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


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.


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. 😎





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.






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?!?



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


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!


Dark*Matter #7–Millennium Knights

  1. Game Date: 2016 March 05
  2. PCs: Markov, Lester, Maverick, Bill
  3. 2012 Oct 24, Wednesday
    1. Given a week off for leisure time in Europe after slipping out of Belgium, the group was enjoying a quiet vacation when Field Director Jones reaches out to them. In the continued forensics of the computers from the Noble Village Day Care Center for Challenged Children, the Institute recovered a cryptic file in a hidden folder entitled “Temple of Ashes”.
      1. “Look into Michael Scot. The necromancer might have had what we need.”
        1. Forensics revealed that the note was authored by an Mason Albright in England.Gordon-Yancy_thumb9
    2. Director Jones directs them to London where they are to meet with a daughter organization of the Hoffman Institute in Europe known as the Millennium Knights.
      1. They are met at a safehouse by Millennium Knight Supervisor Roberta Gordon-Yancy who provides them background on Albright. He is one of the noble families that maintained rank and some measure of wealth through the 18th and 19th centuries. As befits his heritage, he is a member of the House of Lords.
      2. She informs the agents that Lord Albright hosts regular parties, and that she has secured invitations for the group.
  4. Party-time
    1. Socializing
      1. The agents decide to go in as individuals and dress up for the black-tie affair. In the course of the party, the agents discreetly investigate Albright while mostly avoiding the security stationed throughout the estate.
        1. Lester deflects suspicion by entertaining several of the elites with his new-found knowledge of cigars and potential business dealings of their imports and exports.
        2. Maverick’s charms with a young woman allowed him to slip into several of the private hallways… only to leave her heartbroken when he snuck away into Albright’s private chambers.
        3. Markov’s lack of charm caused the only main commotion – but successfully used it as a distraction for Bill to scrumptiously joining Maverick in the office.
    2. Private Chambers:
      1. The pair make quick work breaking into a hidden safe which contained a handwritten journal and a vellum case.
        1. In the case, an old parchment written by a John Dee to Queen Elizabeth describing an old French quatrain he calls “ye Etoile d’Hesperia Quatrain”. He writes of it: “Ye Starre of the Occidente must needs be watched for as a heralde of the beginning of thinges either grande or terryble”
          1. Dee was a masterful scholar, but reportedly straddled the line between science and the supernatural.
        2. A Journal
          1. The vellum case was purportedly given to Queen Elizabeth I by Doctor John Dee just after the turn of the 17th century, and just prior to her death.
          2. Notes that Michael Scot wrote the quatrain and was a renowned thirteenth-century scholar and mathematician. Rumors held him to be a wizard of some power… and that he was buried at Melrose Abbey.
    3. Obtaining evidence of the preternatural, the agents depart without suspicion.
  5. Melrose Abbey
    1. The agents board a train to Melrose, Scotland during which their investigations turn up that the Abbey was founded in 1136; many of the original buildings are now in ruins, but a structure dating to 1590 is still intact and now used as a public museum; the main attraction is the burial site of the cremated heart of Robert the Bruce.
      1. Setting up surveillance, the agents note that late in the night after the closure of the museum, a trio of figures made their way to, and apparently, under one of the outlying ruined walls.Melrose-Abbey_thumb2
    2. Investigation
      1. While Bill and Maverick provid overwatch, Markov and Lester investigate undetected, and find that one of the flagstones has been moved aside, revealing steps into the group. Moving inside, they note that the trio are armed with pistols and are systematically searching the bodies in the crypts; after a time, one of them calls the other two over to a body where he apparently has found an object of interest. Deciding to not take any chances, Markov and Lester quickly dispatch the three men.
        1. They did not carry any identifying papers, but one bears a letter with a map of the Abbey.
          1. “Mr. Mitchell, I have need of your services again. Look into the crypts under Melrose Abbey and see if Scot had in his possession anything that might confirm Dee’s claims. I will pay your usual fee. -M. Albright”
        2. The object they found was a piece of folded parchment. The agents bring it back to Supervisor Gordon-Yancy in London, where they were able to examine it carefully. Although smudged and scribed in old French, it was still readable:Quatrain-smudged_thumb1
          1. Une étoile monte du maison d’Hesperia mille fois et encore de la croix la lumière de roulement et signe avant-coureur des ténèbres un nouvel âge est inauguré sur son aile
        3. Translated into English, it reads: A star ascends from the house of the west one thousand times and again from the cross bearing light and harbinger of darkness a new age is ushered in on her wings
  6. Epilogue
    1. The significance of this Quatrain to the Temple of Ashes and the connection to Albright are unknown.
    2. XP 3

