This site is an online accumulation of the Post Reports for my current ongoing D&D Campaign - for anyone who might be interested in reading them.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Meet 25, Adv 4, 9/16/17

Guilds

I like the idea of multiple guilds. Many times though I have hand waved and said "Fighter's Guild" or "Wizard's Guild" and let it fly like that - as if there was a 1 size fits all guild repository of information doling it out for anyone with a pocket full of nobles and crowns.

So for this campaign I made sure to map out some guilds and give them a framework and reason behind them so that the group can have some choices. Also, it does help out since certain guilds would have issues with other ones. This meeting had some fleshing out forthe characters about the fighter's guilds open to them in this area.

Write up follows:

The next morning after eating in the House Illytch Barracks, we wandered over to the Grim Gauntlet’s Fighter’s guild and waited along with a half dozen or so other applicants to the guild. Eventually we were all welcomed in, friends and family as well, and sat in the stands of the coliseum along with a number of other members of the Sifian Order. The fighting floor was 70’ diameter packed sand, and the stands could seat 1,500 if need be. At the 4 cardinal points at the edge of the theatre were 4 towers where which a member of the guild was perched with a light crossbow.

In accordance with our agreement, Negan, Darius, Connal, and Einar were going to apply to the guild, and at some point, the pact with Loki with adjust some of the weapons from practice and wood to edged and dangerous.

Optio Strugi, a dwarven female, spoke with the gathered 60 or so people about what the Grim Gauntlets fighter’s guild was in relation to the other 2 guilds. The Grim Gauntlets is the smallest and most exacting of the fighter’s guilds here in Sorton and other places. Unlike the League of Odin who has a tremendous budget, support of the Church of Odin, Thor, Baldur, and Heimdall or the Storm Ravens who is sponsored by the Church of Odin and Heimdall, the Grim Gauntlets has only the Sifian Temple and Tyr as its benefactors.

The League is big on showy contest and tournaments. Their members are taught the spear and sword, hammer and bow, relying on armor and shield and take comfort in the fact that a quick and brutal assault is often all that is needed to ensure victory in combat. One of their biggest selling points is that, “anyone can be a member of the League.”

The Storm Ravens was originally the special combat division of the League but there was a conflict between the Order of Thor and Heimdall so the progenitor (Molvag Stormcloud) of the division broke away from the League and established a separate guild called the Storm Ravens in honor of Odin who still supported the guild leader. The Storm Ravens have a larger universe of weapons that they teach their students, and replaces caution and defense against the League’s more brutal front facing assaults.

The Grim Gauntlets believes the besides the body, it is the mind and skill that defines a decent fighter. Not everyone is blessed with the strength of Thor or the size of Heimdall. A skilled fighter can be he or she who fights with knives and kicks, or someone who can thread a noose at 100 paces, or someone who spends months or years trying to perfect their skill with the bearded axe. Armor counts, weapons count – but it is the person who helps define their path towards excellence. The guild is just the covering over the person to help ward and define them – the guild is the grim gauntlet encasing the hand of the warrior in whatever guise he or she may be.

The gathered 10 applicants all sounded happy at this and we were allowed to put on a set of padded armor, take a practice shield if we wanted, and were entitled to take 1 practice weapon that mirrored something we were familiar with. So we had Negan’s wooden two handed sword and Einar’s practice broad sword, and everyone else was taking a weapon and or shield from the rack and giving them a few practice swings.

We were also informed that during the combat the towers would fire random bolts into the melee to reflect the chaos then surrounds most battles. The bolts were blunted and light, but could still knock someone off their feet if given a direct hit.

Which then led us to scoring. We would be scored on intent, impact, and incapacitance – anyone who was knocked down would be considered out of the fight – they might still have enough points to make it into the guild, but not enough to continuing competing. Top 6 out of 10 would be given admittance.

The 10 of us were randomly split up into 3 matches where the theatre was divided up for the combat into thirds. Group 1 was a half-orc bruiser with a sword named Vult, a human female with a couple of wooden knives named Phrenna, and finally a middle aged stout dwarven fighter with a flatbow and practice bolts named Ducat. Group 2 was Einar, Darius, Connal, and a young dwarven fighter with a warhammer named Norag. And finally Group 3 was Negan, a teenaged human with 2 light spears named Felton, and young dwarven fighter also armed with a couple of spears named Golarin.

The horn was blown and the groups all jumped to the assault. Norag ran closer to try and take of Darius and Ducat ran backwards in an attempt to shoot Vult down, successfully hitting the half orc who missed a step and slipped, falling. Negan decided that Golarin was the more serious threat and positioned himself with Felton on his shielded side.

Crossbows twanged from above slapping into the combat and ringing off. Einer was struck twice, enraging the barbarian who charged across the battlefield – and into the 2nd ring! Strugi called out for the tower’s to “drop him!” as Einar wasn’t listening, Golarin and Negan taking and treading blows as the druid ran by, Felton was down.

Phrenna hurled a knife at Einar’s face and he was struck again, falling on Phrenna and disqualifying her. Some of the blows being delivered to and against the party were actually full damaging blows as the perversion of Loki flowed around the arena. The combatants were withering as the groups began falling away. Darius was wrestling with Norag, Negan was hitting Golarin, Connal was holding his own, Ducat was keeping himself out of the mess.

Eventually the last of the combats ended and the scores ran down from highest to lowest with Negan, Ducat, Connal, Golarin, Vult, Darius as the top 6 – Darius pulled himself out, thankful for just to opportunity, Einar was dragged to the lot and dumped in the alley, and even those who didn’t get in were ok with the findings. We drank and partied, the Grim Gauntlets supplying the food and drink.

Darius went his way to the Storm Ravens guild later and made his introductions there. Trying out, he showed his skill with the sling, even firing multiple times and at distance – always hitting the center or bullseye of the targets. He was given a green light to come back when it was time to go up and would be welcomed then.

The next day was a bit rainy on Firemonth the 3rd as we left House Illytch and Sorton to head our way up the Enderlyn River and make it to the Base Camp some 2-3 days away. The Teamster leader Trentis along with 7 other teamsters and stablehands, our group of 10, a hayswain, carpenter, mason, tinsmith, and 2 giantslayers with pikes made up our caravan of 6 carts and ponies.

We offered our help when and where able to, guiding the carts up and over the steeper parts of the not quite there trail, keeping the river in sight and on our left. We did notice that the party was being shadowed at great distance by 2 or three wolves but none of them dared get closer and they only watched for now. The trees were tall, the scent of pine was heady, and we threaded our way through the valleys of the mountains that made up the Morat range, heading ever west, northwest. A group of timberers asked for news of Sorton and after exchanging with them, let us know that Rock Drakes were getting busy in the area and we should be on the lookout.

Trentis had a problem with Dizzy, thinking the dwarf was not holding his own during the march – always slacking off. So he had him dig the two slit trenches with which Dizzy did a poor and ineffective job – earning a rebuke. Some of the teamsters were fascinated with Avulstein and when it was noted he was a necromancer, Trentis didn’t care but a few of the followers gave the wolverine a wider berth and sideways glance.

We rested during the night – at which time a bobcat had come to the edge of our camp and was rotting in the trash. Darius woke up Avulstein and with the wizard’s help, quickly slayed the bobcat. Then he performed a ritual and raised the animal from the dead and brought it back to camp.

The next day Einar and Avulstein had some glances about the reanimated bobcat, flat out asking why HE wasn’t woken up, but the matter was left to die. Dizzy voiced his dislike of Einar to Avulstein which was funny because Dizzy had also made known of his dislike of Avulstein to Einar not 2 days earlier.

While pushing the carts past Welthan’s Falls, one of the cart’s wheels snapped off 3 of the spokes and had to wait a bit for the repair to happen. We lost only a little time but Trentis wanted us to make it up so we double timed it for a while. The country was beautiful and the peaks majestic around us. There was a lake here referred to as Broken Tower Lake. 4 miles by 1, some 200 yards or so off the eastern shore was a 70’ stone tower sitting quietly in the lake, stretching up to the broken crown.

Stories were that this entire land was part of the Himaya of Rand – the great orcish empire that was destroyed some 150 years or so ago. Might have been an outpost, astrologer’s tower, shaman’s tower – who knows.

We moved on a bit longer until we were called to rest at the north end of the lake. Trentis let us know we would make base camp by midday tomorrow, had once more set of falls we had to lift the carts over so to eat well and get some rest. Again, Dizzy was singled out to do some grunt work, given a 1 gallon bucket and told to go back and forth to the lake and fill the water casks on the 4th cart – each of which was 20 gallons alone.

While he was going back and forth, he did spot a disturbed outline in the wood line – 30’ long, 6’ at the shoulder, and watching the group. Rock Drake – and camouflaged. He came back and informed Trentis and the group was paying so much attention to the Drake that it went back into the woods and faded from sight.

Still being eagle eyed, Dizzy went back to loading up the casks with water, seeing the drake was hiding on the river bank now and inching closer. We were all once again made away and Dizzy made believe to fall as the drake launched itself into the air to attack. Throughout the group and the camp, missile weapons fired – all of them hitting the hide and bouncing away. The hide was just as tough as suspected.

