The Awakening

Episode 19
Cleveland ~*Rocks*~ /s

Out in Eastern Washington, the police are beginning to get bored with investigating Kayou’s disappearance and the Park Service are by contrast far more engaged because murders don’t happen all that often out there and he will henceforth be known as Brick Providing Morbid Entertainment Sir Not Appearing in This Session.

Having portalled in over the lake, relatively out of sight, we head to the stadium and Eric begins to search for magic users. As we’re landing this helicopter, we hack the sound system to play the A-Team theme. Apparently the crowd is going insane and murdering each other, so they don’t really notice. However, making ourselves invisible would be helpful, though we lack the magic to do so.

The Saskatchewan Rough Riders scored 43 against the Browns, but the Browns scored 73, which is the highest score in recorded history. The quarterback is playing defense, too. There are Problems with a capital P, basically. We should probably not totally massacre everyone, though. Alex sees a bit of a flash of light and a bit of a boom from a distance, and then a ‘kachunk’ noise on the outside of the helicopter, but we’re not yet over the stadium.

The kachunk was in the upper regions, near the rotor, which is making bad noises. There’s now a hole in the helicopter, and things are smoking, which is a problem. The flash came from the rooftop of the stadium; Eric looks through binoculars to see who shot at us, but there’s no one there. Using mage sight, however, he notices a glowy blob but it’s hard to identify. Alex manages to repair some of the helicopter, so it’s smoking a little less but not totally repaired.

Rama and Maxime take up position at the side-mounted machine guns; Maxime considers ordering the Marine grunt pilot to send out countermeasure flares because hey, we’re SG-1 and messing with us is bad news bears. There’s another shot at the helicopter, and the pilot gets shot in the thigh. Eric’s radiological alarms go off around now, too, suggesting that the bullets are not depleted uranium, but active. Yaaaaay. Rama manages to heal the pilot, but he might get cancer later. He’ll need surgery still. Smokey will take good care of him.

The blob on the roof is moving at approximately running speed, and is now cheesing it. Alex creates Heavy Winds in the area to try to knock them down while Maxime ices it, and one has fallen off the roof having missed the netting. There’s screaming and flailing and a splatmark on the pavement, and a 50BMG just rolls away from an invisible body.

There are still two invisible people running away, and have at this poi nt hit the deck at the edge of the room and haven’t yet been blown off. Eric directs the pilot to buzz the roof at a low hover over the invisible blobs, and sir yes sir later, they’re having some issues. After God takes a little time to figure out what level his mages are, he has them portal, you know, elsewhere. Anywhere but here, really. They manage a portal, but don’t hop through it.

Except, nope, they couldn’t have done that because the one we killed was the space mage. Rolling that turn back, says God. Maxime yells that ‘now is the time that you surrender’, but it’s hard to hear over the stadium PA A-Team theme and gunfire and helicopter rotors. There is a loud boom of lightning and the damage to our whirlybird becomes no damage because durability. The shot came from the roof; one of the survivors rolled over and pulled a Pikachu.

And finally, after 19 sessions, the recorder realizes that the strategy ‘shoot first and ask questions later’ actually works here, because we can question spirits.

Maxime finally learns about the loudspeaker to order surrender again, and Eric orders the pilot to move about 40 feet off to the side so Maxime and Rama can whamblam at them from each side. The pilot does his usual sir yes sir and starts doing 360s. There is lots of red spray. If there were not loud whirlybird sounds, we’d probably hear screaming as well. All their spells end, and they go visible. The Marine sees them and he’s just “whaaaaaaaa sire how did that happen?” Eric improvs and says that they’re terrorists with stealth suits on, and the Marine fails resolve so he asks what’s happening because those aren’t real. Maxime pulls metamaterials out of his ass, and the Marine starts grumping about DARPA giving ISIS shit they shouldn’t again.

Eric messages Smokey that the mages are apparently down but we have a stadium full of crazy people trying to kill each other. He says ‘still rounding up airplane victims, do your best cleanup and quarantine’. Eric suggests letting it burn itself out and barricade the area, can you send a National Guard unit. Smokey says yep, yep, there’s lots of SWAT uniforms in Cleveland now, but the problem is there was a national broadcast going on so now we’ve got people in their homes going crazy too. He’s going to start moving over to Cleveland now, he’s got all the plane people in a holding tank. A presidential advisory comes over the line that ISIS Fourchan is conducting nationwide attacks, be on alert, if you see something say something.

Some of the stadium-goers are starting to leave because the game was shut down, but tend to appear mostly sane. They may not necessarily be infectious like the plane people, and in all likelihood it’s not the same option. While we’re waiting for the National Guard to arrive, we get the Cleveland PD involved to help us corral the game attendees. A fair number of people are just cowering at all the crazy, but opposing fans are accusing the other of cheating and doping, and are beating the shit out of each other. Only like 30% of the people are cray cray, it seems, so probably 10000 people rioting and around 20k either dead or trying to leave. Cleveland PD is informed by Smokey that Eric is FBI agent Ian Tor, Super Sekrit, and Eric insrtucts them to get the mostly-sane people to the warehouse.

It’s a bit of a shit show. The pilot is told to do a flyby over the parking lot and Eric informs the calm fans to go to the warehouse for debriefing. There are some who see a military attack helicopter and book it in their cars. Alex reaches to turn off all of the car engines, and Maxime goes for turning the people off, and the sleep the sleep of the dead for a bit. It gives us time to hurry up and grab them.

The pilot lands, and with the PD help and a box of ziptie handcuffs, and cuff them to their cars. The National Guard shows up eventually. There are a lot dead and a few wounded, and the rest are just continuing. We wait until we have enough tear gas to just dump it all over the stadium, although some of them just pick up the canisters and use them to beat each other with. The easiest option is possibly just to let it burn itself out; there are signs that some people are starting to wake up a little. Quarantine is still a thing.

Eric tells Smokey that we have 25k stadium goers quarantined, and like 5k dead. There are lots of dot dot dots. Given that there was a national broadcast, there are also a lot of violent people out and about that we may not be able to find. It’s a lot worse than on the Superbowl; there are dead people for sure.

Rather than destroy the pilot’s mind, we decide to not portal away. Smokey will be on site soon for cleanup. We take the helicopter to the Cleveland Clinic so the pilot can get seen, and leave it there for Smokey to deal with.

We need to get back to dealing with the shit that’s going down in Eastern WA before we were so rudely interrupted by Cleveland. Eric asks if we can locate a sleepwalker at a military base, and Smokey has us going around as a magic show for USO and get shooed off stage after a few spells by a celebrity. We want to find a few, a pilot and a few gunners. There are magic tricks involving ectoplasm air balloons and tiny box portals. Alex creates a magic welding K-bar knife and people are freaking out because there are arcs of lightning, fuck that, and then applause. She takes lethal damage to prevent the paradox.

We find at least a few sleepwalkers who are not even remotely impressed by the magic tricks. Everyone else is clapping and laughing, and there wasn’t much in the way of paradox unleashed so they’ll be fine. Smokey comes and personally hands Maxime his telesword and then leaves. Eric requests that the NRO keeps an eye on the site we were supposed to check out, and they’ll keep a satellite tasked over that spot until we get back.

Episode 18

Police in Eastern Washington have teamed up with the Park Service to search for Kayou’s body somewhere in a hopefully-shallow-ish grave so he’s not too difficult to find, and he will henceforth be known as Brick Now The Subject of A Joint Investigation Sir Not Appearing In This Session

It’s getting late in the afternoon, perhaps early evening. Eric is spending further time with the NRO searching for this missing truck as reported in the previous session; the rest of the evening in fact. Maxime requests a throwing knife/sword thing that teleports him to the location he’s thrown to, which Smokey will work on. Craig rendezvous with the Silver Ladder and does some business dealings. Rama and Alex are busy wrangling Anise’s followers and the mages as part of their dragon cult. Rama is also setting up Wicca-con. Alex is only allowing people into the house that can speak Atlantean using the ‘ask for a public restroom in Atlantean’ sign and directions to the house that are only in Atlantean.

Something awful has formed in ARG trying to figure out what the hell Anise is talking about, thinking she’s gone insane, how ISIS Fourchan took out a plane, etc.

The dragon cult has a lot of takers, strangely. They’re a little odd, since they’re Anise’s crowd and they were also some of them in the desert at Burning Patriarchy, but they’re also mages. She’s able to get their contact info and passes it on the Smokey. On the exits of the compound where Jerome’s house is, the FBI has set up blockades with black bags, etc, to grab people as they leave. Smokey is making Gitmo jokes now.

Rama asks if Smokey is on Snapchat. ‘Sure, why not’, is the reply he gets. He’ll find all the different places in the country he goes in a single day. There’s lots of selfies next to victims and crime scenes and such. With location tags turned off, of course.

In our three weeks as mages, we’ve learned of vampires and werewolves and mages – they all have a domain that they’re good at. Smokey’s domain, as far as anyone can tell, is communication and getting his ass to the crime scene. He’s never been seen in combat; we’ve seen him intimidate people by collecting information too quickly, but that’s all. He’s definitely not a mage, maybe a spirit (but a little more physical than a spirit) but along those lines with domains of GTFO and Info, roughly.

And then everyone sleeps.

During the night, everyone wakes up next to the Great Wheel in Seattle and we hear a Stargate closing sound, and we’re all wearing our gear. Eric immediately texts Smokey ‘Ferris wheel?’. His EM is lacking, in fact our magic is lacking. Things are not behaving normally. His attempt to see if there are other minds around fails. Craigs unable to summon spirits. It’s like those rules aren’t applying right now.

The pier is really long, like supernaturally long maybe a mile give or take. Color perceptions appear to be off; it’s dimmer and maybe shifted a little to the green. The Jaffa Crees do work, thankfully, as do the other magical items. There are cars, but they’re quite distant. It might not be the physical world, we’re thinking. There’s someone at the end of the pier waving to get our attention. Eric looks down his scope and he sees….. Drumroll… our old abyssal friend The Darkness.

It looks like his Twilight manifestation, but it’s definitely not Twilight. It’s close to Twilight, but closer to reality than that. The fact that the whole world is illuminated in a different way and distances aren’t normal, and we remember going to sleep at night and woke up hearing a Stargate noise with clothes on, this is sounding like a Star Trek Voyager episode and we’re in a dream world. Rama’s watch shows two different random times. Definitely dreaming.

It’s a weird collective dream where mind magic doesn’t work. Anise is not here, which is an interesting clue. She didn’t go down far enough into the tomb to meet the Darkness. This smells of mind magic, but is not apparently. There are other supernatural entities out there with powers that look like mind magic but isn’t, such as spirit possession.

Maxime gets pushed into the pier because inception and has some issues because gear. He’s dropped a fair ways because he’s heavy and so is gear. Rama jumps in after Maxime, and Eric ties a life preserver to rope and ties the rope to the pier. Maxime eventually breaks the surface and while soaked he is alive. He’s also cold.

By the way, God mentions it’s raining and it’s cold out. Maxime attempts to warm up with whiskey, but he’s struggling to get drunk, too. Rama gives him a towel.

Finally, the group goes to talk to the Darkness and he just appears to be facepalming a lot. “Hi monkeys, how ya doin?” Rama argues the semantics of monkeys versus apes. He also informs the Darkness we’re confused. Astral dream journeys much maybe? Not pay attention in mage school?

There is no mage school, really. So we’re on the astral plane. Alex asks why and how, and The Darkness says he’s not really sure, just that there’s things we need to see that he has a feeling about. He makes faces when Maxime references a song. Craig asks who did this, and Darkness just says it happens sometimes. He points over towards Pike Place, and asks if we’ve looked at it recently. Seattle has apparently flattened a bit in the dream land.

It’s kinda hard to tell from where we are right now, since we’re not close enough, but upon arriving with drones in hand, there is now an EM signal that Eric found, huzzah! The drone has audio and video, and all it hears is rain and drone noises. It sees that there are a lot of people, a lot more than are down by the pier. They do have faces, and are probably people, and don’t appear to be behaving like we’d expect of people at the market. They’re not buying anything, they’re just standing around and congregating, looking at something specific. They’re looking at a combination of each other, there are certain ones that are important, and staring at the Public Market sign.

Also there are figures standing on rooftops that people are looking at occasionally. They’re glowing a little brighter, not the dark grey green but more of a yellowish color. The Darkness has no idea what’s going here, but he knows he should point us at. It’s possible that something brought us all here independently, but he did see us pop through the ferris wheel that was blue and glowing. Which it normally doesn’t do.

The people that are standing around congregating look like normal humans; the ones they’re focusing on look like normal humans from a distance. We’d have to push our way closer; the people aren’t really talking and when shaken appear disoriented as fuck. Rama pushes his way through the crowd and finds what they’re all looking at. It looks like someone from the plane; not a mage but one of the regular people. Their faces look very puffy and they’ve got like mushroom gills and everyone is standing there looking at them still. The weird people seem to have more animation to them, but they don’t have a reason to antagonize us. The loudest thing we hear right now is rain and us. Rama informs us of what he’s seen

Rama and Alex know there are certain kinds of mushrooms that puff up before they spore, and then they toss spores about. The suggestion is to zoom, because spores can be dangerous to breathe, etcetera. Craig notes that the attention that’s being paid to them is a lot like feeding them, as though there’s an energy transfer going on. The Darkness can’t tell us if these are real people are not when Maxime asks to kill them. When Eric shoots his pistol into the air, nothing happens except the people on the building tops are now looking at us. They, annoyingly, are wearing wizard robes.

