Dark*Matter #19: Killing Jar 2

  1. Game date: 2017 Jul 29
    1. PCs: Markov, Lester, Maverick, Angus, Phil,
  2. 2014 Mar
  3. Met mothmen; defeated the Residuum
  4. PCs are taught ability to choose Magic, Tech, and Faith Arcane Backgrounds
    1. Markov
      1. rcane Background (Magic): Healing, Deflection, Quickness

Dark*Matter #11–Millennium Knights: Chasing the Ordo Octostium

  1. Game date: 2016 Sep 10
    1. PCs: Markov, Lester, Maverick, Mole
  2. London, UK. 2013 May
    1. With the data gleaned from the laptops passed onto the Millenium Knights, Supervisor Gordon-Yancy informs the agents that they have several leads. However, with Peter Bergson having escaped, the Ordo – whoever they may be – now knows that they are actively being pursed.
      1. The Knights have intercepted a message on an encrypted channel that indicates the Ordo is interested in the works of Roger Bacon, an alchemist that was a contemporary of Michael Scot.
        1. Bacon was purported to have discovered the secret of the Philosopher’s Stone – an object that according to various legends, either turns lead into gold, or grants immortality.
        2. Bacon was also a Franciscan friar – a disturbing connection to Nostradamus’ first resting place.
        3. Bacon was a young man when Scot left Britain for a post in Paris; a few years later, Bacon followed and took up a position in Paris as well, serving at the University of Paris.
        4. Although the University is now split into 3 autonomous schools many of the original buildings remain, with the majority of the “old documents” remaining in the Sorbonne.
      2. There is also mentioned in the computers that a Prince Wolfgang of Bavaria had recently acquired a stone tablet in a very private closed auction. It originated in Salon-de-Provence and is believed to be inscribed with the “Etoile d’Hesperia”.
        1. The prince is currently ninth in the line of succession for the House of Wittelsbach, the traditional rules of Bavaria. They don’t have much political importance anymore, but are still a prominent family.
        2. The prince resides at the family castle of Schloss Hohenschwangau, Germany. He is known to frequently have social events, and is likely to soon host a party to show off his new-found prize.
      3. The identities of the gunmen traveling with Peter Bergson, as well as Bergson himself are found to have visited Barcelona several times over the past few years. In particular, files in the computer highlight the Church of Sant Pau del Camp.
        1. Maverick learns that the church is at the site of an old monastery which was built in the eighth century, but scholars believe the site was used well before then. There are hints at a crypt beneath the building that is said to sit on a convergence of ley lines, a nexus of mystical energies.
    2. The agents determine that the best lead is to investigate the Church of Sant Pau del Camp in Barcelona.
      1. Markov, Lester and Maverick are joined by Agent Molenator – a former Delta force soldier on loan from MI-6.
  3. Barcelona, Spain. 2013 May 27.
    1. The agents arrive in Barcelona on train, and proceed to surveil the building. This is aided by the locale – it is now surrounded by a struggling neighborhood, leading to few visitors during the day, and sparse streets after sundown. During the evening, they don night-vision goggles and conceal themselves in some boarded up flats.
      1. Shortly after 1:00 am, a pair purposefully make their way to a side door of the building. And an hour after that, another trio.
    2. The agents proceed to the door, and after a moment of picking open the locks of what turns out to be cellar doors, descend the steep stairs to a pair of oil lamps flickering down below. But even from the top of the stairs, they can just make out the faint sounds – that of mumbling, or quiet conversation. Or yes, it could be chanting.
    3. The bottom of the stairs open up to a simple passage, with a heavy, metal-bound door way at the end, and an opening half-way down on the left and the right.
    4. On the left, set back from the passage is an old metal gate. Oiling the hinges, they proceed through to a small room acting as a storage closet. On shelves site candles, incense, clean bedding, dried and canned food, bottles of wine, and jars of what appear to be parts of animals. There are also some grey hooded robes, which they don.
    5. Opposite the gate, a new wooden door that stands in stark contrast to the rest of the ancient stonework making up these underground passages. Carefully opening it again, the room beyond is likewise small and filled with several cots and a desk, sitting at which, is a figured wearing a gray robe and hunched over.
      1. Molenator moves to subdue, when his rifle clinks on the low doorway.
      2. Before the startled figure can turn around, Lester pushes in and brings his pistol down onto the back of her head, knocking her quite unconscious.
      3. Taking a better look around the door, there are a handful of books on shelves, detailing rituals for meditation and “transcendence”
    6. The group then approaches the last door; upon closer inspection, they can see inscriptions on the archway that suggests it was originally a mausoleum of some sort. Cracking open the door, they are able to see a small chamber inside that is dominated by a stone sarcophagus. A robed man is leading the chanting while wielding a brush to paint blood onto the top of the sarcophagus. A few other figures surrounding him are chanting in response.
      1. Deciding not to take any chances, they throw three grenades into the room, instantly killing all four men.
      2. Entering, they see the lid of the sarcophagus has runes drawn in blood, and an circle etched into the stone floor around the sarcophagus has runes filled with blood. The blood comes from a pair of goats, whose bodies lie crumpled in a corner.
      3. Lifting the lid of the sarcophagus, the realize that it is entirely filled with blood. Reaching in, they begin pulling out pieces of a long-decayed body. But soon, they pull out the body of a boy of some 4 or 5 years.
    7. Questioning the woman, Markov convinces her to tell her story. Her name is Sophia Trujillo, and her ardent hope is that the ritual going on in the other room will heal her son, who is suffering from a “tumore” of the brain.
      1. She studies in the hopes that her devotion to Alejandro Rivera and his miracles will prove their worth. She met him at the Church of Sant Pau del Camp upstairs during her most desperate times of prayer. He promised her that he could help her son in exchange for her loyalty.
      2. Maverick is able to confirm that a Spanish woman by her name has been in the news in the recent weeks for absconding with her ill son in search of a cure for a brain tumor. He further learns that Alejandro Rivera is a wealth property developer in Barcelona that had purchased the building and the land to allow the church to continuing its worship services.
      3. Further questioning reveals that she has heard of an Esther West – who Alejandro referred to as “the conduit”, but has not seen any American girl there. She’s also heard that it had something to do with “El convergencia del aquaria”.
  4. Epilogue:
    1. Supervisor Gordon-Yancy request that they bring Sophia Trujillo back to London for questioning.
      1. The agents ask for support services for her as well.
      2. XP: 3
  5. GM:
    1. Grenades are deadly in closed quarters.