Dark*Matter #6–The Last Equation

  1. Game Date: 2016 March 5
  2. Markov, Lester, Bill, Maverick
  3. Investigating the leads
    1. Maverick recognizes the name Fascius Claudan and is able to plunge into the various internet theories about him and his most famous work – the Libri Plures Admiratio, or the Book of Many Wonders.
      1. Claudan was a Brussels-born sage who lived from 1535 to ~1561.
      2. First 6 books were published on astronomy and mathematics and responsible for many minor breakthroughs in science and technology. Some of his pulley systems, cog works and early machinery for pumping water as well as various knots are still in use throughout Europe.
      3. In the later years of his life, he was said to travel to Asia and Africa to learn from their sciences. Upon his return, he was said to be withdrawn and strange. His defaulted on his debts, and wrote a series of articles he called “Wonders” on astronomy, Asian and African-influenced science and alchemy.
      4. These were collected into his last book called the Libri Plures Admiratio. It contained a code which was thought to be an equation – this was regarded in small circles to be an epiphany or complete gibberish. Mathematicians and cryptographers throughout the ages have spent hours plugging away to solve the glyphs, with little to no success. This equation was called the Laqueus, a math puzzle he claimed to have learned from an Arab in Istanbul (Constantinople) in 1560. The book claimed that the Arab was 600 years old and had seen the “grand library of Nakotic,” wherein lie the secrets of the ancient architects of the world.
      5. Caludan was incarcerated in an alms-house in the summer of 1561 and assumed to have died that summer from an outbreak of cholera which swept through Brussles and killed thousands.
      6. Only 6 known copies of the Libri survived to the modern age, and all but one were lost during WW2. What is believed to be the original copy resides in Brussels.
    2. In examining the photocopied book Bill had found in Wei’s room, they learn that it was a photocopy of a copy in the university’s library. It was published by an “Educationals Studies Book” and translated by Maurice Ester.
      1. The company ceased operations in 1944. The location of the company in the lower East side of Manhattan is now a Shack Burger, having previously been a Dunkin Donuts, a tire repair store and an art gallery.
        1. Ester died from progressive Alzheimer’s disease in 1986.
        2. Lester, Markov and Bill begin cautious examination of the text.
        3. In the last pages, Lester and Bill realized that some of Wei’s mathematical scrawls in the margins are interpretable.
          1. Lester makes out 2012 October 11 1458 followed by his own date of birth and then his own social security number and “hello!”
          2. Bill reads out 2012 October 11 1458 followed by his date of birth and 42.634 and -70.156
          3. The date and time correlate to this exact moment they are reading the book.
          4. Recognizing this, Lester realizes that everything in his life is predetermined by this equation; nothing that he does is going to change it, and starts to become particularly fatalistic.
    3. Determining that the others who had seen the equation may be in danger, Maverick hacks into the googlelists’ moderator’s email – one Dr. Julio Kimbrel, a professor of math at Alfred University in upstate New York. He sees that the email is unread in his account and recalls the email from the list and deletes all evidence of it from his computer.
      1. Maverick then begins to hack into the email accounts of the various list members. They include:
        1. Kelly Casselman, 29, a math teacher in a high school in Brinkman, Montana.
        2. Ben Philbeck, 44, a computer scientist at Lawrence Livermore labs, California.
        3. Kelly Pletcher, 21, a physics student at the University of Columbia, Missouri.
        4. Julius Sward, 31, a house-husband in Modesto, California.
        5. Tia Markell, 29, a math dabbler from New York City.
        6. Emile Tumlinson, 51, a chemist for Tyson Foods from Miami, Florida.
        7. Jamie Izzi, 19, a biochemistry student from Paris, France.
        8. Noreen Kuder, 22, a math student from Manila, Philippines.
        9. Dr. Eve Mehaffey, 39, a physicist from Brighton, England.
        10. Lawrence Badek, 42, a math and chess enthusiast from Wiesbaden, Germany.
    4. They spend the afternoon in a rented hotel as Markov and Lester continue their attempts at deciphering the Libri and Maverick works to hack the emails.
      1. Tia Markell’s email is first as she is closest in NYC. The account proves easy to break into and Maverick removes the email from her Inbox.
      2. Maverick is able to confirm that Kelly Casselman had indeed read the email the day prior, but Philbeck’s email sat in a spam folder unseen. Tired from the all-night drive as well, he is not able to stay up yet another full night.