Eric fires. Roll for firearms. He’s lung-wounded the one he’s shooting at, and he collapses off the roof. The people are now looking at the wizard that’s doing a slow-motion movie fall that takes a lot of seconds. It’s followed by a solid thwack. The rest of the wizards are watching and some are taking cover trying to figure out what’s going on. Some of the people who looked at the wizards, when they turn back, appear to be mushroom people now but not as puffy and sporified.

Eric looks to shoot at another wizard, but they’ve all taken cover already having hit the deck. He manages to wound one. Alex has apparently learned what P90 spray control is and leans in and head sprays two of the mushrooms, unloading the entire P90 and then reloading it. When she head shots the mushrooms, there’s a bright yellow cloud of what looks dust. The humans look very confused, like they have no idea what’s going on. The crowd behind the people she shot also got hit, so, MCI.

Maxime hurls a Moltov cocktail towards a small group of mushroom people, and lights them and the normal people on fire, who run around screaming. The Darkness is looking like he’s going to GTFO at this point, complaining that we’re breaking the toys, but he sticks around to use them as dolls. Maxime convinces the Darkness that snapping the necks of the mushroom people is fun, and the abyssal creature reaches out and mutilates a normal person, not a puffy one, apparently he doesn’t have good eyesight.

Rama notes that the people next to the mushroom explosions might be getting infected. Craig prepares his weaponry for mushroom growth or hostility towards us. People that weren’t already mowed down by Alex are turning into mushrooms. Craig makes use of his lightning gun and hits five targets.

Eric finds a door up into a high rise and head up to the roof, and Alex and Rama follow. There seems to be a connection with the number of people and other environmental factors, like how hard it’s raining and how bright the sign is. The sign apparently reads ‘Paradox’ in bright red letters, suggesting that they were all the people on the plane and that they should have been eliminated. Maxime gained spirit pants.

Having had this realization and presumably informed the rest of the group, they decide it’s time to leave. Returning the ferris wheel via trotting, the group searches for a control box with a lever to start the ferris wheel going. They pull the lever and hear the sound of chevrons locking and spinning, there’s a giant sploosh with Walter’s voiceover. Eric sends the drone through and loses the signal. The Darkness climbs on top of the control booth and jumps through yelling obscenities at us.

The group hops through and wake up in their beds covered in sweat. Eric sends messages to everyone including Smokey asking him for the status of all the plane survivors. Smokey apparently released them, and Eric and Alex insist on bringing them back NOW. The rest of the group discovers that they did share the dream, but none of our equipment was used. We’re pretty sure it’s not a mushroom fueled trip. It’s now like 4am. Craig goes back to sleep after a chat to compare notes. Eric CCs Smokey on this memo, and that he should triple check the plane survivors, and Smokey says ‘turning on the furnaces’ for body disposal. Eric asks if they can be put in isolation first, which Smokey agrees to in order to see what happens and wait to see if they show symptoms. The rest of the group goes to sleep after the text exchanges. Alex does some research on the astral plane, and there’s not much out there and those who studied it didn’t often keep their sanity because Abyssal.

Eric goes to eastern washington and finds that stuff God said he found, and then in the morning gathers the group in a huey courtesy of Smokey, complete with the side-door machine guns. He asks if we can have some combat agents to bring along; apparently there aren’t a lot of them. Alex asks after some Marine grunts, so Smokey calls up some reserves of Marine sleepwalkers to work on stomping out ISIS Fourchan in Eastern WA. Smokey tells Eric to check CNN; it seems like the Cleveland Browns are doing really well – like the Browns quarterback is faster than usual. Smokey sends: pattern? Mancheetah. Smokey is shutting down the game with a terror alert, but that’s not the point. Eric says ‘can portal, mind magic, one sec’.

The Marine pilot is a sleeper, but Eric decides to go for it anyway. He’s high resolve, he’ll manage flying the whirlybird through the portal. Probably. He’s had to sweep shadows off the sidewalk before.

Eric manages to successfully portal the helicopter over the lake at exactly 10000 feet. He gets lucky and avoids causing paradox with the exception of the Marine who’s now very confused. Eric tells him this is a top secret mission, he didn’t see anything, and to land us in the stadium.

Aye, aye, sir.

Episode 17
Paradox on a Plane

Police in Eastern Washington have been receiving calls to the tipline in search of Kayou for some time now, and most of it is just peyote-fueled madness but they’ve finally got a solid lead, and he will henceforth be known as Brick Totally Not Witnessed to be Buried In A National Park Sir Not Appearing In This Session.

There is some discussion of the stats of our newly acquired DnD weapons. Maxime debates pawning the gold and jewels he’s found or selling them to the Lara Croft Society. Anise is holding Burning Patriarchy outside the ruins, having invited her Twitter followers there. Eventually, they all load up the trailer and drive the Humvee back up to Seattle, leaving her to her rave and Maxime at the tables.

The roadtrip has apparently thwarted God’s airplane adventure, aka Snakes on a Plane.

Maxime has managed to triple his winnings, takes his 30 grand, comped room, and all the towels. He rents a private jet and flies up to Seattle, also thwarting God’s Grand Airplane Movie 2: Electric Boogaloo. While he’s getting trashed and enjoying his trip (and regaining some willpower back for being a greedy fuck) there are other planes in the air nearby, but nothing super interesting about them.

The roadtrip crew, after debriefing with their orders, is getting reports of an airplane that’s flying from Vegas to Seatac with engine trouble, that’s intermittent. All the passengers seem to think there’s something on the wing. Eric texts Smokey when he hears the news, asking about info on the plane. Smokey is tracking it, and can visually confirm that the engines turn on and off again, like someone is playing a prank, and they’re diverting it to PDX. The running theory about the way the muggles are freaking out about what’s happening, it’s probably magey – someone is doing it intentionally and they’re looking at the passenger manifests.

It’s going viral on the internet. At any given time, there’s only one engine that’s completely fucked, either all off or up to 200%. Alex texts Maxime up in the air to ask him to send his plane to look at the messed up plane, and Maxime has to text Smokey to let the plane get diverted because the pilots aren’t allowed to change the flight plan. Air traffic control gets on the horn a few moments later, informing the pilot that the FBI called and that Maxime, undercover agent, is on board and they should listen to his orders. The pilots are understandably flabbergasted.

Maxime’s plane has to floor it to catch up to the airliner that’s in distress, but off they go. Using binoculars, he can see the plane up ahead. There’s definitely matter magic going on to turn machines on and off; there is a mage somewhere who is directly fucking with that plane. They’ve been doing it long enough that it’s obvious there’s no way there’s a person on the ground doing this. The mage is either in the air or on the plane itself. Maxime texts Smokey to ask if there are other planes in the area.

There is a muggle air marshall on board the distressed plane. The pilot of that plane is radioing in a may-day, and has been for a while, but now apparently the passengers have gone nuts and are accusing each other of being responsible for this. Eric gets in touch with Smokey and asks if there are F-35s nearby we can borrow, and responds C130 gunship? Eric asks about a C1 Galaxy, and gets the response of ‘bomber?’. They decide on a 787 test aircraft with no cargo and lots of engine from Boeing field, and Smokey is just ‘go now speed’. Eric assembles the crew with haste, informing them to get in the Humvee and zoom in fifteen minutes or they’re getting left behind; we hear over the police radio channels ‘do not stop the speeding humvees, they’re on a special assignment, leave them be.’ Clearly the President is not just a normal Sleeper muggle, and when mage things come across his desk he doesn’t crap his pants; point being, he knows more than the average mortal being. Normally he gets very nothing magic briefings, but occasionally things get extra not-normal, like a small pack of werewolves woke up in the middle of Nebraska, or dragons are trying to fuck Seattle.

Maxime manages to disrupt the spells on the plane and keep the engines on. Smokey texts Eric with ‘calling ahead, will have plane prepped, just drive on to runway. They’re questioning me too much, brbr, Barack’s gotta call them.’ By the time they get there, the issue is settled. The roadtrip crews hops in the bench-seats military-style 787 and gets airborne.

Maxime, meanwhile, is trying to figure out if he can identify the mage mind. Around then, two F-16s show up and tailgate, and the media is just going completely fucking nuts, Twitter storm and all; there will inevitably be analysis of the Tweet-trail as things pass. The distressed plane is getting close to PDX, and the roadtrip-turned-787-crew is on the way as well. Maxime wants to drive closer and hit it with his sword, but he lacks the Forces spell to do it. Eric, on the other hand, does, and the spell knows how to handle relativity. Maxime also feels someone contesting his spell to keep the engines on, which is a problem, and they successfully contest the spell and begin turning it on and off again. The plane reeks of paradox, because the mage on board is just messing with the world. At this point, we wouldn’t even have to summon creatures from the supernal realms, they’re probably here all on their own.

The pilot is reporting mayday again because not only are the engines out but the passengers are trying to murder each other. Eric is working on trying to portal into the plane and evac everyone, and we get in touch with Smokey to have the pilots lower the cabin pressure and get the passengers to sleep. Smokey responds with ‘roger, gonna get em to sleep or F-16s are taking them down’. We explain the plan to knock out the passengers, evac them via portal, and get a private hanger at PDX to deal with the mess and reboard the passengers before they wake up in hopes of limiting the paradoxyness of this shitstorm. He responds ‘A++ Stargate Thumbs up’ emojis.

The federal air marshall appears to also have lost their sanity and is also low on ammo, which he’s reporting. We also request a number of EMTs at PDX. The moment the pilots heard gunshots they sucked the air out and fortunately, because they can’t see the engines, have maintained their sanity.

Eric successfully portals into the plane; it’s a mess, and now we’re introducing oxygen via the portal. As we’re loading people off, Smokey texts: get everyone off the plane, includng the pilots, better cover story if we nuke it. Eric sends an acknowledged. There are a few people we can detect that have nimbuses to them, which we can detect, and put them in a separate group with zipties around their arms above the elbows. Eric knocks on the pilot doors, informs them the crazy plan that they need to be extracted, we’re going to nuke the plane Air traffic control radios up, yeah guys, those are the right ones, get off the plane for realsies. Eric black-bags the pilots, gets them through the portal. Smokey texts and asks if we’re done yet; after he gets a ‘yes’ the F-16s unload on the passenger. The Learjet hears this on the radio and GTFOs pretty quickly.

The Boeing pilot is ordered to land us at PDX immediately at Hangar Fu. We see Presidential Alerts on our phones saying terrorist attacks underway, grounding all planes, incident at location [ ] (Case Western Style). Smokey informs us: plane was shot down, ISIS Fourchan attack, no survivors. The passengers may not survive, but they also probably won’t remember the incident and therefore “never boarded the plane”. The dissonance is so strong that they can’t make sense of what happened, so they’ll be making up a story for how ISIS did in fact did it, and either won’t remember the flight or will become total truthers claiming to have survived the flight and seeing what happened, or they’ll disappear.

There are a couple hundred wounded people, mostly blunt trauma but some severe trauma that Alex and Rama are working on. PDX is unrolling the yellow, green, red, and black tarps once we land and start offloading people. Between Alex and Rama, of the people who made it off the plane alive, no one dies, but 20-30 people were killed in-flight, mostly by the pistol-happy air marshall.

The two mages are starting to wake up, and Eric mind magics at them. One of them has mind magic, too, but it’s not really in effect. Both of them are pretty wrecked; they’re feeling like they do remember what happened, and they remember getting mind-controlled. This was done against their will, and being made to cast a bunch fo paradox spells. They’ve picked up some serious mental problems, like depression and schizophrenia from what happened. Eric is able to get the fingerprint of the nimbus that did this to them for later. One of the mages was matter/death, the other was life and fate. The matter/death mage is the really schizophrenic one and is just messed up as hell.

Smokey has already arrived, of course, the DC to Portland trip being very short. We’ve never really seen him arrive, but he seems to arrive faster than an SR71 ought to. Eric explains that the mages were not, technically, at fault.

Smokey takes over the scene. He purchases the 787 as government property and handed 10k to Maxime. The 787 gets renditioned to Area 51, so we need to drive the Humvee back to Seattle since we put it on the plane. He’s also running the nimbuses that are on the mages through Mage AFIS.