Magic missiles fired and the giant slayed raised pikes as the drake made to dive the group and was hit enough that it was deterred, winging over and flying further up mountain and away from the party. We waited to make sure it was driven away and then set off to finish making camp for tonight.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Meet 24, Adv 4, 9/9/17

Here it is, 10 years to date since this group had first gotten together. I know there are longer lasting groups but I am very happy with my friends and our camraderie.

This was the start of the 4th adventure, Three Little Pigs, and we are still down 1 at the table as finding a suitable replacement has been a nightmare so far. Lots of feelers and bites, no one to sit and commit. Hopefully very soon.

Write up follows:

The party has convened at the Third Reeve’s Office on Firemonth the 1st to meet with Theros and go over the contract that he has worked on with and for the party in regards to their employment with House Illytch. The dwarven Reeve was warm to the group and we met with Chancellor Casmier from House Illytch to go over the contract.

The party took their time reading the document, asking questions about it and getting clarification as need be. The contract was as follows:


THIS Agreement made as of the 1st day of Firemonth, of the year 190 in the 30th age, between House Illytch operating under the laws of Thane Ufrecta Jarlborrin in the Thanedom of Sorton, in the collective former Himaya of Rand; and the congregated assemblage of personages designated by the Third Reeve Theros of Sorton heretofore identified as “the Party”, currently residing in the Thanedom of Sorton, in the collective former Himaya of Rand.

WHEREAS House Illytch desires to obtain the benefit of the services of the Party, and the Party desires to render such services on the terms and conditions set forth for a period to last until the final days of the Autumnal months of the year 190 in the 30th age. This Agreement may be extended should the work of House Illytch require and both the House and The Party agree to extending this contract to the final days of the next season as well.

IN consideration of the promises the House and the Party agree as follows:

1. Employment. The Party agrees that they will at all times faithfully, industriously, and to the best of their skill, ability, experience and talents, perform all of the duties required of his position. In carrying out these duties and responsibilities, the Party shall comply with all House policies, procedures, rules and regulations, both written and oral, as are announced by the House from time to time. It is also understood and agreed to by the Party that their assignment, duties and responsibilities and reporting arrangements may be changed by the House in its sole discretion without causing termination of this agreement.

2. Position Title. As a collective mercenary assemblage, the Party is required to perform the following duties and undertake the following responsibilities in a professional manner.

(a) Defend all property and staff of House Illytch should it come under assault by all manner of the Five M’s (melee, missile, magical, martial, and miraculous) means at the Party’s abilities.
(b) Keep the secrets and doings of House Illytch’s operations private and unshared while employed by House Illytch.
(c) Dispatch with all prejudice any members of the K’Morat kobold tribes or warriors of the same if they prove to be a threat to House Illytch’s operations, property, or people whether by deed, action, or proximity.
(d) Aid and answer any missions as deemed required by Ordinates or Subordinates of House Illytch while on duty away from Sorton.
(e) Other duties as may arise from time to time and as may be assigned to the Party.

3. Compensation
(a) As full compensation for all services provided the Party shall be paid at the rate of 41 nobles/day. Such payments shall be subject to such normal statutory deductions by the House should the Party find themselves de-manned and unable to function at full capacity due to injury or death. Actual payment of coins may be impossible to dispense while the party is in the field. A running tally of credit may be established for the Party until such time they are able to return to Sorton for payment.
(b) There will be a bonus of 37 crowns for any K’Morat warren that has been routed should the warren number under 60, and 58 crowns should the warren number over 59.
(c) Any treasure, coinage, goods, or property of value found while under the employ of House Illytch shall be divided evenly between the House and the Party with the exceptions of food stuffs or drink which will be the Party’s to keep. Should any eldritch items be found, the Party has first rights to them if they want with the House taking compensation equal to 120% of field appraisal value in trade. Otherwise the House may either take possession of the eldritch item at 85% field appraisal value if it is desired, or the eldritch item may be sold on open market and the proceeds divided evenly.
(d) All reasonable expenses arising out of employment shall be reimbursed assuming authorized on their incurring.

4. Benefits. The House shall at its expense provide the Party with the equivalent of 1 Healing Draught per personage every 4 days.

5. Performance Review. The House will be provided with a written performance appraisal after 18 days and again after 45 days and said appraisal will be reviewed at which time all aspects of the assessment can be fully discussed.

6. Termination.
(a) The Party may terminate this agreement and their employment should the House fail to abide their contractual agreements. A written notice must be given to House Illytch, Third Reeve Theros, and Thane Jarlborrin within five days of the Party abandoning this contract. A review board and Zone of Truth will determine the veracity of this decision.
(b) The House may terminate this agreement and the Party’s employment at any time, without notice or payment in lieu of notice, only for sufficient cause (see section 2 above).

7. Entire Agreement. This agreement contains the entire agreement between the House and the Party, superseding in all respects any and all prior oral or written agreements or understandings pertaining to the employment of the Party by the House and shall be amended or modified only by written instrument signed by both of the parties hereto.

IN witness whereof, House Illytch has caused this agreement to be executed by its duly authorized officers and ratified below by all parties.

Yeah, it was an eyeful.

However, the group felt it was a good contract and although questions and clarifications were asked, the only material change they made was in section 3c. The decision was that after 45 days, assuming the group has received a good review from House Illytch, the percentage valued for magical items would be changed from 120% and 85% for calculation to 110% and 95% for calculation – still giving the House the greater value for magical item exchange, but bringing the difference from a 35% swing to a 15% swing.

The party then signed off on the contract, their signatures witnessed by the Reeve and the Chancellor, tying the party to House Illytch for the remainder of this season and the next – with the option to extend to the winter months should the need arise.

We then talked to Chancellor about our mission. There is a camp that has been established across the Morat border, about 2-3 days up the Enderlyn River. The denizens are in the process of gathering a type of quick growing fungus that was spotted in the area some time ago, for which House Illytch will use in its own apothecary and alchemy labs here in Sorton, selling the extras to other merchants that are searching for the reagents and are willing to pay.

However, K’Morat kobolds have become brazen and aggressive and over the last few months have gone from ones and twos, to 10’s and more assaulting harvesters in the area.

The Base Camp has walls and guards, but it doesn’t have a strike team capable of going out and routing these warrens of K’Morat kobolds. That is what the group has been hired for. There are 2 other mercenary groups at the Base Camp in House Illytch’s employ – a 10-20 contingent of Randari rangers and scouts who originally discovered the precious fungi, and a 6-8 count of professional giant killers who patrol the Base Camp and their job is pretty much self-explanatory.

We were invited back to House Illytch to set up a temporary home for the time being while the caravan is being set up and should be leaving on either the 2nd or the 3rd. The House stores would be made available to us to equip ourselves before leaving Sorton, with the understanding that although there will be some stores at Base Camp, anything else we would need might take as much as 6 days to replenish us away from Sorton.

During this time Darius was invited/instructed by his father to attend a mandatory family dinner. So our slinger/fighter with a heavy heart arrived at the Diamondcutter home and went to the awkward dinner with his father Gordon, mother Ovira, eldest brother Gordson, eldest living sister Ana, and his next oldest brother Dorthak. Twilaine was working at the family shoppe and not expected to be at this dinner.

It went about as poorly as Darius expected. There was more entreaties to stop being a mercenary, join the family business, and discussion about the raid on the Temple of Loki. Shock at what occurred, but it was also some dismay on how it would look to the family. As the meal went on Darius was morose and resigned to the fact that his father had 2 things at the core of all his complaints and requests: control of his family and their doings, and how anyone’s actions make him and the family appear.

When it came time to get to the crux of the matter, he offered Darius a 5% controlling stake in the company at 4th owner of the Diamondcutter Gem and Jewelsmiths. This had Gordson shocked and the others at the table clamoring for Darius to avoid the deal and to make his escape. Darius asked for a notary and Gordon, feeling smug, had one summoned and the deal written up – giving Darius a part of the family business – as long as he recanted any other signed contracts and gives up his mercenary career.

Reading the page Darius nodded his head, tore the paper in half, crumpled it up, and burned it on the candelabra while Gordon screamed at him to get out and he was cut off and Darius left after getting quiet support from Dorthak and Ovira.

Back at House Illytch, he tried to explain his problems to the rest of the party who looked at Darius bemusedly. So, getting a part of the family business and set up for life was getting you upset? He didn’t get much sympathy but the group did welcome him with open arms.

We filled up at the stores and then after making sure that all our packs were set and any gear we needed was in place, the party was going to get some sleep. The next day would see some of the party members heading to the Grim Gauntlets and try out for the Fighter’s Guild – knowing that some trickery of Loki would nullify some of the padded and safety weapons that the group would be fighting with. After that we should be then headed for Base Camp on the 3rd.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Meet 12, Adv B4, 8/23/17 - Youth Group

The youths’ had their first “captured monster interrogation situation” where there was the call to let them go or kill them upon completion. We had 1 vote for let them go, one for torture and let them go, and the last was looking for a place to sheath his sword and hobgoblin spleen seemed like a good scabbard.

