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.

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.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Meet 9, Adv B4, 7/27/17 - Youth Group

The youths managed to get a second meeting in for this week and played for a good couple of hours. What has occurred though was that they have had their first run in with lack of healing and the need to find a place to rest. The 4th level is crawling with undead so they had taken their NPC Safir’s advice that somewhere on the 5th level is a small fortified Gormite position if they can find it.

Write up follows:

The party made their way south down the slightly sloping corridor, noting the many places on the walls where the passing boulder had left deep gouges and scratches along the surface. However they walked south for some distance, Mark’s lantern providing pretty much the only light for over 60 paces. Eventually they came to an area where the corridor had a side passage that went to the right as well as continued straight ahead into the darkness. The slight sloping had come to an end by this time and the group dickered on which was the best choice before opting to take the side passage.

The passage was long and dark, and the group spent some time walking and checking the area for traps and secret doors. When after another 50 odd patient paces they arrived at a blank wall they fanned out, sure there was something to find in the area. Their efforts did pay off and they were able to note that a section of the wall would slide in and up. But Volkan and Mark grew wroth at each other for some reason and there was a vicious shove on one followed by a resounding slap across the face for the other.

One of them tumbled backwards and their impact on the wall caused the secret door to slide open while Delsin and Safir got between the two and their reprimands and cooler heads did prevail. Calmer now, we pushed the secret door entirely open and peered in.

The sizable chamber was filled to the shins with skeletons and bones of dozens, scores, even maybe hundreds of people. We cautiously poked around and searched, wondering if they were going to animate – they didn’t. There were 2 other doors in the room, one on the east and one on the west wall. With great care we entered and looked around, the bones shifting under our feet – but nothing happened.

Once we were as sure as we could be the room was safe, we looked at both doors and decided to open the east door first – as it was on the same wall as the secret door we entered in by. Safir gave it a once over for traps and we listened to the door, unsure if we heard anything on the other side. Feeling ready, we grabbed the handle and pulled - revealing a corridor in which sitting on his legs and staring at the group was a pale skinned dirty humanoid covered in feces across his chest and wearing a wolf mask. And then he said, “Bark!” He didn’t bark like a dog, he actually said the word, “Bark.”

Delsin was disgusted and had to be restrained from tearing into this strange person who then started saying “Growl” in response to the fighter’s threatening stance. Mark and Volkan were attempting to talk to the strange person who continued to mutter “Bark”, “Howl” and “Grr” as the responses merited. We followed it back down the hall until the passage turned south, and we noted that there were 2 passages that went back to the west. The wolf mask person took the first one and we followed along, still trying to get some answer from him in something other than spoken dog noises.

It was when he sniffed around the corner and then crapped on the floor, wiping more of the excrement on his chest, that Delsin lost all patience and drew his sword, hoping to assault the crazy person. Who then rose to his full height and ran down the next corridor to the east. Two of us gave chase while 2 others on Delsin’s advice ran back down the passage we had come from, believing they all link up on the other side.

The fighter was just around the corner, shield in front of him, when the wolf-mask person whipped around the corner and slammed face first into the fighter’s shield and slammed back against the dungeon floor, screaming out, “Son of a bitch!!”

So he can talk.

He then castigated us that we had ruined his dream that he was a wolf, a dream that had been borne out from the priests of Zargon and the gifts of Zargon, the dreaming god. By blurring the line between dreaming and awake, followers show to Zargon their love of him, empowering the dreaming god to expand his realm on this earth. He was from Cyndicia far below, and his dream wandering had him coming up to the temple area to do whatever it is the dream of wolves was meant for him to do.

We discussed this with him as he pulled the mask back, showing his homely face, pale eyes, and now bloody lip and nose. The conversation was growing louder and angrier about Zargon and what he means for everyone when something slammed into the Cyndician from behind and tore across his shoulder and head. He was being assaulted and torn apart by a zombie!

The undead ripped the Cyndician apart, a second zombie joining the combat as the wolf-mask Cyndician stuttered, gurgled, and then died. Delsin noted that the zombies had come from down the passage the Cyndician had lead us, and knowing they all linked up here, told the group to “Hold them here!” while he ran down the other western passage, hoping to get behind the undead in short order.

So Volkan and Mark stayed in the hall while Safir shot the undead who had finished beating the Cyndician to death, his arrow having no effect. Mark called out to Gorm to turn the undead, but the power of his god was lacking as 2 more zombies came around and drove the party back. Knives flashed, Mark’s Mace of Gorm flashed, and the three party members beat and stabbed and hacked at the zombies, but had very little success for their efforts.

Meanwhile, Delsin had run down the passage, turned south and then at the next corner back to the east once more. With 4 zombies in front of us the party was struggling to hold their own when one of them managed to get past Mark’s defenses and sent the priest tumbling backwards. He struggled to right himself and was met with a cavalcade of blows that dented and then compromised the integrity of his breastplate; and then crushed four of his ribs and had him on the ground choking on his own blood and dying. Everyone was yelling for Delsin to hurry up.

Delsin meanwhile was charging along and noticed and open doorway on the south. He slowed down and peered in, frantic to find two MORE zombies making their way to the exit and the hallway! He grabbed the door and yanked it closed, hoping to force the frame into the jamb long enough to slow down the undead before drawing his new mystical blade, the green glow and smoky trail running down its length. He noted the press of undead at the corner and accelerated his speed shouting out “Heat Stroke!” and firing the ensorcelled blade to life and then bisecting the lead zombie who was trying to kill Safir.

