the Western edge of the room, a large plinth stands, and if I were able to see clearly in the dim light, I would behold a mace.

I rush left to flank the Scum , but am interrupted by two more scum that were hiding in a crevice to the left! They fling their tridents at me! One misses, but the other connects, and I ready myself to shank them if they get any closer.

Hecathia does her thing, and tries to dispel the summon spell and send the mysterious, summoned creature back where it came from. It works, and the barely-materialized creature is flung back where it came from.

The summoner does not like that. It screeches in anger, and jet of flame shoots out of the ground from beneath Hecathia. She's not quick enough, and catches the full blast.

Ronan advances, and I charge to deal with the trident-wielders. I do a little damage, but they're much better at clawing and biting than they are at throwing tridents, and they do a lot more damage.

Lucia arrives out of nowhere, and engages the spellcaster. Hecathia tries to hold him to no effect.

Ronan strikes, avenging me, and does some damage. I back up, and put some distance between me and Ronan's scum. The one I'm picking on savages me a little more.

Lucia tries to do her thing to the spellcaster, but bad luck means she just hits herself in the back on her backswing, doing some damage.

The spellcaster backs up and cuts loose a blinding stream of darkness at Lucia. She screams as it does considerable damage.

Ronan gets in there. I try to flank the scum, doing a little damage, before it unflanks itself and knocks me out, although it manages to hurt itself considerably with the last bite.

As I fall, now that I'm close enough, in the corner the trident-scum came from, I can see a statue depicting a creature that is an unholy fusion of eel and other creatures. The walls are decorated with carvings.

I feel someone power-slap me, and I wake up, filled with renewed life. I lash out and stab the scum in the ankle. It tries to bite me, oddly breaking it's usual combo of claw-claw-bite, but instead just vomits on me. Gross.

Me: "At this point in the sesion, we've had... jeez, nurse outfits, vomiting..."
[Table laughter]
Ronan: "Oh god, I'm the male solo... Laying on hands..."
Me: "Slapping..."
Lucia: "Jeez, what kind of video are we making here?"
Me: "All of them. We're hitting every demographic at once."
DM: "Alright, alright, come on -- Lucia, make this a snuff video. Go."

Lucia charges the spellcaster and rips into him. It tries to retaliate, but the moment passes and his spell fizzles.

Ronan charges the spellcaster too, as I'm relatively safe to be left alone with the vomiting scum, and mangles the spellcaster.

I get up, and stab it a little. Meanwhile, the spellcaster's on the ropes; fatigued, he can't run away without Lucia running him down easily. He tries to blind Ronan, but Hecathia's on the ball and counters it.

I resume taking my revenge on the Scum -- nobody's vomited on me like that since prom. I finally finish it off, and just barely; it's vomiting, I'm crying, we're both screaming, and there's a lot of thrusting going on. So, just like prom all over again.

The spellcaster charges up negative energy and lets it off; I'm out of range, thankfully.

Ronan tries to finish off the spellcaster, but slippery grip embeds the sword in the wall.

Lucia finally manages to finish it off. I sneak back to our entry point to wash off the vomit, with no further incident.

We don't tarry, and press on. At a fork in the road, we turn left. It's a long, rectangular room, 30' across and 120' long. Unlike the other chambers in this place, the walls and such are actually straight and machined. Copper and glass canisters line the walls, sitting on pedestals. Most hold disembodied brains, suspended in fluid. There are no other exits.

Hecathia notes that some are faintly magical, presumably coming from a magical creature. I shout "Hello!" at one brain. It doesn't respond, but I notice that it's weirdly fresh. New... the Mayor's?

With nothing else to see for now, taking the other fork in the road leads us to a dimly-lit grotto. All over is a riotous tangle of vines. Part of the wall appears to have been melted and reshaped into some sort of door. The middle of the room features some large machine, an equally large pool of blood, and a number of bodies next to it.

Lucia, Ronan and I go check out the machine. Hecathia, disapproving of us as usual, checks out the wall.

I miss something, and Ronan suddenly shrieks in pain as he is nibbled by something behind. Hecathia screams out to look up, and we do. Gross things descend from above. They carry cylinders... oh dear.

The room seems to feel colder compared to the ball of plasma that emerges from the cylinder. Lucia is splashed with it and takes a hit.

The second shot comes for me, and it's a rock. I take a solid hit, but not nearly as bad as Lucia did. I take cover behind the mysterious machine, and open fire on the plasma flier with my repeating crossbow. I don't do very well, hitting myself instead, somehow.

Lucia screams and jumps like MJ, 20' up into the air, to grapple the rock-casting flier. Hecathia forces the plasma flier to the ground.

Suddenly, a long, lanky creature appears next to where Hecathia had been -- if she hadn't jumped, it would be using it's freakishly large people-pushing-into-box hands to push her into the big machine box. And we all instinctively realize that's a bad time for anyone inside.

It lays it's hands on Ronan, but he's still benefitting from freedom of movement, from when we went along the seafloor. The dog savages him a little too, and we finally see him bleed.

The now-grounded flying dissector stumbles towards me, slashes me, and to my horror, begins dissecting my flesh, taking a valuable chunk of my constitution.

I brand Fuckhands McMike for retribution.

High above, Lucia realizes the fliers don't actually need their wings to fly. She wriggles free. The landing isn't really stuck so well.

Hecathia: "I will use Violent Thrust."
Lucia: "But you don't have a Cylindrical Object..."

Hecathia works her magic and pulls the invisible dog and the rock flier into the mulcher. It activates, and we hear a terrible grinding.

Fuckhands tries to grab me, but in my struggles, he somehow winds up grabbing himself and teleporting to another plane.

The plasma flier lets go of me and backs off... only to blast us with plasma.