It was settled on one and one and the bloodletting happened. Knowing this adventure the sheer amount of Cyndicians they are going to run into, the “let’s kill them” player is going to be hard pressed to keep his sword out of the NPC’s backs

Write up follows:

The first hobgoblin was awake and was willing to answer questions. He could understand common but couldn’t speak it, so it was up to Volkan to do the questioning. There was some talk to torture the guy, including slicing off his nipples and cutting off a foot – but we settled on stern words and continuous questioning – mainly to get a better feel for the Zargonite was of doing things.

Finally he was appealing to Volkan to let him go – stick and carrot. Offered to answer a variety of further questions and even though he had been stabbed in both thighs and we took his Morningstar – when we cut the ropes free and let him go he thanked the party profusely and made his way back to the portal down to the 5th level and disappeared from sight.

That left the other hobgoblin who eventually awoke and claimed to have amnesia. He could speak common and hobgoblin, and had some symbols to Zargon branded into his shoulders which upon seeing, called out a prayer to heal himself and the broken leg he had gotten from Mark during the capture had healed up.

Hobgoblin priest. Not a good idea.

So it was Delsin and an overhand chop severed the hobgoblin’s legs and then with Heatstroke flaming he cauterized the wounds while Volkan finished him off with a single thrust of his dagger.

We listened. No wondering monsters, just the sound a door opening and closing far in the distance. The group discussed options and we wanted to explore the few areas left on this level. First we were going to go back to the room that radiated cold. Mark’s connection to Gorm had been growing and he was able to place a prayer on Delsin that would protect the fighter from cold and cold based attacks.

So we all made our way to the door, checked it (yes, it was still cold), and then opened up and peered in. The room was huge, there was a raised metal bin on the northwest corner, 4 huge tables, and three of the falls had shelves on them with clay jars and pots. Seemed to be some ceremony or embalming room. Delsin entered, sword out but not active – just the strange ghostly green swirls coming off its blade. The cold and frost in the room wasn’t affecting him, actually melting under his footsteps and then refreezing when he moved on.

About half way across the chamber he decided to turn around and return to the door when his way was blocked by a 7’ tall anthropomorphic shadow. He made noises like he wished to pass and the shadow remained between him and the door. So he raised his weapon and said Heatstroke, igniting the fires and making the blade glow brightly.

Unfortunately, this revealed 4 other shadows stalking out of the gloom and behind the fighter, surrounding him. Mark raised his symbol and called out to Gorm to help TURN these undead! And although it was good prayer, the effect seemed to fizzle as the shadows lunged towards Delsin.

The fighter swung his sword down from Crown to Crotch, hoping to split the shadow and run through it. It didn’t happen. Instead he felt a weakening and shuddering as the shadow stole some of his strength, the fighter gasping in shock as he pushed through the non-corporeal enemy and staged towards the door.

The shadows were moaning and running across the floor towards us. We let the door slam closed and charged down the hallway to the 30’ square chamber that had all the scattered skeletal remains about the floor. We hit the door here, piled in, and slammed it closed – the party whirling around swords up and ready to attack…nothing – the shadows did not follow us.

However, we heard a shuffling behind us and there were 2 Cyndicians, wearing black cloaks and what seemed to be bird or vulture masks. They had a tool belt under their cloak and were carrying a number of thin boards cut to lengths and strapped with lengths of leather.

Delsin wanted to kill them.

He was talked out of it by the other 3. He was not happy.

We talked to the vulture men who said they were waiting. Waiting for what? Waiting to wait. What could they be waiting for? Death. Coming here? He’s always coming. Do you worship death? No, we are waiting.

Delsin was growing more wroth as they spoke and he flat out asked one of them do you want death to come now? The vulture man nodded yes and our fighter drew Heatstroke in a single flaring sweep and before anyone could stop it, slammed it down and across the first vulture man’s chest. As he was going down screaming, Mark was at the Cyndician’s side and calling on Gorm to heal this man – reversing most of the damage.

Delsin was castigated to knock that crap off but the fighter did ask the Cyndician if he saw death in that split instant before he was healed. All he did was hiss and look at his ripped robe and angry scar. The two Cyndician’s looked at one another and said they would follow Delsin for now. Because it’s obvious that he will bring death.

As for the rest of us, there was talk of making another run at the cold room and the shades within. Mark wanted to try to turn them a second time and the group was going to be ready. So we went down the hall, pushed to door open, and Delsin went in, Heatstroke on and spitting hot light. One by one, the shadows emerged from the gloom surrounding our fighter until the last one showed – and then Mark called out to Gorm once again, demanding that these undead things flee and turn!

And it worked.

And unseen wind surrounded Mark, bathing him in Gorm’s blue tinged light, streaking out and sending all 5 of the Shades across the chamber and piled them into the metal bin where they stayed moaning and flailing about.
Delsin crept to the bin and peered in. It was filled with gray linen wrappings used for mummification and filled to almost 3’ in height. While the shades were scrabbling away, he felt around until he managed to grip the metal handle of some chest. He dragged it up and out, bringing it to the hall and then went back to the bin. Mark was sweating fiercely now – the struggle to hold the undead at bay was taxing him and he muttered out for Delsin to hurry. The fighter poked around the bin for a bit until he came upon a burlap sack. He snagged it, pulled it free, and turned as the shades pushed off from the wall and started to cross the room.

“Run!”

Everyone yelled, Mark dropping his arm and Delsin dragging the priest out of the room and back to the hall. We let the door slam behind us and ran down the hall again and back to the skeleton room. Door closed we waited…and the shadows did not follow.

The vulture men were watching us as Safir used his picks to open the chest lock and we tilted it back to peer within. There were hundreds of gold crowns, a smattering of silver, and on top was a translucent potion which a quick test showed to be invisibility. We gave that one to Safir and split up the treasure accordingly.

This left the other bag which we opened to show 5 humanoid skulls that have gone yellow with age. Mark had an idea and lined them up one after the other. He then lifted his Mace of Gorm and brought it smashing down on the first skull. It shattered and in the not too far distance, we heard a high pitched whining scream. Shadows? Maybe! He did it again, and another scream! Three, Four, Five! After some time the screaming faded away and the group went back to the cold room again to look around.

The room was opened and it was…cool. Not cold, just cool. There was still frost on the ground but the shelves and tables were wet. We cautiously looked, and the shadows were gone. The only sign they had been here were the black glue like staining on the linens in the bin.

We looked over the chamber for anything else of value and again for secret doors – finding neither.

So the talk was to go back through the area where the zombies had attacked us, Delsin letting us know that he had shut the door on two of them, and then after taking care of them, continue on to the corner area where there is a small section of the level we hadn’t checked yet. If it was a bust, we would go back to the hall with the ladder down to the 5th level and check the rest of the distance north. Our investigation shows that there is a decent section in the middle of the 4th floor that had not been accounted for.

We crossed the chamber and went out the door on the east side. From here it was as we remembered a day and a half ago down the hall and a turn south. There were a number of back and forth passages here, the dead Cyndician in the wolf mask and the 4 hacked up zombies were still here where we left them. Down the last western passage Delsin led us back to a closed door where we once more drew up in line and then marched in.

Two zombies were here in some government functionary’s tomb. The coffin had been torn apart and the two zombies headed for us. But Mark once more called to Gorm and with another blue tinged blessing – sent both of the zombies staggering back and cowering along the back wall.

We stalked forward and everyone swung at once. Delsin’s run in with the shadows earlier had sapped the fighter’s strength a bit but he was still able to do punishing damage. As we struck the zombies the turning faded and the undead spun about to face us. The party hit and struck and stabbed repeatedly until one and then the 2nd one fell over.

As soon as the 1st zombie was taken down the two vulture wearing Cyndicians said “it is time” and whirled into action. They took off the wooden planks and undid the straps. Then they laid them out and quickly the sound of hammering filled the room. We were watching bemused until after a few minutes it was obvious – they were building a simple coffin.

As soon as it was finished they ran forward, grabbed the zombie, and tossed it in the coffin. They then nailed the lid closed and sat back exhausted and happy. As one of them was bundling up the now smaller pile of wood, the second one came to the group and said, “Waiting is over. Coffin is built.” He then held his hand out and said, “10 crowns please.”

What?

Delsin was ready to hack up another one when Safir said, “please. That was actually impressive. I will give 5, if you want to, or anyone wants to, match my donation?”

Mark took out 3 crowns and Volkan pulled out 1. We all looked at Delsin who muttered this was a Gorm damned waste of time and money and then thrust the coin at the vulture guy saying, “Here, take it.”

The vulture masked Cyndicians thanked us and then left the room, 10 crowns richer and seemingly happy. The group was pretty sure Delsin was murmuring “never again” but no one wanted to challenge the fighter on this for now.

We left the now dead zombie room and made our way back to the hall and then south. From here we travelled east until we arrived at a turn to the north where a 7’ diameter stone boulder was propped up here. This was the rock that scared us yesterday. We picked past it and started heading north up the long passage when we saw another closed door on the left hand side.

Some listening allowed the party to hear something wet and fleshy moving in there, so it was weapons ready and then bursting the door open. A 30’x30’ room with a coffin in the center. A 9’ long, 3’ diameter worm like thing with 8 2’ tentacles around its mouth was questing towards us and making gurgling snoring sounds.