Dark*Matter #10–Millennium Knights: The West Family

    1. Game date: 2016 Sep 10
      1. PCs: Markov, Lester, Maverick, Steve Thunderschwartz
    2. London, UK. 2013 Mar 30
      1. Briefing: Supervisor Gordon-Yancy calls the agents together and informs them that the night before, the Millenium Knights have intercepted a priority dispatch from Switzerland to a Peter Bergson. He promptly made travel arrangements to Cefalu, Italy.
      2. She wants to get him under surveillance and determine what he is after; if necessary, to detain and/or neutralize him.
      3. The location pricks Maverick’s memory – Cefalu is the location of Thelema Abbey, the temple and spiritual center founded by Alestair Crowley… Nowadays, Cefalu is a seaside town with a brisk market for tourism.
      4. They take a train to Rome, where a white-paneled van is rented for a short ferry ride to Sicily.
    3. Cefalu, Sicily, Italy
      1. 2013 Mar 31:
        1. Markov, Lester and Maverick are dispatched. They are accompanied by Steve – a security detail with prior Navy SEAL and CIA experience, due to the recent violence in France.
        2. Maverick is able to successfully determine that Peter Bergson has rented a suite at the Artemis – one of the most luxurious hotels on the island.
        3. Meanwhile, the other three book a hiking tour and make their way to Thelema Abbey. They just find an old decrepit 2 story building without any sign of habitation. Further investigation inside just reveals the collected debris of a near-century of squatters. Structured mostly as an open central area, no hidden rooms or floors are found on thorough searching.
        4. Settling down for the night, it turns out to be a quiet evening for the three.
        5. Maverick spends the night in the van parked a quarter-mile up the gravel road from the Abbey… and is awakened by a knocking on the window. He manages to successfully convince the police officer that he is no more than a drunk tourist and promises to get a room. He drives back to town, then begins to drive back a half-hour later to rendezvous with the other three.
      2. 2013 Apr 01:
        1. Deciding to pursue another angle, they return to the Artemis where Markov procures a master key from a hapless maid. Disguised as plumbers, they manage to identify Bergson when he emerges from the suite – along with six other men.
        2. Markov and Steve begin tailing the group as they leave to wander the various tourist shops and cafes of downtown Cefalu, when Steve suddenly realizes that the group of men themselves were tailing a couple and their daughter.
          1. They were keep their own actions from notice from the family, so were obviously not security from them.
          2. They have formed three groups to watch the family as they settled down for a outdoor brunch.
        3. Taking the opportunity to further investigate, Lester and Maverick exit the van and use the keys to enter into the Bergson suite.
          1. They find maps of routes in the area, as well as two laptops.
          2. Maverick begins working his magic on the computers and is able to break into one to install backdoor access into it as well as begin looking into its records.
          3. It seems that Bergson’s group had a specific interest in a West family that was vacationing in Cefalu; a Chicago businessman Joshua West, his wife Mary West, and their 15 year old daughter Esther West.
          4. As  Maverick begins to examine the second computer, a shudder – as from an earthquake – shakes the building.
        4. A few blocks away, Markov and Steve manage to be at the epicenter – a tremendous explosion as a car parked further up the street goes up in flames.
          1. In the ensuing panic, the agents see Bergson’s men grab the young woman and shove her into a Volvo station wagon!
          2. They notify Lester and Maverick, the latter who quickly realizes that the departing Vovlo would pass right by them on the way to the Abbey as he had already driven the route several times in the past day. He parks the van crossways in the street to create a roadblock, opening the hood as if the car is having problems.
        5. A few moments later, the Volvo rounds the corner and slows as it approaches the van. The driver and Maverick get into a heated discussion, prompting Lester to quickly approach and fire a round into the back passenger seat where Bergson is seated!
          1. He wounds the man, but in return, takes a punishing blow to the head, dropping instantly!
        6. The gunshots spur the driver on, who veers onto the sidewalk to push itself around the van, with Maverick narrowly jumping out of the way of being crushed between the vehicles!
        7. As the Volvo careens off, Markov and Steve continue the chase on a pair of Vespa’s the pair acquired during the chaos.
          1. Over the next few minutes, the car and scooters in pursuit jockey for position, gunshots occasionally ringing out.
          2. At one point, Markov pulls alongside and opens up with a shotgun blast into the driver. The Volvo’s passenger manages to grab hold of the steering wheel to prevent a crash, just as the car rolls up to the Abbey.
          3. The sounds of fighting draw out another pair of gunmen who had made their way inside the decrepit building.
        8. More gunfire is exchanged as Maverick – fresh from pulling the very lucky still-living but concussed Lester into the van – arrives on scene.
          1. One of the gunman kills Steve with a lucky shot to the neck, and moves to do the same to Maverick. The young man barely ducks out of the door in time, with a few shots from his .357 out through the van passenger window.
          2. The sudden loud echoing retort inside the van rouses Lester from his unconsciousness – where he stumbles to the front of the van and unleashes Johnson and Johnson into the startled gunman’s chest.
        9. As Markov’s AK-47 tears into the remaining gunman, Maverick and Markov meet up into the door to the Abbey. Maverick pushes in on the count of three, with Markov a moment behind on four, where they see a bright light emanating from the middle of the room! Stepping into it, a wounded Bergson drags Esther West with him. Maverick leaps towards it, just as it fades and he finds himself landing on the filthy floor.
    4. Epilogue
      1. The agents call in an evacuation, and are told to lay low on the other side of the island before Supervisor Gordon-Yancy can plan an extraction.
        1. They make a quick detour back to town, where Maverick traces the laptops to a trash dump just outside of town.
      2. There is non-stop coverage of the terrorist attack at Cefalu, but attributed to intercine Mafia warfare. There was initial concern about a missing American girl, but that quickly fades amidst the reports of the deaths.
      3. Back in London, Maverick pursues a further analysis of the retrieved computers, and gleans an intriguing point. The various searches and analysis revolve around looking for an Esther – who’s name in Hebrew means “star”, harkening back to at least one of the English translations in the quatrain on the computer:
        1. “A star ascends from the house of west…”
      4. XP: 2
    5. GM
      1. This is the first time we got to use the Chase rules, and it went very well! It showed them the importance of vehicle skills in such a situation.