Ronan, slightly singed, advances and cuts the flier deeply. I try to brand it for retribution, but it escapes my blade. Lucia flanks it, and mauls it. I tickle it for negligible damage.

Lucia finishes it off. Ronan, after divesting it of the cylinder, puts it through the mulcher. Interestingly, plant matter, not giblets, comes out the other end.

I think that'll be enough for today. I'm in sore need of a rest.

Glory to Pharasma,

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Deathwatch, Mission 1: Tantalus Prometheum Refinery

The Deathwatch: The black line in space, humanity's first and best line of defense against the ever-encroaching threat of the Xenos, whether mankind knows it or not. The best of the superhuman Adeptus Astartes make their ranks, and with a licence to kill that is very Yes, we go where larger armies cannot, and shoot everything that mortal men should not know.

Kill Team Six is comprised of:

Ultramarines Lexicanum Solomon -- The team Librarian. Very shiny armor, has he ever been in a fight? Favors a bolter and a force-sword.
Iron Hands Courras -- The team Devastator, narrator, and bearer of his beloved Heavy Bolter, Erlund.
Raven Guard Inigo van H**m -- A tactical marine with a flowery accent, prettiest man on the team. Self-proclaimed teen idol.
Space Wolves Asmund -- A handsomely-rugged ginger giant of a tactical marine, with flowing hair.

Today's mission takes us to a refinery on Tantalus, a dying resource world on the edge of the Castobel system. Our objective: Recover the data core of a Mechanicus Magus, Xardos Vaiakai, who was downed and crashed on this rock. He survived and set a message to repeat to call us for help.
Optionally, we can recover the Magus. He's rather important to the war effort. It would be best if we did.
Complicating this simple milk run, and necessitating the deployment of Kill Team Six, is the Tyranid hive fleet dangling overhead, a mere 5 hours away.

This is a 30 Req mission. I pick a spare box of metal storm, a fire selector, 3 frag grenades, and a dose of recusitex. We take the oath of Knowledge, to screw tyranids with +10 to attack.

We go in hot, hitting the earth with drop-pods, and pile out, all ready to kick ass. There's nothing for us to kick straight away though -- there's nothing but pre-dead corpses.
We've touched down next to the crashed shuttle, in the middle of the operational area. It'll take us about an hour to cross the width of the facility at normal speed. We decide to check out the shuttle first, and then move on to the bunker beyond, the Magos' likely hiding place.
We don't move very far before we hear an earsplitting screech, and we're beset by winged biological creatures -- shrikes!
One spits some stuff at Asmund, narrowly missing him. Inigo retaliates with a blistering spray of fire, grieviously mauling it.
Solomon breaks out his sniper rifle, and... misses. I jog forward, and pop one in the uninjured Shrike.
It takes a swing back at me, and just barely misses. Asmund rushes in with his chainsword with no luck. Inigo goes missing. Solomon engages my target with his sword, and I smell ozone.
I try and put 3 rounds into it with the pistol. Two connect for 14 and 23 damage.
Asmund has another go, but nothing gets through the carapace. The shrikes try and fail to maul us.
Solomon rams his sword into the throat of the creature and with a flash of energy, cooks it dead from the inside.
I lean across him, and pop caps into the last living Shrike, shredding it.

With combat over, we move on to the shuttle. Once a mighty machine, the Kestrel-class lighter is shattered against the earth, back broken and hull split like paper. Despite the wreckage, the engine and fuel lines did not rupture... because it's still here, and not a crater. No signs of life.

Inside are four crewmember corpses. There's what's left of servitors. In the cargo bay, a jury rigged vox sits. Solomon figures it's boosting it's signal. Burnt out, but properly anointed with the proper rites and ungents. A mechanicus was here.

Not far away, Asmund finds the sparking body of a busted servitor. Correction: Half a servitor. Also two eviscerated crewmembers, a busted servoskull, and a couple of Hormagaunts. Blackish blood trails off to the north, a train depot of some sort. To the east, a small compound. We decide to search the compound first, as it's on the way.

As we get closer, we hear las-fire. Humans. There's an overturned landhauler of impressive size. Atop it, guardsmen in a firing position, with one leader standing tall amongst them with a big hat. We sprint to the fight and rescue.

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Dungeons and Dragons, Session 2

Once upon a time, in a distant land, there were five adventurers:

Precious, the knife-flinging, pocket-picking human rogue of indeterminate racial profile
Goku, the hash-slinging, axe-swinging black dragonborn barbarian
Freddy, the mysterious staff-wielding masked man
Jamhorn Glittergold the... gnome
Al the Great One, professional High Elf and Warlock

They barely know where they are, where they've come from, and where they're going, but they've got weapons, the universal thirst for ale, and a surplus of free time. These are their 5th Edition adventures.

We run up to the brige, and find our way blocked by the "master of the bridge", an elven Warlock.

"You don't have the dragonballs to cross this bridge, Goku!"

The Elf is named Al the Great One, and he is a high Elf, in every sense of the word, and generously proportioned. (read: fat) The stranger doesn't see us as a threat, and tells us his story -- his companion was kidnapped by the church and he is seeking to rescue them.

Our interests and goals seem to align for now, so we team up and head to the Church.

The exterior gate of the church is barred, but the fence isn't exactly difficult to climb, so I do just that and unbar it.

We see lights moving in the distance; it's the dead of night and there's no reason for any lights, so someone's up to something. We keep quiet, and move towards the Church proper. The main doors are obviously locked.

Al: "Stand back, I will open this door." (Checking sheet, OOC:) "Can I open this door?"

Precious has a go at the lock with her tools and it almost magically falls apart under her touch.

We move into the church; as she was in her before, Precious takes point. We pass through a large chamber with a statue of a god, and five pillars representing the five seasons. Beyond that, a room with a large table and scraps of food, some sort of dining area.