Weapons were hot as we plied in. Safir’s arrow was lost in the fleshy back of the worm and Volkan channeled his energy down, ripping the air in front of him with a shoving blast and shouting out, “Mahjykiyu Missihlyu!”. A bolt of yellow fire tore into the worm who reared back but kept on. We hit and thrust and stabbed, but the worm didn’t die. Instead it flailed out with its tentacles – smacking wetly into Mark and Delsin who were at the front, and a few tentacles managed to sneak past and strike Volkan.

The hits were painful but not damaging. But it was the slime on the tentacles that gave the group pause and each person struck on bare skin or through clothes felt a burning buzzing on their skin that threatened to paralyze them – but for each one – only the adrenaline and sheer will at this time kept them from freezing in place. But knowing now the danger they faced (Mark called it a Crawler) the group was going to have to redouble their efforts and take this menace down swiftly.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

One Shot, Delta Green/Cthulu, Final Word

The DM of the one shot had a final after action report which he sent to all the players (and the group at large) in response to my write up and just for completest purposes, I've attached it here.


Attn of: A.S.A.C. [redacted]
Clearance level: Delta Green
Author: Agent [redacted] and Lieutenant [redacted]
Regarding: Operation Last Things Last

          Final mission notes enclosed

Mission deemed closed. Friendly Asset Shoaf returned from the field, was not debriefed at this time. Audio recordings from Sgt. Massaro shed some light on mission, due to the failure of himself and Agent Bhul to return DG operatives [redacted], [redacted] and [redacted] of [redacted] also known as G-Cell were temporarily pulled of assignment  [redacted] to investigate, at the objections of Doctor  [redacted]. This investigation was deemed more immediately important, [redacted] and [redacted] don't consider [redacted][redacted][redacted] to be a flight risk due to its [redacted] hibernation [redacted] class haven't fully [redacted] child can be held at [redacted] indefinitely, or until [redacted].

G-Cell proceeded to coordinates retrieved from Sgt. Massaro's recording, location was as described. Agent [redacted] found two bodies, badly burnt inside a septic tank behind structure, appear to be bodies of Sgt. Massaro and Agent Bhul. Agent on scene determined death of Massaro was caused by a broken neck, likely from fall into tank. Agent Bhul appears to have been killed in the fire, and has defensive wounds on her hands, lacerations likely caused by some kind of knife. In accordance with orders for Operation Last Things Last agents at scene removed bodies to remove evidence of their presence. Agent [redacted] planted a [redacted] device to cause foundation of cabin to collapse and two [redacted] objects recovered from operation [redacted] to render the rest of the land to a pre construction state.

Using DG contacts in local area G-Cell wired Massaro and Bhul's cars for remote control, and for controlled burn. Agents staged a drunk driving accident, using Officer [redacted] on scene to remove evidence of tampering, and push story that Sgt. Massaro crashed into and killed Agent Bhul in a drunk driving accident. Agent [redacted] did not find the body of one "Marlene" on site, so until further evidence is acquired Lieutenant Shoaf's apparent decision to burn Massaro and Bhul has been labeled "Plausibly Necessary" and as such no action to silence or approach Shoaf has been recommended. It is this Agents recommendation that Lieutenant Shoaf be kept under observation until such a time that he needs to be eliminated or reactivated arises.

With the removal of all physical evidence from the residences of Agent Baughman and the apparent death or escape of "Marlene", Operation Last Things Last has been deemed a success. For her successful leadership of the mission Agent Bhul will receive posthumous awards for her service in unrelated FBI operations. Lieutenant Shoaf will receive recommendation for a promotion for their previously undocumented actions in their last combat flight. Sergeant Massaro, unfortunately, will be used to divert attention from the group, our media experts will keep the focus on his disgraceful actions behind the wheel to prevent anyone from digging in the wrong place.

From the desk of Agent [redacted]

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

One Shot, Delta Green/Cthulu, 8/12/17

For our hiatus, one of my players at the table ran a Delta Green/Cthulu one-shot for us. There were 3 players and the DM, and for a nice change, I had a chance to actually play. Here's the write up in story form from my character's point of view. He died, it was a Cthulu game, so no surprise there.


Attached is the transcribed voice-over IP recorded audible log of E-5 Sergeant Bryce Massaro, Intelligence Case Officer for the Department of Defense, Peterson Airforce Base, Colorado Springs, Colorado. Possession or review of this document is classified as grade Delta Green and above only.

(5:28 AM, Monday, August 14, 2017)
So here I am, slogging my way north on 25 on my way to Greenbrier, some shit town on the north end of the state just past Fort Collins. Trying out my sub-harmonic recorder. Already set up the relay and upload for NavSat burst at 5 Mhz which should help since I’m going to be on the east end of the Rocky’s and signal can be dicey.

Showed up for my 5 to 5 DW shift as normal, cup of black joe and a powerbar on hand as usual. We’ve been doing joint Declass Five exercises for the last 3 weeks with the Air Force Academy near Glen Eagle and I fully expected to continue the same crypto-scramble and “prick-prod” we’d been doing when my OS Superior stopped me in the hall and handed me some new orders. Being reassigned to some joint multi-department task venture and had to meet the Agent at the Motel 6 in Greenbrier. By 8.

Fuck a duck. So now I have to stomp slog my way north and pisspour my way through rush-hour at Denver. I saluted my OS Sup, turned about face, and made my way to the Armory where I was assigned a 9-19mm Parabellum Beretta M9 pistol, signing off with Clevis on the dotted line and then high-tailed it to my Audi A6 and was out of the parking lot 5:04 for a 2 ½ hour commute. At best.

Got on the Samsung 8 and quick dialed my Pop, Frank, leaving a message for him that I wasn’t coming home today as I was trucking north and was on assignment. When I know more, I’ll tell more. Pop’s still looking out for me since I mustered out of Big Green 13 months ago, parleying my 4 plus 2 time and experience to the DOD. My headshrink still won’t give me any pills, saying the night terrors will fade naturally in time. That’s great doc, until then I’ll still wake up 1 day in 3 covered in sweat with a white knuckled grip on my pillow. Tell it to Janice who couldn’t stand to be near me when I was convulsing in bed at 4 in the morning, growling like an animal. So she left, and truthfully, it’s just easier to flog my log than try to explain to whatever girl wants to sleep with me why I’m a basket case and won’t talk about Anbar. Or Fallujah. Or Lisbon.

Fucking Lisbon. Fucking Portugal.

Whatever. I’m doing 73 now on the 25 and making good time. Going to burst this out and focus on making time.

(7:52 AM, Monday, August 14, 2017)
Made the trip without issue, just a brake check when skirting Denver as I missed the start of rush hour by ten to fifteen. The further north I went, the crappier the towns and the longer the stretches between them. Made it through Fort Collins with little issue and then at the north end hit the community of Greenbrier.

You can tell that 20 years ago, it was its own little town, but both it and Fort C have grown with the influx of Cali immigrants and Mexican transplants – so there was little to separate the two but for some residential roads and a stretch of strip malls capitalizing on both sets of homesteaders.

Found the Motel 6 without issue – typical of its kind – along the main road, 2 stories, both an inner and outer balcony set up. 4 cars in the lot; one CO, 2 AZ, and 1 WY. Early morning Coors drinker was sitting on a plastic chair on the 2nd floor near a set of stairs but other than that – no one paying attention.

I parked one row away from the hotel, facing towards the road, and then got out, locking the Audi behind me. Entered the Motel and the weed-head libtard checking his favorite alt-gov blog on his phone barely acknowledged I was alive as I walked up to the counter and grunted. After making sure this was the right place and learning where the pool, spa, and conference room was, I then asked Mr. Community College drop-out where the vending machines were and made my way away from the stink of mediocrity and double timed it up the stairs.

4 quarters later and I was walking along the balcony munching on my Kit Kat, one bar at a time. I scanned the rooms and windows as I walked, noting which were open and which weren’t. It was early, or at least early for the lazy shits that were sleeping away their Monday mornings, and no one was paying attention to either me or the location. Good.

I dumped the wrapper, walked past the counter again where the fry-cook failure watched me under his beetled brow, and strode to the conference room. Empty. No one here. Watch showed 7:45 and no one here, no one in the lot, nothing even written on the white board.

I stationed myself near the window, facing the door, and have been flicking the blind over again and again as I scanned the parking lot. I noted another CO vehicle rolled up, Jeep CJ-7, driver was some ram-rod with a pair of aviators. He got out, looked around, and stayed by the Jeep, watching the road. Already going to dislike this job.

(8:57 AM, Monday, August 14, 2017)
8:00 means 8:00, not 8:05. That is 5 minutes late. Five minutes where something is not going to plan.

My new direct supervisor for this venture was a battleaxe career FBI Special Agent identified as Lilliana Buhl. She had the Agency Short Hair Cut #4 and was what I considered to be thick. Had to be pushing 50 and from what I can tell, besides being career, most likely didn’t get along with the higher steps since she was terse, short, and abrupt.

The last one (yes, last one – there are 3 of us – 1 chief and 2 indians) was the thick neck that had driven up in the Jeep. Jan Shoaf, and either a flight jock or wannabe flight jock from Peterson.