     

     

Dark*Matter #8-London Calling

    1. 2016 May 14
      1. PCs: Markov, Lester, Maverick, Angus
    2. Date: 2012 Dec 17
      1. While in London, an Inspector Lestrade from Scotland Yard – a friend of the Knights is seeking the Millenium Knights help in investigating a pair of murders that are have suspicious ritual cultic activity. Supervisor Gordon-Yancy asks the agents for help in investigating the two suspicious murders as she notes that they have previous experience with ritual cultic serial murders, and that the Knight’s local expert on cult activity was killed the week before during a burglary at his antique store.
      2. The two victims in the past few days have no known connection:
        1. Kendra Myers: DOB 22 Dec 1991
          1. An engineering student at the University of London.
          2. Slain at approximately 9 P.M. on Saturday, December 15 in her flat on Bedford Way in Bloomsbury (a district of London near the University of London).
          3. Body found at 9:40 P.M. by classmate Jeremy Burnham, arriving to study for upcoming engineering tests.
          4. Neighbors interviewed reported hearing no unusual noises or visitors around the time of death.
          5. Probable cause of death: massive bleeding caused by amputation of hands and removal of heart from chest cavity.
          6. Victim also had bruises on biceps, suggesting that she was gripped strongly by a powerful individual standing behind her. However, no defensive wounds or other signs of a struggle were found.
        2. Michael Grosvenor: DOB 22 Dec 1981
          1. A library assistant working in the British Library.
          2. Slain between 9:45 P.M. and 10:30 P.M. on Monday, December 17 in a reading room at the British Library.
          3. Body found at 8:20 A.M. on Tuesday the 18th by another library worker.
          4. Probable cause of death: massive bleeding caused by amputation of hands and removal of heart from chest cavity.
          5. Victim also had bruises on biceps, suggesting that he was gripped strongly by a powerful individual standing behind him. However, no defensive wounds or other signs of a struggle were found.
          6. Partial bloodstained footprint found near body; print resembles that of a great ape, but the species is as yet unidentified.
      3. The agents also request the details of the death of the local cult expert. There likewise is no connection with the two deaths, and the method of death was vastly different.
        1. Paramijt Singh: DOB 16 Jul 1953
          1. Antique dealer who operated a shop in east London.
          2. Time of death: approximately 8:45 P.M. on Friday, December 14 at his shop. Body found at approximately 9:30 A.M. on Monday the 17th by a customer.
          3. Probable cause of death: massive bleeding from multiple slash wounds across the abdomen.
          4. Current hypothesis: The victim interrupted a robbery in progress (as suggested by toppled shelves and ransacked storage). It is yet unknown what (if anything) might have been taken by the assailants.
          5. Analysis of the body found no defensive wounds or other signs of struggle.
          6. Fiber analysis revealed several reddish-brown animal hairs on the premises. Preliminary analysis indicates that they most likely belong to a primate, perhaps a baboon or orangutan.
          7. No signs of forced entry were found, suggesting that either the assailant had a key or was known by the victim.
    3. Determined to get the investigation started early, they decide to head to Singh’s Antiques in east London. In the midst of the Asian district, there is still a fair amount of activity in the evening time as customers made their way into 2nd hand electronics stores, book shoppes, shoemakers and such. The agents weave through the small crowds gathered around food stalls on the way from the tube exit to Singh’s Antique. Sitting in the midst of the many stores, it stands out with the yellow police tape over the door.
  1. Markov proves adept at making quick work of the lock as they gain entrance; he notes that the lock is intact with no signs of being forced. Inside, the small store is littered with toppled shelves and scattered items. The only other door leads to a small back room.
  2. Picking through the evidence, they notice no bloody tracks, suggesting the killer was careful to avoid the large bloodstain on the floor. They find Singh’s locked cashbox tucked under the counter with over 500 pounds inside, as well as several clearly valuable artifacts, such as those made of engraved silver or gold jewelry with inlaid semi-precious stones.
  3. Sitting on the floor in the back room is an opened wooden crate that appeared overly large for the two items still carefully packed inside: a bronze vase inscribed with skulls and leaves, and a triangular iron spear tip decorated with a flame motif. Next to the crate is a page that appears to have been torn from a Sotheby’s catalog.
  4. They agents retire to their hotel rooms for the night.
      1. 2012 Dec 18:
        1. Scotland Yard: The next morning, the agents meet with Inspector Lestrade who provides access to the medical examiner as well as accompanies them to the murder sites.