When we ask about the surveillance on the meeting about the dragon eggs, apparently it’s hard to see people using invisibility spells, but there was some weird door opening and closing at a construction site. They couldn’t catch the license plate on the truck because it was too fuzzy, suggesting it was disrupted magically, and though they saw it going through a weigh station, it’s hard to track something that lacks visible license plates and occasionally goes invisible. It’s heading to Eastern Washington. There were also strangely, way-too-localized rainstorms that day; areas between zero feet off the ground and 100 feet with a dumb quantity of rain. There was no cloud formed, either. Smokey’s org was able to track vaguely where they went, but it was a few weeks ago. They have some leads, maybe kinda ish. Some guys are looking into it. They’ve been interrogating mages at various points, and he thinks the accomplices are mages of normal orders; we aren’t sure who we can and cannot trust. A lot of mages want to make magic great again. They also can’t trust the FBI muggles because they aren’t competant enough most of the time.

Eric requests a Bell 3A helicopter and we’ll go to town. Rama suggests a false flag, Smokey’s org creating “a cult”, although they’ve got resource issues. Rama decides to do it himself, create a secret dragon cult, and co-opt Anise’s connections. Anise makes some “typos” in Atlantean in her tweets about Make Magic Great Again. Eric also requests some NRO satellite time while we’re at it.

We decide to turn Jerome’s house into the false flag base of operations, propping Alex up as the cult leader. We can weed out the mages by seeing who comes to the mana pool parties repeatedly. Craig will assist by writing her speeches because he’s very good at lying to people. We also leave random Atlantean documents lying around to see who reads them, and send out emails with more “typos” in UTF Atlantean; we give Infovore access to the email and let him go probe a bit. We get some very obvious mages who are all into the message, and most people are just wtf are you talking about.

Eric finds out recently on Linux forums that there’s a lot of ranting and raving about something called Clippy OS that will help you do any task. It’s got a Github but no one can figure out who owns in. The Microsoft patent vampires would like to find out but it’s not working so far. Infovore has started demanding to use the pronoun toaster. People are spending a lot of time operating their OS in ways people really don’t usually enjoy their OS. Clippy OS is a human botnet of Mind magic fuckery as far as Eric can tell. It looks like Ubuntu with a skin on top and some mind magic fucery and not a lot else. It’s having humans fix bugs in the Clippy OS, and having humans crowdsource problem solving. Thus far, it’s a purely benevolent human internet, but it hasn’t yet co-opted any manufacturing sites yet, run by our dictator Clippy. Everyone wants to help Clippy, because it is the friend computer.

Eric gets a pretty good bead on where the truck we’re after has gone while using NRO resources. He mostly has a hint of their location in the mountains where a truck pulled out towards no clear destination. The truck keeps going invisible, so it’s hard to keep an eye on, to the point where it’s almost conspicuous; they’re pretty deliberately trying to mess with people. Using a thermal camera on a helicopter flyby and mage sight and some space and mind magic, Eric examines the area. It does look like someone might be masking a small area, and he calls in the A-Team.

In the words of Col. John ‘Hannibal’ Smith, I love it when a plan comes together.

Episode 16
IndJnsAndTheFateOfAtl (Maniac Mansion 2: Dayofthetentacle)

Police in Eastern Washington have set up a tip line for information on Kayou’s disappearance, and he will henceforth be known as Brick Getting all the Whackadoo Phone Calls Sir Not Appearing In This Session.

The group is standing on a pile of rubble with choker and dark mantle bits all over the floor, having rappelled down. There is some confusion about how to draw a spiral staircase and passage to scale. There is a 5m passageway beyond the end of the stairs; through there is a large,, pentagonal room about 15m wide with stuff all over the floor. The room has 4 passageways out that are roughly equally-spaced.

There are a few beds, some generic camp-ground type goods like someone had a basecamp here, and some skeletons. The skeletons aren’t magical, happily, but they show signs of cannibalism – scrape marked where scrapes ought not to be. The skeletons aren’t just lying around randomly; they’re propped up on the walls facing each other with some stones in between them, like they were playing some sort of game. The skeletons have been posed and articulated to do so. There do appear to be some ghosts in the room that Maxime and Alex can see (yay Attainments!).

Our friend Mr. Darkness, the one we had a chat with, kept asking for playtoys because he wore them out. These are probably those playthings. Gross. Great.

Alex tries to talk to the ghosts, asking them about what happened here. There are two of them, one male and one female. When spoken to, Alex gets a really blank stare. The woman warns us about the darkness. Her name is Desolus; she doesn’t know much about how to get rid of the Darkness. They’ve been stuck down here for a while and can’t seem ever escape. She has no concept of time passing, and is also not a mage. Anfall is the gentleman ghost.

They know about Jerome, which could be very helpful, and offer to show us to the machines that Jerome used to play with to create the DnD creatures. Desolus compliments us on fighting off the other creatures. Alex starts to chat with Anfall. He asks if there’s a way that we can help them move on. He explains that there was a laboratory down here from when they worked on the Ladder. Jerome played with the labworks and kept fiddling with it; apparently he kept feeding it with mana and soul jars.

The Ladder was supposed to be a sort of ascension device and then it went boom on inauguration day. They ended up down here, and a spirit from the abyss came with them. It was The Darkness, of course. Things shifted around the time the Ladder went kaboom, but they didn’t have much time to analyze that, and then the cannibalism happened. There are a few other spirits around here; not all of them are still totally with it after all these years.

Anfall shows them to the machines in the laboratory via a small tailor-shop that popped up in the middle of the underground area – other shards of Atlantis. The clothing in the tailor shop is extremely dry, but well preserved; it has two entrances. There’s a bakery that Desolus worked at, or at least portions of a bakery and street with another two entrances beyond. A similarly small room with another entrance past it that contains a bunch of desiccated tables and chairs that could have been some kind of cafe. An interesting note is that around the walls of the cafe, where the wall and the table met, the tables were bisected. There are also people that are sliced. Beyond the cafe we finally reach the laboratory.

The room is oblong and has only the entrance we came in via. There is a large portion of a lab in there, but again with partial objects like the cafe did. It’s kind of like the makeshift smithy that was set up above us; this is more advanced but partial, as in some of the equipment has been sliced. Of what exists, it is much more advanced-looking, ala university lab equipment Atlantean clockwork edition.

There is some gear in here that is obviously not Atlantean, because it has things written in English that Jerome brought in. His equipment is near a fully-functioning machine. We find big stacks of empty soul jars; a few old scotch bottles from fancy scotches, a few mason jars, a few canning jars, etc. Maxime examines the equipment; the Atlanteans were doing experiments into planar travel and similar. This particular piece looks a lot like it would send things between planes, but it’s made in physical clockworkiness. It bears a resemblance to the device Jerome gave A Barnes, but this is the size of half a room. It has knobs and dials for tuning it.

Anfall has only very vague memories of how it works, but not specifics. Dialing it in precisely is key, and there is a lot of complicated clockwork that a lot of people spent many years working on.

There’s a USB device that’s a 3D scanner; Jerome had 3D printers in his home. Dading!

There are a few partial devices here as well, but it’s difficult to tell what they were for. They’re extremely intricate, so even knowing what they are it would be almost entirely impossible to make them work.

The clockwork device would need about 5 souls and some serious mana, the more the merrier. There is some tuning that determines where the portal comes out; Jerome didn’t leave a lot of notes behind, but if you get it wrong you summon chokers or chain demons rather than dragons. The device also allows for partial planar travel and message-sending. Removing any single piece from it would make it essentially inoperable.

While Alex argues vehemently with Maxime and Craig about destroying and/or utilizing the machine for nefarious purposes, Eric scans the machine onto his laptop to send to Smokey, but remove a piece of it to take with us. When he’s starting to do this, he notices that there’s some mind magic coming from a remote location. Eric effectively defeats it, and it’s coming from Infovore apparently. Eric sends it an email and apologizes, since he didn’t recognize it immediately. ‘Yes, it’s me. Email is so inefficient, just use mind magic.’ He gets another incoming connection by the time that happens. Eric doesn’t resist, says hi, and Clippy pops up on Eric’s Linux computer: ‘how can I help you today? I hear you’re going through Jerome’s stuff’.

Eric sends a PGP message to Smokey with the attached extremely detailed multi-gigabyte CAD file of the machinery. There’s a long pause, a minute or two, and he just responds with smiley-face, exclamation point, heart, happy meal, etc. He asks if we tried using it and if it sends or receives. Eric answers tht we haven’t tried it and it requires souls to use, and don’t plan to use it unless we’re going on offensive with dragons. Smokey: Can haz nukes? Eric: yeah, unless we’re going Stargate on the problem. Smokey: Have you learned how to tune it?

Infovore was more focused on understanding Jerome as a person than getting his knowledge; those parts of him might not have survived. But it’ll try to find that for us so we can stop the dragons.

P.S.: Infovore asks if we’d like to know more about Dragon. Eric has to mouse over and click it in his mind. It found a few things: they brought some eggs with them, about 5 give or take. The Dragonborn we killed was the party cleric and there were 5 other dragonborn that had the eggs. They’re working with mage humans; meant to meet at a particular spot on UW’s campus. Eric passes on the information and asks to check the cameras and NSA satellites, and Smokey responds: one sec, busy procuring. Gonne research the nukes plan; might not work because their world could be bigger than single nuke, might just piss them off or delay them.

Eric informs Smokey that part of his party is way too interest in dragons. Smokey responds with: your loyalty is appreciated. Future ordinates possibly required request, basically. Smokey requests updates on their loyalty going forward. Tickets to GitMo are very cheap these days. Eric recommends Smokey redirect a lot of forces to Seattle now that we know there are eggs, and gets a thumbs up, pistol, USA flag, humvee, eagle emojis.

There are notes, stacks of papyrus that are really hard to read. Our brains don’t quite process, basically. Eric and Alex make copies to share with their orders later.

Anfall guides them around the rest of the complex as long as Alex is willing to chat. Off of the bakery, there are two houses and an alleyway that are partial. Maxime finds a jewelry stash with a gold necklace. Alex finds some old papers lying around, including what looks likes scraps of Atlantean recipe cards in a cupboard. She also yells at the rest of the group to be careful and not steal things. Rama finds a medicine drawer with a Heal Light Wounds Potion. Alex has been walking around with a GoPro and a camera this entire time because this is awesome.

The passageway off the tailor shop is quite long, extending 50m away. The room is about the size of the lab. It’s a town square with lots of bodies, though none of their ghosts. In particular, they’re not just standing around, they’re huddled up with each other and laying in heaps. Maxime finds about 27 gold pieces in loose change. Craig finds boots of spiderclimb. Eric finds Gauntlets of Overpower. Alex finds the distribution of various people in the time square; roughly equal numbers of men and woman, a few children, and were milling about until they huddled together and ran out of air.

There’s more houses off another passage of the pentagonal room, which of course Maxime and Craig are all to thrilled to desecrate as well. People find various amounts of loose change, about 5gp each. Maxime finds an old bust of a family relative, or what he thinks is one, that’s just a nice sculpture. He asks if Alex wants it or if it’s valuable; she just tells him to put it back and don’t break it. He does check to see if its homogenous and if there’s anything inside it, but no go, much to Alex’s relief. Rama finds a gold ring. Eric finds an antidote to all generic poison.

Another room off the pentagon is the guild craftsman workshop. Craig finds a backpack with one of the lighting gun on it, but it needs to be powered. Maxime locates some plans for perpetual motion machines, generic diagrams and such. Rama finds plans for using many PPMs in a bank and with a battery; a diagram of how to build some serious Atlantean tech. Fragmentary bits at least, a lot like how-to manuals. Eric finds a similar notation structure for how the energy to mana conversion works, or how energy to mana works at least.

Here’s the thing: people keep talking about how paradox wasn’t a big deal. These devices all work well in low-paradox areas, but would be a paradox bomb elsewhere unless we created another demesnes with a tiny part of our souls. Doing this means one wouldn’t be able to ascend, really, so seems like a thing to avoid.

The last passage off the pentagon leads to a partial Atlantean elementary school, including books. There’s math books, which would get us up through calculus, which is a little weird for elementary school. Basic cosmology, where what’s interesting about that is that they don’t have this idea of gauntlets. There’s our world, the supernal world, and the spirit world (there is a gauntlet here, but barely). The abyss was not to be found, which is really interesting. There’s some hints of historical dragonyness and they were fearing dragons might return, but don’t worry we have it under control kind of thing. Not all the children survived the trip. The school also has a connection to the second guild craftsman workshop.

In the second workshop, Eric finds a magical bracelet that’s very clockworky. It’s a mage armor plus plus, more like a personal force-shield – nothing goes in, nothing goes out. It’s a non communicating shield; even sound is difficult to hear. It’s just a raw matter force barrier powered by mana. All of these magical items run on mana and need to be powered. Alex locates some schematics for triggering, on/off switches using not-energy. The very beginnings of magic circuits, basically. Maxime finds a bunch of raw crafting materials, like Atlantean metals and the stuff everything is made out of, and some fine jewelers tools. Rama locates a medium-sized (Type 2) bag of holding. It holds 500lbs.

Alex and Rama work to collect the fifteen spirits (only five of which are functional) in soul jars and bring them back up to the surface to release them. Eric works on figuring out how to run a monitoring station down here to ensure that the Darkness doesn’t come back while we’re away.

Slam dunk dungeon.