With Delsin in the fight, the pendulum swung the other way as another of the undead fell over, allowing the party to drag Mark out of the battle and force our last healing draught down his mouth. The priest coughed and choked, snagging his own holy symbol, and then croaked out a prayer to Gorm to heal his broken form, giving him a few more precious hit points.

Meanwhile Delsin had dispatched three of the zombies himself while the party killed off the last one. And it was over.

We were a mess. Everyone had some sort of wound, some of us were very bad off, Safir’s quiver was more than halfway emptied, Mark and Volkan had no spells left, we were out of healing potions, and Mark’s armor was not as effective in protecting him. We needed a place to hole up and we needed supplies.

Safir did let us know that somewhere on the 5th level was a Gormite outpost where if we could make it, would be able to help us out. But it would mean putting aside our quest to find the tomb of King Alexander, Queen Zenobia, and the last 1 or 2 mystical weapons of Cyndicia. Given the way we were feeling, we opted to hasten our search for the way down to the next level.

We limped our way back to the bone filled room and crossed it to the opposite door. Listening and hearing nothing, we opened it to look down – at another long corridor. This one was lit 1/3rd and 2/3rds of the way down by a candle burning on a holder set on a niche along the south wall. Volkan took one and extinguished it while we proceeded to the end where the passage turned south and there was a door on the north corner.

We listened at the door which we noted was very cold, like icy frigid cold. Hearing nothing and not liking the cold aspect, we continued south. There was a door halfway down the passage on the east wall that we did look in at. Another burial chamber – this one very nice and set up to look like some lady in waiting. There was an ivory inlaid coffin on the east wall that we checked carefully – finding it to be empty.

The group left and continued on their south where the passage “T’ed” left and right. Safir felt we should be going right and the corridor should lead north eventually. So we moved on, eventually finding a door on the north wall. The bottom of the door was chewed – almost 2’ of it! And we could hear heavy squeaking and squealing within. Yeah – screw that. No one wanted to get anywhere near it.

After backing up a bit to make sure this passage at the other end of the “T” went back to where the zombies were (and it was!) we walked carefully beyond the squeaking noise door and continued on until the passage turned north. It was almost 50 paces before the passage had a 4’ wide hole set in the floor, with a set of ladder rungs going down. The corridor did continue north from here, but we would be checking it out sometime in the future after we had a chance to rest up.

Climbing down the almost 50’, we found ourselves in a 30’ square chamber with no obvious ways in or out. So we fanned out and checked over everything, until we noted a section of the south wall that would lift up. Delsin bent his legs and grabbed the flanges on the wall – and lifted. The wall slid up and Delsin was struggling to hoist it up – unable to get it over his midsection. Mark ducked under and ran into the next room, looking along the wall where he found a lever. “Oh my god! I have been looking for one of these for so long!” he exclaimed with excitement, lifting the lever from the down to the up position.

The pressure on the door ended and the door went up. We all entered what seemed to be an oversized living quarter that had some symbology to Usimagarius. We gave the room a once over and checked out the bed, drawers, tables, and wall hangings. There was a door on the south wall but we ignored it for now. There was a set of spell scrolls uncovered which we gave to Mark once we realized they were clerical in nature.

But it was when Delsin touched the white robe on the back of one of the chairs that things went freaky. Time seemed to stop for the fighter and he was looking and talking to a ghostly figure of an older man. He said his name was Demetrius and that he was cruelly slain by his brother Darius, a priest of Usimagarius. His spirit was trapped here, unable to move on since he was terribly slain, until it was avenged. Delsin offered to help and Demetrius told him he would know when he was close to Darius – then he sieved into the fighter and time started again.

Delsin told the group of what happened along with his ghostly tenant. This bothered Volkan who did pull Mark aside and let him know that they didn’t owe this ghost anything – and to be ready if something went wrong fast.

We then wanted to rest here but this was a main room heading to the 4th level – so we looked for secret doors, finding one on the northwest corner. Entering we closed the door and locked it behind us, the only thing in the 20’ square room was a locked chest. With plenty of time and no desire to go anywhere for a while, we let Safir spend as long as he needed on the locks while we readied ourselves to rest the entire day.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Meet 8, Adv B4, 7/25/17 - Youth Group

The youths have been bashing their way through the 4th level of the pyramid, and actually doing a decent job of checking the areas out to completion before heading off to the next place. What has been disconcerting to them (at least one of the players for sure) is the long distances between rooms – something that is opposite to what they experienced on the upper levels. I’ve made things a bit easier by allowing them to make their own secret door checks and to do it openly – so when they hear from me “you don’t seem to find anything” they have a bit more confidence in their discoveries.

Write up follows:

Once they were sure they were going to spend the night here, the party relaxed, ate and drank, readied themselves for a long night, and propped both the sarcophagus and the cover in front of the door. While Volkan was going through his spells to decide what he wanted to study the next day, Safir was commenting on his dwindling supply of arrows and Delsin was eying his stolen Draco tail and one of his spare swords.

He then shoved the sword into the 5’ length of tail at the base and taking 5’ of his rope, unraveled the hemp into 3 strands and proceeded to bind the tail to his sword so that upon completion, he had a 5’ length of whipping material on a sword hilt. The rest of the party looked at it dubiously but agreed they would wait to see it in action the next day.

