Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Warhammer character stuff

I've been trying to figure out the best way to start everyone's character career-wise, making sure that the party contained whatever the group felt they needed while still keeping some of the randomness I've grown to love.

I saw someone on line talking about his system, where he allowed everyone in the party to make two career rolls.

The party then pooled all of their rolls together, and everyone had the full list from which to pick a career. He said there were a few moments of confusion because different rolls mean different things to different races, but overall he said it went well. For example, it's possible as a party you might roll 07, 22, 24, 52, 64, 67, 77, 79, 88, and 94. Tim then decides that it's HIGH TIME he played a Halfling Vagabond, which requires a roll between 91-94. So 94 gets scratched off the list and the process continues...

I'm thinking about trying this to see what happens. Anyone see any potential drawbacks? I'd probably be willing, if people were concerned about making sure certain careers were options on the board, to allow you to call one of the rolls - for instance, if you wanted to make sure there was an apprentice wizard in the party, you could make one regular roll and then just announce a second roll of an 03, which would allow either an elf or a human to start as a wizard.

At any rate, I've got 3+ weeks to tinker and come up with a system I like. Any input would be most appreciated.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Helping Shawn Move

Ok, I am about to pull the computer apart for the move which means that I am not going to have access for a bit.

But, I am asking for the obvious help on the 30th in carrying the heavy shit out of my house and into Rachael's garage for the 2 days that it will need to stay there before being moved into my new place on August.

On Saturday the 30th I will need help for about 3 hours (as long as we have the fucking truck *Fuck UHaul*) in the afternoon, at approx. 3 PM, to take the heavy/large stuff out of the house.

Nigel, you are exempt.

Everyone else, help would be greatly appreciated.

Back to the log.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Introducing: The Freedom League!

Vanguard mission log:

We were detained by the L.A.P.D's P.A.R.T. squad. I let them know the situation. The owner of Allied Chemicals showed up. At first we thought it was Justin Grishom, but it turns out to be his twin brother Raymond Grishom. He said he didn't know about the lab below the Terminal. He says some of his employees were recently assassinated by a paranormal with sonic powers. After some more discussion and presentation of evidence, he gets us released. He has one condition: that we contact him if we run into his brother again.

Mr. Grishom gave us a ride home. We were discussing the groups name and such, and he told us that he used to sponsor the New Guardians. We discussed him becoming our sponsor as well, and I think we will try it for a while. I've been providing a lot of the capital for the group, but it might be better to lesson my profile so it isn't as easy to trace it back.

We talked about names. It was a little heated, but I think we settled on one. We shall now be known as The Freedom League! I think it has a nice ring to it.

Mason and Forte went to the interrogate prisoners from the park bombing. When they arrived the power was out. A group who announced themselves as "Image" broke out Lodestone. They left a manifesto. They claim to be a group of mutants who "will now allow mutants to be subject to the laws of humans." This is exactly what I don't need. I believe in rights for mutants, but I don't intend for them to be above the law. I understand that desperate times will drive people to desperate measures, but I fear a confrontation is in our future.

Forte wanted us to make an appearance at "Omegaworld," a superhero themed amusement park. We didn't even get in the door when screams start coming from the carousel. It started spinning faster and faster, threatening to throw people off in all directions. With some good teamwork we manage to get everyone off. Next, a ride called "Bullet Train" starts going incredibly fast. There was a message that said if the train was stopped, it would blow up a bomb. I left Mason and the rest down at the control room, while Flea and I went up to the train. We searched for the bomb but could not find it. I was thrown off the train. When I managed to return, Flea asked me to move some people out of the train car. There was a massive explosion...

I didn't know how I managed to survive, but I was told it was through the quick thinking of Trauma. Everyone on board was killed. I haven't had time for this tragedy to sink in yet. When I have time for reflection I'm sure it will be painful. Right now, I just want to get the bastard responsible.

The group headed over to another ride. Inside we hear a familiar voice: The Idiot King. I should have known a scheme this demented would be his. We fight off some robotic knights, but no sign of Idiot King.

To be continued

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Seeing Stars

Vanguard mission log:

Assault on the Terminal.

We sent Flea in to do recon, but we lost radio contact with him, so we drove through the front gates and attacked. Had to fight some mercs known as the Raiders.

Bullet: highly trained normal with high tech weapons
Starseer: wired looking guy with laser-like powers, maybe an Alien
Big John: Giant fighter
The Exterminator: Half man Half machine with high tech weapons

Things didn't start out so good. I got blinded by a grenade and then something hit me, I'm not sure what. When I woke up, I expected to see us getting defeated. I don't mean that arrogantly, it's just that things didn't look very good when I went down. Turns out, Flea showed up, and the rest of the team hung together well. Trauma was taken out, but Hooligan and Tripleforte were still slugging. Tripleforte seems to be a lot more resilient than he looks. I had a hard time fighting Big John, but with teamwork we prevailed. I look at this as a great victory, because we were able to pull together and overcome adversity.