  4. 2012 Oct 12, Friday
    1. The next morning, Markov, Lester, and Bill opt to physically investigate Tia Markell as well. After confirming she is still at work at as a accounting aid at Morgan Stanley, they break into her apartment and confirm there was no sign of disordered thinking.
    2. Shortly afterwards, a call from State Trooper Blanet, who informs them that he had gotten a lead on the origins of the murder weapon. It was a Remington Model 870 shotgun serial number 2022998 that was registered to the New York Police Department and supposedly still at the 24th Precinct in NYC.
      1. The agents meet with Sergeant Marquez at the desk who escorts them to the basement weapons storage lockers. The locate the wooden storage box still nailed shut in the locker. Upon opening it, four of the 870s sit undisturbed, but an empty cutout in the foam shows where a fifth is missing.
      2. Markov stays with the box as Lester and Bill accompany Sergeant Marquez up to get a forensics team for fingerprints and find out who was responsible for checking the weapons in and out.
      3. The computer records show that Sergeant Marvin Herrera had checked out dozens of weapons on the morning of 2012 Oct 10 as part of the quarter weapons maintenance program. They were moved to the precinct parking lot for the gunsmith to work on for the day and just brought back down at the end of the day.
      4. Herrera is brought downstairs and questioned about the missing gun, but swears he knowns nothing about it. He is a 19-year veteran of the NYPD with a sterling record and informs them that it was a simple “pipe” replacement of the shotguns under the care of Jose Lopez of Long Island Firearms. He claims he never left the guns unattended.
        1. Upon further questioning, he remembers that he did walk away from the guns “for a minute or two” when an accident occurred at the other end of the parking lot as an exiting squad car hit a dog.
      5. They pull up video surveillance of the lot on that day and “around 9 or 9:30”. As they watch, Herrera and Lopez are in the foreground with several wooden boxes of weapons. Bill makes out in the background of the video, Michael Wei standing just across the street from the parking lot. For about 20 minutes, he just stands there with a duffel bag regularly looking at his watch. Suddenly, he begins to walk to the west parking lot entrance. Some fifteen seconds later, a patrol car pulling out of the east entrance jerks to a stop as a terrier runs out in front of it chased by an older woman. The struck dog and frantic woman draws a crowd as well as the attention of Herrera and the gunsmith, who get up and walk to the other entrance. Just as they leave, Wei arrives at the boxes, uncovers the them and pries them open with a hammer he removes from under his jacket. He takes one of the shotguns and places it into the duffel bag, then hammers the box shut again before covering them and walking back away. The time stamp shows 09:21. A minute later, Herrera and Lopez return to their work.
      6. The Sergeants are obviously disturbed by what they saw and asking “how could that psychopath know we’d be gone for a minute?!?”
    3. Maverick continues to work on the email accounts of the mathgeeks as the agents investigate the driver of the squad car (Officer Jonathan Levy cleared), the owner of the dog (a pensioner Alice Richardson – cleared), and Jose Lopez.
      1. They drive to his home on Long Island and break in when they convince his wife that he had been in a bad car accident and they needed her at the hospital.
      2. The only math book of note they find is a picture counting book “for ages 2-4”, likely belonging to one of the 11 grandchildren pictured in the various family photos.
      3. Maverick meanwhile finds that Kelly Pletcher had accessed the email the previous evening. Julius Sward’s inbox was full of unread urgent messages “CALL ME NOW!”, “what’s going on?!??!!”, “OMG are you ok???” from this morning. The googlelist email was read in the morning shortly after it was sent on 2012 Oct 10.
        1. Further research revealed on news sites revealed a house fire in Modesto, California that is suspected to have “claimed the lives of the Sward family – investigators on the scene now”.
    4. With two suspicious events now connected with the Laqueous, Maverick calls Field Director Jones about the list of potential exposures and requests resources for help in containing the equation. They are requested to track down Casselman while the Hoffman Institute were sending other assets from St. Louis to investigate Pletcher and from California to Modesto. He states that he would be contacting sister organizations in Europe and Asia to look into the non-US names on the googlelist.
  5. 2012 Oct 13, Saturday
    1. The four catch the first plane to Montana from NYC in the morning (with Maverick buying a nice hat prior to boarding).