The group rested and even though the room was cool, they slept well with everyone taking a 3 hour watch. Nothing untoward happened and the next morning the party awoke feeling fantastic. We broke our fast, restrapped on our armor, gathered our belongings, readied our spells, and Volkan and Safir dragged the barriers in front of the door while Delsin got us ready to leave.

The beetle sack lights were very dull now, barely the light of a candle. We had a couple of lanterns and some flasks of oil so Mark was getting it ready for now, while Safir went around the room and pulled the 4 unlit torches from the sconces here.

Light once more with us, we opened the door and looked out – no change. The ghouls were still here in the hall where we had dumped them, smelling a bit riper but nothing else. We stepped past them and went back to the main split, taking the northern passage and ended up back in front of the Captain of the Guard’s burial chamber where Delsin had gotten his armor from. From here we could go left, or go right where the corridor split in that direction again; one of the choices heading straight north.

In the interest of simplicity, we opted to go left since it was the only choice. So we drew up into marching order (Delsin, Mark with the lantern, Volkan, and Safir) and began walking. The hallway turned north some dozen or so paces, and then turned back to the west for a very long distance. There was a door at the end of the passage that Delsin had gone up to listen to, hearing only some gruff grunting sounds now and again from within.

We wanted to go in, but not to face whatever it was on its home turf. So instead we were going to take a page out of our book when we fought the Draco above and coat the floor in oil, coax whatever it was out, set it on fire and then kill it.

We dumped a flask of oil near the door, Delsin lit a torch, and then the group watched as he ran and tried to jump over the puddle to open the door. His foot slipped and he fell on his back making a huge clanging noise; followed by screams as he dropped his torch in the oil he was lying in – setting it and himself on fire.

The group was horrified as Delsin tried to get up and run away, but kept slipping in the burning oil. And then the door opened and not one, but TWO 400 lb. albino apes were standing there snorting at the fire and beating on their chests. Mark ran forward and managed to grab Delsin’s flailing hand, pulling him out of the flames and on our side of the burning oil. Safir was yelling to Run and the group turned to flee. One of the apes picked up a rock half the size of a bowling ball and lobbed it at us, striking Delsin in the helmet and making his head ring.

We ran back and away, eventually stopping around the corner where we checked Delsin over (the armor blocked most of the fire from burning him, and his helm was badly dented but still serviceable) and discussed our options. Volkan was rather surprising as the mage suggested we go back – two gorillas? They had to be guarding something! Mark had noticed that the two apes had been male and without evidence that there were females in the room, should be referred to as “Gay-pes”.

The other three party members looked at Mark silently a few seconds and then busted out laughing.

Feeling emboldened, we went back to the chamber, stopped near the entrance, and Volkan began casting his sleep spell. About halfway through, Delsin, Mark, and Safir all began shouting and making noise, attracting the two gorillas to come out around the door. And then the magic fired off and both the animals fell over unconscious. Delsin ran up and coup de graced the animals while Mark commented that he felt ill at ease killing sleeping figures. Them or us, them or us.

A look at the room showed that it was the burial chamber of someone of import, a nobleman in Cyndicia’s past. There was a heavy wooden coffin and signs that the apes had been the nobleman’s companions in life. So we went to the coffin, opened the lid, and peered inside. The mummified remains of the nobleman were here, clad in platemail and sporting a broad sword that had the cross guard look like a pair of spread gorilla hands.

When Delsin took the blade, wavering green smoke and dim lights played around the sword and we noticed there were runes on one side it. So Volkan used his second spell of the day, read magic, and deciphered the runes that they read “Heat Stroke”. When Delsin said the name, the smoke faded, and the entire sword glowed green – giving off a light almost as intense as the lanterns (albeit green). Saying the name again dulled the light down and made the smoky pattern reappear. Without a scabbard available, Delsin for now shoved the sword under his backpack and over his armor.

We checked for secret doors, finding none, and then headed back the long distance to the Captain of the Guard’s room and the opposite end of the “T” intersection. We looked down both option of the eastern corridor from here – one went east into the distance, the other went north some 15/20 paces and then turned east as well. After discussion, it was decided to get off the “main corridor” and take the one to the north that turned east for now.

It was a long walk, and we were careful to note the passage of time and insure there were no surprises before us. The passage turned to the south after some distance and another long bothersome distance and pacing before ending at a closed doorway. We listened, hearing only the cracking noise of flames, and then opened it up.

30’ square chamber festooned with the displays and murals showing a noblewoman’s life. A dais over a foot tall was in the center of the room with an oversized wooden sarcophagus upon it, and each of the 4 cardinal directions, a 6’ tall column on which a brass pail with flames coming out of it sat. Once sure that nothing else was in here, we came in and closed the door behind us. There was another door on the west wall that would lead us out, but for now, the coffin dominated our attention.

Mark stepped up on the dais but it dropped about a half an inch and all the columns wavered about a bit before coming still, the fires up top threatening to spill over. Nothing happened but Mark was careful. He tried to lift the lid and was able to do so, but it was braced from the inside and would need to lift the lid from two sides to get the coffins top off. So with two of us on opposite sides, we lifted the coffin off, watching the columns move, and carefully shuffled the lid over enough so we can look within.

There was mummified remains of some woman, the top of her clothes had been torn and her ears had cuts on them. Whatever gems and jewels she had once had been stolen in the past. To verify this we took the rest of the cover off and then took a better look at the room. Nothing else to be found.