We investigated the Terminal. No good clues found in the complex. Then Tripleforte discovered a fake tank that lead to an underground facility. We spread out and searched it. There was a lot of high tech equipment, but we really couldn't make much out of it. Next thing we know, Trauma is calling out. I get there and some Thing is strangling him. It looked like a man shaped blob of evil pudding. Meanwhile, other team members were dealing with a metal woman known as Chrome. We managed to overcome both enemies, but not before Trauma was strangled and I got a broken arm when Tripleforte came flying in and crashed into me. I wasn't expecting it, and wasn't able to deflect the blow.

We managed to find out a good amount of information.

[see supplemental entries]

Diplomacy segues into Warhammer

I don't know if any of you are Diplomacy players or not, but if you are...

...an acquaintence of mine is heading off to law school at the beginning of August. He owns Diplomacy, but has never played, because it requires people willing to give up several hours to play.

We'll be playing on July 29th, which I'm pretty sure is a Friday. If the 29th is in fact not a Friday, we're playing on the Friday closest to July 29th. Probably starting about 6 pm.

If you both want to play and are able to play on that particular evening, let me know, otherwise, go on with your lives as if nothing has happened.

To my second point, I plan on running Warhammer Real Soon Now(tm). I have a few questions for you...

A) Those of you who have the book (which may be all of you) - have you read the intro adventure in the back? It leads pretty well into the Paths of the Damned stuff, so I'd like to use that to start. However, if anyone has gone through it, I could whip something else up instead to lead you down the path to grim and perilous adventure.

B) The Plundered Vaults book has some short one-offs, which I will probably use at some point. Three of them are reprinted from WFRP v1. Two of them appeared in White Dwarf, while one comes straight from The Restless Dead. I'm not sure what you ran in the past, Shawn, so if any of this rings a bell, let me know.

C) Are you all interested in rolling your characters up completely randomly, or making characters with a starting career and character concept already in mind? Me myself, I prefer to do it completely randomly, but not so much that I'd refuse the other method.

I think that's it. Hopefully. For now.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Some other game stuff I wanted to get to

Nigel: The Flea wanted to talk to Memorysmith or someone else at Project: Lifeline about the whole vampires and mutants thing. It is suggested to you that Dr. Helena Amory, the head of the department of Metahuman Studies at UCLA would be a good person to ask. She is an expert in superhuman genetics and mutant biology, and has been helpful to them in the past. Another possibility is Dr. Philadelphia Ryan, the head of the Horizon Institute which deals with the unique medical and psychological problems of superhumans.

Shawn: You wanted to ask the same questions from a different angle, and wanted to ask Ebonfire about it. While Brian may not recall her, his character will certainly recall Lynda Crighton, the owner of the Nightengale Bookery, an occult bookstore that has a number of mystical texts as well as selling various anti-monster paraphenalia including stakes such. She seemed to be pretty knowledgeable about occult matters, and even forgave him for trying to stab her to death (she seemed to understand how it happened). Ebonfire is just not that knowledgeable about the lore as you would want your advocate to be; and while you yourself are probably the best expert you know on things occultish you wanted another expert witness to back you up and she might just fit the bill.

Brian: You wanted to ask about getting your own radio show. This is possible. However, the station is not entirely sure that the format would have the appeal needed. They want you to generate some publicity buzz before you go on the air. To that end, they have you meet with producer Ron St. John, who makes the tv show "To Save the World", and superhero soap opera. An amusement park is opening up soon with a "To Save the World" theme, and he thinks you can both help each other. Having a real superhero team there will generate buzz for the opening, and you can use the occasion to announce your show thus gaining the attention of all the fans and media folks. However, until they are sure the format works, they are going to have you do a 1/2 hour segment at the end of the "Ragin Gail Kelso" show; she is a popular personality who is pretty much the opposite of Fitzwater (the reason you chose this station in the first place).