    2. Upon arriving in Brinkman mid-afternoon, they surveil the unassuming single-story ranch house in a quiet neighborhood. No car in the driveway, and no lights on in the house. Various neighbors go about their Saturday business.
      1. Markov and Lester sneak up to the house and notice the front door slightly ajar. The stealthily move in and see the living room covered in a bizarre mixture of ripped and arranged pictures – mostly of teenagers.
      2. Moving further into the house, they find the young woman seated at her desk working on a computer spreadsheet; a Mossberg shotgun laying across her lap. As they approach, she smiles at them and asks quietly, “What is the answer?”
      3. Quickly replying “9920.29…” before trailing off, Casselman suddenly raises the shotgun. But Lester was anticipating the move and fires a pair of shots from Johnson & Johnson – hitting the gun and causing it to fall. A scuffle ensues with Casselman’s Tai-bo put to good effect against the surprised Markov before they successfully restrain her.
      4. On her spreadsheet, a variety of math calculations has resulted in a series of seven 9-digit numbers. They delete all files on the computer (after Markov makes a backup copy). Then a quick call to Field Director Jones has them calling the police to detain the woman while being recommended to track down and destroy the copy of the Libri in Brussels.
    3. They depart on a red-eye to Chicago to head to Brussels.
  6. 2012 Oct 14, Sunday
    1. The long flight gives time for Maverick to catch up on his rest while Lester and Markov study the Book of Many Wonders.
    2. Arriving in Brussels that evening, they secure a hotel room near the L’Universite libre de Bruxelles, where the Libri is located.
    3. While checked in the room, the news began running a breaking news story about an “unfolding situation” of a middle-aged man threatening suicide at the top of the Marktkirche Cathedral in Wiesbaden, Germany. Later that evening, the man had unfurled what appeared to be a bed sheet with numbers written on it in shoe polish. They recognize the same numeric sequence as at the Ridgway house. Sure enough, the man was later identified as Lawrence Badek, a previous math teacher. Even later, the Spezialeinsatzkommando stormed the rooftop to try to secure Badek, but it ended when Badek fell to his death along with one of the SDK SWAT commandos on live TV.
    4. Markov and Lester continue studying the photocopied English translation while Maverick finally manages to break into the email account of Emile Tumlinson. Scattered among a multitude of unread emails, are the occasional ones which had been read. Fortunately, the mathgeeks one is buried on the 12th page, unopened. It is quickly deleted from the email.
      1. Having spent close to the entire day trying to puzzle out the Laqueous, Lester manages to convince himself further that no only were his actions predetermined and non-malleable, so were those of everyone and everything in the world! To deal with these depressing thoughts, he wanders into the night of Brussels where he acquires – and immediately begins using – cigars; they calm his mind to rest from the constant thoughts intruding into it.
    5. Bill is able to get into contact with an acquaintance, Franc Petri; Franc had spent some time with Bill at the Hoffman Institute in New York. He was able to provide the agents with some pistols as they were unable to bring their guns into Belgium.
  7. 2012 Oct 15, Monday
    1. Maverick works through the night and day to break into the remaining email accounts while the other three go to the Brussels University Library.
    2. The three find it quite easy to draw the attention of the librarian away from the small closed room where the special collections are stored and for Lester easily secreted the book away in his waistband. After a quick debate as to the merits of keeping the book, Lester regretfully sets it alight with a cigar.
  8. Epilogue:
    1. The NYPD informs the agents that the fingerprints on the weapons box indeed matched that of Michael Wei
    2. Kelly Casselman was arrested and placed into a psychiatric ward. The numbers on her spreadsheet corresponded to the Social Security Numbers of 7 of her students.
    3. The Hoffman Institute also informs the agents that the body of the FBI mathematics crypto-analyst, Special Agent Sarah Comox was found Oct 15th at the Shaver and Sons – a small stock trading firm on the lower east side of Manhattan. Firefighters responding to the fire in the building (located at 229 9th Ave East) found her body on the ground where it appeared to have fallen nine stories from the room. It required several hours to id the body. Surveillance photo showed she accessed the safe and destroyed 2.3 million US dollars worth of bearer bonds by setting a small fire. Interestingly, the phone number of Shaver and Sons is 212-333-0229.
    4. XP 2