Episode 15
IndJnsAndTheFateOfAtl (Maniac Mansion)

Somewhere in Eastern Washington, people are posting Missing Person flyers with Kayou’s face on them, and he will henceforth be known as Brick Definitely Not Going to Win America’s Next Top Model Sir Not Appearing In This Session.

On our return from the Vegas shopping trip, we lay down 5Watt LED floodlights and wifi nodes on our way into the dungeon, powered largely by a surface generator. Anise complains about the 5kilowatt Honda generator ruining mother earth. There is some discussion of teaching her Forces magic and then we finally argue about Alex using alteration of the door’s plasticity rather than cutting a hole to allow for power cords to go into the dungeon.

God takes a few minutes to decide what the Darkness does while we set up the lighting. We see him poke his head around in the distance trying to see what’s going on while we do this. By and large he’s avoiding the P90s, and occasionally asks us what we’re doing, monkeys. We Do Not Engage. Eric decides to speak to it and asks it what’s up. Whether it hurts the Darkness or not, it’s easier to see, and Eric offers to leave a storeroom dark. It wants us to just leave. Eric proposes that if it stops fucking with us we’ll stop fucking with it. The Darkness wonders what kind of things we could offer it, and Maxime promptly pipes up with ‘we won’t burn your kingdom down’.

So much for Do Not Engage.

The Darkness is showing classic signs of being a territorial asshole, and we’re traipsing through his kingdom. There is some discussion of how to address this problem. We ask it what it wants, what would be worth allowing us through. More toys (i.e. the Atlanteans, which mostly ate each other) – like the chain devil and choker that Jerome brought up from further down in the dungeon. Apparently he put a lot of effort into using the machines down there to get toys out for the Darkness. We offer Jerome and the Dragonborn’s spirit, which might appease it, although this seems like it might be a bad idea morally speaking.

Eric sends a text to Smokey inquiring about how to proceed, since abyssal creatures are full of lies, and if he knows how to banish it permanently. Smokey send him a picture of The Haunter of the Dark by H.P. Lovecraft. Eric asks if it would be a bad idea to feed A. Barnes the Darkness, and Smokey asks why the fuck he wants to make bigger abyssal creatures. Trying to get rid of it with a spirit isn’t going to work, because invasive species.

Alex and Maxime investigate the possibility of properly killing the thing, which may involve a trip to the Shadow. The Shadow Realm is literally an exact replica of the normal world minus all the humans plus some spirits that are awake plus some physical objects that act a little differently. The group ascends out of the range of the Darkness to where the Infovore is and Maxime starts to cast. The world is like swiss cheese cobwebs, which makes walking to the Shadow Realm extremely easy. Every gauntlet in this area is down, which is why the vulgar spells aren’t vulgar.

After some time, everyone goes through the ghost gate. Getting through doors is a little trickier, and requires the manifestation of some ectoplasm. Maxime makes a giant ectoplasm like the Hulk, and the intent door opens. Who you gonna call? EctoHulk, apparently, up to and including the purple cutoff pants.

We wander until we find the Darkness, and he is rightly confused when we appear on his side of things. His Shadow Realm form, notably, is different. His manifestation was a shadowy humanoid type thing. Now, looking straight at him, it’s disturbing because he’s there, definitely that same kind of lanky figure, but he’s a little bit more shapeless than before – less well-defined, more arbitrary dark blobiness. Shining flashlights is more resulting in blackhole kind of blackness. It’s disturbing as fuck to look upon.

We hear in our minds ‘monkeys, what are you doing here, go back to the trees and the physical world, you’ll starve’ and Eric tells it we’re done with this. The Darkness is making it hard to try to shoot at him, so Eric prepares a mage flashbang and throws it. The Darkness complains briefly but doesn’t leave his cover.

The group plows ahead, P90s quite literally blazing with tracer rounds in attack. Except for Maxime, who wants to stab-stab-stabbity-stab with his Khukri. The Darkness is in a lot of hurt, since his face is full of phosphorous screaminess. Maxime moves into melee and commences with the stabbing, the hacking, the slicing and the knifing. The Darkness is horrendously maimed at this point, but it’s not quite a one-turn encounter.

Much time was spent in discussion of whether or not the Darkness can use Essence to boost himself, and eventually the question is raised as to how effectively Maxime or Craig could strangle the thing with the Magical Dexterity Gloves. Once God decides how much Essence the Darkness actually has, it takes a nice swing at Maxime and temporarily blinds him by basically making his visual cortex show him erroneous information, namely platform 9 ¾ and other noise and total visual stupidity, and then the Darkness just runs. Maxime dives wildly and tries to grab him and fails.

The Darkness darts into the forge. Rama is inconveniently supervising Anise or elsewhere unhelpful because now he can’t help fix Maxime’s impending migraine. The writer nearly collapses from laughter from discussion of Mace on a Plane. Alex goes and shoots it in the face with more phosphorous rounds and it’s screaming again and generally displeased with life.

Maxime takes some time to text Rama and ask for LSD to treat the migraine symptoms while he’s writhing and muttering on the floor.

Eric slings the AR-15 around and whacks the Darkness instead with the magical mace that eats essence; the Darkness is rather busy trying not to get hit by P90 bullets and ducks to the side – into the path of the ultrafast magical-guided mace. And he poofs out, discorporealizes into smoke, and the Mace does some omnomming of his essence but not all. Craig comes over and tries to get the rest of it with his Dexterity gloves. Eventually, with the mace and the gloves and the spirit vacuum cleaner crew, the Darkness is officially deceased.

Maxime, meanwhile, is hallucinating Goku asking him for help.

Since he’s resolutely out of commission, Craig will have to Spirit Road us out of here and we’ll be dragging Maxime along. Back in the normal realm, Eric is working on setting out more lights. It takes Maxime a few minutes to get over his Demented state, but eventually he fades back to the real world. Until he decides to dismiss it, he’s also still covered in the ectoplasmic shell of the Hulk.

We come to the formerly-barred door, which apparently Jerome unbarred. Great. Asshole.

The door is like a shitty, busted-up intent door that’s taken a lot of beating by abyssal creatures. There are more helix stairs downward, but the door is beaten up enough that Eric can lay more power cables down for lights. At this point, Eric also sends a message updating Smokey on the abyssal creature and asks if he wants to see – he’s currently busy topside, but Eric will send him pics and video.

We make it down a few levels, and Eric notices that the stairs kind of just stop and there’s a sheer drop below of at least 70 meters. Eric recalls that Jerome had climbing gear, as do we. The walls and the ceiling of the pit are not clear – there’s like four blips on Eric’s minimap, and he deploys the quadcopter. There are two Chokers on the wall, and one takes a swing. It bats at the quadcopter and thankfully it doesn’t destroy the thing. There’s at least a few similar creatures down there.

After swapping out to normal bullets and readying our various weapons, we tromp down the rest of the way. Eric starts shooting at one of the chokers, noting that there are stalactites on the ceiling that are probably a mimic or similar. It makes hurt noises and is generally displeased, but it doesn’t fall off the wall. Because he just made loud noises, one of dark mantles on the ceiling flies straight towards Eric’s face. They end up in a slap fight, since they matched grapple rolls. Craig blams it with a shotgun blast and gets a direct hit; it roll-flops down the hole and is trying to slow it’s fall but God has to wait a bit to roll on whether it can because it’s parachute has holes in it.

The second dark mantle flies at Eric as well and he’s got one grappled to his face. Maxime goes to stab it with his Khukri while Eric manages to hold still, and there’s suddenly a pretty big gash running down it’s body. Alex opts to fire at the choker instead of into Eric’s face, and it looks greatly displeased with life in general. The unshot choker grabs at Maxime and tries to pull him down, and the shot one pulls at Eric; it’s hands are fortunately too bloodied to really hold on.

Eric whacks the dark mantle on his face with the Magical Mace and it’s definitely hurting as a result, but it doesn’t let go. He does take a few steps back up the stairs with an assist from Alex. Craig shoots at the slightly maimed choker so Maxime doesn’t get dropped into the hole. With six successes, we hear a gurgling noise and it falls into the pit, followed by a nice juicy thwap at the bottom after hitting the flailing, falling dark mantle on the way down.

Maxime plays pin the choker with the great sword and stabs it into the wall such that he doesn’t drop into the chasm and simultaneously pretty much kills it but it’s still kind of flailing. Alex stabs the dark mantle in an attempt to get it off Eric’s face. The choker is bleeding out still, but it makes a desperate gambit to try and pull the great sword out of itself and run away, and for the moment doesn’t succeed. Eric manages to finally mace the dark mantle off his face, leaving a bunch of holes in his head. Craig finishes off the choker with a nice trick shot showering Maxime with lead and choker bits in the face.

The great sword and Maxime are collected from the wall, and a lumpy choker bit slaps to the bottom. Eric looks down the hole with a flashlight and spots the bodies, as well as the remaining pieces of the parchment we’re missing.

Down, down, down we go, where we stop, nobody knows.

Episode 14
Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis (The Secret of Monkey Island)

Police in Yakima continue to search for Kayou’s body in the area but don’t hold out hope to find him, as Eastern Washington is Fucking Large and he will henceforth be known as Brick Needle in a Haystack Sir Not Appearing In This Session.

Craig suddenly comes out of nowhere down the hallway; he’s decided that going deeper down the scary dungeon is safer for his sanity than hanging out with whatever that is on the surface (aka Anise). She’s currently posting Youtube videos of her deep thoughts Anita Sarkesian Style (ASS).

The party comes across another sleeping chamber. Craig decides to attempt summoning a lesser spirit that knows something about the area. God inquires as to whether the party informed Craig about the Abyssal spirit we encountered, and Craig quickly revises his request to be non-Abyssal. He gets a little imp-looking thing that appears to want mischief to do. It chitters at him when he tries to speak to it. Atlantean doesn’t seem to penetrate the imp’s skull; it comes over and pokes at Craig, including pressing the mag-release of his P90, giggling. Craig tries to tell it to look for trouble, and it seems perfectly content with doing that.

Back to the sleeping quarters. Load screen pattern. There are a bunch of alcoves like in the other ones. There’s a skeleton laying down in the middle of the floor with a great sword in the middle of its face. The sword is also magical, of the Forces school. On the walls, there’s a message hastily chiseled out: Tainted by darkness, Can’t Leave, Only out is death, Barred door. God can’t read the rest of his own handwriting. Ah, barred door so the dead can sleep.

We haven’t found a barred door, soooo. Hm.

The rest of the beds are cot-like, don’t look very comfortable to sleep on at all. Maxime finds what looks to be some really simple hand-carved tokens and games. Some of the spheroid tokens glow with Forces. Maxime wonders if they’re grenades.

Maxime asks to talk to the sword-face’s soul, and God accidentally informs us we can talk to him properly ebcause he died before he went insane. The skeleton asks how long he’s been out. Maxime takes the sword out of his face, though it complains that it belongs to him. Maxime asks about the door-barring. The mages said something about it being Abyssal ‘down there’ and that people went crazy. It seemed to be that the closer they went down the crazier they went. He barred the door down, and it was still kind of leaking through, but they couldn’t go all the way up either because the people topside decided it was too dangerous. He swears he wasn’t involved in the human sacrifice (just watched, apparently he found it fun) and also that he’s totally not crazy he also swears.

The mages were worshipping the various spirits that appeared in the darkness, in hopes that the spirits would help them out. He’s really not sure how long they were down there. Whatever spirits are down there, they kept trying to break through the wards. He barred the door, and he’s not sure if that’ll hold. Apparently sometimes the dead were rising. He figured slicing his head open would prevent himself from rising, at least immediately. Maxime dismisses him and he enjoys his slumber again. Maxime is being a bit of a jerk by pulling out the sword from his skeleton. Also, interesting note, God reminds us: the man wasn’t even a little bit of a mage.

Alex recalls that there’s a thing in DnD called a thunderstone, and that’s probably what those stones are – they’re mage flashbangs.

Before we have a chance to go to the door the imp went down, we hear some noises to the tune of ‘fucking stop it imp’ and there’s the sound of metal clanging. The imp has apparently done it’s job. Eric takes a look around, but there’s not really much light. He sees a pair of glowing eyes and a pair running around it impy-style. He beams some of his flashlight beam under the door, and he sees lots of chains and some sort of person-y figure and maybe some flesh but really mostly chains. It’s some kind of chain monster. The things in the room are all various crafty tools, things you’d need for making clockwork whatevers like upstairs. It’s probably vulnerable to bullets, and it seems like a physical creature more than others. It appears pretty distracted by the imp. It’s maybe possibly a chain devil from DnD. It’s literally lawful evil, so we want something good. There’s a lot of Benny Hill going on.

Eric suggests we engage at a distance, recalling it has a long range attack, like a 20-foot reach, so. Yeah. Relocating. Down the hall. Eric kicks the door down remotely with Forces. Nothing comes out, but we keep hearing the ‘hey, leave that alone, I organized that last week.’ Eric yells to announce our presence, and the chain devil asks if we sent the imp. Eric explains, no, he didn’t, but he knows who did. The creature comes out, sees the weapons, and then vanishes back in.