We went to the door and opened it, revealing a corridor that went north and south – the lantern light showed a door to the north at the limit of our light. We also noted that the floor wasn’t level here, running at a slight slope down to the south. Delsin was convinced that if we went north, the passage should eventually turn left and west and rejoin with the corridor that we hadn’t taken at the “T” near the Captain of the Guard’s chamber. So we all exited and started walking north.

At that point Delsin felt the floor drop a tiny bit and we heard a loud click. And then, the sound of something heavy, big, and the grinding crush of stone on stone coming our way from the north. “Run!! Run!!!” The group turned and raced back to the noble woman’s room, piled in, and slammed the door closed. We heard whatever was in the hall smash back and forth down the hall, hitting the door and going on for 30 or 40 seconds until it crashed in the distance and everything got quiet.

We opened the door to show the hall was covered in scratches and rock dust on both sides, and there was the smell of pulverized stone in the air. While we were looking around we heard grunting noises coming from the north as something wandering by most likely wanted to see what made such noise. So we drew up read and coming out of the gloom were two…three…four grey furred 200 lb. rock baboons. They stopped to look on us and we waited – not making any threatening moves.

Once of them then came a bit closer and made pantomiming motions to its mouth and grunting. So we tossed over some of our food and it ate it, and we gave more and it shared it back with its companions who were all making the same grunts and hoots. Mark started to do the same and the bigger baboon came closer to Mark who stepped out…and it peed all over Mark’s ankles and feet.

When it was done we all just waited…so mark let his trousers drop and peed all over the baboon’s feet in response. The baboons danced about happy for some reason and they backed away, smiling and waving at the group as Mark turned back to the party and we informed him to “put that away and let’s go”. He did so and we went north to lone door.

We listened and heard heavy sounding squeaking noises which had us think of giant rats. A peek inside assured us of it as the south end of the room had a warren there and numerous 3’ long rats scurrying about. We shut the door and discussed plans. Eventually it was decided that we would open the door, Volkan would throw a flask of oil at the wall behind the warren raining oil upon it, and then Safir would toss a lit torch on it and we would shut the door and wait. Part of that happened as Volkan did toss the flask, but misjudged in his excitement and instead hurled it right into the warren where it disappeared without breaking into the chewed up bits of fabric, couch, and garbage the rats were using. We shut the door again. Safir then suggested he could use his lone remaining Roman Candle we had gotten from the 2nd level and try to set the couch on fire that way.

So he lit it, Delsin opened the door, and he fired off a globe that hit the couch and started to smolder. Delsin was going to shut the door when Safir yelled not to as more globes of fire were going to come out. The rats were boiling from the couch as if to charge us through the open door, so Safir tossed the burning roman candle at the couch first – but it flipped end over end, got stuck pointing the wrong way briefly, and fired a burning globe at Safir who danced back and smacked at his shirt to put the fire out while Delsin shut the door and we waited.

After 5 minutes of hearing nothing within, we cracked the door and looked. The rats had died from the fire and smoke and we used Delsin’s halberd to spread the embers and larger pieces about so we could look. There were some coins here that we split up and then left the room back to the sloping corridor to discuss heading south and further into the level next.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Meet 23, Adv 3, 7/22/17

It's always bittersweet when an adventure wraps up for me. A lot of effort goes into it and there are times I can only hope the party is having a good time. Not looking and never looking for sunshine to be blown up me ass, but there are times I'm not convinced that this was as good of a time as everyone could have.

There is a little clean up to happen after this at the next meeting and then they will roll into the 4th adventure which is punching K'Morat scum in the face and taking their stuff. The last adventure was a bit heavy on Avulstein and the next one will have some Darius-centric stuff for a bit.

Write up follows:

Once out of the Temple we took stock of the time and location, Darius noting terribly that he was very late for his dinner with Meg the Florist and Negan was pissed all of his belongings had been taken by the Temple of Loki, including clothing. Connal took off his baladrana and gave it to Negan to wrap around himself. The half-ogre was going to head back to the Pennywhistle, grab his money, and then go off and but some replacement clothes, belts, and shoes. We watched his broad naked back as he walked away, the oil-skin wrap around his waist held firmly in his hands over his midsection.

As for Darius, he motioned for a runner to come forth, gave him a few coins, and gave him the message to take to Overcliff and Meg that he was coming but would be late for now. He then wished the rest of the group a good evening and also ran back towards the Pennywhistle.

As for the last of us: Einar, Avulstein, and Connal, they were heading towards the Randari Quarter to meet with Vanil the apothecary and try to get an antidote for Connal for the Poison he had ingested during the Temple of Loki experience and that Negan had been Delaying for the time being.

Darius was stopped at the gate OUT of the Central Quarter mainly because he was so startling looking. He was covered from the top of his head to his waist with ½ white hairs from the carpet, sticking out of his skin, his clothes, even interspersed in his own hair. The guards were convinced he was ½ gorilla or some sort of freak. He did drop the Diamondcutter name and they did let him through, but flagged his name and description and was going to send it to all the other gates to keep tabs on him.

He ran to the Pennywhistle, went up to his room amidst strange looks, and changed out of his clothes into his other and only clean set. He then looked at himself in the looking glass and realized he couldn’t go to the date looking this way. He took the wine bottle he had purchased for tonight and went out of the room, down to the Common Area, and then off to the barber on premises. The barber laughed at Darius’ appearance but the friendly dwarf did offer to give him a wash and shave, wrapping a hot towel around the fighter’s face. He was also offered a leeching but Darius demurred saying another time; keeping his eyes closed as the dwarf’s straight razor began shaving the softened hairs off around his nose first and then radiating out.