Eventually we reach an area Precious says monks were praying in before. We can't see much odd about this place, but Al thinks something's off.

"Hoold on, friends! There is someone here! Whether it is good... bad.... we do not know! I sense trickery, or magic in these walls!"

Al picks out something on the floor; I notice it's hollow, and frisking the floor finds a bench, and in the side, an embedded handle and lock that requires a key. Precious does her thing, and we're able to open a door. The hole extends into darkness.

Precious jumps in, the rest of us take a more cautious approach and take a rope down. At the bottom is a small corridor, and a door. We open it, and on the other side is a mysterious room with barrels (Al:"Beer!" "Probably not!") and all sorts of bones in the center; Precious says she smells something weird.

I step in, and I realize what it was; magic in the air. Skeletons begin to assemble themselves, and rise! Freddy rushes in and smashes one to pieces. Al the Great lobs a ball of acid that goes wide and melts a wall and bookshelf. Precious tries to stab one, but in the darkness, she just slots her dagger between the ribs of the skeleton to no effect, and drops the blade.

Goku cuts in and cuts the skeleton down. Precious draws her rapier and pokes another. Al finishes warming up and gives a couple of skeletons the heater with a crit. The skeletons finally attack, and knock down the already-tender Precious.

I step forard and smash one, Goku smashes another and Al finishes off the one he half-melted.

Precious wakes up, and we realize we're a little underprepared for this and investing in medicine might be a good idea, so we decide to withdraw for now.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Bethesda planet names

"We'll name this colony "Arena"."
"The planet-side colony better be named "Daggerfall"."
"The next two planets we colonize will be called "Morrowind" and "Oblivion"."
"Then the next twenty will all be called "Skyrim"."

What happened to Space New Aquitaine?

DM: "So, you're decided?"
Winter: "Verloren."
DM: "Not New Aquitaine?"
Abigail: "What happened to New Aquitaine?"

Rogue Trading for Fun and Profit, Season 1 Epilogue

And so we come to the end of Season 1; the command crew stands atop a hill, staring at the horizon dramatically as their assorted capes billow in the breeze, and our theme music plays.

Coming soon: Season 2: It's Always Sunny in the Kronus Expanse

Coming up next on AstropathTube: Deathwatch.

Rogue Trading for Fun and Profit, Episode 20: A New Colony

Rogue Trader: A quest for profit in the grim darkness of the 41st millenium. But dying in mediocrity and misery is for poor people and losers, and a Rogue Trader's retinue is anything but.

Rogue Trading for Fun and Profit is bought to you by:

Lord-Captain van Hohenheim - Rogue Trader. Hero. The last of his line. Possibly insane.
Magos Abigail von Thannhausen - A Magos Explorator-Chymist who possibly takes too much pleasure in the craft of Servitors. Accompanied by her servo-skull.
Archaius "Boosto" Wash - A gunnery sergeant with a now less-irritating artificial voicebox and a jetpack.
Sebastian LaMarck - A seneschal with a silver tongue.
Winter York - Astropath Transcendant. Monstrous willpower. Double-duty as heavy weapons. Your glorious narrator and remembrancer.

Our journey to the Lathes is about as normal as warp travel gets. A few patches of wierd space-time where it feels like we're walking through molasses, but normal. We make good time, spending 10 days onboard, and 15 in realspace to get there.

It's been a year and a half since our last visit.

We plan to hit up our old friend Faciliator Vex for the hab parts we need; we bring a gift for him, a fantastically well-crafted leg. We're hailed by planetary defense, they want to know who we are, and what our business is. The Lord Captain introduces himself for several minutes, but does not specify why we're here. Planetary defense presses further. The Lord Captain begins to ramble further, but is encouraged to keep it brief by macrocannons pointed in our direction. I gently take the microphone and summarize for the PDF in the interest of not being spaced.

On the way in, we get to see the Fortune's Favor again. The Magos makes a snide comment and loses Arm Priveleges for the forseeable future.

We recap on the colony. Magaros Primaris, the planet is a desolate, barren waste home only to xeno ruins, orks, and the Starmirror. The moon, Primaris Secundus is forested, and we're setting up there.

We meet with Vex, he and the Magos catch up. He inquires about her now-entitled laboratory, she was waiting for the right place to set up shop. Which brings us to our point of business.

We want to set up a colony, and we'd like the Admech to get in on this. As a remote outpost with potential mining and other natural resource exports, it could be favorable to them. Vex has to run this past the higher-ups, but he personally likes the cut of the plan.

Incidentally, we have a gift. He's quite pleased with the leg we bought him. Really pleased. It turns out admech Magii can still drool.

Lord Captain: "My family always repays it's debts eventually. Even if very, very delayed."
DM: "A Van Hohenheim always eventually repays their debts."

While Vex negotiates that, we find ways to entertain ourselves.

Wash looks for a laser designator so he can call in gunships. He gets it.

Abigail has leg envy now, and looks for best quality augments. She gets surprising cold shoulders.

The Lord-Captain wants to find out why the Magos is... well, upset. He has the idea to talk to her parents... but he has no idea who exactly her parents or family are. The family name rings a few bells, but...

He tracks down one of the elusive shipboard admech, Nox, and asks.

Nox: "Lord-Captain, what can I help you with? If you need something, I'm sure Magos Abigail can-"
Lord-Captain:"Ah, yes, that's the problem. She and I seem to have a communication issue regarding her parents..."

Magos (OOC): "When you take the Red, your family is Dead."

Nox and the Lord-Captain talk. He wants to know the names of the Magos' parents. Nox knows the Magos is from clan Van Tannhausen, but beyond that... it's never really occurred to anyone to ask. Sebastian probably knows more about it. We send him a message on Scintilla, and also I want to try looking for dossiers in his chambers.