          1. When asked about why the Inspector contacted Gordon-Yancy at the Millenium Knights, he informed them that he has found them knowledgeable and helpful with the “strange ones. We used to have a chap who handled that kind of thing – Richard? Randall? Or something like that, but left the force six, or maybe eight years ago. Odd chap, to be sure.”
            1. They ask Emma at Personnel to track down Reginald Falsworth.
          2. A quick inspection of the two bodies did not reveal any new information, and they are notified the bloodwork analysis is still pending.
        2. British Library:
        1. Accompanied by Inspector Lestrade, they have no trouble accessing the cordoned reading room – a comfortable chamber with several overstuffed chairs and a fireplace. The cozy room is marred by the enormous bloodstain soaked into the large rug in the center of the room.
          1. Markov notes that there is less blood splattered around that might be expected for such a gruesome killing.
          2. Lester points out a partial bloody footprint just inside the door.
          3. They also make note that while the fireplace is empty of tinder or ashes, the hearth bears a scorch mark. Curiously, in the center of the scorch mark is a round, unmarred area about 8 inches across.
        1. Kendra Myer’s flat:
        1. Located near the University of London, the building sits among rows of other student houses. Students bustle to- and fro- to meet with friends, head to class, or participate in some collegiate activity.
        2. The hallway leading to Myer’s flat is like the thousands of similar ones throughout the city, with only the bright yellow police tape marking the room as anything but usual. There are no signs of forced entry through the door, and likewise for the single window in the living room. The toilet window only opens a few inches, and there are no signs it has been tampered with.
          1. The sparse, but comfortable space is tidy, and the accoutrements of student life decorate the small room – books on engineering, photos of mum and sisters, class catalogs, etc. For whatever diabolical reason, her murder cut short the life of a promising young woman.
          2. Like the Grosvenor murder scene, there is less blood splattered around than might be expected for such a gruesome killing, again suggestive of a victim that did not struggle much.
          3. They agents notice however, that the edges of the bathroom sink are slightly charred, as if they had been exposed to direct flame. There is also a small soot stain on the ceiling directly above the sink.
        1. Around tea time, they return to Scotland Yard where Markov calls the Sotheby’s Auction House in New York upon their opening.
          1. He confirms that Singh had previously purchased several items from southeast Asia – an Indian brass bowl, a Nepalese bronze ritual ewer, a Tibetan iron spear point, and an Indian copper dagger and sheath.
        2. Maverick meanwhile begins his research on the unique methods of death and is rewarded with information that suggests the practice of removing a heart and a hand was linked to a particularly sadistic worship of the Indian god Kali.
          1. Indian Mythology, AL. Trivedi, Ph.D.; © 1988 Panjabi Publishing “Kali is an emanation or aspect of Devi, one of the Asuras, whose name means “black.” She was often called “Kali Ma.” Meaning the black mother. She has a dark complexion; long, loose hair; a blood-smeared, tusked face; and three eyes. She has four arms: one handling a sword; another holding the severed head of a giant; and with the other two, she encourages worshippers. She is naked except for a belt made of rows of severed hands and a garland around her neck made of human skulls and of snakes. She is usually shown standing over her husband, Siva.
          2. “Her first deed was her battle with Raktavira. Unfortunately, each drop of blood Raktavira shed gave birth to a thousand giants as powerful as himself. She finally overcame him by holding him up, piercing him with her spear and drinking all his blood (which is why she is often shown with her tongue lolling out and dripping with blood.)
          3. “After the fight, Kali danced a victory dance that shook the entire earth. Siva begged her to stop, but Kali did not see him and he was trampled underfoot. From that time on, the gods would bribe or beg her to slay their foes. She gladly did this to satisfy her lust for blood.
          4. “Kali is waited upon by a great number of shapeshifting demons called Rakshasas, who feed upon flesh and are also known as Asra-pas or blood drinkers. Her worship includes orgiastic rites and human sacrifices, during which the victims’ hands are severed and eaten while their hearts are cut-out and burned in a consecrated brass bowl. According to Indian calculations, the world will soon enter the fourth age of the cosmos. This age is called Kali Yuga or Kali’s Age: the Age of Destruction. Most texts place the start of this age as December 22, 2012.”
        3. The medical examiner confirms the two bodies contain elevated levels of copper in the blood, and at the site of the wounds
        4. Emma also is able to get a picture of Reginal Falsworth from the personnel files. He is a young man with black hair, and she tells them that he would be 46 years at that time. But she cautions them that the picture and information is almost 10 years old.