The other 3 members of the party had gone through the gate without issue and were making their way through the Randari Quarter, Connal starting to get a tickle in his throat as the party arrived at Vanil’s Apothecary. We were allowed in even though it was late, and Lummox once again threatened to shoot the group if they “so much as breathe in a way that makes me feel like I have to shoot you!!” We were checked over and then told to deposit our weapons along the wall.

Vanil meanwhile was checking Connal out who was beginning to relapse, the monk doubling over and choking for minutes at end until Vanil was able to finish concocting a tincture for him and Connal was able to choke it down. His coughing subsided and he fell back into his chair exhausted but able to breathe freely again. Vanil informed him that he would be better after a night of full rest. We thanked him, paid for the treatment, and then gathered up our stuff in order to leave.

Darius, pleased with his revised appearance, made his way out of the Pennywhistle and started the 15 minute trip to his date. He was stopped and harassed at Central Gate and again at Upper Gate for his name being on the list and the shave he had. Once he finally made it to Meg’s place, almost 2 hours late, he knocked on the shop door to have it be opened by…Meg’s Daughter Filora and Darius’ former girlfriend.

It was a strained meeting and full of false “how are you” and then Filora had mentioned that it was nice of Darius to come for her mom’s dinner as she was upset earlier but a runner arrived and set her at ease. Filora would spend some time down here in the shop “to give you both some free time” and to not worry. Darius thanked her, went upstairs, and was let in to the living area by a recently upset Meg. A flower was passed along with the wine, followed by the explanation of “It’s been a crazy day” and then Dinner and Darius sharing his adventures today and his subsequent appearance.

After dinner there was blueberry cobbler and some light making out, followed by more and Darius who was suffering from constitution loss, numerous painful wounds, being tired, and having just narrowly escaped the Temple of Loki – was able to get the deed done and Meg and him spent a wonderful night together. Boot scene.

As the other 3 left Vanil’s a gang of orcish toughs had stopped the party and thought they had gone to the apothecist to get some drugs – hoping to shake the party down and score some. Connal and Avulstein were treated poorly, Einar (being a half-orc) was chided for hanging out with them and when Avulstein did talk – they were all shocked he could talk. Eventually they offered to buy the wolverine for a few hundred coins and thinking they were going to put one over on the half-orcs, agreed to it.

Avulstein was even dancing to show his skills and get the price jacked up and Connal snuck down a side street, ducked down an alley, and ran out of the Randari Quarter back to the Pennywhistle. It was when they put a leash on Avulstein from one of the dogs that the thug leader went to take the bag off Avulstein. The two of the party members then went on that the bag wasn’t part of the deal and that it should be returned. Then it was a bartering of costs for the bag and the thug was looking inside, thinking the flasks within (with the Midnight Water) were something to drink.

This had gotten out of hand so Einar and Avulstein tried to make a break for it. The necromancer jumped up on one of the orcs with the lead and was savaging his chest and hand, tearing into the orc who was screaming in pain. Einar hacked at the leash, cutting the thick leather, and then engaged the thug as he was wrestling to get the bag back, while the bag holder was beating Avulstein with it.

The other people on the streets ran off and eventually not wanting to be a part of this anymore, the last two orcs nursing their wounds ran away and Einar and Avulstein grabbed the precious bag and returned to the Pennywhistle to rest up and get their heads on straight. Once there the party went up to their rooms to rest and be ready for tomorrow when we would be going to the Vault of the Heorot.

The next morning Darius woke up, had breakfast with Meg (and her daughter) agreed he would be seeing her again (Meg, NOT her daughter) and then made his way back to the Pennywhistle where everyone had woken up, gotten ready, prayed and prepared themselves and then made our way to the Third Reeve Theros’ office. We had to wait only a little while before one of the adjuncts let us know that the contract with House Illytch would be completed either tonight or tomorrow and we were all satisfied.

From there we all went off to the Vault and temple of Hel where we had to endure the candle lighting ceremony once again before making our way through the temple to the 2nd floor and then presented to the Speakers for the Dead – Parylis, Marcia, and Paduntosis. We presented our collection, Avulstein doing most of the talking (it was his mission) and Parylis was guiding the show, asking Avulstein to release each item as it was called with an imperious cry of “Present!” foe each item.

Marcia had them all (the ingredients) gyre and levitate in place, the proofs each wavering around one another but never touching. Finally the last one was presented and Parylis then told Avulstein he would have to control the forces of necromancy to show he was a true adherent of Hel and there was an inrushing of air and the materia all compressed and then blew out – turning into the zombie version of Centius – the Half-Orc who had pledged himself to Avulstein and Einar in this life and the next for their efforts on helping him to cure his mother.

Centius stalked towards Avulstein who stood his ground, commanding the zombie to obey. A massive morning star was held up…and crashed NEXT to the wolverine. The Death Speakers informed Avulstein that Centius was his and that he would be accepted as an apprentice to Parylis for a period not to be less than 3 years and a day. He was charged with going out and facing the powers of death wherever they might be, helping it along and supporting the order of things in his travels. There was an investiture and Avulstein arose marked with the holy symbol of Hel on his chest.

Besides that, he was given some spells to add to his spell book and then the other members who were still here came forward when they were called – a gift given to each of them for their efforts. Darius was given an ensorcelled sling made from a celestial stag and a new holy symbol to Loki, Connal was given a checkered headband in the monastic style that while worn, would allow him 3 times a day to know if someone had just lied to him, and Einar was given a rod that one time only would resurrect a fallen companion from the dead.