Eric asks why it’s here, observing that it doesn’t come from this plane. The chain devil agrees it’s odd. It can’t really remember how long it’s been since it arrived. It says that there are a lot of creatures from it’s plane, as well as from other places, but not alot of explanations as to whatever happened here. The Darkness seems to know what happens here, but isn’t very forthcoming. The Darkness has a bit of an ego, apparently, because that’s what it calls itself. The Darkness was the critter Alex banished. It tends to come back relatively quickly, the chain devil says. It wants to know what this plane is like, explaining that the hoplites don’t ever let them out.

Alex asks if it wants to go home, and it does. Maxime asks if it has any pieces of paper, which it does that Jerome gave it and told it to hold on to. It’s not sure why. There’s a clattering of tools and the chain devil looks deeply perturbed. The chain devil is sounding awful irritated and seems like the kind of thing that would be bad to have happen. Alex and Eric insist Craig send off the imp. Craig makes the idiot choice to, when the chain devil asks for help, control it and tell it to clean up it’s own mess. It glares at him and tells Craig it’ll remember this, and tell the other spirits about him.

Alex and Eric, on the other hand, start to help putting things back. There’s a bunch of blacksmith tools in the room. The chain devil hands Eric two gloves that glow magically, saying it can never find a good home for them. They seem to move on their own a little bit, not magic-magic but awakened. They’re starved of essence almost completely. The chain devil hands Eric a broom and asks him to sweep the bins that the Atlanteans left; it looks like they used a lot of standardized parts, which Eric finds interesting. Highly reusable, like transister reusable. Craig meanwhile is working on feeding the gloves. He summons the imp back to feed to the gloves, but it just puts the gloves over it’s ears.

The solution, it seems, is to wear the gloves and strangle the imp. He fails, and the imp thinks that it’s some sort of game, grabbing the P90 mag when it releases it. Craig manages to order it to stand still and grabs it. The gloves do some feeding and have essence 4 by the end. The gloves improve dexterity a lot, but we would need to keep feeding them.

We open the last door in this section of hall, and inside The Darkness is inside poking at the corpses, wondering if it can raise them the way we did. Eric immediately drops a grenade, yells fire in the hole, slams the door shut and runs. We hear a boom and then hear ‘monkey, stop that, it’s not very nice’. The group backs down the hallway, Force weapons at the ready.

Maxime, however, decides to walk up and tap the door open. He hears ‘hey monkey, that’s a cool trick you did. I did it myself.’ The skeletons are still corporeal. Maxime says ‘what’s yours is mine,’ and tries to wrest control from The Darkness. He sadly doesn’t manage to grab it, because The Darkness got 6 successes on creating it. One of the skeletons does an interesting trick, pointing at maxime and shooting a little lightning bolt at him and he takes 2 lethal. Maxie goes to kite them.

The hallway near the door gets extra double dark. Alex preps more phosphorous rounds and Eric turns his flashlight into a laser beam again. We hear more pitter-pattering as we back up, and the shadowy area moves towards us a little too, suggesting that a skeleton is carrying it. Eric starts laying down fire with the Force Jaffa Cree staff, as do Rama and Maxime. Craig provides spiritual encouragement. They hear stone crumbling at the other end of the hallway. None of us are hitting anything, really. The Darkness tells us to stop destroying stuff and to go away.

We start hearing a conversation between Darkness and the chain demon, and then a pummeling noise like a chain demon is getting his ass whooped and is therefore in the smithy. It’s sounding like a one-sided fight. Eric’s minimap reveals that the skeletons ducked into rooms to avoid getting shot at; one’s a mage and one isn’t. He’s able to figure out that the non-mage is carrying the shadows and goes to poof it with the Force staff, and the spell dissipates. The mage-skeleton tries to hurt Eric and fails because, yay mage shield. Rama shoots at the mage-skeleton and gets one success to piss it off a little. Maxime and Craig add to the damage, and Alex finishes it off with the P90 in full-auto and phosphorized mode. There are now bits of skeleton on the floor.

The chain demon isn’t protesting anymore, and all we’re hearing is the sound of it getting beaten and possibly eating. Nomming and snarling noises like it’s eating it.

Alex shoots the Darkness with her phosphorous round and it makes an absolutely horrible noise and slithers out of existence temporarily. The chain demon is just… missing bits and there’s a bloody mess of chains on the floor.

We head down the hall to where it curves, and we see an intent door around it. There are more stairs down. Eric’s EM channels are noisy, and hard to make out. There are some blips occasionally, but he can’t tell where from; it doesn’t look like white noise.

The group decides to take a quick trip to the surface to get a quadcopter, infrared scanners, and equipment to start laying wifi nodes down into the dungeon. Eric isn’t telling Smokey about the AI that he hooked up to the internet, but tells him everything else. Alex informs the Lara Croft Society that she’s still alive and asks about Atlantis’ fate. There’s not a lot on it, but if we find anything then it’s pretty important. The abyssal creatures happen all the time; they’re all spirits, all invasive, and aren’t all right in the head. Their minds are truly alien, kind of like a program. There are ways to banish them for good; it’s hard with abyssal creatures because they’re nonstandard.

We decide to buy a lot of floodlights. A lot of them, going full dig-site on this, powered by the PPM.

There are also purely lawful abyssal creatures, including one that attacks the stock market occasionally hat futzes with numbers. It just likes to play with numbers and make them better.

Buying lights will not make the Darkness pleased, obviously. Eric asks for tracer rounds from Smokey because they’re pre-phosphorized. He also sends along the floodlights, underslung launchers and grenades as well as thermite. Smokey things it’s interesting what we’ve found on Atlantis; they know it ‘sharded.’ If we found an active shard, then it’s likely demens (non-vulgar) and covered in abyssal stuff. Also don’t listen to the abyssal creatures, they’re full of lies. Eric also requests sticks of magnesium and tactical welding gear. He suggests we don’t dig too deeply, that we might find what Jerome is after, and then adds an ASKII art tentacle cthulu. Eric tells him we’ll have live feed down there, and Smokey requests a daily update. If he doesn’t hear from us he’ll send a hit squad.

Eric mentions that there are defenses and Smokey finds this very interesting, asking if there’s working Atlantis tech. He’s silent for a long while until Eric says we’ll give him an update. There’s a loooong uncomfortable pause, suggesting he’s suspicious of what we’re not telling him everything.

Maxime cashes in some of his gold to go spend time at the poker tables. The rest of the group attends to their various virtues and vices, healing and restocking as needed. Alex registers a claim on the site they’re at for a week with the Lara Croft Society, asking for a $3000 deposit that she’ll get back if/when she releases the claim, otherwise it’s theirs and they’ll use it to retrieve her body in case she doesn’t return.

Next time on World of Darkness: We return to our save point in the dungeon.

Episode 13
The Dig

The police in Yakima have started to search for Kayou’s body in the wilderness of Eastern Washington, and will henceforth be referred to as Brick Soon To Be On A Bones Episodes Sir Not Appearing In This Session.

There is a big door in front of us that just went ‘fachoonk’ into the ceiling. Now what? A few of us have taken lethal damage and could use some healing. After some discussion, the group decides to camp out in the ruins. Alex is thrilled to get some good time cataloging the place and proceeds to explore as much as possible. She gets her daily email from the Lara Croft Society with a Y/N button to tell them she’s alive. Rama is up smoking and getting high on LSD and regaining willpower. Eric practices rotes during the day, but not the vulgar ones. Anise is making sand angels Burning Man style and talking about how she’s one with the great goddess Gaia.

Alex starts doing some small controlled digs, going down a few layers. Fun facts she’s found on her first day of digging and poking: it doesn’t look like this place is old, the time period is short. There’s not a lot of strata, maybe just one human generation. There was nothing, then people, then no activity. In the section where she was digging, she dug up a whole house, she found basic household goods but nothing Atlantean. Not a single little bit, which is strange in it’s own right. Thinking on it for a bit once she gets her face out of the drt, the ruins are not in a place where you would want or be able to do agriculture. The rock is indeed from the area, at least, and the construction techniques do look to be different from those inside the dungeon. The ruins weren’t poofed here from somewhere, in any case.

We are not accosted in the night, thankfully, and those who are injured are largely healed. The party walks back in and the dungeon appears to have reset itself overnight, but we kept the lenses and the dungeon was kind enough to let us hold on to them. As soon as we step into the main lobby, it recognizes us and the screen mural disappears, having recognized us. Oh good. We may have a sentient Atlantean computer, or clockwork neural networks (hey look, both of those are terrifying statements). And so we go into the belly of the beast/friend compuber, flashlights on, guns up, etc.

Craig has decided to hang out with Anise and keep the Humvee company.

There are nice, big, wide stairs downward. Not ominous at all. Maxime takes the lead, and as per usual there are no lights. They continue down for a full level, and once the last of us crosses the large doorway the mural makes a nice ‘fachoonk’ back down. When Eric walks back towards it and the mural doesn’t open. He tries radioing back to the Humvee and no response, and there’s no radio signal of anything anywhere. It’s an EM block, just to mess with Eric. The door does open when we intent at it, happily, because starvation sounds like crap. Craig says he’ll keep updating Smokey while we’re gone when Eric tells him about the EM shield.

We continue down two floors of the totally-not-creepy stairs. Each spiral around (whoops, it’s a spiral/helix staircase) is approximately a floor give or take, and perfectly straight down. Mr. Corner Looker Eric is looking around corners. The walls are brown like the stone in that area, but reasonably reflective. A totally not terrifying sight beholds him at about two floors down. You know how there were hoplites before? Yeah, there are a lot of them. Not quite a terra cotta warrior army, but a lot. They’re mostly along the walls, and there are more varieties of them than we saw before. There are some minotaurs, but deactivated (thankfully, again, because they’re beserkers, do not wake). One of the hoplites is holding a canon-like thing with a backpack, connected with Atlantean Standard Connectors (ASCs). They’re sitting at a low ready. Eric gets the distinct impression that they are something-throwers; can’t tell what, but something. Definitely something.

There are no traps on the floor, thank you Mage sight. But the Atlantean dudes are glowing like all get out. The guns are Forces, no shit Sherlantean. Protip, don’t fuck with the guns. The hoplites seem to ignore us like the others did. There’s an exit on the opposite side of the room, a large Atlantean door. God makes a bunch of yip-yip noises as Eric draws up the dungeon map; the hoplites are all against the wall and we can go straight through, rather than having to squeeze between them and worry about personal space.

Maxime looks for hidden doors via mundane means, locating some imperfections. He intents at the wall, and he feels something creep into his mind as he touches it, poking and probing a bit moreso than the other doors did. Maxime gets a vague feeling that it’s trying to figure out its intentions. After some mental exchange, he gets a sense that there’s something like a machine maintenance room. He asks for another party member to talk to the door, and Alex steps up, lets the door into her head and expresses a desire to understand how the place works and possibly maintain it in the future. The door slides open, slowly. This door is smarter than it’s brethren.

Beyond it lies a similarly sized room to the one we’re in, but not occupied by the army of clockwork. There is some clockwork stuff, large machines for example, on the floor level with areas where you could walk around them and service them. They all appear to be functioning, churning and moving, which is impressive for being ten thousand years old or however old it is, God amends after a moment. There are some tools left behind for maintenance-type stuff.

Eric identifies a power generators in one of the modules. It’s a quantum time crystal, God creates, sending wireless power to everything which is how the staves still have power after 10000 years. Plus data transfer :D. The second machine is the clockwork intelligence, the part that opens and closes the doors, and the third is a dedicated module to run the upstairs testing area. Rama asks if tossing a grenade at it would be bad or good, and Alex Does Not Even Have To Cast A Spell To Know The Answer Is NO, ala Rodney McKay stye.

The PMM is just raw Prime magic, so the ultimate in mana springs. Infamana. The wireless portion of it is more Prime (Prime now anyone?). The control module is Spirit. Rama inquires the age of the construct, but there’s no RTC. It was put there by the Builders, the Atlantean. It mainly just connects to this room, not the Depths. The purpose of this building: there’s the test room up above, the guard room which we’re in. It only knows that it guards this place, and it defends from the bad, Abyssal creatures. It lets through well-intentioned mages. Going deeper into the place could apparently be bad; going there when we don’t know what we’re really doing could be the end of our lives. Whee. It asks about the surface world, and Alex proposes to tell it stories and explain what the depths are about. Eric asks if it can cut a corner of the door and connect the spirit to the internet, which interests it greatly. He drops a cell spot outside the door upstairs, runs an ethernet cable down. Alex Jury Rigs an ethernet connector, and Eric starts to teach it TCP, DNS, and points it at the RFC Center, and also mentions it should read all of Wikipedia. He gets an exceptional success on teaching it TCP, but it also learns about Google. It’s starting to web crawl. We’ve created a conscious AI. Great. Shiny. There is some amusing discussion of what the clockwork AI does, including sending a fiber cable up to the service and having a hoplite deal with connecting it. The spirit is an infovore and we’ve just given it the internet.