Meanwhile, the Magos has a sit-down and figures out why she's getting the cold shoulder. The Rustwatchers, Skekris' old clan, have been encouraging rumors amongst the admech that she's a Heretek for dealing in Xenotech.

She wants a chance to have a Word with the Rustwatchers. The best window for that would be the the Magos Entertainment Expo.

I search Sebastian's office desk. There's a bureau and a number of bookcases. Lots of dataslates.I find a drawer, and a surprise. I wake up a moment later with charred robes. Alright. I acquire an insulated glove and try again. The drawer sticks, and I suspect a trap. I step to the side, and avoid the gas cloud that billows out... there's nothing inside.

I have, at this point, *almost* died to basically every element.

I start to give up, but then remember I have power armor. I go equip that and try again. I return, and try a drawer on the other side of the room.

I narrowly avoid the metal shutters rising from the floor to seal off the door, bookshelves and desk. The point quickly becomes apparent -- the room is now filling with water, and were I not wearing power armor, this would be quite dangerous. As it is, I'm merely incredulous.

Sebastian's voice rings out over the vox. "All command staff, please make your way to the conference room. The Aquarium is filling."

The command crew does so, and finds me in Sebastian's room. I'm trapped in what amounts to an aquarium with metal boxes... and tropical fish released from vents?! Seriously?

The Lord-Captain has the code to disable the trap, and he thankfully does so. Afterwards, he asks what I was doing. I remind him I was looking for information about the person he was interested in.

Several days pass when Vox gets back to us. Good news, we're getting what we wanted, at as fair a price as we could expect.

Vox also has some information about the Fortune's Favor... as we all know, all but one person was accounted for, dead or servitored, in the attack, but evidence indicates the attack might just have been a diversion, and the actual goal was cogitator data of the last voyage.

Next on the agenda, aside from a spot of pirate hunting, is to go back to Port Wander and "acquire" the Rusted Hand mercenary group. No idea how well this will all go.

We swing by Scintilla on our way back out and pick up Sebastian. He's surprised to see his office is still filled with water. I make plans to install a tubular aquarium in the Astropath tower... for entertainment or use as some sort of canary for psychic feedback, who knows.

On Scintilla, we pay the Von Tannhausens a visit. To be more specific, Abigail tries to visit her family, and the rest of the Command Staff piles into the flier and asks "Where are we going?"

Magos Abigail's family is nice and vanilla. Very aryan, 100% pure bravarian phenotype. Surprisingly, not a family of Mechanicus... they're actually in the earth moving machine business. The Lord Captain takes the opportunity to purchase land movers from the Von Tannhausens (successful) and make a pass on one of Abigail's brothers (Hilariously blunt and unsuccessful, assumed to be a joke but not really a joke at all.)

We finish up on Scintilla and check in at Wander. The mercenary civil war is now over with the presence of the Imperial navy. The Rusted Hands are gone, and people are afraid to admit they're guns for hire in this particular climate, which makes picking up mercenaries to defend our colony and train our future militia.

I put the word out, and do rather well at it. We pick up some 400 mercenaries willing to pull security duty in the middle of nowhere. No Kroot mercs though, which is probably for the best given the Ecclesiarchy.

After about 3 weeks / months, we arrive back at Magaros, and our colonization effort begins, with materials arriving in orbit until we've got enough to break ground. The command staff is naturally the first to plant the first flag, and the honor falls to the Lord Captain who does so with aplomb. I snap a pict to commemorate our first colony:


Sunday, 23 July 2017

Dungeons and Dragons, Session 1

Once upon a time, in a distant land, there were four adventurers:

Precious, the knife-flinging, pocket-picking human rogue
Goku, the hash-slinging, axe-swinging black dragonborn barbarian
Freddy, the mysterious staff-wielding masked man
Jamhorn Glittergold the... gnome

They barely know where they are, where they've come from, and where they're going, but they've got weapons, the universal thirst for ale, and a surplus of free time. These are their 5th Edition adventures.

This story begins like most great stories do: with a bunch of strangers sitting in a cart as it rolls slowly across the countryside.

It's hard not to sit down and get to know your travel companions, and in my case, I'm riding a coach with a number of colorful characters

Precious, a human rogue
Goku, a black dragonborn barbarian
Jamhorn Glittergold, an incredibly extra gnome

And of course, myself, Freddy, the mysteriously ambiguous character, for the sole reason that I simply did not have any direction or definition in my life so far.

We are adventurers in dark times, what with war in the world and such... it kind of goes over our collective heads, as none of it really directly impacts us. Of more importance is that we're headed to a village called Orlane -- I don't feel particularly strongly about the place. There's rumors that there's something in the water around here, and it's proximity to swamps make gators a problem, and my affection for the locale difficult.

The coach driver bangs on the door thrice, which indicates he does not wish to drive us any further. This is reinforced by "Git outta my coach!"

We comply, and watch it trundle off. After a stretch, we do the only thing you can do after a cart ride of indeterminable length: Find the nearest inn or tavern and get drunk.

After accosting a local, we find the inn; The Golden Grain. 500 years ago, it was voted the world's greatest inn -- in more recent years, they've been resting on those laurels a little too hard, and the title may have escaped them somewhat.

Inside, the bartender asks what we'll be having. At 1sp for a beer, not much of that. I ask about paying work, and he just suggests we move on as soon as possible.

As the next wagon out of this place is tomorrow morning, he offers us a room at a "reasonable" 2sp per person. None of us are wishing to sleep outside, so we'll need one of those. He generously throws in a free drink.

Amazingly, the beer is some of the best we've ever had. Our opinion of the 2sp pricetag improves, as it seems justified.

We go sightseeing. People are giving us the evil eye, and I can't figure out why

We spot a clealy wealthy house high up; Precious, ever the opportunist, tries to sneak up towards the house. She's good, but the man sitting on the porch is not missing much and spots her in time.