We thanked the Death Speakers while Avulstein was getting some new spells for his book and then made our way to the streets.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Meet 22, Adv 3, 7/15/17

The group plunged through the rest of the Temple of Loki funhouse/dungeon level. I stocked it with all the wonky '80's/'90's weird crap that used to be prevalent in the game and had a good time watching them work it along. The doors as shields/floors was as always, inspired.

Write up follows:

Negan sat himself on the couch in the lounge, relaxing his 8’+ frame on the upholstered cushions. Connal went over to the bar to peruse the drinks both on top and the bottles on the other side. Avulstein made it his business to check out the poker table, flipping over the deck of cards there. Darius made his way to the dart board, plucking the 3 throwing knives out of the board, noting their balance and construction. Einar sat on the padded chair near Negan, feeling smooth and contented.

Everyone was just feeling good, not in any rush to do anything or go anywhere. Darius tested the dart/knives – happy with his skill and content on his aim. As for Connal, he was sure that the bottles on top were whiskey and bourbon, and the space behind the bar had other top-shelf liquors there. Avulstein laid out a hand of solitaire for himself, surprised to find the Joker card come up; the face of it painted to look like a leering Loki.

When he was done, he found himself wanting to keep the deck of cards. It was through some serious force of will that he managed to place them back on the table…but not before he walked away with the Joker in his paw/hand. That was weird. So he put it back on the deck, took it with his other hand, and walked away. With the Joker again.

Connal, who had been sniffing the brandy, indicated with glass that Avulstein should be careful taking things here since Loki and his actions/wants might cause problem. He did this while putting the snifter back on the bar and taking it with his other hand and walking away. With the Brandy. That really should be drunk. Connal had to force himself not to drink the brandy and wandered around the room holding it, while Avulstein still held onto the Joker card.

Darius tried to help Connal drop the snifter to no avail, and even when he tried to dump it in the cold fireplace; he couldn’t force himself to do it. But when the fighter made to smash the glass out of Connal’s hand, the monk unexpectedly leaned back and tossed the contents of the glass down his throat! We were like, what the hell? And then Connal paused, smiled, and was commenting that he was ok when he starting coughing. A lot. He was turning red and hunched over, hacking and spitting, throat closing up. Avulstein referred the poison as something called the “Choker or Strangler” poison and Negan who wanted to help, couldn’t get off the couch he was so relaxed!

So Darius dragged Connal’s weakening form to the Half-Ogre who called out to Odin to help Delay the Poison that affecting our friend…and he was able to breathe once again! But the poison was still in his system. There was the thought of vomiting it out and while Connal was hunched over the flagstones of the hearth, fingers in his throat, Avulstein turned and tried to squeeze his musk glands that wolverines have. He was marginally successful as the stink of his musk, similar to a skunk’s, billowed behind him, but it was also accompanied with fleck of wet shit and farts that splattered all over the monk.

It succeeded in helping Connal to vomit. And he did, choking and heaving again and again in the fireplace until nothing else came out and he was just sickened and feeling ill from the after affects.

Avulstein meanwhile managed to figure out how to get rid of the Joker by having Darius take it from him willingly. And now Darius was stuck with the card and tried a few ways to get rid of it, including attempting to shove it under the door to the west out of the lounge but eventually dealt enough hands of poker that he naturally gave the card away.

We didn’t want to go out the east door since the strange muzak was playing there, instead going to the west doorway. Satisfied it was not trapped, we opened it, showing a corridor that ran north and south, each ending at a door – but the north door was a little nicer with better wood and a brass turning knob.

Only Darius and Avulstein went into the candlelit hall, everyone else waited behind in the lounge. We checked out the north door as it was more interesting and decided to open it – however the hinges were on our side and we could see a wire loop and mark on the hinge as if it was trapped at one point. So borrowing a chisel, Darius popped the hinges off the door and without turning the knob, slid it out of the lamb and moved it aside. The room beyond was very nice, some guest looking bedroom. Just over the frame was a metal box with a number of small holes in the bottom. Right now, an inactive trap.

There was a feeling of resistance at the doorway and we backed away from it. Instead we went to the southern door and did the same trick with the hinges opening the door and looking in. There was a door on the right and a corridor that went off into the maze to the left. We talked about the north doorway and Avulstein let us know there were some runes scribed on the frame of the door, latent now, but there.

We decided to turn the brass door knob of the removed doorway and the guest room rustled and the resistance faded away. Candles lit, the bed pulled down, the pillow fluffed, the scent of potpourri filled the air. A female voice invited Darius to come in and rest, she’d make him feel great. Ok…really nice guest room with a possible happy ending? No one wanted to actually go in, although we were tempted.

From here we were going to go down the south door and Connal came into the test it out when he noticed the wall on the other side of the wall from the lounge had a secret door there. It took some hard pushing but the wall rotated at the center, showing a corridor that went 10’ and ended at two more revolving doors, one on the north and one on the south. According to Darius’ mapping – each room beyond the revolving walls was maybe 10’x10’. At first we were going to open it, but then cooler heads prevailed and we realized that we had a job – get the Midnight Water out of the Temple.

So we replaced the north door to the bedroom with the door originally on the south – just the screw with the Temple. And then we all managed to drag Negan off the couch and out of the Lounge, making our way south to the door and hall beyond. Avulstein went first…and a crossbow bolt slammed out just over the wolverine’s head!