The job was easy as explained. Had to go to the domicile of the recently deceased Clyde Bauman and scrub the departed’s domicile for documents or memorabilia that was deemed “interesting”. Seems Clyde was a former and well liked member of some shadow org called “The Group.” I had heard their name bandied about the darkweb and from what I can tell besides being deep supporters of Bitcoin was that they were a fairly deepstate intel think group that had their hands in and around many pies that radiated out from Langley, the Pentagon, and even the Hill.

Why some upper-mid tier desk jockey and 2 grunts were being sent to do a scout and scour 3 days after the target’s death made no sense to me if this Bauman was indeed a part of such shadow org, but again – that’s why I’m the grunt.

But I’m not a moron and when this scout and scour is over, I have to go back to the DOD so I did ask about a search warrant in case we are stopped. And I was just looked at like I’m a moron. Just because I’m half your age doesn’t mean I have half your IQ. Millennial doesn’t mean crybaby fuckwrangler – it means we’ll question instead of just “assuming it’ll all go to plan.”

After assuring me we wouldn’t need one, I nodded my head and mentioned I’d be right back. I headed off to the courtesy desktop the Motel had near the front counter and spent a few minutes digging around an old Denver PD PDF archive until I was able to find a blanket search warrant that would pass casual muster. I printed out 2 copies on the shitty HP and then went to the counter to harangue the dopeass who was STILL trolling on his phone for a handful of pens and some index cards that truthfully, should have been already in the conference room.

Once equipped, I rejoined Buhl and Shoaf, filled out the warrant, and handed it to Buhl for her perusal. She made a few adjustments to it and then handed it back. She gave us the address for Bauman’s, and we all filed out to our respective cars. No way I was driving with either of them and leave my Audi here? I did note that the WY plate was no longer in the lot but since the Coors drinker was also missing, I put one and one together and paid no mind to it.

(11:06 AM, Monday, August 14, 2017)
I followed Buhl to Bauman’s addy, a set of late 50’s box style 2x2 apartment buildings that were on the east end of Greenbrier. The alleys had some tags on them and I noticed a few gang signs in the depressed neighborhood. Shoaf was taking his sweet time and I assume stopped for a lollypop to appease his sour puss since he wasn’t here yet.

Scanning the area showed nothing serious in the neighnorhood, the rats had scurried away when the Ford POS and my Audi rolled up. There was some motion on a nearby building and I was watching it carefully, wondering if the addy was being wattched when the blaring of a horn scared the crap out of me. Some 19 year old Mexican-american was leaning on the horn and telling me to get out of the road.

I did the license and badge flip trick to get the Chulo to calm the fuck down but instead the gang-banger is screaming in my face and shouting “Cop! Cop! Cop!” Just what we don’t want since the locals are poking noses out to see what’s going on. I tell him to knock it off and motion him along and he flips me off as I do the same to him, his shit-box Mazda disappearing around the corner. Shoaf shows up at long last, nods to me, and we follow Buhl who has this “I’m surrounded by children” grin on her face to the addy.

There is a mailbox with 1-4 on it and Buhl tells us we are looking for #4. 1 and 2 are ground floor, 3 and 4 are up a set of shitty stairs poorly lit to the landing above. We walk up, Buhl showing some field skill as she shifts her weight and keeps the noise to a minimum; Shoaf blowing out stealth away with his heavy booted tread.

The landing was left 3 and right 4, 4 showing old police tape now gone, only a few scraps in the upper corners.  I listen to 3 and hear a female voice and the TV – nothing else. Not sure if we’re being watched, I rip an index card in half as Buhl unlocks #4, and use a bit of the scotch tape still on the jamb to hold the card over the peep hole on 3.

I’m on point and we enter. L shaped Kitchen left, living room right – hallway beyond the L. Fridge recessed drawing on surface, table 2 chairs, a few normal pans, pots, etc. Clear. Foyer key hook with ring, no stand, umbrella, anything. Living Room worn couch, chair, tube style TV on drawered stand, coffee table with scattering of books. Quick look, clear.

Shoaf and Buhl follow me in, we’re all on pins and pistols are noticeable and hot. I motion down the hall and Buhl agrees as Shoaf goes for a detailed search in the Kitchen and Foyer.

Stealing my spine I go. Short hall, 6 paces, wicker doored linen closet @ end, door right and left. Smell of dead body is noticeable. Left is ajar. Linen closet first – four towels, 2 washcloths, half a box of baking soda. Nothing else. Checked right. Bedroom: bed, dresser single paperweight and 3 pictures on top. Quick look showed target and similarly aged woman, and 2 pics of a younger girl estimated age 4-6. Second door beyond here – suspected closet but not sure. Under bed clear. Bedroom clear.

Second right room was an office. Bauman was a hoarder. No personal effects anywhere and the place was seriously Spartan, but everything else he ever did was in here. Office room, LOTS of boxes of paperwork and stacked up all over. A god-real-forsaken TYPEWRITER was on the desk in front of the chair. Real old school. No windows. Check and check, clear.

I came back to the hall and give Buhl the thumbs up and prod the left door open, pistol out. Target died here. Stick of dead body was strong. Bathroom, busted towel bar, broken toothbrush holder, blood markings on the tub.

Let Buhl know my findings and she and Shoaf was giving the place a deeper look over. I stood by the door to the hall, checked 3 again, and shut the apartment door for now. I let the two of them do what they were doing. Sudoku puzzles? Reader’s digests and TV Guides? I asked Buhl a few times what we were looking for and she replied again and every time: something interesting.

Bug hunt. I was babysitting a FBI career agent on her bug hunt. Right then my respect for this “mission” was tanking. All I wanted was to do my job, get my inter-department DD 101 signed off on and head back to my desk to do something a bit more country specific than this crap.

Buhl was going to take all the records and mentioned that Bauman had a car nearby on the street. Shoaf had already looked over the key rings and it had 3 on there each with a Brother P-Touch label on them: Apartment, Cabin, Toyota. Shoaf and I went out leaving Buhl to look over the sad leavings and I’m sure her miserably pathetic mullings over her career to date and found the Corolla parked and untouched.

Older model, tires regular wear, no markings. Trunk had a gym bag with 2 sets of clothes and boots, worn and dirty. Interior was clean. Glove box had normal bits of paperwork and insurance paper – plus a set of coordinates N 40.22.75 W 105.35.06. A quick look on the phone showed it a good 2 plus hours from here, mostly west and south, and along the northern skirt of the Rocky Mountain National Park.

Shoaf and I went back and informed Buhl who was boxing up the last of the records and had taken the drawings and pictures of what we now assumed to be Bauman’s granddaughter Cassie. She wanted to scrub the place down and then we were to all trip out to this cabin at the coordinates. But Bauman wasn’t much for cleaning and we found little to do the job right. So she sent us to the CVS to get some bleach and I’m sitting out here in my Audi with the half box of baking soda and a towel while Buhl is finishing up her version of Pulp Fiction and spic and spanning the place. Shoaf and I had loaded her car with the boxes and anything personal that Bauman had and are now waiting for her battleaxe highness to emerge so we can get this bughunt on the road.

(2:43 PM, Monday, August 14, 2017)
Have to burst this now while I still can. Sitting in the back of Shoaf’s Jeep with the window cracked so Jan and Buhl can’t hear me. This entire bughunt and scout and scour has gone pear shaped real fast.

We left Bauman’s and followed Buhl back to 25 where we went south until Loveland. From there she pulled over in the municipal park and ride and we all piled on with Shoaf since his Jeep was better suited for the mountains and trails than either of ours. It was a good 45 more minutes west of Loveland as we made our way through the back roads and smaller places and it was right around Estes Park that cell service dropped from one bar to “HA HA HA”.

We followed the nav map as best we could along smaller roads until we were up some rough back unpaved trail for 2 miles until we arrived at some Evil Dead cabin in the woods. Faux-logs, wires leading to it so electric yes, and 2 buildings behind. We parked and listened, it was quiet. Once again I was investigative man on point so I circled the cabin gun drawn.

8x8 shed, newer construction outhouse, and the dug up bit and visible hatch of a septic tank. Woodline came right to the back, 25’ tops clearing. Circling back around there was a waterpump so an artisian well was here and a woodbin was half full. Filled in Buhl and Shoaf and they went to front door, I stood by corner and watched back door in case the place had an unfriendly that was going to pull a runner.

They went in and in a minute the back door opened and I was motioned to come in.

Cabin had one main room with a stove, kitchenette, bed and what not. A side bathroom was here but the outhouse led me to believe it was non-functioning, and a quick check of the tank and bowl confirmed that. After giving the place a once over, Buhl led us to the sleeping area where there was a twin bed, night stand, foot locker and an envelope with a green triangle marked on top.

Shoaf worked on the locker while Buhl read the note. Bauman must have suspected he was of poor health and commented that there was 20 gallons of gasoline in the shed and they should pour it in the septic tank and burn what was in there alive and that he was sorry.

Gas? Burn? Whiskey Tango Foxtrot??

Shoaf meanwhile had found 3 Vietnam style active gas grenades, some museum aged bone handled iron knife, and a leather pouch which contained a matt of animal hair, some bird feathers, and a handful of human infant teeth. What a fucking freak.