          1. Maverick once again takes to the computers and is able to find a match in the conspiracy theory forums for a man who claimed to be a part of Scotland Yard. He even finds that the handle “SpookyMan” was active even as of just a few hours previous. Further sleuthing reveals the man’s IP address’ physical location in Hyde Park!
      2. Falsworth’s flat:
        1. The agents accompanied Inspector Lestrade to Falsworth’s flat anticipating a conflict  with a delusional man. They are met there by Angus McGillicuty, and they show Falsworth’s picture to the landlady, who tells them his flat number.
        2. Breaking in, they find a surprised Falsworth – older and more disheveled than his decade-old photograph –  who turns out to be more relieved at finding a group open to believing his theories than upset at being confronted.
          1. He informs them that he believes that the murders are the work of a group aiming to summon the demon-god Kali. And further that he has identified the two other people that they will murder for the ritual to be complete – Vivian Brunswick, a nurse at St. Thomas Hospital, born 22.12.71 and James J. Sibley, a member of the House of Lords and Minister of Parliament,  born 22.12.61; both at 12:01 am.
          2. He is convinced that they will be targeted in the next few days, and that the Kali cultists have a Rakshasa servant. He emphasizes several times that they must do whatever it takes to prevent Kali from being summoned.
        3. Markov calls the Yard and threatens Sibley’s life in all manner of colourful ways to ensure enhancement of his security. Inspector Lestrade hurriedly speeds off to aid in the security.
        4. A second call to St. Thomas hospital reveals that Brunswick is still working her shift. They ask her to be detained by security until they arrive. It is an hour trip on the tube.
      3. Protecting (?) Brunswick:
        1. The agents, accompanied by Falsworth, meet with Brunswick, who becomes understandably concerned about her daughter’s welfare alone at home when told about the danger to her. She is anxious to return home, so they decide to follow her discreetly whilst she travels; perhaps the cultists can be lured out!
        2. Forming an invisible protective bubble, they board the District Line to Beacontree. They keep a close eye on her even as the light crowd pushes in onto the train.  A few minutes later, they realize that Brunswick is exiting on Plaistow; the agents quickly debark with Angus staying on to ensure there wasn’t any trickery going on. Markov quickly catches up and attempts to nonchalantly walk parallel to the widow, with Lester, then Markov and Falsworth following.
        3. Brunswick exits onto the surface streets where the crowds slowly disperses. After walking the streets a few minutes, she abruptly turns down into an alley. Markov quickly backtracks and enters the alley to see that 20 yards in front of her, a pair of men are slowly walking away. He rushes forward, attracting their attention – a young Asian man, and a large British man. As he pushes past Brunswick towards them, the Asian man simply tells Markov to “leave them“. The Russian agent stops in his tracks – the command tugging at his brain; but pushing through the sudden urge to leave, Markov simply turns away… draws his pistol, completes his turn, and puts a bullets square in the Asian man’s forehead.
        4. The distinctive crack of the firearm discharge spurs the other three toward the alley entrance where they see the other man striking Markov in the throat with powerful hands, dropping him. Not trusting to shoot past Brunswick, Lester runs up to her with his pistols appearing in his hands; a pair of shorts sees only one finding its home in the man’s shoulder. Maverick meanwhile tackles Brunswick to the ground as Falsworth fires his .38 into the Brit as well.
        5. Unbothered by the two wounds, the man rushes forward and swings at Maverick, gouging thin streaks of blood onto his upraised arms. More shots ring out into the man’s back, which seem only to enrage it further, who’s furious swings at Maverick come close to tearing his throat out.
        6. Falsworth suddenly calls out for Maverick to “sacrifice the woman!” as he aims his revolver at the woman cowering behind Maverick; Maverick hesitates, but unleashes his next bullet again at the Brit. Is the blood loss getting to him? It almost appears as if the man’s elongated fingers and thickly-haired arm are claws!
        7. In desperation, Lester charges in and fire Johnson and Johnson directly into the back of the man’s head, finally causing him to drop. Kicking at the body, Falsworth is satisfied the threat is gone before taking the gun off Brunswick.
      4. Epilogue:
        1. Quickly arousing Markov, the agents retrieve the dagger and bowl from the Asian man. They find no CCTVs in the dark alley and quickly leave the scene with Brunswick before the growing sirens arrive. A glance back at the Brit doesn’t show any strangeness to his appearance; it must have been the light and the adrenaline playing with their senses…
        2. The agents contact Lestrade, who doesn’t want to know any details. He is comforted by the fact that the woman is safe, and that there is no video evidence of the “Asian gang violence”.
        3. XP: 3
      5. GM:
        1. London Calling was originally a module released for the Alternity Dark*Matter game