Dark*Matter #5–The Last Equation

  1. 2016 Feb 28
  2. Markov, Lester, Maverick, Bill
  3. 2012 Oct 10, Wednesday: A call around 16:30 from Jones to investigate murder in NJ that occurred around 1430 that day.
    1. Jones said a post-doctoral math student at Columbia University identified as Michael Wei proceeded to a upscale neighborhood in Alliance, New Jersey and shot and killed 8 people belonging to a family. Witnesses out in the middle of the day reported hearing gunshots and then saw Wei chase Michael Ridgeway out into the nearby Highway and killed him. Witnesses understandably kept their distance as he proceeded to spray paint a series of numbers on the road before turning the shotgun on himself.
      1. The numbers are suspected of possessing dangerous, paranormal properties, having been tied to cultic activity and unexplained phenomena. This flagged an alert in the Hoffman Institute system
      2. Some of the Hoffman theoretical physicists say if the world could be considered a simulation run by a very powerful computing system, then some calculations would be “back-doors” into the code – hacking reality as it were.
    2. Secured transmission says:

    Operation IAPETUS

    You are to investigate the murders of MALCOLM RIDGEWAY (44), DINAH RIDGEWAY (43), MICHAEL RIDGEWAY (18), CLARK RIDGEWAY (16), DEAN RIDGEWAY (14), MARY RIDGEWAY (13), ALICE RIDGEWAY (12), CLAIRE RIDGEWAY (10) in Alliance, New Jersey on 12OCT10.

    Murderer is MICHAEL WEI (26) (DECEASED). Wei was a mathematical student at Columbia University New York. Wei inscribed a series of numbers at the scene which are suspected to possess dangerous, paranormal properties.

    Mission Instructions:

    — Determine if WEI distributed the number in any manner besides the crime scene (phone, fax, email).

    — Locate WEI’s notes and work on the number and destroy it.

    — If possible, destroy the number inscription at the scene and all photographic evidence of it in the hands of the authorities.

    — Locate any exposed to the number with mathematical experience and report them back.

    — Link WEI romantically to DINAH RIDGEWAY. Fake whatever documents necessary to make an affair between the two seem likely.