Finally, you all were waiting to hear back from Ebonfire about the Vampire situation. He and Moonsilver have been working on it, but they know very little about LA being mainly New Yorkers. So, they hired a private detective, an Abel Giantino, a tall man in his early 50's with light brown hair and hazel eyes, very much with an aura of confidence and competence. He has certain knowledge of the seamier side of LA, and tells you what his investigations have turned up:

Lucia Pacciola is the daughter of Dominic Pacciola, who was consiglieri for the Scatucci mafia family until he was killed by the Shadowfists. To all appearances she was not involved in any of her fathers activities; she seemed to want nothing to do with the mafia. She got a degree in law, and while in college she met Dr. Alexander Thomas, a professor of egyptology whom she began a relationship with. Giantino suspects that she may have been turned into a vampire by Dr. Thomas; there is evidence to suggest he was a vampire. He was arrested on charges of assault and burned up in his cell when morning came along. He was in some way associated with the New Guardians; he lived in their house. He and Lucia had some kind of falling out after an incident involving an assasination by Demise of a Morelli family underboss at "Pappa Caccitore's" restaurant...it may have been the night he turned her into a vampire. At least, she never saw him or spoke to him again after that.

For reasons unknown, she seemed to change her mind about being involved with the family business, especially after her father was killed by Synapse. It is likely she began turning other members of the Scatucci family into vampires, it made them completely immune to the powers of Synapse and Demise as well as made them more able to fight back. She became the nominal head of the family and was able to keep control of many Scatucci enterprises, such as waste disposal, dockworkers, certain unions, smuggling, and a small territory near the waterfront.

Things he knows about connected to her operation:

Phil Mariani: chief steward of the tile layers and workers union.
Los Angeles Flower Market: In Venice Beach, run by Michael "Tulips" DeAngelo, the flower market is basically held hostage by the mob.
Viva Italiana: Restaurant is half owned by Mickey "Numbers" Tosconi, a caporegima in the Scatuccis. Other half is owned by Charles Harmon, who is likely mobbed up as well.
Andy Polevski: Assistant harbormaster, I'm pretty sure he is "friends" with several Scatucci associates.
Councilman Joseph Ruggiero: no proof, but word on the street is he's mobbed up and will take bribes from just about anyone.
Club 20: Recently purchased in the last few years by Anthony "Drummer Boy" Lambesti, a Scatucci captain, this club seems to be a source of ecstasy and other like drugs.
The Fish Market: The president of the association is Aldo "the Fish" Cardinale, a high ranking caporegima, and is totally corrupted by mob influence. (ask if you want details)

Info from Chrome's Brain, and other aftermath

I didn't have time last night to fill Brian in on what he got out of reading Chrome's mind or wrap things up as much as I wanted to, so I figured that I would just go ahead and post it here. It will probably be more complete and easily recalled this way anyhow. In fact, there was some other information that some players had requested to get that I had planned on getting to last night, but the fight went longer than I thought it would. I may post some more stuff after this one just to keep things rolling, I want to try to get done in the next four weeks. Anyway:

Dr. Kimberly Chase, or Chrome, is working in this secret lab for several different reasons. She is not on the payroll of Allied Chemicals. She agreed to work on something called Project: Helios in exchange for having this lab set up for her and all the materials she would need, plus a steady supply of heavy-metal salts and minerals which she needs to ingest to live; stuff the company can supply easily with little notice. Project: Helios is trying to create some kind of an "ultra-plasma" substance which can channel and control tremendous amounts of heat. This substance has already been created and tested, although it has so far proved to be unstable and vulnerable to low temperatures, and she is working on a way to fix these problems. The test involved was the "accident" at the chemical plant that turned Maria Spiros into Phosphorous. It was not an accident at all but a deliberate test to see what effect it would have if a human was exposed to it. Chrome does not know who actually arranged the accident, but she suspects it was a man she knows only as Photon, a superhuman for whom Project: Helios is being developed. Chrome used to work at the Horizon Inst. before she became a criminal, and she has been trying to set up a system here in the lab to contain Phosphorous like the one they have there; she has been planning to kidnap her from the Horizon Inst. and bring her here to conduct tests on her.

She has had contact with Photon only a few times, she does not know why he has the ability to pull strings at Allied Chemicals the way he does. She does know that only a very few employees know about her, her lab, and her project; mostly the upper management (including the President, Terrence Martins) and a few select employees like the 4 security specialists who rotate shifts guarding the lab while she works. She theorizes that either Photon is one of those people in disguise (though she doubts it, she has seen Photon with many of them at the same time), he has some kind of blackmail power over Martins (or threats to harm him/family?), or he has some kind of other deal worked out with Martins.

Why is she doing this? Because she also is allowed to use the lab to work on her own projects. The mutations she triggered in herself by injecting herself with Alloy's blood have not stopped; she continues to mutate and is worried that she may develop the same disease that killed Alloy. She has been kidnapping people and bringing them to this lab to perform experiments on them designed to further her theories on inducing paranormal abilities, as well as find a way to understand her own. Most of her subjects are now dead, but one experiment in trying to create a regenerative serum resulted in the creation of Ooze, who she is keeping alive until she can figure out a way to refine it. He is quite mad from the transformation, but does not seem to be aware of his madness. She plans to eliminate him when she has learned all she can from him. She believes him to be safely contained in one of the tubes in the auxiliary lab.