What the hell?

Trap right in the hall, but no one trusted it not to go off again, so they took the other door that was still in the hall and off its hinges and walked forward with it…WHAM! Another crossbow bolt fired! We all ran through the hall, the doorway held in front of the wall where the crossbow bolts were firing out of, until we had 5 of the bolts sticking through the door.

Beyond here there were two passages and we decided to take the northern one, it went a short distance, turned south, and emerged at a “T” hallway. But when Avulstein stepped through, he saw nothing behind him except for a stone wall! The group could see and hear him, but he couldn’t see or hear them.

To the left the passages continued and to the right, it ended at what seemed to be a heavy crossbow bolted in place with a huge hopper and pointing through a small hole in the wall. The group all reconnected, some going back down the hall to the choice and taking the other passage, others just stepping through the one way wall. Everyone wanted to check out the heavy repeating crossbow. By everyone, I mean Negan. Like he wanted it. Now.

Using what tools we had on us the half-ogre stripped the bolts one at a time from the frame and the floor while the group manhandled and pulled the heavy crossbow eventually free after almost a half hour of hard work. The entire thing weighed some 45 lbs and we real unwieldy, but Negan fell in love with it and a check of the hopper showed 60 or 70 quarrels piled on the top.

From here we pressed on until the winding passages showed us through another one way wall. There were 3 doors in this “T” shaped hall – the west one most likely led back to the lounge and the two east ones, one on the north and one on the south went further into the compound. The south one had that pounding rhythmic dulcimer muzak coming through it and the group although thought about, did not want to open the door. Instead they took some time heating up wax from some candles and stuffing it into their ears to deaden the noise before going to check out the north door.

It opened to reveal an alcove area that lead to a white carpeted section of the temple, going both north and south. Darius offered to go first and explore the area but when he stepped out of the alcove and onto the carpet to go north, there was a “FWOOSH” noise from the south and a 5’ flaming sphere raced down the corridor, the fighter leaping back barely in time and getting singed for his efforts. The carpet had a scored burn mark running down it to the wall where the sphere had smashed and exploded…but as we watched, the carpet shed its charring, the fibers regrew, and the entire thing reknit itself and in a few minutes, was normal and whole again.

We decided to try and rip up the carpet. With the 8’ metal spear and lots of muscle, we managed to tear the carpet up along the edge in the alcove and tear enough of it upright that we could see runes and glyphs all along the floor. We wanted to roll up the carpet and push it ahead of us, but were unable to do so. So instead we used a knife, tore the carpet and it split…but then reknit! So Darius positioned himself near the center and when we slit and ripped again, he pulled the two pieces apart.

Sadly the carpet twisted in his hands and tried to engulf the fighter, wrapping around his body from the waist up, the fighter twisted and struggling to avoid being smothered. He poked with the knife but couldn’t free himself and the group was grabbing Darius and trying to pull him out while the carpet seemed to be eating him. Swords and knives slashed and cut, separating the entire piece free from main carpet and we were able to drag Darius out.

He was covered from hair to waist in ½” white fibers as the carpet had been trying to grow INTO the fighter. It had gotten on his face, chest, clothes, hair, inside his mouth, and he was on his hands and knees coughing up fibers for a few minutes. Darius was reeling and staggering, but managed to keep himself upright.

We thought about going back to the door where the muzak was coming from but Connal could feel the door flexing and straining from the pulse of the muzak, and we didn’t want to risk it since it just seemed really stupid. This led us back to the carpeted hall – and for that, we decided to pop some doors of hinges. We took the one here leading to the carpeted area, and then took the door off the lounge and then the next door at the other end of the lounge. When Darius went to take the 4th door off, he noted when he opened it that there were 5 Rottweiler dog statues on the other side of the door, so he closed it quietly, informed the group of what he saw, and they all agreed, they had enough doors for now.

At this point Connal started to cough and choke again as the delay poison effects were wearing off. Negan once more called to Odin to delay the poisonous effects for now and Connal was able to breathe easier for the time being. As for the 3 doors, We flopped them down on the carpet in the hall, first north, stepped on the door to the end, took the next door and let that fall and flop down, walked on that one to the end, and then did it a third time. Darius who had been doing this was able to let us know the north corridor turned east and went some distance before looping back after a brief turn south.

We then gathered all the doors up, still avoiding the carpet, and looked down the south corridor the same way by building a bridge on the carpet. This passage went south, turned to the east and ended a short distance at two doors, one on the south, the other on the east wall. There was an area where there was no carpet about 3’ from the corner. We discussed it and voted on taking the south passage. So one by one we made our way along until we arrived at the two doors.

The south one smelled like sulfur and the group flat out voted not to open it. So it was then the east door. We didn’t want to open it and instead hoped to once more pop the hinges off – but the hinges refused to budge and all we did was dull the chisel for our efforts. The door was stuck and we relied on Negan and the crowbar to force the lock and allow us through. So we carefully opened the door and revealed a corridor that went south 20’ and ended with a door on the east wall.

The party all filed in and we closed the door to the carpeted area behind us. Far enough from the muzak now, we removed the wax from our ears and gave the south door a check. No traps. So Avulstein drew himself up and the group was all lined up behind him down the hall, and the wolverine opened the door. A pit trap opened a few ranks back and Negan dropped 30’ down, his 45# repeating crossbow taking the brunt of the fall and breaking after he landed. He was pissed.

