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.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Carrion Crown, Session 44: His Name a Jeff

Carrion Crown, as told by Inquisitor Victoria van Helm.

Esteemed Witch Hunter Coim,

We bask in the glory of our victory against the Scum, and take our pick of their items.

The Scum have masterwork items. The lead Scum has an amulet of natural armor +2, a +1 defending Greataxe, a masterwork heavy steel shield. It explains why and how he was so tough to land a hit on during the fight. (At least, until he was Held, and then coup de grace'd)

We're suddenly joined by... Jeff, the Bard! How did he get here? He's drunk, tied and wet, but he's here. Somehow.

Satisfied he's the real deal, we ask him how the hell he got in here. He doesn't know, but he woke up on a beach that way... so naturally, we go the other way to see what treasure lies that way.

It's a long tunnel, filled with the bones of dead scum. Whatever's at the end is presumably friendly, then!

We emerge into a large, wet chamber. Ahead of us is a strange tangle of metal. I consult the frog globe.

The rest of the party doesn't know what to do with the metal, so I step forward with Hecathia and Lucia to check it out.

Something happens in the chamber - not sure what it is, but only Hecathia is unaffected.

As we approach it, the air seems to warp, like we're standing inside something that doesn't yet exist. It attacks Lucia without mercy, and she responds in kind.

Hecathia tries talking at it -- it doesn't seem to respond at all. Does it even *have* ears?

I figure out how to unpick the knot, and get started.

Hecathia tries communicating with the air again -- this time with a response. It only wants to kill Lucia, for some reason.

I finish unpicking it, and hold it aloft to crow my victory.

Not long after I do, the patch of air rises up, and retreats into the ceiling.

Hecathia explains the thing we were fighting is not of this realm, and beyond our power to kill. It was being bound here by the metal puzzle, and my solving it has set it free to piss off and go home.

We find a matching set of cold-iron rapiers, which Jeff lays claim to. We also find a barnacle-encrusted chest, which holds 880 GP, 665 SP, 2400 CP

After gathering up the treasure, Lucia and Ronan suddenly feel a lot better about themselves and stop suffering from "Ronanitis".

We head back to the chamber with the pit. Hecathia gives some food to the woman in the pit, and manages to talk her into coming with us; we're getting her back to civilization.

We head down the tunnel to the "beach". It's just a tunnel that runs into the water. The rest of the party discusses how they're going to get the catatonic woman through the water. I light up the Frog Globe.

The Globe reveals all shadows to be tentacles ever so briefly, which quickly vanish when the shadows are actually looked at. Only Hecathia and I notice, though.

I dive down and arrive at a fork in the tunnel; I go left, and at the end, appear to find a dead-end. There is a secret door however, and opening it grants me access to... the church in Ilmarsh!

I get a sent message from Hecathia, telling me they found a tunnel back to Ilmarsh -- it appears to be down the other fork. I head to the docks, and meet the party there.

As entertaining and informative as the adventure was, it was also unfortunately not what we really set out to achieve; we're re-equipping in town before we venture forth again.

Glory to Pharasma,

Saturday, 1 July 2017

"So, what happened to your character?"

"Long story short, he became the spirit of Las Vegas."

Rogue Trading for Fun and Profit, Episode 18: Dinner, Drinks, and a Plan

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. That's like a unicorn!
Magos Abigail von Thannhausen - A magos who possibly takes too much pleasure in the craft of Servitors. Accompanied by her servo-skull.
Archaius Wash - A gunnery sergeant with an irritatingly low-quality accent and a poor-grade artificial voicebox.
Sebastian LaMarck - A seneschal with a silver tongue.
Winter York - Astropath Transcendant. Monstrous willpower. Your glorious narrator and remembrancer.

Unfortunately, I missed a few sessions.

  • We escaped the Necron temple.
  • Outside, Burden and Reimer make their claim for the Rod.
  • I'm loathe to relinquish it, but Burden shows off a fancy rosary with a stylistic I -- I didn't expect this.
  • We look to our Lord-Captain. He mulls over the idea of throwing down with the Inquisition, but ultimately decides agaist it.
  • The financial rewards for our duty to the Imperium amount to 3 profit factor.

We finished our mission, dropped off our charges, and returned to the Lord-Captain's estate on Scintilla.
Sebastian has been busy in our absence; in short, he's indexed *everything* and kept the financial ship steady.
There's been a few attempts to steal things ranging from intel to the vault itself, but Sebastian had them put down violently.

It's time to go shopping. The Lord Captain looks for power armor, but none is (legitimately) available for sale.
Sebastian acquires paraphanalia for chem production. The Magos is reported to have signed for the delivery.
Sebastian goes into the underlevels to go looking for Frenzon. A regimental supply's worth. A grizzled old merc meets him; ex-Guardsman. He's got what Sebastian's looking for... for a price. Higher than Sebastian's willing / able to pay, though. He's willing to part with a smaller amount.

I chase up some leads I had previously, and miraculously, find someone willing to part with a suit of power armor. I acquire light power armor in a lovely shade of green. It's got some filligree, and a few kill marks on the gauntlet.

Outside the picture-windows, we can see the clouds clearing, and the sun shining across the expense of Scintilla. A perfect day to sit down and discuss our course of action.

The Lord Captain declares that Skekris must die. We all agree. I propose making him our collective bitch if possible for future profit.

Lord Captain: "This is Bartender Kevin. He's my favorite."
Sebastian: "I've been replaced... on the other hand, I actually now have a lot of free time."

The Lord-Captain wants to set up a colony, so we need to talk with the Administratum regarding establishing an outpost / colony in the Magaros system, and find people for it.

The Administratum clerk is very helpful and walks us through the basics of setting up a colony. It'll run us from 6-10 profit factor. If we're setting up on the planet and moon at the same time, maybe a bit more.

We need:

- People. 2-3k workers / standard colonists
- Support of the Ecclesiarchy - they'll then send us some Pilgrims.
- Hab and mining materials from the Mechanicus
- Security contractors

Additional plans:

- Acquire arms and people for Sebastian's pet project
- Find Skekris and make him eat it
- War Profiteer from the conflict in Port Wander, somehow.

The Magos finally gets around to analyzing the compound that the Ghostfire lilies are growing in: Mostly human blood, with some standard preservatives. Replicatable, except for the blood.

We've got a number of vegetables in the Medicae bay who have "generously" "consented" to "donate" blood to the cause of cultivating ghostfire lilies. Sebastian's plans to dredge up homeless people for his pet project ties in well with this; if the Magos can replicate the formula, we'd have thousands of excuses to draw blood once a month!

Next Episode: Blood Drive for Charity