Okay, I think that's about it for what can be gotten from her brain, if you have any further questions go ahead and ask.

As far as other things you discover while searching the place, Ooze seems to have killed the security guard on duty and stashed him in the generator room. Power to his containment vessel was temporarily interrupted very recently, allowing him to escape before the backup generator took over. Perhaps it was when Vanguard cut the relay box outside.

From the stuff that Vanguard went through in the administrative building, none of the employees that work at the Terminal know about the lab. All business is legitimate although sometimes the chemical deliveries are wrong or come at odd times. The manager has sent several memos recommending that the place be decomissioned and a more modern and efficient facility replace it; these memos have been ignored.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Mall Crazy

Vanguard Mission Log:

The base nears completion. The base computer is still in Beta testing phase and is not ready for full time duty just yet. Dammit, of course the pure mahogany conference table with the 14 karat gold inlay is on backorder. It will be nice to have a real conference table for a change, not that the Prof's house isn't cozy...

I spent some time going out on the talk show circuit. Did all the locals, (Good Morning L.A., City File, and This Week), hoping to get a national spot on NPR, maybe Diane Rehm? I'm really trying to get across that this insurance issue is really about privacy. On the other hand, I can't appear to be putting paranormal's concerns above the general public. Damn, this is a dangerous political road to follow.

I called a meeting at the new base in order to figure out the "group's" next move. There was a lot of interest in the vampire woman who knows all about us. I assured everyone that I am very concerned about it as well. We just don't have any leads right now. I convinced everyone (some still grumbling) to help me check out the Terminal. It's not as urgent a problem, but at least we know where the target is. We started making plans when the Prof noticed some commotion at the New Urbana Galleria, a fancy new shopping mall. We headed down there.

We arrived at the mall to find...Nothing. Nothing seemed to be happening. We split up and pretty soon we run into a certified 24k looney: Foxbat. Sure, all criminal "masterminds" are messed up, but this guy needed help, he was trying to steal a big fake diamond! He had a "centipede mobile and a cast of wierdos:

Agent X, Agent 1, and Agent Orange. No I'm not making this up.
Exoskeleton Man.
harmonious Fist
and some chick called Charlie.

We started in on trying to reel these guys in when G.R.A.B shows up! (Cheshire Cat, Black Diamond, Bluejay, and Hummingbird.) These guys are thieves, but at least they seem to try and not hurt anyone while they are doing it.

Now it's total chaos. You can't tell the players without a program. I get a chance to talk to Hummingbird, and I find out that they thought the diamond was real too. Something strange is going on.

Well, we manage to capture some of the wierdos and G.R.A.B bugs out. I didn't know where Mason and Tripleforte were during the fight. Turns out, Mason found a bunch of wireless camera around the mall. 'Forte turns up naked in a store, I'm still not sure about that one.

I took the cameras back to the base to examine in our new electronics lab. I have to admit I'm a little rusty in the lab these days, I guess that happens when you turn into an executive. I was able to determine that my company makes these cameras. Well, nice to see our stuff stands up to rough field conditions. I'll try to find a way to trace the cameras, but I suspect it'll just lead to some kind of internet connection, as the cameras have a fairly short range.

Who is recording us, and why?

Mason's Diary, pt. 1

Because of possible legal concerns, I have decided to document my daily activities in hopes of providing a written record of my mental state, my investigative activities and perhaps some clues for the police or other investigators in the event of my demise.

My name is Samuel Mason, I am a writer.

Since July of 2001, I have found myself involved with a group of “heroes.”
I use the quotations because they sometimes are less like Time Magazine presents them and more like a large dysfunctional family. Very caring, but very opinionated and not always in agreement.

Since having helped them in some small way in a Canadian manner, I have found they sometimes desperately need my skills, if not my opinion.

Since 9/11 and the information we found then, I have felt drawn to this group by the secrets we have in common. They have a wonderful view upon such a strange and fantastic world, I suspect that the inspiration will be worth some of the danger…but I digress.

Having been present at the riot/altercation between the white supremacist supers White Lightning and Carnivore against the African American super Brother Hood & the Forty Knights street gang, I decided that it would be a good idea to try and help resolve the situation by infiltrating the supremacist group lead by Marshall Endicott. To this end I have taken a job within a “racially friendly” trucking company as a union delivery driver, Michael Wilkinson.