by Andy Collins. It was originally published in Dungeon Magazine #83 (November/December 2000). It is available online at London Calling.

Dark*Matter #8–London Calling Handouts

Sotheby’s Catalog

17. A SINO-TIBE’IAN GILT BRONZE FIGURE OF VAJRADHARA
AND CONSORT, late 18th/early 19th century, seated
in dhyanasana on a double lotus …
Arcade: Along the Silk Road: Asian & Islamic Decorations
& Chinese Furniture-Lot 17 8-Dec-2001 [Sotheby’s New
York, NY]
—————————————————————————————
18. AN INDIAN METAL RITUAL VESSEL, circa 18th century,
brass howl with Hindi inscriptions and slender serpentine
feet, approximately …
Arcade: Along the Silk Road: Asian & Islamic Decorations
& Chinese Furniture-Lot 18 8-Dec-2001 [Sotheby’s New
York, NY]
—————————————————————————————
19. TWO TERRACOITA HEADS, Rajasthan, circa 19th century;
each with almond shaped eyes, triangular nose, plump
cheeks and slightly smiling …
Arcade: Along the Silk Road: Asian & Islamic Decorations
& Chinese Furniture-Lot 19 8-Dec-2001 [Sotheby’s New
York, NY]
—————————————————————————————
20. A PORTRAIT OF A NOBLEMAN AND AN ASCETIC, Deccan,
Hyderabad, circa 1800, the nobleman kneeling before
the ascetic on a terrace, the …
Arcade: Along the Silk Road: Asian & Islamic Decorations
& Chinese Furniture-Lot 20 8-Dec-2001 [Sotheby’s New
York, NY]
—————————————————————————————
21. A MUGHAL STYLE DRAWING OF A PRINCE, circa 18th
century, standing and facing left wearing a flaring jama and
turban, a sword and …
Arcade: Along the Silk Road: Asian & Islamic Decorations
& Chinese Furniture-Lot 21 8-Dec-2001 [Sotheby’s New
York, NY]
—————————————————————————————
22. A TIBETAN THANKA OF PEHAR, 19th century, seated on a
white lion and holding a capa and sara, churi, khadga and
danda, encircled by …
Arcade: Along the Silk Road: Asian & Islamic Decorations
& Chinese Furniture-Lot 22 8-Dec-2001 [Sotheby’s New
York, NY]
—————————————————————————————
23. FIVE TIBETAN COPPER, BRASS AND SILVER GAUS.
18th/19th century, each portable shrine decorated on the
front with Tibetan characters and …
Arcade: Along the Silk Road: Asian & Islamic Decorations
& Chinese Furniture-Lot 23 8-Dec-2001 [Sotheby’s New
York, NY]
—————————————————————————————
24. A TIBETAN LARGE REPOUSSE GILT COPPER FIGURE
OF VAISRAVANA. 17th/18th century the guardian seated on
a lotus throne, wearing boots,
Arcade: Along the Silk Road: Asian & Islamic Decorations
& Chinese Furniture-Lot 24 8-Dec-2001 [Sotheby’s New
York, NY]
—————————————————————————————
25. A TIBETAN REPOUSSE GILT COPPER GUARDIAN FIGURE.
18th century, standing and wearing foil armor, boots,
long billowing sashes and large …
Arcade: Along the Silk Road: Asian & Islamic Decorations
& Chinese Furniture-Lot 25 8-Dec-2001 [Sotheby’s New
York, NY]
—————————————————————————————
26. A NEPALESE BRONZE RITUAL EWER, circa l8th/l9th
century, the flaring body chased with lappets, skulls and
scrolling foliage, mounted …
Arcade: Along the Silk Road: Asian & Islamic Decorations
& Chinese Furniture-Lot 26 8-Dec-2001 [Sotheby’s New
York, NY]
—————————————————————————————
27. A TIBETAN IRON RITUAL SPEAR POINT, l7th/l8th century,
damascened with flames at the base of the faceted triangular
blade, …
Arcade: Along the Silk Road: Asian & Islamic Decorations
& Chinese Furniture-Lot 27 8-Dec-2001 [Sotheby’s New
York, NY]
—————————————————————————————
28. A THAI SANDSTONE HEAD OF BUDDHA, Ayuthia Style,
with serene expression, triangular nose, full lips, downcast
eyes anti arched …
Arcade: Along the Silk Road: Asian & Islamic Decorations
& Chinese Furniture-Lot 28 8-Dec-2001 [Sotheby’s New
York, NY]
—————————————————————————————
29. A NEPALESE COPPER VOTIVE PLAQUE, late 19th century,
rectangular centered by a bodhisattva inset with rock
crystal, standing on a lotus …
Arcade: Along the Silk Road: Asian & Islamic Decorations
& Chinese Furniture-Lot 29 8-Dec-2001 [Sotheby’s New
York, NY]
—————————————————————————————
30. A TIBETAN ASTROLOGICAL THANKA, 19th century, a
central stylized lotus flower with eight petals each containing
a trigram, encircled by a …
Arcade: Along the Silk Road: Asian & Islamic Decorations
& Chinese Furniture-Lot 30 8-Dec-2001 [Sotheby’s New
York, NY]
—————————————————————————————
31. A MUGHAL STYLE COTTON HANGING, 1940, boldly
decorated with a large poppy plant with three large red blossoms
and five buds, all with …
Arcade: Along the Silk Road: Asian & Islamic Decorations
& Chinese Furniture-Lot 31 8-Dec-2001 [Sotheby’s New
York, NY]
—————————————————————————————
32. A TIBETAN PAINTED WOOD CABINET, 19th century, She
central door depicting the face of a ferocious dharmapala
with bulging eyes, open …
Arcade: Along the Silk Road: Asian & Islamic Decorations
& Chinese Furniture-Lot 23 8-Dec-2001 [Sotheby’s New
York, NY]
—————————————————————————————
33. AN INDIAN COPPER DAGGER AND SHEATH, circa 18th
century, the steel blade damascened with Hindi characters
and foliage. …
Arcade: Along the Silk Road: Asian & Islamic Decorations
& Chinese Furniture-Lot 23 8-Dec-2001 [Sotheby’s New
York, NY]
—————————————————————————————
34. A GANDHARAN STUCCO HEAD OF A WOMAN. 4th/5th
century, her face with benign expression, downcast eyes and
slightly smiling mouth, …
Arcade: Along the Silk Road: Asian & Islamic Decorations
& Chinese Furniture-Lot 23 8-Dec-2001 [Sotheby’s New
York, NY]
—————————————————————————————
35. A GANDHARAN GRAY SCHIST HEAD OF BUDDHA,
3rd/4th century, his oval face with meditative expression,
heavy-lidded almond shaped eyes …
Arcade: Along the Silk Road: Asian & Islamic Decorations
& Chinese Furniture-Lot 23 8-Dec-2001 [Sotheby’s New
York, NY]

Princes of the Apocalypse #2

[Game date: 2016 Apr 17]

[GM Law’s write up]

A southern breeze blew warmly as our heroes returned from Lance Rock. Having driven the mad necromancer out of the area, the heroes returned slightly changed for the better. Feeling the shame of having a foe escape from his grasp, Hoggle decided to change his name to Visk. As the party entered the inn, they happened upon a pair of humans who were discussing their longing for work. Having a need for bodyguards and meat shields, Visk implored the pair to join them and the group became slightly bigger. Chango and Kirke were glad to be able to find the work and be able to support themselves. While Visk and Korek drew and posted crude wanted signs around town warning them of the incontinent necromancer, Kirke found daytime work at one of the local quarries. The night passed uneventfully.