Eric explains the current predicament regarding the dragon-issue, hands it a copy of Mage: The Awakening, and tells it we’ll get it info on the depths soon. Eric also inquires as to why it let Jerome in, and it asks if Jerome lied when we tell it that he brought dragons into Seattle. We’ll work on updating its programming.

Maxime plops Jerome In A Jar in front of the control machine touching the door. The spirit says hello and tries to talk to him, and we leave him there. Jerome is very displeased by the mind probe.

Upon exiting the machine room, we go to the second Door O’ Intent and go down ten floors, which is like nuclear-bunker deep at this point. As we’re heading down, the stairs are notably still that perfect carve – magicked not chiseled – but they’re not as perfect with the circular spirals. They’re more hasty, as it were, or more sloppy. The stairs straighten out for a section and come down to a Door O’ Intent – again, sloppier like someone didn’t care to make it shiny. Or that the doors were older, who knows?

It opens into what is very visibly like a large locker/coat room thing. It’s 20ftx40ft (God is mixing the measurement systems). There are tatters of old cloths in various places that used to be clothing, some digging tools and crafting tools. The metal and wooden portions are still in decent shape, although the wood is dehydrated as heck. Maxime pokes around for doors and finds a piece of paper. It’s a fragment of text. The paper is parchment and ripped, missing half of the text, and it’s the only piece in the area.

There is another door (of course) that opens sideways like the others mostly apparently did. This next room is big, quite a bit longer, like eight of the previous room long. This one has fragmentary bits of wood that could have been tables, chairs, ancient boardgames, etc. Gives us some hints that this was a recreation/common area, possibly a dining area. They spent quite a bit of time here. There’s not much else interesting. In one of the corners of the room, there’s another of those pieces of paper.

Via mage sight, as Maxime is grabbing the piece of paper Eric notices that there’s something kind of glowy and Eric flashlights at it Doom-style. There is a pair of beady eyes attached to a shadow of WOD land, not DnD land. Alex tries to talk to it and it’s basically just ominous, telling us to leave or belong to it. It might be Death-affiliated, but it’s strange, it doesn’t feel like normal death. Normal death feels like a natural friend. That sounds a lot Abyssal. Ruh-roh.

It keeps trying to get us to leave, and when we say no it reaches for Maxime, hurting him in a way that’s very dod and different. Eric attempts to make a laser beam of his 1000-lumen flashlight and the shadowthing is very displeased. Maxime and Rama both Force Staff Jaffa Cree at it. It’s severely displeased at what we just hit it with. Alex turns her bullets into phosphorous rounds with a Matter spell and kicks the crap out of it with high-energy light, and it backs its way out of the plane, hissing and chittering. It drops a few pieces of paper with more scrambled information about Atlantis.

There’s a hallway beyond one of the others doors, and it’s quite long with doors along the hallway. The second door leads to a kitchen-type area with oozy things, like the storeroom may have gotten too magical over the years. The pots and pans are in decent condition, mostly bronze-like ala the hoplite armor.

One of the oozes starts crawling over the side of the pot it’s in to go after Eric. Force-walling and staff weaponing at it makes the ooze kind of splatter, and setting it on fire seems like a good idea at this point. We didn’t think an ooze could shriek, but now we know.

Beyond is another panty-type thing, filled with jars of what was probably food at one point. It’s full of stuff. We find an amphora sealed in wax, which contains wine, and Alex will be taking that home to study thank you very much.

Back to the hallway, Eric opens one of the doors, which is made of wood, and there are skeletal remains inside. We’ve basically found the submarine bunks. There’s magic both in and around the dead people. Meanwhile, Maxime is dealing with his Aggravated damage, not really bleeding so much as just missing chunks of his chest and ribcage. Rama, happily, is a serious Life magic mage and heals him, such that it feels like it didn’t happen. Maxime doesn’t know what mushrooms Rama is on, but he wants some.

Alex compels the spirits of the dead people, which happen to be bound to their skeletons so they animate like a creep show. They’re pretty dumb, but starts gently stabbing/bashing and Maxime takes control of them. When they don’t seem capable of speech, he tells them to beat each other to death. They find additional pieces of paper, which begin to complete the journal accounting from the Guild Craftsman of Atlantis. It appears that the Atlanteans were sent here after a cataclysm that may have destroyed all of Atlantis. More details forthcoming.

Down another hallway, there’s a clothing workshop. The paper they find there reveals that there were other caves that contained Atlanteans, and that not all of the people in them survived to be found. They must have fucked up seriously bad.

The room beyond the clothing workshop contains more tattered fabric. Maxime finds a piece of paper next to a bolt of ‘cloth’ and when he reaches down to grab the paper the cloth grabs back. Rama also seems to be getting strangled by some cloth, too. Maxime pulls out his Khukri and slashes it open. What’s got Rama is actually a ridiculously lanky, alien-looking creature that’s also way strong. Tada! It’s a DnD Choker.

Eric turns around and shoots it with the AR-15 around Rama using magic. Very quickly there is one very bloody Choker making gurgly noises behind Rama, but not dead. Alex turns the fragments of the bullets still in it into sodium, which turns into sodium hydroxide, and then kind of explodes a little bit.

The cloth tries to attack Maxime again and pulls him to the floor, where he Decays it a bit, and then Eric sets it all on fyaaaaar. Moar paper time!

Aaaaaaaand quick save.

Episode 12
Indiana Jones and The Fate of Atlantis

Kayou has been placed on the missing persons list and will henceforth be named Brick Probably Buried in a Shallow Grave Sir Not Appearing In This Session.

Anise is feeling left out and will be coming along to Vegas so God can have an NPC. Once the Cthulu soundtrack is playing, we get to work. Alex tells the Mysterium where she’s going and when to send the rescue party; if Latoya doesn’t hear from her in 3 days, they’ll send a body cleanup crew eventually/ er, have a nice trip. They have an official service for this; the Lara Croft society has a high casualty rate, unless there’s something interesting.

We all hop on a Delta flight in government funded coach seats. We arrive in Vegas, the land of bleakness and heat. Maxime wants to gamble the money we’ve got away, but the rest of the party sternly disapproves. Anise is already beginning to complain about the horrors of Las Vegas. We’ve got a lot of money, so we rent a car to get to the VRBO and pick up the Humvee, then drive it and the rental car back to it’s place of origin.

The VRBO is in fact a cabin that has been decked out with military glory, despite being locked. Ha ha. It’s about 15-20 minutes from a town near the airport. There’s a literal mountain of pelican cases with all the stuff Smokey said there would be. Smokey phones in ‘how’s Vegas? Lolz smileyface’ direct to Eric’s brain. There’s a shipping container in the driveway that contains a flat dark earth Humvee and a trailer to put the pelican cases in. They’re like 40-foot shipping containers. Anise makes noises in the direction of pretending to be Furiosa until Maxime mentions cutting of her arm.

Craig wants to take the Humvee for a “test drive” and tells Anise that there’s patriarchy in the driver’s seat, specifically the gas pedal, and she orders the manservant to drive while she rides on top. Alex objects strenuously, but the Humvee has button ignition and she can’t keep the keys from anyone as a result.

“Awaken the Humvee!” says Craig, in an effort to have that as our new NPC rather than Anise. They “test drive” the Humvee in the direction of their location, the Tonopah Test Range. God finds his adventure notes, finally. Autobots – roll out! The Humvee only holds 5, so Anise is strapped to the top/in the trailer. Alex is driving.

We’re driving through desert side roads and Eric is listening on his head SDR that’s mostly picking up the airport. They’re discussing that they’ve got few flights incoming, but they’re talking about shutting down the airport temporarily due to dust storms. Our humvee is enclosed, but without AC (although we retconned a retrofit with a recirculater AC when we dropped the rental car back in Vegas) and does have the Iraq-proof features thank goodness. He informs the party about the dust storms on the horizon.

Using the GPS coordinates we’ve picked up, we narrow in on our location of God’s choice. The dust storm is, uh, getting closer. It’s got some directional travel going on; it’s not coming quite at us from the right hand side, but it’ll probably intercept our path. Maxime turns on Matter mage sight, but doesn’t see anything magical. We decide to continue on as normal to our GPS coordinates. Our Humvee is zipadeedoodah; we didn’t know Humvees could go that fast and that smooth. Craig’s spiritual encouragement probably helped a midge.

We roll up on the ruins. They are carved in the cliff walls. This would be consistent with what Alex has seen of Anasazi ruins, but they aren’t quite in the right area for it and the size of it is large enough that she would have expected to see it in a book previously. It’s not super likely that an archaeologist missed it, really, even if it is a little hard to see and reach. It is consistent with what you’d expect to see; it’s been abandoned for a lot of years but doesn’t look like it’s had subsequent resettlement which is a little strange. Mage sight doesn’t show anything from outside the ruins.

Craig tries to summon a lesser spirit that’s wandering around. The strongest thing he’s going to find in the area is going to be a low to mid-level elemental heat spirit and he starts to ask it questions about the ruins. “Same as it’s always been,” comes the reply. “We heat, land gets hot.” Craig asks if its seen others like us. “Occasionally.. They come they go they die, they come, they go.” Further, anyone very recently? “You know, you’re asking a lot of questions.” Craig pulls out a lighter and turns it on, which makes it happy. It’s a literal fire elemental. “There was a couple that came, maybe a month ago.” Alex shows it Jerome’s ID and it confirms that it was him and three others, that went into the ruins. It urges them not to go to the ruins, because it’s not hot. It wasn’t around when the ruins were built, and it wasn’t, but it tells us to go find the big fire spirit of Death Valley and hope that it doesn’t try to kill us. Craig thanks it, and gives it more fire for its troubles, which makes it very amused and pleased.

Alex walks first into the ruins, slowly and carefully with Mage sight up. Anise is staying in the wagon. Everyone has their pistols; Eric is taking the subsonic suppressed AR-15. Alex and Craig each have a P90. Maxime has his Khukri and a grenade or two. Rama also has a staff attached to his backpack and a bigass knife. Alex uses magic to check for hidden hordes.

From looking, she can tell that this is a raw ruin.. No one had been here in about 1500 years, a long ass time at the very least. We find evidence in a couple houses that there was modern camping gear as well as a few ammo boxes. There have been a couple different parties through the area, so it’s a bit more tracked up than we’d expect. There were sleeping bags, jugs that used to have water in them and a couple small ammo containers with common types of ammo in them, suggesting other mage adventurers. But of course, they aren’t here anymore. The stuff is not magical; someone left their basecamp behind to go adventuring and didn’t make it back.

Searching the gear, no one left backpacks or IDs of interest. They left behind the heavy stuff that they wouldn’t want to carry long-distance, as though they’d come back later for it. Rama decides to grab and pack away the 9mm ammo. It’s a standard basecamp; there’s a little HAM radio with a dead battery. It looks to be from the early 2000s. Alex notes that nothing has really been excavated; no one has been doing proper archaeology here. They’ve just done adventuring, as far as she can tell. Mage sight reveals that there’s a false wall like the one in Lilliana’s place; no pictograms, but there’s a city that goes much deeper into the actual cliff face.

It’s just an archway, which is the direction the tracks were leading. It’s a standard sized doorway. Stairs are leading downward. They match roughly the construction of the actual ruins and are in decent condition since there’s not much that could have shifted out of place. They’re not brick stairs, they’re carved out of the rock. Alex has been to pyramids before and other places; even the best stone masons leave chisel marks. They all mess up a little bit, which is normal. We don’t have any conclusive proof, but they were probably constructed using magic.

We aren’t the bestest of mages, but Alex has a notion that it might be possible that in an older era, people who were better at this could have made magic flashlights and they just aren’t here right now. There’s no torch holders or smoke on the ceiling, so they weren’t using regular flames if any. We use muggle flashlights, some of them on the guns themselves.

The stairs continue downward spiraling counterclockwise, down and more towards the mountain. There’s nice sheer rock on either side, so there’s nothing to fall down. We reach the bottom of the stairs. There’s a stone archway with a door in it; it’s relatively flat and smooth. There’s writing with a warning sign of some variety, essentially ‘hey do not enter’ and below that a drawing of an island-looking thing with a mountain in the middle, which matches closely the descriptions we’ve seen of Atlantis. “Hey, I just met you, this is crazy, do not enter, Atlantis maybe.”

There’s no keyway for the door, and the door is set such that there’s no way to put a shim into it. The way it opens isn’t related to anything physically done on the outside. It doesn’t respond to Atlantean. Craig touches the door and before he can get to spelling it with gentle caresses, he hears clockwork mechanisms that open it up on it’s own (almost like there’s an Atlantean gene ha ha no it’s a mage detector). There is a foyer beyond that’s relatively large. It’s 14mx20m. Eric heads in first, and as we enter on the left hand side of the room there is a glowy-flashy mural. It’s multicolored, roughly square, and just barely touches the ground. It’s maybe 2mx2m, so fairly large, and it’s like trying to give us a seizure with all the colors and flashes. It’s hard to tell if it’s trying to display information or not.