Michael was born 12/15/1973 in Oklahoma City, OK and until moving to Los Angeles 11 months ago had never excelled at any thing in his life. He was an average student from a slightly broken home; mother re-married when he was 12, went out for football but hardly played.
His introduction to the “life-style” was as the result of his father, who had always exhibited a low-grade racism because of various affirmative action programs which always seemed to go against him at the local Bandag plant. When Mike’s mother re-married one of the plant managers who supported the programs, his dislike of Mike’s father combined with his father’s opinion of the manager pushed his rebellious teenage mind towards a dislike of change and anything ‘different.’
Mike drifted from one labor job to another until one night…

He was playing Texas Hold-‘Em in his local watering hole when everything happened. Sitting across from him was what he thought was a normal human, maybe Mexican or one of those freakish mulatto types whose mothers didn’t have enough sense to stay within their own race. Thoughts like those must have been the reason why he had a headache all night ‘cause the place wasn’t as smoky as other nights.

He was sitting on 4th street with 2 pair, thinking about his bet.
The chink had bet heavy off the deal, probably holding Big Slick, and hadn’t slowed down. Everyone else had dropped out either pre-flop or after, but Mike suited 9-8 had reaped the benefits of the flop of K-9-8. But the chink had kept up the betting, as if his hand was made. Since there wasn’t a flush on the board, the best that Mike could see was 4 to a possible straight, or a K-9 pair, but betting a K-9 as heavy as that from the deal would have been dumb. This has to be a bluff, he thought.
4th Street showed a 4th suit on the board with a deuce attached. The chink bet and re-raised up to the table limit. Mike considered the likelihood of K-9 being down in front of the chink. He had played big all night long, but had cashed in each time.
His luck can’t run forever and he can’t be playing anything on this hand, Mike finally decided, calling.
The River turned up another 8. Full house.
Mike bet, re-raised, and called to the limit. After he flipped the boat, the chink flipped his cards and started raking in the pot.
Mike remembers seeing all the cowboys on the table, between the board and the chink’s hole cards. He remembers being pissed off for having not seen the additional king on the board and having missed played so badly, but then he remembers Bill Carlson asking the chink what he thought he was doing?
Bill had arrived late and had been watching the game until a seat opened up, but right then he was looking over the table asking why a full house was beat by 3 of a kind?
Mike re-looked at the cards and saw three kings.
The table exploded with activity.
Several people grabbed at the chink, a couple of people moved around behind him to block his exit, the bar tender Mattie grabbed a shotgun from behind the bar and pointed it at the group, Mike grabbed for the chips as the chink flipped it up in the air, scattering cards and chips everywhere.
A scuffle happened, people tried hitting other people, several people brought down the chink, Mattie fired the shotgun at the crowd, sending a couple of people down, Mike pulled out his knife.
People holding the chink were hit from behind by others in the bar, Mattie re-loaded the shotgun, Mike stepped towards the fray, arm extended towards the chink.
Mike turned his head as he felt his shoulder grabbed from behind by Bill when someone bumped into his extended arm.
Bill’s face went white as Mike tried to figure out why he had turned him and the noise of the fight ground to a halt.
When Mike turned around, his knife was sticking from the chink’s chest and the man was grabbing at it, trying to remove it by its blood-slicked handle.
Then the chink’s head exploded.
Everyone in the bar turned towards the door as the green clad armored form standing there holstered its weapon. The markings on the armor looked military in nature, with a G evident on the chest. The figure turned and walked out of the bar in total silence.
Bill helped him out to his car where he threw up repeatedly. Mike decided at that time to leave the state and hasn’t been back since.
He believes that he might be wanted in questioning for the murder of the man.
Since that time, he has heard of the organization by the name of Genocide who is working against the mutant threat and strongly believes that the chink was a mutant. Mike now ranks mutants worse than any non-whites than he ever interacted with and is sometimes quite vocal about it.

This of course is the cover story that I have built for the cronies about Michael Wilkinson. Based partially in fact as a note, their having been an incident in Oklahoma City about a year ago fitting the outline of the story. Mike wasn’t really present, nor is he wanted in questioning.
Enough for today. I will begin the real documentation tomorrow.

April 7th 2002:
Trauma (aptly named) is staying over nights at my house in order to monitor my behavior more closely. After the tragedy involving the break-in and attack by those kids I welcome the observation. Despite his questionable morals and judgment making facilities, he is quite an able EMT. I figure as long as we can stay away from conversations about philosophy, rehabilitation, the criminal justice system, the Hooligan, Canada and almost every other topic in existence, things will go smoothly.
I suspect that he will be talking me into researching Nicodemus’s problem more, in which case I will attempt to get him to get me unrestricted access to the man. His history of how he came to this disease will be invaluable to finding a possible cure, let alone getting eyewitness information as to the manner of life within the country he was born.