We dropped a rope down to help him back up while Avulstein noted the door opened to a 5’ long room that ended at another door. Negan then heard rasping sounds and spears were thrusting out of the wall and floor in many crisscrossing places. Holding onto the damaged crossbow and urging his friends to lift him, he was hoisted slowly slowly while trying to avoid getting skewered. He was cut in the thigh, on the shoulder, in the ribs – coupled with the damage he had taken from the fall the priest of Odin was growing weaker and weaker.

Near the top another spear caught him in the chest and pierced a lung and Negan slumped over and died – he turned to smoke and wisped away – the same way the Loki sacrifices did – while the crossbow fell almost 30’ AGAIN – this time busting for good. Negan – dead? Gone? No one was sure. We made a bridge out of the doors to cover the pit and Avulstein opened the next door – and ANOTHER pit opened back in the hall – this time the party was ready and no one fell. We used a 2nd door to span the pit and the group all crossed and followed Darius down the passage.

The Fighter passed through a section of the corridor that once again looked like stone behind him – the group could see and hear him – he couldn’t them. But before him the passage turned to the left AND went straight for 30’ and turned to the left as well. The difference was the 5 Rottweiler dog statues blocking the longer corridor.

Connal stuck his head through and was passing information back and forth for both separated groups. The decision after Darius checked his map was that the longer corridor and through the dogs was the way to go. But we wanted to check out the other corridor just in case and there were 5 nasty looking statues. So Darius took a step down the closer passage going north – and was portalled 30’ down immediately to the end. He walked back towards us and just before he crossed the “T” – was portalled back again. Ok – so this time he took a run down back to us and JUMPED – and was portalled again – this time his momentum had him smashing into the wall 30’ down and hurting his nose.

He agreed that he’d find another way back and to wait a second. So Darius went down to the west a short distance and the passage ended at a small smoking niche, a 7’ statue of Loki here and a door on the west wall which Darius believed would go back to the carpeted area. But sitting here on the nice chair with a pipe – was a figure that looked JUST like Loki! He was grinning, engaged Darius in a few short sentences, and then flat out tried to stab him with his spear.

Darius was struck and staggered back and then launched himself at the avatar of Loki, grabbling with him and knocking his spear out of his grasp. Loki was cursing up a storm and one of the dogs came to life down the hall and started to run to Loki. Connal and Avulstein stepped in front of it to stop it and Loki and Darius was struggling back and forth, smashing into the door, chair, and walls. Loki was cursing and calling for the “fucking dog!” and a second one came to life and tried to get past, managing to slip by at the last moment.

Connal, Avulstein, and Einar took out their aggressions on the one dog and as soon as it went down they made the call to run for the exit now and take the longer corridor, running past the statues and hoping to get out before they lost the Midnight Water. Meanwhile Darius was having a terrible time fighting the Loki avatar so when they managed to separate, he bent down, took the avatar’s spear, and stabbed Loki through the chest with it!

The snarling dog finally arrived and Darius was holding off the very wounded Loki and the animal, his back had the carpeted hallway and no way out. He managed to step on the carpet, a flaming sphere was heard and was racing along, and it spilled into the room burning everyone in the way except the fighter who had killed Loki with his own spear. The avatar seemed pleased as he turned to smoke and wisped away.

But Darius had only a few hit points and the Rottweiler was closing in. So he forced it near the statue to Loki and said, “Loki, accept this dog as a sacrifice!” when it didn’t work he grew pissed and snarled out, “Come on! I kicked your ass!” – and the sacrifice was accepted and the dog disappeared.

As for the 3 friends, they were running but the dog statues were snarling and barking behind them. The group poured on the speed and came to the corridor they had mapped out early on and burst into the lower temple! From there they ran for the stairs and hit the door at the top at full speed, bursting it open and emerging in the main temple.

Darius ran down the carpeted corridor, knowing what was coming, and when the sphere was in front of him, he pole vaulted over it and ran at full tilt back to the door that had been locked and blasted through it. He then crossed the pits and ran through the two small rooms and back to where he had made the poor choice and gone north early. Now, there were no dog statues but his friends had gone, so Darius poured on the speed and went down the furthest corridor.

He came upon a dog statue and drawing his knife he charged past, lungs heaving and coughing as the dog statue came to life and started to give chase.

Upstairs, the three friends noted there were three priests of Loki and someone praying at the temple. So they said “fuck it” split up, and ran down all three different passages out, Einar shadowing Avulstein and ready to give help. The priests tried to stop us knives out, but the group was pissed. We hit them like a hammer, Avulstein tearing into one of them and Einar raging as he leapt over a section of pews and body slammed one of the priests back over another pew and onto the floor.

“Go Go Go!” We broke free of the melees and ran for the exit which as soon as Avulstein crossed the threshold with the Midnight Water, there was a flickering at the Temple of Loki, the lights went dark and then light, and all the priests fell over knocked out a few seconds – no longer giving us chase.

Darius dodged two more dog statues and ran on as they came to life but as he hit the lower temple and was running for the steps, the lights flickered and the barking stopped. He ran up at full tilt, hit the main temple where it looked like a mess had happened here and 4 people were picking themselves up and looking around bewildered. Darius ran for the exit and emerged outside exhausted and coughing on fibers – but free of the Temple of Loki.

His friends were here – and so was Negan! He was in one of the bird cage pens outside the temple, naked and tired. We opened it up and dragged ourselves around the corner and away from the main road while took note that we had escaped the Temple and managed to get the Midnight Water as expected.