So we went out back and verified the locked shed DID have 20 1 gallon plastic jerry cans of fucking gasoline! Plus an axe and a book of matches. What was Bauman planning? We then looked over the outhouse next and it was just a hole in the ground as expected. So that left the dug up septic tank and the submarine door style chained down in place hatchway. The heavy metal hatchway. Chained down.

And I was able to hear a voice, female, calling for help. In the septic tank. Said it was Marleen Bauman and her husband had trapped her down here 4 years ago. Wanted to get out and please help.

I turned to Buhl and flat out asked her, is that our mission? Are we really going to burn some woman alive? Is this the end game? Buhl was poleaxed and couldn’t answer and after Shoaf and I continued to question her and SERIOUSLY press the issue, she told us to get back in the Jeep and that she had to make a call. So here we are, bouncing our way back OUT of the mountains and heading along to Estes Park so Buhl can make a phone call. Again, what does Buhl know and why do I get the feeling she can’t be trusted? She’s been cagey since minute one and I get it, need to know and all that, but fucks sake – there’s only THREE of us – who the fuck are we going to tell?

(5:37 PM, Monday, August 14, 2017)
This mission is rating a 9.5 on my WTF-o-meter. We drove towards Estes Park and stopped at the Friendly Camp Supply Store just shy of the town where Special Agent Buhl got out of the car and walked up and down the pullover, gesticulating firmly often and growing frustrated and angry in between long pauses. Jan seemed to be getting fed up with Buhl and we muttered out misgivings to one another for now. It was difficult to read Buhl’s lips, but I did my best and what little I picked up verified what I had suspected: Buhl was out of her element, there was more we didn’t know, and she was kicking it up the pole to get someone to tell her to burn whatever was in the septic tank alive.

She came back and sure enough, informed us that the mission was to perform Bauman’s final request and that was it. I was stunned. Alright, what if it WAS Marleen? Four years trapped in a septic tank? In the dark, no food or water? It made no sense.

This was tugging at my lizard brain and it reminded me of some of the strange shit myself and Team Bravo had seen in Fallujah. Sergeant Major Barrows had been on hand then, my SO was in charge of the situation and he guided myself and the rest of the company through those strange days when things just didn’t add up.

Best advice he ever gave? “Bryce, do your homework. Verify and collect intelligence before you commit yourself to an action or an order that just rankles you the wrong way.”

Since we had cell service, I did my magic and learned that Marleen Bauman DID die 4 years ago of a heart attack, dying in her sleep. She was interred at Macklemore Cemetery in Fort Collins and the Bauman’s had 2 children, Michael and Sharon. And Sharon had a daughter named Cassie. Everything was panning out.

I called Macklemore and spoke to a director, putting on my best friendly voice and getting him to verify that Marleen was interred there almost 4 years ago and that Clyde had visited the gravesite no more than a week ago. I thanked him and asked both Buhl and Shoaf if these facts are true, than what is buried beneath the ground outside of Bauman’s cabin? To which Buhl replied that was why we should proceed on the mission.

We went into the camp store where a few purchases were made, for me I needed another baking soda, 2 bottles of vinegar, a maglight, 2 bottles of Arizona iced tea, and a lighter. I know the others bought their own purchases and we filed outside to Jan’s jeep. I downed the 2 iced teas and then filled the glass bottles each half way with baking soda and capped them in place firmly. I then wrapped everything in the paper bag and we made the drive back to the Cabin.

We checked under the house – 2’ crawlspace but the pipes from the bathroom had been jigsawed away, meaning there was no easy way to pour the gas in. So we’d have to do it under the house. Buhl went to the hatch cover to listen, Shoaf was bringing me cans of gas, and I was under the house pouring the first one in slowly.

Buhl informed us she couldn’t hear the falling liguid which to me meant it was blocked up. But she was listening to the whatever it was saying it was Marleen, begging for release and its life. I wiggled out, went to the wood bin and ripped of a length of plywood. Then crawling back under the house and Jan joined me with the tire iron from the Jeep, I poured the baking soda down the hole from one of the bottles – and then dumped the vinegar down the hole as well. We slid the plywood over and jammed the tire iron between it and the house just in time as the 2 items mixed and blew out and down the septic line.

Buhl informed us that “Marleen” was yelling “what are you doing?” and that she could hear liquid running. She was yelling at me to get it done, get it done! Pour the gas and light it! What the fuck is with that Yankee Oxford Lima Oxford crap? It’s GASOLINE, I had no interest in going up like a candle. Bbut a job’s a job, so we dumped 3 more jugs of gas down the hole and then I lit the fucker and backed away.

Whooosh!

Marleen was screaming and Buhl was sweating and rocking slightly as the screams were going on. It continued for a while until the fire died out and then Buhl got up from the ground and her eyes soaking wet and howling like a banshee, ran off into the woods shrieking and shaking and moaning. I looked at Shoaf who said merely, “Ugh. Let her go.”

Wow. Hard core, dude.

We went back to dumping gasoline down the hole but after 4 we were stuck again, this time the gas was backed up down the entire septic pipe. So this time I popped a hole in the plywood cover, did the same baking soda/vinegar trick but it wasn’t as effective since the pipe was filled with gas. But the pressure DID force open whatever the “Marleen” had jammed in the pipe free and the gas was running down again. Another light and WHOOSH! More fire down the pit.

We could hear only some growling and then nothing.

This was going to take forever and the Marleen was still jamming the 3” pipe with whatever it had. We needed more material and a better plan. Plus it was 5 PM and we agreed not to be here after dark. Buhl  was still nowhere to be found so I tured on the Jeep, faced it into the woods, and blew the horn again and again, hoping to attract Buhl and guide her back to the cabin. Meanwhile Shoaf was gathering the empty gas cans and policing the area.

Buhl eventually came out of the woods, filthy and sheepish. She didn’t even thank me for attracting her back, only agreed that we needed more equipment and had to do this correctly tomorrow. We got back in Shoaf’s Jeep and began the long ride out of here. Buhl informed us we would be going back to the Motel 6 to rest up and will be coming back here in the morning. That was fine by me, but I wanted to hit the Home Depot first and Shoaf was very big on refilling the jerry cans.

And Buhl? She is sitting there, staring out at the passing trees in the gathering dark, saying little but her eyes, they have that stare in them. The stare that says, “I’m not doing well with all this.”

Toughen up, Buttercup. We’re all a bit strung out.

(8:48 PM, Monday, August 14, 2017)
I love shopping at Home Depot. Hope to hell I get reimbursed for all this, my Amex took a hit and a half. Purchased a Dewalt 20V cordless drill and then picked up a ¾” spade bit. We grabbed 3 shovels, I found a 4’ plumbers crowbar used for lifting manhole covers. 4 gallons of bleach. I then went to toll rental and they had a gas powered 50’ plumbing snake. Very neat. Rented that for tomorrow but I had to give a $20 security on top of the prepay. What am I going to do? Keep the damned thing?

The plan as of now is to drive back with 2 cars, Jan’s and Lilliana’s. Lilliana parks her rear wheel on the septic hatch cover. We dig a bit shy of the tank until we get to the waste line, bore in and then snake whatever mess is in the way , dropping the gas down the hole. After the initial burn, we pry up a corner of the hatch and ten drop the rest of the gas down, burn whatever the fuck it is, and I get my DD 101 signed off and get away from crazy-eyed Buhl and back to my normal non-fucked up 9 to 5.

At least the room at the Motel 6 I have is shitty and the mattress feels like I’m sleeping on gravel.

(10:16 AM, Tuesday, August 15, 2017)
Slept like a baby, we all had breakfast, and I snagged an extra bagel to eat in the car. We’re loaded for bear and I feel pretty confident about this plan. Jan is noncommittal but he did inform me that Buhl is still acting strange and we are hoping that when this is over that we never have to work with her battle-axe crazy ass again.

We’re coming up to the house now so it’s just about game time.

At this point, there are snippets of bursts that have been uploaded but they are disjointed and involve much screaming. Where there were gaps in the burst it has been noted in the transcription below. We are not sure if Sergeant Massaro was aware he was recording during these pockets of conversation. Based upon the other voices that were picked up on the recordings, it is obvious that the volume of others involved was also just as elevated and chaotic as Sergeant Bryce.