April 8th 2002:
A list of potential questions:
When did he first notice the disease?
What form did it initially take?
When did he notice it getting worse?
What are the symptoms? When do they get worse?
What has he tried to alleviate the symptoms, what has worked, what hasn’t?
He went into a suspended animation, what method was used for that?
What were the expected conditions for his sleeping body during the suspension?
Were they the same as he expected when he arose?
Are there others whom he has known with this disease?

April 9th 2002:
Well, yesterday was a good starting point.
The compiled story of the questions above: After he had started studying the principles of alchemy on his own is when he discovered the symptoms. As time went on he found the symptoms getting worse. He really hasn’t ever found anything that has alleviated the symptoms. After a certain point he placed himself within the suspended animation in order to let time pass. There weren’t any surprises about the suspension. He hasn’t heard of anyone else having suffered from this disease, but then he hadn’t thought to look.
I am noticing that he isn’t as sharp a tack as we originally thought…I was able to get him speaking about his home country and conditions of the time without any problem. He also made several admissions as to why he initially went into alchemy… I will be checking on those over the next few days. Meeting with the studio and Durante tomorrow, hope that goes well.

April 10th 2002:
Studio execs are such arrogant pricks. I don’t quite see how Durante deals with them as often as he does. Of course he would tell me that he isn’t a movie star, he is a jazz musician.
I can handle the changes to the script, I can handle the changes to the story, I can even handle the changes to the timeline, but making a serious meeting about changing my name in the credits? This was not worth my time away from researching the Nicodemus problem.
At least the movie is still going forward, that much is making me happy. This way Shadowdancer won’t be looking to revenge himself against Durante or myself anytime soon. Perhaps if the movie gets put straight to video, or gets locked away for a long time we should watch for problems against the movie studio execs, but that shouldn’t happen.
I got a few of the materials Nicodemus recommended for me to review… almost a primer of information for alchemy. Perhaps I, with my other knowledge, I can get to the root of the problem.

April 12th 2002:
It happened again, but this time not in the house.
I don’t know really if I want to weep or be happy that it happened.
Yesterday, Mike was at the local bar again, spending time with the Endicott people winding down after work.
In walks White Lightning, to a hail of cheers and applause. I stand up, make some noises myself, trying to figure out how to get closer to him in order to determine where he is staying or when he will be available for detainment for the police.
He walks over to the bar in a crowd when Seth, the bartender, suddenly shoots him twice in the chest and once in the head.
The crowd scatters, guns are drawn, tables are upended, and windows crash in.
Seth strips off his latex mask revealing a masked figure underneath, I believe his name is The Crusader. Standing up by the windows are several other “costumed” figures, all drawing guns and starting to shoot people who are moving towards The Crusader.
I duck back down and keep covered, while his posse of friends covers his escape from the bar.
After they left several of us got up and went after them, looking for a bit of payback for White Lightning.
The bulk of us went east after the group in the distance, but I knew that had to be a ruse, so I turned and headed west quietly and carefully.
Then I heard the click behind me.
I slowly turned around and found Gunslinger with “the drop” on me. He said something witty as I was trying to explain what was really going on…and prepared to shoot.
Then everything went black.
When I woke up, Gunslinger was lying in the alley, dead. No marks, no blood, nothing.
I heard the other group returning, so I did the only thing I could think of, I shot his body three times. Once in the hand, once in the chest and once in the head.

I am a hero to the group. I took down one of the people who helped kill White Lightning. I suspect this will get me closer into the Endicott inner circle and the compound.
I feel so sick. I took another life again and I can’t control it. I will work another couple of days on the job and then take some extended vacation… I don’t think the managers will complain. I’m the hero because I am a murderer.
I really want these people to cease.
I am going to go crawl around a bottle of Glenmoraige. Trauma can wonder.