He invites her and us closer, and introduces himself: Mayor Zachrias Ormand. We speak with him, and he bangs his cane on the ground, and he calls out his daughters and sons to provide hospitality in the form of drinks.

On the subject of drinks, we mention the drinks at the Golden Grain. Apparently they don't brew it themselves; they get it from a brewery on the other side of town, the Serpent's something-or-other.

After mentioning we're looking for paying work, he offers us a job. Weird stuff's been going on in town, people vanishing, the like. But with nothing to go on, and being unable to look into it himself as he's too well known, he needs fresh faces to do the looking. Us.

He's paying a hundred gold apiece for a job well done, minus expenses. Corpses aren't an expense, but he'd really prefer it if we did not.

We set off to begin our investigation. On our way out, we're hailed by one of the Mayor's boys.

We don't even stop, and keep going. The boy catches up, out of breath. "Oh, you must not have heard me."
Goku: "Oh, we did."

The boy takes that in stride, and gives us a tip; the Bartender's been acting strange.

Taking the advice given, we check out the church. They're acting odd, and don't really want to let us in.

Jamhorn responds with a magic trick, putting everyone to sleep.

Jamhorn frisks the rat-faced man for valuables and finds a mysterious medallion. Precious decides to slip further into the church, and finds a cloister of people speaking a strange language.

Precious: "I'm precious."
Goku: "Yes, you are."

It's getting late, so we head back to the Golden Grain. We're hailed by a strange man sitting in the corner. He warns us about trusting the bartender, or the drinks.

We're given a round of drinks on the house. Taking the stranger's advice to heart, I am skeptical of the drink, and fancy it's not the same as the drink we had earlier in the day. I dump mine in a potplant, but Goku, Jamhorn and Precious quaff theirs.

Later that night, as I suspected, everyone but me is out like a light. I'm sharing a room with Jamhorn when I hear a loud noise next door, in Precious and Goku's room.

Meanwhile, the source of the noise is the mysterious figures looming in their room. Precious is hit in the face with a club. Goku barely reacts to being hit with a club. Barbarians.

I approach the others' room, and see a man standing in the doorway. My attempt to strike him is foiled by the doorway.

Precious rams a dagger clean through a man's throat mere instants after waking up and kills him dead.

The mysterious humans keep trying to hurt Goku, and don't get very far before he grabs his battleaxe and makes a mess of one. Meanwhile, Precious repeats her party trick and kills another assailant. They seem to speak the same non-human language she heard in the church.

I eventually get past the guy in the door, and unlike my allies, I'm going for non-lethal attacks. I take one alive, and begin the questioning.

We don't get very far, he's not exactly talkative, even after I bust his legs.

The mysterious figure rasps "God sent us to reap his children."

Me: "Rape? You want to rape the children?" I let the crippled assailant go, and he falls out the window.

We're hailed from the doorway, and startled, Precious throws her dagger. The mysterious stranger takes the dagger to the shoulder. "What the fuck is wrong with you?" He throws it back at Precious, and nails her soldily, knocking her out.

The stranger gets to the point. He came to warn us, there's more cloaked men on the way. We elect to go out the window, and with a bit of luck, escape without further issue.

We're headed for the church. We reach the bridge and hear alligators -- might not be as easy as we thought it would be.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Rogue Trading for Fun and Profit, Episode 19

Rogue Trader: A quest for profit in the grim darkness of the 41st millenium. But dying in mediocrity and misery is for poor people and losers, and a Rogue Trader's retinue is anything but.

Rogue Trading for Fun and Profit is bought to you by:

Lord-Captain van Hohenheim - Rogue Trader. Hero. The last of his line. Possibly insane.
Magos Abigail von Thannhausen - A Magos Explorator-Chymist who possibly takes too much pleasure in the craft of Servitors. Accompanied by her servo-skull.
Archaius Wash - A gunnery sergeant with a now less-irritating artificial voicebox.
Sebastian LaMarck - A seneschal with a silver tongue.
Winter York - Astropath Transcendant. Monstrous willpower. Your glorious narrator and remembrancer.

We're going to get started on starting the Colony. We'll begin with the Ecclesiarchy.

Our first stop is the Grand Cathedral of the Emperor Ascendant, absolutely mobbed by pilgrims.

Van Hohenheim leads the way through the absolutely titanic doors of the Cathedral. The pilgrims see his attire and part around him like the red sea. Further in, more importantly religious individuals mill about doing the Emperor's work.

One monk spots us, detaches from his clique and minces his way to us.

"Lords, lady, you honor us with your presence. Are you here to pay tribute, or worship our Emperor and his saints?"
VH: "That, and much, much more. Wash, you do the talking."
Wash: "We want to take a bunch of your people and dump them on a rock."
VH: "Let me rephrase that. Wash, stop talking."

Hohenheim proceeds to liberally butter up the monk and give him up the pitch.

The Monk is clearly not empowered to discuss this. He defers to the Arch-Mandrite, and leads us to an annex where we wait for an audience. We're lucky, we're only waiting half an hour before the Arch-Mandrite was able to find time in his schedule. The Lord-Captain pretends to be lost in prayer when we're summoned in, presumably for extra brownie points. I really doubt such an obvious play would be effective, though.

The room is sparsely decorated for a man of such great import and position. The sole exception is a chair, which turns and rolls out from behind the desk, a man ensconced within.

Cal, the head priest of the Cathedral, introduces himself. Van Hohenheim gives him the sales pitch. Cal is surprisingly skeptical of our planned religious outreach, and grills the Lord-Captain extensively.

He thinks on it, and agrees, with terms and conditions. Not bad considering his political acumen.

We move on to the Administratum -- the Spire. Very tall, very big. I take the lead on this, I have a plan to bypass the beauracracy.