“Burn motherfucker, Burn!”
“No, move the snake back and forth only a little bit. Don’t want it to grab the end.”
“Fuck this isn’t going to work.”
.
(FEMALE VOICE) “Don’t undo the chain.”
(Metal creaking followed by a broken exchange of something falling and heavy smashing)
“Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!”
(Shots fired)
“Get it! Use the knife!”
(MALE VOICE) “Die you bastard!”
(Guttural roaring)
“Ah!”
(Shots fired, followed by a pain filled guttural roar)
“Fucking almost hit me, Buhl!”
(More shots)
“Take this, you bitch!”
(Drilling noise and more guttural screams)
.
(FV)”It’s gone.”
“What the fuck!? How the fuck are we going to get it now?”
(FV)”I don’t know. But we have a mission and have to go after it.”
(MV)”Are you out of your mind?! It flipped a car!”
“There’s a fucking drill sticking out of its kidney!”
.
(FV)”It’s your fault! If you had done your job properly it wouldn’t have gotten away!”
“Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, Ma’am! I not only, WE not only did our jobs, we went ABOVE and BEYOND the parameters of them as had been set down by YOU Ma’am!”
(FV)”Don’t take that tone with…”
.
“Just sign it! Sign the damned DD 101 because truthfully I’ve done my job and I want out of this mission now.”
(MV)”Special Agent Buhl, what more did you expect of us?”
(FV)”How about not letting it escape? How about stopping it? The job isn’t over yet, kids. Fucking Millennials.”
“Ma’am, you are certifiable and a fucking loon.”
.
(MV)”Ma’am, please put the gun down.”
“You’re going to shoot me?”
(FV)”Give me your gun, Massaro. Now”
(MV)”Ma’am, please.”
(FV)”Gun. Now.”
“Holy shit! You are bat house fucking nuts, Buhl!”
.
(Howling and screaming followed along with the sound of a shot. It sounds like something is shuffling along and more yelling. Difficult to discern exact what is happening)
“Fuck! Sssshhhot me in the fuuuughing faccccheee!”
(More struggling and then two voices, FV and we suspect Massaro give a brief shout and then the sound of falling)
.
(At this point we no longer hear Massaro’s voice and the burst upload is muffled and garbled as if submerged slightly, but we did manage to extract this last bit)
(MV)”Fucking die! Die! Burn you! Burn!”
(FV)”Agh! Stop!”
(Sound of liquid falling)
(MV)”You twisted crazy bitch.”
(Sound of a striking match and then a last scream and burst upload ends)


We did a clandestine follow up, Jan Shoaf did return to his command yesterday evening on the 15th and reported to his SO that Special Agent Buhl had finished with his services and released him. A filed DD 101 interdepartment action report was on hand and it had a scrawl along the bottom. Handwriting comparison shows that the signature although marked as Special Agent Lilliana Buhl does not match her signature on file. Sergeant Massaro has not checked in with the DOD, and Special Agent Buhl has not reported back to her superiors. Again, this document is classified as Delta Green.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Meet 11, Adv B4, 8/9/17 - Youth Group

After 10 meetings, the youths finally had a chance to turn some of their coins and treasures into goods, potions, and supplies. On the 5th level, I had changed the doppelganger room years ago into a way-station room for whatever “cult” the party had positive relations with – and only use it as such when running a new group or new players through B4. The idea is that typically they will be desperate for any supplies and will usually have some serious amount of coin they will seek to sell off.

What this mean/meant though is that they spent almost an hour and a half “shopping” and trading – and when they looked at the clock were dismayed to see how little time was left- they wanted to get back into the exploring frame and rolling d20’s as soon as possible.

Write up follows:

The group then went through all the supplies Pronius and the followers of Gorm had, trading some of the purloined masks they had gathered, gems and jewels, and dumping as much silver as they could in order to free up their bags.

There were a few scrolls for sale, some more potions purchased, oil, food, and any bit of supply they thought they might need as they travelled back to the 4th level and sought out the last 2 (or 1?) ancient weapons of Cyndicia. Finally after all was done, we made a donation to Pronius for Gorm and the friendly priest had one of his followers heal us up as thanks. We were all sporting holy symbols to Gorm by this time and spent the night with Pronius and his followers while Volkan scribed a few more spells in his book.

On the next day we filled our skins in the water barrels and left, thank Pronius for his efforts and promising to return before heading at some point down to Cyndicia. For now though, we wanted to head back to the 4th level and look around for the tombs of King Alexander and Queen Zenobia.

We took the long passage back south until it turned to the left, and then took that back until we arrived at the 4 way split in the corridor – Safir’s soot marked line still visible on the floor. With great care to avoid the pit trap, we jumped the corner sideways to the south passage and then moved on. We arrived at the gargoyle room – the door still ajar from how we left it. Just inside was the busted remains of the foe we had faced earlier and as we proceeded across the room to the west and the passage beyond, we encountered the 2nd one where we had left it.

This brought us to the room with the tapestries and the two iron knight statues flanking the north wall and the pair of couches. Volkan entered and the candles lit up again, the mage wanted to see if the 2 statues would come alive – similar to how the gargoyles did. There was some jockeying about as we repositioned ourselves around the chamber – Volkan near one of the statues – 10’ pole at the ready – Safir with an arrow drawn, Delsin holding the door open that we came in, and Mark sitting on the couch.

As before – sitting on the couch had the statues subtly turn their head – but nothing else. The door that Delsin was holding open had some pressure to it, but was easily held in place. It was when Volkan would “Boop!” the knight on the face plate of the helmet that the door gave this sort of pressuring hum and TRIED to shut on Delsin who was forced to throw his back and weight against it to keep it in place.

This happened 3 times before Volkan made a change. Wanting to look under the helm, he first unlatched one side of the helmet lock – and then the other side. He stepped back, held the pole like a bat, and swung it with all his might to try and knock the helm off.

It hit with a “Thwang!” and the entire helm flew sideways, crashing to the floor. The statue then swung its sword up and slammed it against Volkan who was screaming shrilly like a damsel in distress. As the magic user was being battered, Delsin was racing across the chamber and Mark was struggling off the couch. Safir’s arrow was shot – and broke against the statue’s breastplate. Volkan was then throttled as the statue lifted him off the ground by his neck, choked, shaken, and then hurled gasping and dying to the floor as the knight tossed him towards the party like discarded trash.

Then both of them began stalking towards us.

Mark called to Gorm to heal Volkan, his newly purchased Cure Light Wounds scrolls curling up and turning to ash as he called out the prayer. It succeeded though as Volkan’s wounds closed up and he was helped to his wobbling feet. The statues did move slowly though, and we were able to trick them to coming across the chamber before running past them and hitting the north door and coming back to the kitchen, slamming the door closed behind us.

Remembering the pythons that were here earlier we looked – one table had a very FAT python on it – the 2nd one was…not seen! We could hear the statues coming closer and Delsin wanted to jam the 2nd table without the python on it in front of the door. So he went to one side, Mark to the other. And when they went to lift it, something slithered out from under a chair and Mark dropped his end, dancing and running back as the 2nd python emerged.

And then the door behind us opened and the 2 iron statues were there, coming in to attack us. “Let’s go!” Delsin roared and the group ran around the back end of the 2nd table in their dash to get to the next door going north while the snake side winded towards us and the statues clomped closer and noisily across the kitchen. We hit the next door leading us to what was once Demetrius’ study and bedroom and eventually the secret door to the 4th level.

Slamming the door closed, Delsin took out one of the new spikes he had purchased and hammered it into the base of the door in order to lock it in place. And sure enough, the two iron statues hit the door on the other side but the spike held and after 30 seconds the banging stopped and we could hear the statues walking away and presumably back to the couch chamber.

Catching our breath we thanked our lucky stars and then made our way to the north east corner of the room. Mark lifted the lever and the secret door rose up – revealing the small chamber and the iron ladder running up to the gloom above.

We climbed. 25’ straight up until we were once again in the long corridor of the 4th level where we discussed which way to go next. Most everything we felt had been seen except a south east corner that we had missed, the contents of the “cold room” we had only walked outside of, and the further north direction of this corridor that we had not travelled down yet. We wanted to walk south and check out the cold room and the south east corner first.

But while we were discussing it, we heard a goblinoid voice call out from the south, wondering who we were and what we were doing here. Only Volkan could speak goblin and he parleyed with them, convincing them they were followers of Zargon and that they were searching for “those who came from outside a few days ago” on Zargon’s orders.

The goblinoids were ameliorated but stayed in the area. So we wanted to get past them, the leader who referred to himself as “Pox” but didn’t want to be caught as followers of Gorm. So Volkan took out his graphite stick and drew and eyeball on his forehead. Then everyone did the same (Delsin begrudgingly) and we then walked south – Volkan commanding everyone to shut up and let him do the talking.

As went, coming out of the gloom were 6 hobgoblins – 5 and a half feet tall, green skin, orange haired, wearing brigandine armor and sporting spiked clubs. They challenged Volkan’s story and then poked holes in it before it was rapidly turned to combat and Volkan was struck by a flailing club. Delsin shoved Volkan back and took Heat Stroke to combat, wallowing into the melee and making room as he did so. Safir danced back and Mark ran forward, Mace of Gorm lite up and smashing the hobgoblins aside.

But in the chaos of the combat, Safir accidentally shot Mark in the back high on the shoulder and Volkan was having a tough time striking the hobgoblin’s with his dagger. Delsin dropped another one and the party made a reverse wedge shaped front in the hall, allowing the party to engage 3 of the greenskins and continue to make headway against the enemy.

As the third and then the 4th enemy fell with an arrow to its eye by a lucky shot from Safir, the last 2 turned to run. Delsin tackled the first one, trying to hold the wiry creature down while the 2nd one was making good distance when Mark hurled the Mace end over end, shattering the hobgoblin’s left shin and causing him to fall over screaming. Volkan ran forward and using the mace, smacked the hobgoblin in the head until it shut up. We then trussed up the 1st goblin and tied the two of them together while we were getting ready to question the wandering Zargonites.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Regular Game - Hiatus

Due to a series of perfect storm issues with too many members of my normal game - for the 4th time in the 10 years since this group has gotten together we are having a short hiatus while everyone gets their lives straightened out.