April 18th 2002:
At least the last several days have been productive.
I found the books that Nicodemus recommended, read them and then researched in some other texts. I think that I have an idea.
As the song goes, “there are two paths you can go by…” Fast and slow.
The fast path, which Nicodemus took, seems to have a strong disadvantage to it. It seems to force a flaw into the practitioner. There are many documented cases of this type of effect entering into the system of a practitioner within the literature and tomes.
With a couple of exceptions they all seem to be fatal. I am following up on the exceptions in the next couple of days.
The other path, slower, seems related to the Rosicrucian belief system and is presided over by the Order of the Rosey Cross. I will see what Nicodemus has to say about that when I meet with him next.
Trauma was at least been observant enough to comment on my heavy drinking the other night as being unusual and watched me carefully as I recovered from the hangover and have been researching for the last couple of days.
His observance however is overshadowed by his idiocy when it comes to this project. He admittedly doesn’t know the first steps to take in order to help Nicodemus, yet made this promise to him that we would work towards finding a cure before he dies. When I try to work on the cure and get his assistance, he refuses to understand the basic concepts of the process and wears his ignorance as a badge of honor.
Then, his obvious intent in helping Nicodemus being as a rehabilitation tool, he degrades and treats the patient without the simplest forms of respect. He constantly mispronounces his name in a derogatory fashion which belies his obvious distain for the patient/prisoner. This from a person who indicates that he has respect for the Hippocratic Oath!
I suspect that I need to point out to him that the line about “I will use my power to help the sick to the best of my ability and judgment; I will abstain from harming or wrongdoing any man by it.” refers to more than just his ability to grow, shrink and heal, but also his voice, actions and manner. By treating this man with no respect at all, he does him wrong and prosecutes harm against him.
I suspect that there is no reason to cause my blood pressure the increase as the finer points of this argument will be lost on the dunderhead.
Regardless, I will stay the course since he has promised us to the cause. Perhaps Vanguard will be able to speak to him about promising these types of things in the future.

April 19th 2002:
What started him on the path of alchemy?
Was he approached by anyone with interest in teaching him?
Did he seek out anyone to teach him?
Why did he study by himself?
How fast was his rise in power?
Since the symptoms seemed to have increased across time, were they really increasing along a gradient with his power rather than time?
Has he ever heard of the Order of the Rosey Cross?
Is he familiar with the Rosicrucian’s teachings?
Has he heard of the following names: Angelico of Venice, Isabella Del Oro, Vjerkond Struamactson, and Kiief Harksen?

April 20th 2002:
I have no idea how Nicodemus ever learned how to perform alchemy, he can’t read Greek. Heck, he is hardly literate at Latin, let along some of the more esoteric dialects of Italian needed to make simple transformations. He almost earns the sobriquet that Trauma puts on him, but he has been alive for almost 6 centuries because of his will to live, so I guess I can’t call him too dumb.
He did recognize a couple of the others who had died of similar causes, but the others he didn’t know of. I guess there isn’t really an alchemist’s network of sharing secrets in existence today, let alone then.
Kind of a guarded profession with a decent amount of industrial espionage. Hmmm, I think there is a story idea in there somewhere…
It seems as if he moved quite quickly along the rise to power. He knew of the Rosicrucians, and although he had sought out a teacher with them, they seem to have rejected him in some manner…perhaps they have some way to resolve this problem, or their method of teaching the skill sidesteps the problem involved. Shame I don’t know any one who is a member.

April 22nd 2002:
Research research research.
Isabella Del Oro, born in the late 1670’s, lived in the Los Angeles area, was reputedly killed by the Church in 1715 when accused of consorting with demons and devils on the property that she owned. Strong probability that she was an alchemist and might have been made of gold? (Alchemical accident?)
The good people that rose up and killed her never found the body, assuming that it was spirited away by her malefactors, er benefactors in this case. They burned the hacienda to the ground.
I have a location of the property, I will see what happened to it from there… she seems to be a good lead for possibly having made any progress on this disease.

April 24th 2002:
Went back to work at the route yesterday, everyone has great things to say to me for how I handled myself at the bar a few weeks ago. I suspect that sometime in the future I will need a great deal of therapy as the result of this. This is not the thing which people should be lauded and rewarded for. They should be punished and made to sit in a small box for a very long time. The only solace that I have allowed myself in this is that I am not certain what happened in the blackness. It is quite likely that I killed him, it is almost the only explanation, but I have only tenuous proof.
Proof that it has happened two times to me, but no proof that it was me acting either time.

That aside, I have found something interesting about the property I am researching.

It seems that the property sat empty for about 50 years before it was purchased by a Mexican woman, who paid with newly minted gold coins. When she died, unwed and childless, the property was left to a niece of hers who traveled a long distance to claim it.
The niece, who died unwed and childless, also left it to a niece… and so on and so on until the most recent niece, Anita Ramirez, claimed the land from her aunt’s estate about 20 years ago.

So, Durante and I are going to go have a meeting with Mrs. Ramirez on the pretense of enlightening the woman as to the interesting history of her familial home. We will be asking her if she wouldn’t mind us poking around the grounds looking for a hidden tunnel or room which might not have been noticed.
However, I suspect that we will be speaking with Isabella herself, in which case I need to bring a proper gift for her. Perhaps Shadowdancer will use his good taste in jewelry to direct me towards something I can afford and can present to her.