    — Once protocols are complete, contact director for further instructions

    Possible Friendly Contacts :

    — Trooper Thomas Blanet, New Jersey State Patrol

    1. Jones says that the numbers found have been tied to paranormal and potentially Dark Matter activity
    2. They are to go as special forensics consultants to the FBI after their previous mission
  5. Markov, Lester, and Bill fly. Maverick drives through the night and day, researching on his phone as he does so
  6. Bill goes to the John Jay Hall in Columbia around 2100. The front sign declares it houses dorm rooms, as well as the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, containing the Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics divisions.
    1. He is met by Sandy Beema, the school’s representative, who shows him Wei’s messy room.
    2. He turns on the computer to find the most recent email To: with the Subject line reading: “I’ve got the Laqueus Solution!”
      1. This is followed by complex math in the body
    3. The most recent file utilized was a complex excel spreadsheet that resulted in a numeric outcome:
      1. 10.10.12,921,40.796901,-73.968158
      2. 9:21(AM), 40.796901, -73.968158
    4. Under the futon, he also finds a binder clipped stack of papers that look to be a photocopied book entitled “The Book of Many Wonders” that looks well-read annotated, and heavily marked
  7. Meanwhile, Markov and Lester investigate crime scene.

    1. They successfully avoid the media circus that have flocked to the scene – after all, what else can attract media attention more so than a horrendous murder scene with innocent victims, insanity, and a confusing picture of a student with no connection to them; KILLER MATH TEACHER! blares the headlines.
    2. They meet the 3 FBI Special Agents: William Gant (a stocky young white man in his mid-30’s) who points out Special Agent in Charge Aiden Canor (well-dressed black man in his 50’s), and Sarah Comox (white woman in her mid-30’s) a mathematics cryto-analyst.
    3. The bodies are not yet moved, but are covered by tarps; the victim outside is face down with GSW to the back and Wei is nearby with his head mostly gone. Lower jaw is intact, and a shotgun and spray-can is next to the body. On the pavement, a series of numbers which has been spray painted. A pictures is taken of the number sequence: 9920.229989212.333
    4. Inside the nice 3-story house sitting on some quarter acre, they find the bodies of the 7 other victims; one near the front door, a few others sprawled on the couch and recliner, two near the back sliding down, and one near the kitchen counter.
      1. Markov pockets some of Dinah Ridgeways’ lipstick, perfume, and underwear.
      2. They note that the shotgun was loaded both with buckshot and slugs.
        1. There was also a shot to the kitchen stove that froze the analog clock at 14:28:13.
  8. The agents retire to the Motel 6 in Alliance for the night. Maverick meanwhile managed to break into Wei’s various computer and phone records.

    1. He most often communicates with Mom, Imogen Wei (both with Californian numbers), Tony, and Molly
      1. The latter are more recent and text messages revolve around dinner plans
    2. He has no social media, but multiple online dating profiles, none of which have any substantial activity, and mostly inactive for past 6 months.
    3. He manages to stay refreshed regardless of his all-night drive
  9. 2012 October 11, Thursday
    1. The next morning, they return to the John Jay Hall. Markov places the pilfered items from Dinah Ridgeway as well as pornographic magazines featuring older women purchased from an adult book store.
      1. In his room, further searches reveals various credit card receipts for food purchases from the school cafeteria. Special Agent Gant confirms no unusual credit card purchases, and no weapons receipts.
    2. They go to meet with Wei’s mentor Professor Offenhaut, who informs him that he hadn’t seen Wei since their weekly meeting the Thursday before.
    3. His work and dissertation involved research into Mersenne prime numbers. He had been working on “fast distributed math models to generate extremely large Mersenne primes, numbers somewhere in the range of fourteenmillion digits, but he was not having much success.”
  10. Offenhaut only knew the Laqueus Equation as a historic math puzzle that was unsolved. Looking into one of his texts, he remembered that it was a puzzle attributed to a Fascius Claudan, “a mathematician, astronomer and scientist who lived sometime in the 1500’s”, but not much else about it.