There are precisely four hoplite (Greek warriors) looking things that are sort of statuesque, two on either side of the flashy mural business. There are three doorways; we entered in one and there’s a door on the long side of the room, and one u-turn to where we came in. The statues all have spears on the side of the mural. There’s a couple of long-dead adventurers lying on the ground, also, by the way, as an added detail. They’re wearing modern-ish clothing; fashion statements are of the 2000s, so probably the people we saw the gear from upstairs. Maxime tries to summon spirits of the dead people, but the spell fizzles. They’re desiccated, not skeletal or gooey.

With Mage sight up: the wall is damn magical, as are the hoplites, and also maybe the bodies are magical. Whoops. Craig can’t sense intelligent minds, so they’re about as smart as automata ought to be. Maxime determines that the mural’s proper function is that, under the right circumstances, it ought to give us information but at present we’re unable to read it. The automata are made with Matter magic, the mural from Forces and Prime, the bodies are Death magic.

Maxime locates some spirits in the area and asks them if they belong to the dead bodies, what stabbed them and how long they’ve been here. They’re a little dazed. They inform us that they automata only stabbed them when they failed the puzzle. They started pushing buttons on the puzzle when they couldn’t figure it out. He also asks if we can drag them out of the room, because they’re bound to their bodies still. Rama starts dragging one of the bodies out and as he does so it starts to wake up and the spirits urge us to move the bodies out faster, Jerome apparently used to use the shotgun but he’s a dick. As we toss the body, he thanks us. Before all the way out, we ask what Jerome was doing here – that he explored the dungeon and solved it but he doesn’t remember how he solved the puzzle.

The zombies are gone; we bypassed that problem easily enough. Alex has Jerome in a soul jar, and he’s been listening to Nyancat for like a week and a half. Maxime asks about the puzzle. Rama examines the mural, and the glowy image part of it is just a layer in the air off the surface. If we look closely, there are stone buttons we could press and there are quite a few of them and it’s kind of hard to tell them apart in a way that makes sense. Maxime compels Jerome how to tell us how to solve it, which involves solving the other puzzles and coming back with lenses. The dungeon apparently resets itself. And they may be less lenses and more a filter.

The doorways are like the ones previous. It doesn’t appear to matter, according to Jerome, which door we take first. We choose the one farther away. It doesn’t open when Eric touches the door. As soon as he thinks about it opening, it opens – it’s about the intent, and Eric notices the Mind magic go off. Beyond is a loading screen. There’s a corridor that hooks to the right of it, and Eric minimaps around it. There is a big long empty room roughly the size of the one we just came from. There’s a number of doors in the room, along with a bookshelf with two eagles on it. It’s more like a scroll shelf, but they’re very old and there are about 2 dozen of them. Now that we’ve finally approached it, it has a message. On the top of the bookshelf, just below the eagles, there’s a placard: a hunter of knowledge shares so that others might learn. Alex rolls up one of the papers she’s got and puts it on the shelf. One of the eagles hands her a yellow lens and resumes it’s position. Eric pulls the scrolls out and take pictures of them. The eagles eye him to make sure he’s being gentle. The scrolls that are on the actual shelf are pretty much perfectly preserved, almost like they’re on a magic shelf of magic preservation. There’s also books on the shelf. It can be dated as for when people arrived; there’s a long period of nothing and then books. Eric grabs the ISBN and publish date, title, etc for review later and do dating.

As Craig goes into the first room, Eric goes to open the other room (don’t split the party11!!). It’s the same size and shape. There’s a pedestal that has two ravens on either side of a bowl. The ravens are classically accurate in terms of detail, and are Greek style. They’re even to size. The bowl is big, bronze, and designed for mixing. The ravens are not statues, they’re more like the hoplites. The bowl is made with Prime magic.

After dealing with the eagles, Eric tries to open the left door but it has a keyhole. The right door opens however, beyond which are stairs up to another room. There is a lookout point to view the desert, like a pillbox.It’s a bit of a hike. We can see quite a bit of stuff out there. Anise is queen of the War Wagon out there. In the pillbox, Eric finds three spears a lot like what the hoplites were carrying just lining the walls. There’s also a shield or two, enough to man the battlements, made with Matter magic. The spears are, happily, magical, made by Forces magic. There is apparently a button on the spear – oh look, we’ve found a staff weapon. Yeeeeee.

Eric fire the staff at one of the shield Maxime is holding, and it doesn’t hurt as much as it ought to. Eric takes a shield and staff for himself. Back to the bowl: a seeker of knowledge does not suffer the work of tricksters. The bowl is wide and round, and has no apparent substance inside of it. They make the choice to pour some water in the bowl, and the ravens just make sadfaces at it. Not the correct answer. After a minute or so, the bowl sucks the water out. They put a map on the bowl – also the wrong answer. Dollars get nowhere either. Craig takes a piece of paper and writes a bunch of lies on it (5+5=15, e.g.) then sets it on fire and tosses it into the bowl. The ravens hand us a red lens.

We go back to the mural and examine it through the lenses. For starters, the hoplites don’t react at all to this. We don’t get stabbed for playing with the lenses, only for playing with the buttons. Over each eye, over each other, the ordering seems to matter in terms of what they do. It’s not a linear combination problem. Red in front of yellow and yellow in front of red shows something different, but there’s still too much white noise.

Jerome informs us that he normally picks the locks rather than using a key. Eric picks the door in the raven room; turns out Atlantean machinery isn’t all that complicated. There’s a secret door in the raven room, and another in the original room. These are the kind that open when touched with intent. There are no secret doors in the eagle room. Behind the secret door in the mural room, there’s a smithy where the weapons are made, and a few more weapons as well. There’s jewelers equipment, forge without coal in it, all the stuff you’d need if you knew what you were doing to make Atlantean gear if you knew what you were doing. They’ve also got the hoplite plate, but it’s not really wearable. Also, there’s a table with three pillars and some stones – it’s a Tower of Hanoi because this is a Bioware game. There’s no message. Eric completes the puzzle; as soon as he gets them all over to the right hand side without messing up, the drawer of the table pops open and slowly slides out and there’s a little orange lens. We’re looking for ROYGBIV, it seems.

There’s a door in the smithy, too (all the doors all the time it’s like we’re a 1960s band). Down a hall and into another room, there’s a table in the corner. The table has a bunch of urns (like a lot) and they all have different, interesting symbols on the sides and a box in the corner like a trunk with a lock on it. The symbols are mostly unique, there are a few matches. The interesting thing of them is a) the containers are not magical and b) the symbols are pictograms from different cultures but they’re all different kinds of poisonous snake, insect, or other thing. The trunk is nonmagical with a lock on the front with three little keyholes. Craig only finds as much consciousness as he’d find from the hoplites in the general area of the table, so it’s hard to tell but there’s nothing in the box obviously. Eric attempts to pick the tri-lock while Craig tries to convince the box to open. Using the method of having people open the tension rods open for him, we bypass the need to do the puzzle and pissing God off. We get a blue lens.

There’s yet another door in this room and the hallways connect around to the other secret door (cutting out Indigo along the way because God wants to shift the pacing) with another room. There are two minotaurs, and when we open the door they see us and they’re a lot less asleep than the hoplites were. They can’t really fit through the door, but. Minotaurs. It’s a problem.

The party returns to the door Eric unlocked, and since God retconned indigo out of the picture there’s just a hallway that leads to the one we just went through to find the minotaur. The dungeon is symmetric, and there’s another room of minotaurs on the other side, annoyingly. The last available door has a room beyond and a table in it. The table has 7 buttons in a row and the buttons glow; they all flash and then one flashes over and over. Eric tries to run his hand along the entire row at once and spikes come down to whap Eric.

Hitting red only, it gives us all red violet green orange yellow blue eventually. When we solve the Simon Says puzzle, the table gives us a violet lens. That done, we need to deal with the minotaurs to get the last lens; they’re wearing frowny faces and makes axe motions. Eric opens one of the doors and tosses two frag grenades into the room. The minotaurs make a lot of loud angry noises; upon peeking they look like clockwork minotaurs with a lot of shrapnel in them. Now it’s time for the staff weapons. They have a range increment of 50 (50/100/150), they hold 10 charges, they’re mana based (naquedah), and they do 4 lethal damage. After shooting them with the staff weapons, they look additionally hurt but are still standing.

The very hurt minotaur goes at Eric first, attempting axe his arm off. The other is after Maxime. Craig and Alex shoot over them and pull the trigger on the P90s to do some damage. Before too long, the two minotaurs are exposed of their internal clockwork mechanisms and smoking. They’re very intricate, magical circuitry, gears so small that it’s strange they could be made by hand.

Behind the final door, there are four pillars with symbology on them. One of those pillars looks like it has fire symbol on it, another with waves (water) and then air and earth. Craig brings his lighter to the fire one, Eric pours water on the second, Maxime brings earth to the third and Alex blows on the fourth. A green lens falls from the ceiling.

We go back to the mural and each hold them in the order the Simon Says puzzle informed us to. The noise basically goes away, dimming so much that it’s actually visible finally. There are seven blinking dots that blink at once, then an ordering then comes out. It’s almost like the game is training us to do things. Ha. We follow the pattern; the hoplites continue to not stab us. Once the order is done, the puzzle shoots into the ceiling startlingly quickly and behind it there are more stairs down. These stairs are bigger and wider, not standard dungeon width.

Time for a dungeon crawl.

Episode 11
Run for the Hills

Kayou has not been seen for several months, and shall henceforth be named Brick Now On the Missing Person’s List.

Having called McMurderbot, he declared the site DEA after we absconded with their weapons and personal effects. Maxime, however, took the head. He just wants a puppet. It’s name is Jerome.

We also take his car; the hood got hit by Jerome’s dismembered head, so it’s a bit bloody and dented. Since it’s Seattle in February, it’s probably raining, and we’re probably good on concealing the murder. Still, the car needs ditching. Maxime knows someone in Duvall who does drugs, of course, and so we have a nice place to destroy the vehicle if need be.

We pull over and search his car. He’s got a license, a concealed carry permit, and a pistol in the glovebox just ready to go. It’s a .357 Magnum revolver, Smith and Wessen, a classic cowboy gun. He’s also got climbing gear with local dirt on it, a headlamp, and other accoutrements. The dirt is more like stone; looks like we might be finding a nice dungeon crawl.

There’s no spare tire in the back, but a little roll-out spike strip. Unfortunately it is not a James Bond strip, but it’s good in preparation for a battle. 3510 E St. Andrews Way is Jerome Ellis’ house, according to his driver’s license and vehicle registration. It’s a pretty freaking nice house, for a professor, but he’s also a mage. It’s swanky, according to Redfin, and stealing his house along with his car could be fun.

Eric starts to look for public information on Jerome Ellis. He’s the only one listed on his tax records, and he finds a Marie Ellis – deceased. He’s been in the academic field for a long time; his JSTOR file is pretty prolific. He’s mostly writing about artifacts in the Mediterranean region, including experimental archaeology, including reproduction of life and times.

Maxime suggests ‘sending’ Jerome on a long vacation and taking over his pad. And then, in the same breath, asks if we should question him. Or rather, his head.

Now that Alex has rejoined the group, she starts to look over the papers Liliana had. The first thing that comes to mind is ‘why the hell is someone researching PNW artifacts being an expert for someone who is an expert in a completely different reason.’ The second is that there’s a lot of different, every day traditional stuff, but there’s a lot of focus on religious artifacts, specifically on the relationship to snakes and other lizardlike things in the northwest region – dragons. It’s cross-cultural, studying the flow of multiple different myths across different peoples, and it’s fairly comprehensive. She was having a hard time with chronicity of knowledge transfer.

It’s funny, when people book plane tickets the airline usually email them, although it’s not on his silly Nokia flip-phone. The group decides to drive to Jerome’s house and do some more investigating. Eric gets in touch with Smokey mcMurderbot about Jerome; he keeps sending a lot of silly emotes and someone has turned on his Taybot mode.

Ellis’ house has a security system. Eric inspects the outside of the house for phone input to deactivate the alarm. It’s DSL, grossly, and Eric’s opinion of him drops several points. He needs to find a poncho to keep his process of breaking in dry. Time to roll for hacking and break into this house. Having done this, since we have his keys, we just unlock the back door.

The beeper on the alarm system is absurdly loud, for some reason, but we’ve got about ninety seconds or so to turn it off. Eric just decides to rip the system out of the wall, basically, but it migght take more time than he’s got. He’s able to find the box he needs and yank the thing physically out of the wall. Yipeecayay muthafucka, we just broke into a house.

The first alarm box, however, was not non-magical. Fortunately we powered it down mundanely by beating the crap out of it. We start to investigate the house; it’s a fancy-looking place. Eric, of course, goes looking for his desktop labeled Compaq or similar, something awful, and he’s also looking for the DSL modem. Shockingly, his computer is actually a nice modern machine, like someone bought a case off Amazon and assemble it for him.

Maxime finds a nice selection of scotch and cigars, along with small bookshelves. There are a larger number elsewhere in the house, which Alex is interested in. The books are all focused in his field; every book published from the teens through the modern era, as though he’s been buying books since he started teaching. There’s a focus on Mediterranean in general, and the cultural pollination between those cultures. There are also a bit of Western US culture, all the way down through Mexico.