I inquire at the front desk. Long story short, we want to speak with the Department of Colonization, but there's no free slots for the next 2 weeks unless someone happens to cancel. I try and read his mind to find out who would have to die to free up a slot, but no luck.

We take the elevator up to the department's floor, and look for someone easily bullied who might be easily "persuaded" to give up their slot. I find a painfully gaudy man, and taking up position nearby, read his mind.

Jean LeFrancois, impatient, reasonably unhinged (>10 insanity), very healthy.
Impatient, but soon he'll be able to get his business over and done with so he can get laid. He might get screwed over, but thinks it unlikely.
He will be *lying like a motherfucker* about the state of his finances, and his lack of backing. He's had a few brushes with something that might be tainting his soul.
He has an appointment in about an hour. He's been smoking obscura, has an Obscura den back home. He's a free captain, not a Rogue Trader. He wants to establish a trade route to move pilgrims out to Footfall.

I approach him, imply I'm with the Imperium, and kindly ask him to step aside so we can discuss how he's going to give up his appointment. He's shaken by my unsubtle threats that if he doesn't comply, knowledge of his dirty secrets becomes common, but remains relatively certain that his incredibly large associate will pop my head like a melon for impropriety. I'm quite certain that I can make his large associate pop Jean's head instead.

The deal is not one-sided; by giving up his slot, the Lord-Captain will cut him in on our trade route operations as well. He eventually agrees to the plan, and gives up his appointment ticket. Which is good, because I didn't want to have to put this guy in the ground.

I've done my part in securing the appointment; it's all up to the Lord-Captain to lie his pants off and get us the resource consent we need to set up our colony...

Long story short, we got the approval. We pack up our stuff and make for our next destination: The Lathe Worlds.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Delta Green: Future/Perfect, Ep 2

Doctor Kilroy is absolutely not an Agent for an agency that doesn't exist named Delta Green, one of many such phantoms defending the world against things that shouldn't exist.

Episode 2: Spring 2005

We're called by the burner phones.... for a day at the range.

We arrive at a private gun range, with an array of legitimately-acquired guns.

Operative Emily handily taps the target. Operative Maxwell shows off his military training. I settle for a solid hit. Zark... Zark can't hit the broad side of the barn. He's not allowed to have a gun.

We get our hands on automatic weapons, and learn about just how deadly they can be. I don't want to be standing out in the open if I'm on the business end of one...

We get our brief as well -- we're headed for Hellbend, that town I learned of in our previous op. Our cover credentials are FBI, I'm going in as a forensics / pathology expert.

Our handler for this mission is one Agent Ethan. He looks veteran. He warns us to keep it quiet. Our IDs aren't bulletproof, it's a small town, and Bakersfield's got an FBI office about 4 and a half hours away.

My research's turned up some interesting results; Clifford Potter and Lucille Mayer

We stop in Independence to pay the Coroner and the Sherriff who found the body. Coroner first.

We arrive at the Hospital to find the Coroner, Doctor White. I bluff my way to him, and we ask about our victims. The coroner reckons there's no connection, per the opinion of the cops, but I disagree.

Clifford Potter "died from being run over by his Bobcat" less than 2 weeks ago -- we believe this to be unlikely, at best -- unless there's a man with a magic ghost called "The World" running about, he shouldn't be able to run himself over, and there's no  indication he was torn in half by the Bobcat by a third-party.

Lucille Mayer is a stranger story. She went missing in 2004, not 2005 -- her corpse has been found only within the last week or so, and the age of the corpse naturally makes it hard to identify the cause of death. Zark asks if there's any parts missing, and I see that it looks like bones and parts have been sheared clean off.

Something's definitely up. We thank Doctor White for his time, and move on.

We pay the local cop shop a visit, and meet the middle-aged Sherriff Alfred Mann -- Maxwell takes the lead on this. Deputy Androzi was the one who actually found the body, so he might know more, but he can talk a bit about the victims. Mayer's effects went back to her partner, but Potter was a loner and didn't have anyone to survive him. His things are pretty typical, nothing unusual.

Androzi, a young man in his mid-20s, is in. We ask him about the two cases; he's apprehensive about Maxwell and the word "FBI", but does his best to swallow his pride. He was first on the scene for Potter and handled the entire case solo. He also found Mayer's body from the buzzards overhead while on patrol. She appears to have fallen, busted her leg, and just died from exposure, unable to get to safety.

I ask if he had any hunches or wild theories. He reckons Emily, Lucille's partner, had a brother called Christopher's done time, after having an argument about a year back from being between jobs. He got a bit of time for this, but seems to have

Regarding Potter, the "new kid" at the Gas 'n' Sip found him first. Not much else to say about the case, reckons Potter managed to get stoned or something and get himself caught under the wheels.

Emily asks him about how he searched Potter's house. Nothing particularly "interesting", just old people stuff and cassette tapes. He offers to show us to the house, if we want, and we take him up on the offer.

We're headed for Old Man Potter's house, just outside of Hellbend. We're joined by Operative Magnus, whose flight was delayed, and we recap. Emily notes that the Deputy is unusually well armed for showing out-of-state FBI agents.

We arrive, and the house is... odd. The vegetation around the house is dead... but just around the house. It's not the heat.

Androzi lets us in. His house is super clean and tidy, millitary style, except for the Kitchen, which is super cluttered and in stark contrast to the rest of the house. The tapes we're looking for are there, along

The tapes are numbered and faintly labelled, Monty Int, 1 through 24. There's a top-down map of roads. I search the bedroom, nothing but old man clothes, clothes of a dead man. I check under the bed, and there's nothing but boots waiting for me.

The tapes are played, an interview between Clifford and Montgomery Green, father of the "New kid", Jarvis Green. (Hence "Monty Interview") They talk about talking about Hunt. Hunt was working on interesting things below his plant... but never left his office, the "Bathysphere". Air tight. Not a little expense. Hot and contained.