As the first rays of sunlight pierced the windows of the inn, Kirke went off to work while the others decided on a day of shopping. After Brother Faruk’s near death encounter at the hands of poor medicineship, Visk was able to procure 2 healing kits from the local scrounge shop. On his way back to the inn, a giant sinkhole opened up in the middle of town, sucking four hapless children and a woman. Kirke, being hero to the damsel in distress, grabbed rope to help those in the hole but was unable to keep his balance and fell in. Luckily he found the soft earth to be a great target and was unhurt. Several of the town elders were asking the townsfolk to back away from the hole as they attempted to rescue the victims. Visk, Brother Faruk, Chango, and Korek went into the holy after Visk spotted stone door along one of the far walls. Thus a rescue mission became a journey of exploration.

At the first junction, two stone dwarves guarded the sides of the passage. Noticing these were doors, the party decided to go down the right path. This led them straight to an abandoned privy. Not ever abashed at the prospect of secrets and treasure, Visk lowered himself into the toilet and found nothing. Retracing their steps, the party took the left door and soon came upon a grisly scene. The smell of rotting flesh permeated their nostrils as two giant rats were feasting on a pile of human bodies. When Kirke went to push them away, they turned around and attacked him. As the rest of the party pushed forward to help him, Visk found himself surrounded by three rats and each feasted on one of his lower appendages. The party was able to dispatch them but our brave wizard was feeling a bit diseased. After a quick rest and diagnosis, the party pushed forward into a room with a floating rock. Unable to enjoy the simply pleasures of watching a rock float in the middle of the room, Korek went and removed the rock. Moving into its space, he realized that he as floating just as the rock had. This area permeates a magic of an earthly nature.

As the delved deeper in, our heroes came upon a room with an enormous statue of a dwarf. As the rest of the party marveled at its posture, Kirke noticed the glint of an arrow and warned the party of the impending ambush. The fight was long and arduous. Korek was knocked unconscious and hope seemed lost as our brave knights kept falling prone thirty feet away from the enemies. Eventually they decided that they were men and engaged them. Thanks to Kirke’s shield bashing ability, the leader was finally dispatched and the remaining group was defeated. As they searched through the bodies, a familiar sign was emblazoned on each of the dead enemies’ armor. It was a triangle with a small vertical line at the base.

After a short rest, our party collected the treasure at the feet of the statue including a very nice dagger. Choosing the eastern door, they opened it to find a balding, frail old man who began to beg for his life. Weary of deceit, the party questioned him profusely until they determined that he might just be slow in the head. As Baragustas lead them through the central corridor, the party came upon a humongous stone. Next to the stone was a half orc keeping watch and a child pinned on the floor by stones. As the poor boy cried for help, our “heroes” questioned the half orc about the underground ruins. They found out that some of the townspeople were in a group that called themselves the Believers. One of the leaders of the Believers was Rotharr Hatherhand, the father of the child. After tying up Grund the half orc and Baragustas, our so-called “heroes” left the kid pinned under the stones and went back toward the east, looking for the Delvers, a mystical group of bodies that were believed to be able to tell the future. They were also interested in the so-called prophet, Larrakh.

Opening the door led into a giant chamber. There were rocks floating slightly above the ground and six bodies could be seen on stone tables. While sneaking and exploring, the scout Korek came across a hiding guard and the fight was on. Between Larrakh’s magic and the party’s horrible horrible horrible luck, the party was almost destroyed. Brother Faruk found himself using his healing to pick up Visk and Chango during the fight. As the party began to fall, Larrakh sensed his impending victory and could not help but gloat. “Your deaths shall signal the rise of the Cult of the Black Earth!” However, Brother Faruk had heard enough of the blasphemy and channeled the powers of his fingers into a single blast of energy. The bolt struck Larrakh square in the mouth and the cultist beat a hasty retreat as his followers began to fall. Although Larrakh escaped, our heroes have gathered some information on sinister activities that have happened in Red Larch.

Returning to the surface, the party tells Constable Harburk about the cult that has been hiding under the town and the dead bodies that have been found. The Constable suspects that the Believers may be involved and begins a thorough investigation. Harburk questions both Grund and Baragustas and finds out that although both aided the Believers, none of them were directly involved in the murders. Haburk continues his investigations over the next several days as the party rests and decided what their next plan is…

OOC:

Everyone should now be level 3. This is the last time any changes can be made to characters.

Total Gold for the night and special treasure (including any you have already spent)

440cp/253sp/97gp from dwarven statue

6 small green agates and 2 polished moonstones (130gp total)

dagger +1

54sp from Larrakh’s party

4 Mirabar trade bars

Assorted weaponry

Until next time…

Princes of the Apocalypse #1

[Game date: 2016 Mar 26]

(Law starting a new D&D 5E campaign for us to try out. Here is our story which he has written. I posted it here for our reference.)

A group of friends living in Waterdeep were summoned to Red Larch to help an acquaintance of Hoggle. Traveling as a group, Hoggle, Korek, Brother Faruk and Pitus the Fourth made the week long journey to Red Larch. When they arrived, they heard rumors of banditry and robberies as well as strange occurrences happening at a place called Lance Rock.