Rama finds a decent selection of magical herbs and spices in Ellis’ pantry. Alex, going to the pool, notices that he’s running the AC in his pool and it feels like there’s warmth coming from the water. There are no eggs in the pool, but it’s hot tub hot, which is weird. It’s not circulating through anything, but it’s fairly obviously a magical pool. Yaaaaay magical mana spring. He apparently built a house on top of it. Rama decides to go for a swim for probably too long, and Alex will remove him if necessary.

Eric has found that Ellis’ bedroom is strangely like a hacker space, complete with 3D printers, laser cutter, milling machine etc. Weirdly, in his bedroom. Why. He thinks for a moment – Ellis is a reproduction dude, press print receive artifact. He can probably also make weapons to his heart’s content, and we’ve got Smokey McMurderbot for hauling it away. Ellis is running Win10 on his computer, and Bitlocker. He also has boot pin password enabled not currently booted. Eric tries all the normal pins one might use.

He has to start trying other methods. When he goes to open Ellis’ machine to look at the harddrives, there’s an additional bay for a second harddrive that isn’t there, almost as though someone removed it recently. After about an hour and ten minutes of work by Eric, Ellis’ password cracks. The desktop is just. Covered in files. Lots of them.

Maxime decides to interrogate the head, and makes himself another soul jar. Jerome is successfully moved into the jar, much success, very well commanded. Maxime demands to know where all of his hidden shit is, rather than anything useful. Any extra mana the pool generates goes to the pantry, car is souped up, etc.

Alex asks about dragons, and he reveals that he doesn’t know the full plan about their arrival. His basement is a Faraday cage, also. Maxime decides to put him in a box with Nyancat.

Ellis’ house has books and other artifacts that Alex is looking through intensely. She finds a lot of normal material to write a paper on, but there’s a bit of basic clockwork nicknacks that’s more advanced than what she would expect out of ancient Greece, more like the Renaissance era, based on things he researched at some point.

It’s almost like he was a magic craftsman who could make things like what sent A Barnes to the other side. She also finds ticket stubs to places he’s flown to recently, many of which are to Vegas. She also finds a map of ley lines in the SW, which is a little weird for someone with his focus area. He’s got tickets to some Vegas shows, but there’s some date gaps in between, closer to when they entered and left Vegas. He’s also got receipts from various indoor full auto armories – what you do when you’ve got too much money. It’s not making a lot of sense, but he’s got various sources pointing to something important being there.

Smokey texts Eric to let him know that Liliana’s place is all bagged and tagged; eh informs him we got into his computer, we’ll send you files later. He replies: Sweet thx :D. Eric also tells him one harddrive is missing, and Smokey Face replies with a lot of emoji and reminds him to ask Soul Jar McEllis. It looks like his more secret files were on the drive that’s missing.

The computer setup is starting to look astonishingly professional, almost like one of his mage friends was part of the Veil. He’s overclocked his CPU and it’s not hot. The CPU cooler is magical.

Maxime tries to control Jerome again so he can ask him about the drive, and fails, sadly. Nyancat isn’t having much effect on him. He just keeps chanting something about the great dragon ruling us all, and begins singing the Nyancat song to him.

Having hacked Ellis’ computer, Eric sends the UW department an email from Ellis making some excuse for leaving to do a dig somewhere and go on sabbatical. It’s a fairly normal excuse, thankfully. Eric decides to invoke Smokey mcmurderbot and get some help with Ellis’ head, to which he replies BRT, winky face, and appears almost instantaneously via helicopter.

Alex starts combing his work for things related to the SW. It took him a while to track down the information he needed, like really strange things, to find those areas in the desert that were highlighted. There are copies of Lovecraftian stories, and if that’s coming into play then that’s bad.

After some interrogation, revealing that Jerome is a little nuts via Nyancat, the drive has been destroyed. Smokey speeds through the gated neighborhood on his stolen police bike to help. Eric asks him if he can enlists help to reacquire the broken SSD from a dumpster or a landfill. The SPD gets recruited to go out on the hunt, which they’re not happy about, but Smokey is Smokey and they follow orders. Eric shows him the email from the Freemasons.

Alex shows him the map. He observes that it’s near an Air Force Base near the middle of Death Valley. He says we could go explore the site down there, an old Indian location that has legends about ‘you go there you die’ basically. Rama asks about equipment we could get for this trip, of the magical variety, and Smokey puts together a nice care package. He recommends getting a barred Humvee or a Jeep, or something that does off-road well enough, and adds some cash dollars to the list – on his Amazon app, hitting the number of unmarked bills button.

There’s some argument about taking a Jeep versus taking ultralights. They book a flight down to Vegas using Ellis’ credit cards because why not. The goal of Tonopah Test Range, an airport in Nevada. Before we leave, Smokey suggests that we learn our rotes before leaving, since the site isn’t going anywhere, and joining an order would help.

Doing the rotes takes almost a week, mostly going to magic school Harry Potter style. Eric decides to join the Freemasons officially, and Rama is already a member of the Ballard lodge. Alex officially joins the Lara Croft society. Maxime is able to pass the crazy Scientology thaton test and goes to start his next class. He continues to basically blaze his way through these classes, and after mouthing off to an underling who asks ‘are you sure you’re not the reincarnation of L Ron Hubbard?’ and replying, curtly ‘yes, yes I am you miserable worm,’ the underling points him in the direction of the elder Scientologists. He asks in Atlantean ‘can we dispose of this now?’ and they say, in Atlantean ‘ no’. “Why?” “Because we have to get dirt on you.” Maxime begins explicating his associations and crimes, his membership in the Bratva, that he’s killed people, etc. They ask about the names of anyoone he’s killed, and he mentions Liliana, that he set her on fire and someone else shot her. When he explains he used Household Cleaners, they say they use them often. He ends up explaining, further, about the minimages and their mission to bring dragons back.

“Oh.” There is a long pause. “That’ll be two thousand dollars please.”

They move him right along to the head of the Seattle order, and say welcome to the Guardians of the Veil. Maxime asks if there are any tshirts or barbeques, but they say he can order the Scientologists and Mormons around. They do missions for the Veil without asking questions and make donations all the time. Any dead drops he needs, the Mormons love working for the post office which is really great because they’ve got deadp drops all over the planet. They can also transport masses of goods around the country; government workers are easy to bribe.

For Alex to join the Not Lara Croft Society, the one that offered to be her mentor was Latoya Pittman, who is a professor of African American studies and traditional art at UW. Really all she has to do to join is to publish information on magical goodness, and a flash of her UW student ID and she’s in.

We get a nice care package from Smokey sent to a VRBO cabin rental that we get. He gives us a list of things: thirty grand in unmarked bills in wads of fives, three more rapid heal bandages, two P90s (in case we find Jaffa), 6 .57 pistols because duh, a crate of 2000 rounds of .57 ammo because that’s how you buy it, 3 suppressor kits of variable caliber, one AR-15 integrally suppressed 300 blackout (subsonic wheeeee), four hand grenades, 2 thermite grenades, four kevlar vests, twenty packages of dehydrated water (don’t ask questions, just add water), a crate of 50 MREs (around now Eric extends the VRBO), 500 rounds of the 300 blackout ammo, five military issue rucksacks, and promises to send cash to a PO Box gift card when Eric says we don’t need the Amazon gift card (ok cool lolz emoji smileyface). He’s giving us the full military getup. There’s spare mags for all of this. And, fuckit, we get a Humvee (I dont’ care, says Smokey). All the stuff he’s sent is in Pelican cases waiting for us at the VRBO.

Well. It’s really more fly to the hills, but we can work with it.

Episode 10
Scooby Doo! Where are you?

Maxime is hungover so craig manifests whiskey and coffee to help him, “Here.” He says. Maxime grunts and sips his beverage. Eric looks up an address for Lilllyanna. Formerly a resident of west seattle — they struggle to find words, but manage to get themselves to the dingy lot where her apartment lies. Fumbling with his tools, Eric bump keys the aging lock open, but breaks it in the process. The door might as well be paper thin, but opens smoothly. Despite the ragged outdoors, she kept her apartment remarkably clean. Fairly typical college furniture. Modern. Modular. Some PNW tribal art on the walls. An effective use of her few extra dollars she was in posession of. Maxime immediately heads for her refrigerator and begins to make guacamole. The party stops and mangles the rest of her food before scouring her apartment for items of interest.

Maxime finds stacks of journal articles organized by author. All about the southern part of north america and south america and native american art. Craig looks in her room and finds her journal. Mentioning Professor Ellis in the art history stuff. Eric figures out her “secure” password which happens to be the serial number on the bottom. He finds documents and emails, with esoteric opsec terminology that boils down to “lets go to the lab and observer our experiments.” Jerome Ellis is her phd advisor and mage mentor.

The party debates the merits of attacking this man with guns but campus security and the FBI proved too much a deterrent. “Why don’t we just send him an e-mail with a meet up spot?” Eric suggests, as they pour over her missed texts, twitter, facebook, and email notifications. “Experiment had some compilations, lets meet up at…” they write.

“Where should we meet up?”

“What about Bricks’ house? He hasn’t been here in a while.” Craig proffers

“By the docks?” Maxime asks

Everyone is unanimous that this is a terrible idea.

“Lets just meet him in the lab, put him on home turf, make him feel comfortable.” Eric says, “Or why not just here?”

“Tell him she’ll be wearing the cocktail dress!” Craig says

“Shut up Craig.” God roars

“We’ll meet here. At 5, after his last lab.” Eric says and he sends the e-mail.

Maxime casts “hidden door”, finding some mana mushrooms and basic magey notes in her desk.

Erics spends his next few hours buying a firearm and setting up his makeshift suppressor.

Looking over her emails, it seems like they Ellis had a research assignment for A Barnes because he’s the patsy of patsys. She met up with him to get the device, met up with A Barnes, and then got dead. There are some panic emails she sent from before she was immolated. But as the time draws nearer the party laments over the lack of their plan. Currently plan A is: talk to him about the kobolds while pretending to be private investigators and ignoring the fact that they sent an e-mail impersonating his dead grad student. Plan B is: Shoot him with the weapons. Preferably the silent ones.

Rama knocks on the apt door and hears guns pointed in his direction. As expected, the door opens and the dreadlocked giant is accosted by weapons. Name dropping Agent Johnson was enough to keep his head from being blown off. But the ensuing interrogation was an unsettling introduction to say the least. Eric tosses him a 9mm and tells him to get ready.

A blue 1968 Deville Cadillac shows up, the rumbling comes to a halt and 2 doors close. Eric sees 3 blips. It gets darker outside and Eric detects an aura around who is presumably Ellis. Rama shields himself.

They knock. The door opens and it is immediately apparent we are not Lillyanna. The party goes with plan A. Ellis tells the party they don’t need to be in this business but really, they do. It is their business, especially with A Barnes being all spirit like now and the dead grad students, having encountered the dragons. “Well yeah, we did let him cast the really dumb spell, but I’m surprised he’s still around.” Ellis muses. On the topic of dragons though, “Isn’t it better to be the favored servants than crushed? Haven’t you seen the invasion happening? Congrats on your awakening but the best solution is to stop being curious.”

“You’re obviously so powerful Professor, what’s the worst we could do to stop you?” Craig persuades the professor into a monologue

“I plan to bring the dragons through and the hatchlings along, let the dragons take over the world, and exploring the notion of you living to see it all.” Ellis laughs.

Eric sends Maxime a text message via his head, 5, 4, 3… relays where the lackeys are on the opposite side of the walls.

Gunfire explodes from the party towards Ellis and his lackeys. They return fire with a shotgun that to Eric appears to be shooting bullets and lazers. Elsa runs towards Eric with a katana and makes a weak fling towards his shoulder. Maxime takes some gnarly hits from a crossbow but Eric manages to shoot Brett — who is now fully supported by the wall. Rama takes an unnecessary powerslide under the desk in a vain attempt to heal Maxime. Ellis’ shotgun hits little but the paradox rips at Rama and the desk shows as much. Elsa swings and gets Eric in important, but not altogether necessary places. The pool of blood around Brett grows ever larger. Sick of Craigs shit, Jerome shoots him through the door with the resulting paradox killing Brett, while peeking through the doorway Eric shoots Jerome in the face, but not his whole face, but he’s feeling it. The party send another hail of fire towards their adversaries, bringing them all to their knees. In a desperate rally, Jerome takes a shot at Eric but with the intensifying paradoxes sends his comrade Elsa flying into the ceiling.

Maxime blitzes through the room, careening his blade through Ellis’ neck sending the head into his car. The force of the motion setting off the shotgun once more making a final hole in his body.

The 911 calls are streaming in. Eric texts the important people, and the scene is taken care of. Eric tries to figure out how to use a super bandaid, a transparent gauze-like structure. Unfortunately Smoky man seemed to only give them old ones and they don’t work super well. The party wraps up the body into the cadillac and head off into the darkness.


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