Green got an insight into what Hunt did, and it was weird. Hunt would just draw blueprints out of his head in a foreign language, and translate them to English when he was done. Apparently he spoke 12 languages. Barely slept. Hardcore vegeterian, specially prepared. Needed to be washed by hand. Eccentric in the extreme. Never a kind word for everyone, but despite that, he was a good boss and rewarded obedience and consistiency. Green ticked all his boxes, but was only ever tolerated at best. Hunt didn't like outside light much, wore bakelite goggles with blackout lenses whenever he was out. Really didn't like blood. Green suspects he could *smell* that blood.

Zark checks out the basement. Nothing down there, according to the Deputy. Zark looks anyway, it's a dirt floor, and the place looks recently excavated. There's a rake. Zark looks at the ground and it looks specially raked... and he ruins it by walking on it. He tries to re-rake it back into shape. He spends some time doing this, but he needs a shovel or something. He comes back upstairs, and spots some gloves.

He tries to pick them up, and finds them unusually heavy. Lead lined. Then he notices the books. Radiology books. He asks if anyone has a Geiger counter. This raises a few alarms, and we quickly talk the Deputy out of phoning it in. Zark and Emily go back downstairs; as Zark messes with the centre of the "garden", he finds something buried there.

Upstairs, we're bagging up tapes when we realize they've been down there for a while. We look, and see Zark casually leaning against the wall, and he's got something in his pocket. I leave immediately to try and split the Deputy's attention.

There's nothing else for us here, so we move on; the Deputy locks up, and we part ways with him. In the car, Zark shows us what he found -- a gold cube, about 6.904cm cubed, with markings on each side. Buried deep in the middle of the garden. Definitely weird.

We're going to head into town to the Gas 'N' Sip, but Emily notices we've got a tail... the Deputy. We decide to head about 2.3k out to Hunt Electrodynamics, instead. Busted, the Deputy flashes his lights at us.

We arrive at HE Plant 004; the place is filled with rubble, but there's a mysteriously cleared patch of ground. Covered in tracks, garbage, and bootprints. Reddish dirt, the same as what was on the gloves Zark found.

The Deputy shows up behind us, and pops his spotlights. We knee-jerk response, and we can't see what the Deputy's doing. We're all preparing to draw down, when some of us notice something.

Zark hits the dirt, and something bipedal rushes past; 2m tall, 5m long, feathers. The "Bobcat" we've been joking about. A fucking DINOSAUR.

Deputy Androzi goes for his car's trunk. He's going to need a bigger gun. Maxwell goes for our Trunk as well. Zark runs for it, but freaks out and trips. He dodges the dinosaur. Androzi opens up with an assault rifle in panic fire. It doesn't falter much, but Zark...

Emily and Maxwell take shots at it, but it takes minimal damage. It shrieks in pain, and books it. We all take one last shot, but it's no good.

Zark's down, and Androzi realizes what he's done. I get everyone to hold Androzi off while I do doctor things and stabilize Zark.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Dresden Files: 1810

It's April 1810, and a number of remarkable individuals gather in Chicago, at the Laketown Hotel...

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.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Carrion Crown, Session 45: Smarter Than The Average Squid

Carrion Crown, as told by Inquisitor Victoria van Helm.

Esteemed Witch Hunter Coim,

We've cleared out everything in the town, but there's one thread left to unravel; what lies under the water?

Croon has the subersible, the Issenglass -- we're to use it to descend to the floor of the lake, while he mans the pumps. He's got some instructions for us -- there's a cable and a bell which can be rung. We're to ring it once for "stop pumping air", two to resume, three if we need to come back up, which takes about an hour.

He also gives us leather air sacs, which could be useful in a pinch.

As we head out on our way to the dive spot. We pass The Rock; there's a man chained up there; Croon identifies him as Carter Scrint, and I remember he's the criminal someone mentioned when we first got here.

We strap Lucia to the outside of the submersible, and go for it. The dim light quickly fades as we get below the surface of the water... and then comes back as we get closer to the lakefloor and there we find a strange metal craft lit by glowing lights.

We hear a banging on the hull; Lucia's in the window, and she's pointing out at a squid thing closing in fast. The party preps for a fight, and I jump into the water.

I flounder towards the fight while Lucia and Ronan zoop towards the two sharks summoned out of nowhere and start massacring them.

I mistakenly join a direct line between the squid and the submersible, along with Jeff the Bard, and we're all struck by lightning... which doesn't harm me, but is siphoned off by my metal ring to Ronan.

Lucia finishes off one shark, attack the squid, and is grappled. Ronan must abandon the last shark to help her out, leaving it to me and Jeff.

They damage the squid hard enough to scare it, and it bugs out, jetting away; we return to the sub ASAP and resume our journey down.

As we get closer, I can see an obvious entrance to the dome. I also see large humanoids swarming around the outside. Hecathia spots a side-entrance. It's quite a distance away, but unguarded, and with the aid of both haste and freedom of movement, Ronan and Lucia are able to get us there with just barely enough time.

It's some sort of force-field that blocks water; we push through it, and through another flooded room on the other side, to emerge in a rough-hewn rock tunnel. All is quiet, and we appear to have correctly identified the back door of this place.

The first chamber on the left is empty. The second chamber on the right is filled with bones, rotting carcasses, and the smell of wet fur.

My memory is clouded here. I am certain we fought something, yet my lack of injury suggests otherwise.

Moving on, we found our first mystery creature in this place -- a mysterious pod-like plant with tentacles; it's not hostile, but if we relax, images enter our mind. Wisdom of the plant!

Sated with knowledge, we move on.