Needing money to purchase splint mail, Hoggle convinced the constable to offer a reward for helping to clear out some bandits. Heading to a site of known bandits, the group stumbled upon a gang of four bandits and a caged bear. While sneaking in for a closer look, Korek literally stumbled and the fight was on. During the fight the bear broke free of his cage and began to wreak havoc across the battlefield. In the end, both beast and bandit were defeated and Hoggle had enough gold to purchase his armor from the friendly neighborhood half-orc arms dealer.

Not content with dealing with bandits, the heroic party decided to investigate the rumors of strange occurrences at Lance Rock. Approaching the stone, they came upon a sign warning them to stay away else they contract the plague. Ignoring reason, the party pressed on and found a cave near the base of the rock. Wandering in, they encountered zombies and skeletons as they tried to find the root cause of the disturbances. Strategically retreating more than once and almost succumbing to a roaming wolf pack, the party finally encountered the Lord of Lance Rock who bid them to leave him in peace. Being the prudent and accommodating heroes that they are, the group decided to retreat one last time and allow the “Lord” to escape. When they returned, all they found were a few skeletons they quickly dispatched and a hovering stone with an unknown sigil that disappeared after the stone was removed. They returned to Red Larch, warning the townsfolk to beware of the Lord of Lance Rock and with pockets every so slightly heavier.

OOC: The party currently consists of 2 rogues, 1 bard, and 1 wizard. Seems tank/fighter light.

Everyone should be at level 2 now.

Background is randomly determined, if you roll 1d12 I can let you know your character background.

Starting equipment is based off choices from class and background, no starting gold unless otherwise stated.

Point buy is fine.

Healer makes life easier. Not sure if you had Cure Wounds Andrew.

Allowed to change anything about character until level 3.

HP after 1st level will be rolled in my presence. Roll or half, whichever is higher.

Total Gold for the night and special treasure (including any you have already spent)

25gp for bandit ears

99cp/74sp/113gp for bandit treasure

165sp/78gp from Lance Rock

4x 50gp gems from Lance Rock

driftglobe

Total: 99cp/238sp/416gp

Divide by 4

Old Dwarven Forge Pictures–Arena

[Originally posted on the Dwarven Forge forums 2010 Jan 27. Game dates 2009 Dec 01 and Dec 29]]

In a Forgotten Realms game my friend has been running between my regular games (utilizing a completely home-brewed rules system he created), our characters were hired out to escort a group of cargo-bearing lizardmen north along the Sword Coast to Luskan. Turns out, we were part of the “delivery” to the slavers. After putting up a good fight – unexpectedly on the part of our GM, who thought we would just lay down arms, we were subdued and forced to fight in the arena.

I remembered having just seen an incredible arena on the forums, so I tried channeling dudebird as I hastily created one from the 2 cavern sets I have.

We were split into two “teams”, and were given descriptions of the other gladiators on the opposing team. We had to pair up and choose a duo on the opposing team to fight.

This was the slaver’s complex, with the natural cavern serving as the arena; one side held the “box-seats” for the boss, and a pair of elevated platforms on each side had archers ready to shoot anyone who didn’t participate or tried to flee. We actually ended the game getting put into the arena that day, so the pictures below was us recreating just the arena portion from memory.

Arena

The arena layout, and the teams facing off. The last is a picture of my minotaur weaponmaster laying the smackdown on two of the lizardscum who sold us off into slavery and had volunteered to join in the arena for fun; they didn’t expect us to rain on their parade. 😎

Enjoy!

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Pathfinder Society #11–The Riddle

[Another old post whose pictures I recently dug back up. Originally posted on the Dwarven Forge forums 2009 Dec 26. Game date 2009 Dec 20]

I just started a Pathfinder Society group in Indy. For the first mod, I looked for something that would showcase the Return of the Ancients set. PFS #11 is called the Third Riddle and it takes place in a Giant Sphinx – perfect! The blurb reads:

When Pathfinder Colm Safan entered the Nethys-linked heart of the fabled dungeon known as the Ravenous Sphinx, the Pathfinder Society expected to solve one of Osirion’s greatest riddles. Months passed with no word from Safan, and you and your fellow Pathfinders find yourselves dispatched into the desolate wastes of Osirion’s notorious Parched Dunes to find the sphinx, find Safan, and uncover the mystery he sought. With a band of cloaked riders on your trail and a trap-filled dungeon ahead, will you solve the third riddle before time runs out?

The adventure was fun – a few times it got fairly hairy, but the PC’s succeeded.

For the water, I just googled for an image of water, print it out, and cut to desired shape.

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Pathfinder Society #39–The Citadel of Flame

[Originally posted on the Dwarven Forge forums 2010 Jan 27]

I’ve had the fortune of getting to game a lot over the past few weeks. Last weekend I got to run the Pathfinder Society mod The Citadel of Flame. It’s named after a temple to the devil Moloch that was buried 300 years ago after a group of Dervishes devoted to Sarenrae raided it in an attempt to stop the evil occuring there. After those 3 centuries, it has been re-discovered with worship of Moloch starting up once again.

I chose to run this mod because not only was it a lost temple, the “final room” had lava flowing onto the rocks and I could get to use both my RoTA and DOE Hellscape sets! Here’s some of the pictures.

The set of stairs in the large entry hall is supposed to represent a spiral staircase.

What in the devils is that thing?!?

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They flying demon creature retreated across a gaping break in the bridge!BILD0954

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The upper chambers where a portal to the Hells was opening!BILD0960

Overall layout of the temple – that “corridor” in the middle is secret room from which the party was watched and attacked.BILD0959

 

While preparing for the Pathfinder Society event, I ran a brief introductory D&D 4th edition game for some new players (plus one who had been out of RPGs since AD&D 2nd ed). I threw together a quick lair of a gnomish experimenter who had stumbled upon a way to create automata that when crazy!

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