What this means is that my daughter's current campaign is the only active one running and for the summer she'll be trying for 2 meetings every 2 weeks until school resumes after Labor Day.

For the others in my normal campaign - we are going to One Shot a Delta Green/Cthulu meeting one night (I get to play!!!) and we are going to One Shot a Deadlands/Savage World meeting another night (and again - I get to play!!!).

So there you go. 10 years of momentum does occasionally hit a pot hole.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Meet 10, Adv B4, 8/7/17 - Youth Group

Their go to for the time being has been to find a place to sell off their coin and refit themselves with gear, food, and the ever needed healing potions. They had been informed of a safehold on the 5th level and thankfully by the meeting’s end, had arrived there safely although barely after a nasty fight with 2 gargoyles. Wandering monsters have been very light and infrequent – so the pyramid might not feel as dangerous and deadly as it had when I had run it during earlier days.

Write up follows:

Once the secret door was closed and locked, Safir took out his picks and spent a few minutes working on the lone oversized chest in the room. With a satisfied click, he announced it opened and we lifted the cover. There were hundreds of gold coins gleaming in the lantern light and the party couldn’t help but notice a silvered steel chainmail laying rolled up on top.

Since his armor was already in poor condition, Mark had asked for the chainmail which the group agreed was ok. He took off the breastplate and the other assorted pieces, laying them aside with care before picking up the chainmail armor and putting it on. It was when it had slithered down his body and he went to tie the adjusting cords off that the armor tightened up on its own and buckled with incredible alacrity. As if by magic.

Mark then strode about the small room, noting the armor was very comfortable and weighed about half what he had expected it – further proving to him that it was indeed magical. While Safir was counting out the coins, we checked over the rest of the chest finding a potion vial and an ornate dagger and sheath.

Safir was willing to forego the other 2 items for an extra share of the coins – which we agreed with. Volkan was excited about the dagger while Delsin took the potion. The dagger was tested and was very sharp and had some marks of sorcery on the blade. The potion was lightly tasted and we saw Delsin fade from view for a second before rematerializing. Invisibility! Alright.

As for the 511 gold coins, the party each took 100 and Safir took the remaining to balance out the division of loot. From there, the party just rested. We kept the lantern burning low to save oil and made sure the locking lever was down while the group just rested, ate, talked, and made sure their bags and belongings were in good shape and repair. We did hear the odd movement from behind the secret door in the main room, but no one stepped out or bothered us.

In the morning we awoke feeling great. Most of us had healed up a bit during the night and our wizard and cleric each studied and prayed for their spells. We listened to the door, heard nothing on the other side, and opened the lever to peer out. The study and bedroom looked and felt just as it had yesterday. Mark added another flask of oil to the lantern and turned up the wick while the group fanned out a bit and made their way to the south door to the next chamber.

Volkan did stop us and take the Usimagarian robe of Demetrius, saying that when we get down to Cyndicia itself, it might be handy to have such a robe with us.

The door beyond opened up to a combination kitchen and dining room. Two large tables were in the main chamber where sadly a woman wearing a rabbit mask had died on one of the tables, and a pair of 5’ long plus snakes were coiled up around her. Errrrm…no one wanted to mess with the snakes. So Volkan and Delsin snuck along the edge of the wall until they were able to check out the kitchen proper. The pantry was empty, a few dishes, bowls, and twisted spoons. Nothing of value. So they snuck back along the wall to the party and we all agreed to forego the snakes and sneak along the other wall around the far table, and make our way to the next door on the south wall and out of here, giving the snakes a wide berth. So we did go, and the pythons although watched us, stayed their distance.

At the door we only listened briefly before opening it and showing a room with a number of wall hangings and a couple of divans near the south wall. A door was across the chamber that went off to the east and there were two iron statues on either side of the door. Volkan went to enter the room and felt a crackling – followed by the 4 candles on the walls near the tapestries to fire to light…and nothing else.

So we entered and noticed that the door here did not stay open. Without any spikes, we used Volkan’s 10’ pole to jam the door open, propping the lower end against one of the statues’ feet, and the other pressed against the top corner of the door. The pole did flex slightly, but stayed in place and held the door open. So we entered, Safir offering to stay near the door while the group looked behind the tapestries to make sure there weren’t any secret doors or hiding bad guys back there.

 Once sure that the tapestries were not obscuring any threats, Delsin and Mark both sat on the divans which each expelled whatever dust was upon them and warmed up to comfortable temperatures. But it was Volkan’s keen eye that noticed the two statues were now each looking at the divans, the heads had turned slightly. This prompted the two men to get up and we all convened near the northern door and the statues.

Eventually it was decided to leave this room, especially since the pressure on the door kept popping the pole out and trying to close the door. So the group, except Delsin, went to the other door out of here on the east wall and checked out the corridor beyond – it was dark and went off into the gloom. We all stepped through, Delsin took the pole, and then ran across the room to the passage beyond before the northern door could close properly and we shut the door to the couch room behind us.

The passage went some 40’ or so and ended at another door. After a cursory glance for traps, we opened it and beheld a massive office with a desk, padded chair, and more chairs around it. There was a dimly seen door on the north wall and a pair of stone beast like statues flanking it there. But the chamber was larger than our lantern light so we entered cautiously.

Mark was convinced they were gargoyles and the Book of Gorm he had from the 2nd floor talked much about them and their difficulty in detecting. So we closed on them, relying on Mark’s advice that we needed enchanted weapons to even strike them, and drew ourselves ready. Safir hung back with an arrow nocked while Volkan approached with a finger extended to “boop” it on the nose.

The closer gargoyle lunged forward and tried to bite him.

Safir fired and his arrow just shattered against the gargoyle who made to grab at the group. Delsin swung first and Heat Stroke severed one of the outstretched hands, knocking it to rubble as it screeched in fury. Blows were swung, missed, or fell harmlessly against the stone creature. The 2nd one drew closer and Delsin was facing it alone as well as the fury of the 1st one. Safir tried to knock the 2nd one off its feet with his 40# full backpack but only succeeded in getting cuffed and hurled back for his efforts.

Mark took a fairly bad gouging on his head from the gargoyle’s horns and called to Gorm to heal him – the god’s prayer’s closing every wound from the cleric’s body. Which was needed because he was struck again just moments later and took more punishing damage. The party was whittling hit points away when Safir managed to knock the gargoyle finally on its back and Delsin slammed a mighty blow against it, severing its stone wings and then more blows busted off one of its legs.

With the tenor of the battle changing, the 2 gargoyles made to run. Delsin grabbed the floored one by its lone leg and refused to let go while Mark and Volkan gave chase on the other one as it ran to the corner and then turned at the last minute, causing the group to stumble and lose ground. As it ran for the door we had entered, Mark tried to drop it with a hurl from his enchanted mace but the gargoyle stumbled along and ran for the door escaping down the dark passage. We gathered up our weapons and joined Delsin in trussing up the last gargoyle with Volkan’s rope and interrogating it.

We learned very little except that it was aligned with Zargon and the various baddies had heard of us, “people from outside the pyramid” and were supposed to keep Zargon aware of our location and skills. This had pretty much decided it for us and even though Volkan threatened to cut out its eye with his enchanted knife – it was Delsin and his sword blow to the beast’s neck that decided the job and killed it.

We talked about moving on from here and trying to find the Gormite safe haven which Safir said was close and most likely along a “long hall we have to make a left on” when the party realized there was still a gargoyle out there – and it could not be allowed to report to Zargon. So even though our hit points were getting low, we decided to go back down the other wall and see if we could find the gargoyle either at the couch room or beyond it.

We lucked out – it was at the end of the hall, again pretending to be a statue. Upon seeing us get closer it muttered a curse and charged us. Volkan let his enchanted dagger fly, hurling it at the statue but missed! The other two front line warriors traded blows back and forth and then Volkan heard a hissing noise and his enchanted knife had reappeared in his sheath! Neat!

The last gargoyle finally succumbed to its wounds and fell apart in chunks of busted rock. We went back to the office chamber, ignored everything there, and went out the north door and down a long hall that lead to a 4 way intersection. Safir had informed us we had to go left but there was a pit trap at the split and Delsin fell down it, twisting his leg on landing. We dropped rope and helped him up, and then everyone carefully jumped near the edge of the pit to the diagonal angle and the left corridor.

All together again, we travelled down the long passage that went for some time, and then turned north – also heading for a long distance. Eventually we came to a left passage with symbols of Gorm on the wall. Some of the glyphs lit up for us, but they took on a white and peaceful glow as Mark went first, mace and holy symbol presented along the way. At the end of the hall was a door that once opened, showed a man in platemail, wearing the blue and white of Gorm, and embracing the party happily.

We were ushered inside and saw a combination barracks and storeroom with 14 people within – 4 women, 10 men. Over half of the people were warriors. The leader identified himself as Pronius and offered us a safe place to rest for a bit – and more importantly – buy, sell, and trade.

We purchase all 4 healing potions they had and then a few elixirs just to have. Some of the goods we sold off for more coins, Safir filled his quiver with arrows and purchased a few enchanted ones just in case. There were some potions for sale and other things to buy and the party was looking forward to taking advantage of this one time opportunity while it was here and presented itself.