Glory to Pharasma,

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Delta Green: Future/Perfect, Pt 1

Doctor Kilroy is absolutely not an Agent for an agency that doesn't exist named Delta Green, one of many such phantoms defending the world against things that shouldn't exist.

April, Spring 2006

We get the call for a night at the opera from Jacobs, and meet up at the Four Seasons in the mounds of Chester, Ohio.

I'm new to the party, but the rest of the operatives have met previously. Jacobs, "Colin" and "Sully Zark"

We're here for Cell F; they've been operating in Chester for a while, but something happened, and they've gone quiet. We're here to check up on the remaining operatives, a DEA officer Rigoberto R. Young, and a police sergeant Steven Marino, make sure they're still alive and sane.

Our cover is DEA; we've been supplied IDs by a sponsor higher up, so keeping this clean is imperative to prevent blowback.

We pile into Jacobs' black SUV and roll on to the Chester courthouse. Our search is relatively short and we find Marino; he leads us into the conference room.

Marino's looking okay, but he clearly hasn't been sleeping well for a few weeks... probably coincides with Cell F's mishap. We sit down, exchange names on badges. Ask about Young. Marino realizes we're here about their night at the opera, and proposes a meet time of 9:45pm at a train yard on the edge of town. We agree, and part ways for the  day.

Jacobs notes the holstered, but unsecured gun. Advises we don't want to make any fast moves, he's on edge.

I suggest we stake the meet out from about 6pm onwards. Until then, we have time to kill.

Jacobs and Colin go check out the Mounds.

Zark and I go to the Arthur Hunt museum; Zark's interested because Hunt pioneered some technology. I've no particular interest, but go along anyway.

The Museum is a bit neglected, very quiet. Our arrival's heralded by a small bell over the door, an old woman emerges to give us the tour. Hunt was born to an unmarried Emily Harris in 1906. He lived just outside of town with his aunt, Margaret Harris. He never really knew his mother, she left pretty sharpish. He had a bit of a rough upbringing with his aunt, but the tour guide glosses over it a bit.

He was very studious, liked reading. In 1924, he was one of the first people to have a fully-lit house. He incorporated Hunt Electrodynamics in that year, and on the same day, filed a bunch of patents, and quickly accumulated business opportunities with Westinghouse and Consolidated Edison. In 1930, he produced the Hunt Mk 1 Resistor, which is what made his name, and opened an electrical plant.

He began to travel, and expand business out of Chester / Ohio, such as a facility at Hellbent, California, where he died in an explosion.

We're getting hustled through the displays pretty quick, but I notice a display, Hunt's Toolset -- there's all sorts of regular tools, but there's two stained metal funnels that don't seem to belong... made out of bronze? We arrive in the gift shop, and I understand where she's been trying to drive us. I pick up a replica of his patent application for shits and giggles. And possible future bluffs, as it's a rather dense document.

As I'm walking out, I recall one of Hunt's pictures; of him when he was young, just doing menial labor. Not much at first glance, but there was one of him up a flagpole without pants, and... I head back into the museum to take a look, the tour guide stays with Zark to make sure he doesn't steal shit.

Now unsupervised, I am free to quickly ransack books and other display items. I'm seeing him in pictures with other people. Scribbly drawing, surprisingly crude. I notice there seems to be a rather drastic change around the 1920s; afterwards, every photo of him, he's not smiling at all... a stern, lifeless expression. (Versus before, he was a happy, jolly sort.) From Around march-april 1922 to 1923, a year later, there's no scribbly drawings at all, and that's when he started getting into books.

I feel like there's a conspiracy here. Hunt found something man was not meant to know. Possibly died for it. A DG progenitor? Or a DG target?

Outside, we see two weirdos in a black SUV. Our weirdos.

They learned all about The Ohio River Killer. Back in '99, there was a man who had a run-in with a deputy. Records are uncharacteristically murky. Allegedly, the deputy shot the man 5 times, but he escaped anyway. It triggered a huge manhunt. In summer 2000, the fugitive returned, and the records get even murkier. Apparently the entire department opened up on this guy... and he was still alive to be arrested. He was held for 36 hours before vanishing, along with the sherriff, Arthur Feldstaff. There were disappearances for over a year, bones turning up. In 2001, bones of a Douglas Yale turned up. They were damaged in the same way, but... this was the guy who had been arrested and vanished.

Strange stuff's been going on in this town for a real long time.

Other possible leads involve an local author, John Mascoje, and a local cult, the Church of the New Star Crusade, who have a commune outside of town and a fervent belief in someone called Ignis.

We want to get the meeting out of the way, so we skip to the meet.

We're waiting at the train yard when a Chester PD cop car rolls up; two guys get out, Marino and presumably our DEA agent. Marino's drinking a starbucks, but he's ready for a fight if it comes to it.

We introduce ourselves. Marino asks why we'd be here.

"You're asking why we're here? Aren't there usually more people in a cell?"

Marino and Young go pale. Marino chugs his coffee. I smell Vodka from Marino. "Zachariah's dead. But we got him."

"Who, the Ohio River Killer?"

"What? No, the Sourcerer of Hemlock Grove."

Marino covers the basics. It was some nutjob, a rogue worshipper of Ignis sacrificing things. They knocked on the door, but just weren't prepared for it. There's really no way you can be, so that's fair.

There's not much else to say, so we part ways. We discuss the outcome -- we've confirmed what happpened to Cell F, and they're possibly still fit for service; broken, but hardly in "terminate" territory.

We'll call this a successful op.

I do some research on Hunt's death. The plant at Hellbend didn't so much explode as it imploded, almost erased, fallen into the ground. A sinkhole. Or a black hole. The town basically collapsed after that, with the jobs going with the plant. There's like 82 people left there, and the town's never going to get bigger probably.

The death rate just spiked in May, and I think I know where our next night at the opera's going to be.