April 25th 2002:
I have to remind myself on a regular basis that Shadowdancer is a thief. He does indeed have good taste in jewelry, but he is a thief.
Luckily I have something I forgot about. The Stone.
After calling the property and arranging a meeting with Ms. Ramirez we went shopping.
Durante indicated that her name was present within the High Society pages at local art gallery openings and fashion shows, sometimes with a date, sometimes not, never the same man.
After wandering around Rodeo Drive for a bit, looking at various pieces of art made with precious metals and jewels, we found a delicate gold crown with metal veil which gave the proper implication of the gift and receiver.
The solid gold version of it would have set me a back a bit, but we were able to find a sterling silver version for ¼ of the price which I adjusted into gold.
Then Durante, Trauma and I went to the hacienda.
She seems to have a man-servant around the house. He met us at the door, took our gift and bade us wait in the foyer for his mistress’s pleasure.
After a few minutes he led us into a library where she was seated with the box on her lap. A pleasant woman, stunning with her dress and face, which it should have been since it wasn’t real… when I concentrated on her after sitting down I could tell that it was a projection.
We danced around the topic for a bit, Trauma being blissfully silent during the verbal fencing, when I took the leap by speaking in Spanish and addressing her by her real name. I was quite quick to tell her that we were not fortune hunters in any way, but if we could follow the trail, others could. I offered to help her with that oversight and then, switching back to English, asked her to relate some details of her history. She talked a little about how the peasants were easily frightened by things they didn’t understand and snorted derisively with the suggestion that she was consorting with devils or demons in the household.
We spoke of Nicodemus, whom she had heard of, and his malady asking if she had perhaps studied this problem and if she would have any pointers to give.
She indicated that she had actually found an elixir that might heal him, having a similar problem herself, but she was unable to avail herself to it. She then dropped the projection of flesh and blood and showed herself in her “natural” state.
She is quite gorgeous, being made of solid gold. Her features are quite rounded and pleasant to view, as opposed to angular or hammered.
I began to ask a few questions about her continued existence, since she obviously is not able to, or in need of ingesting solid food. She indicated that she has another concoction that she imbibes, through the use of alchemy which requires a certain amount of prepared gold. She gestured towards the veil and crown indicating that they were beautiful, but that she would likely melt it down in order to continue her existence. I suggested that I had access to a Philosopher’s Stone and could make her some other gold so that she wouldn’t have to destroy the gift.
She then started asking me about the Stone and what could be done. It seems that the cure she has for the disease would work on her if she was more human that she is. She believes that the Stone could change her body back into flesh if I was a little more skilled with its usage.
A deal was then struck that we would acquire the ingredients for the elixir and she would make multiple draughts of it, for herself and Nicodemus if I would agree to use the stone to transmute her back into human, once I had gained the skill.
Before agreeing to the terms, I asked her a few of the questions I had asked of Nicodemus. Why she had decided on alchemy, had she found a teacher or learned on her own, had she heard of the Rosicrucians,
She gave us a mystical shopping list, most of which she indicated that she would be able to obtain (Virgin’s tears, Bat Wing, etc.) but three ingredients that were unique.
Vampire Dust (A destroyed vampire)
The Gem of Amora
The heartsblood of the Chernibogg demon
Well, it sounds like an interesting list. Tomorrow I will start figuring out what it is all about.

Of course I will have to pick up Durante from Anita’s house, in the morning. *sigh*

Saturday, July 09, 2005


Latest info on RoboRally reprint:


Friday, July 01, 2005

Blood Sucking Fiends

Vanguard Mission Log:

I was waiting on top of the warehouse, when this really freaky guy comes at me. I later found out he is a monster hunter named Ebonfire. He yells "Duck!" I ducked. He then toasted a Vampire who was sneaking up behind me. After a brief thanks, I look down to see Mason, Trauma andTripleforte on the ground by the warehouse. I let them know our teammates are about to become Vampire snacks and tell Trauma to make us door.

Well, I was glad to have some of the mystic types around to help us with Vamps. Well, the battle got underway. I didn't seem to be able to do much to the bloodsuckers with my TK, so I decided to try and draw some gunfire toward me and off of the others. Seemed to work for a while.

Out of the corner of my eye I could see Mason, Ebonfire, Trauma and Tripleforte seemed to be doing well. I thought Flea and Hooligan might be in a little trouble, but I figured the best think I could do was keep the Vamps with the hand cannons off of them. I managed to smash a couple with some boxes, I think maybe the wood hurts them.

We managed to overcome most of the Vampires. I'm not sure how effective my powers were, but I hope I managed to take some heat of the others.

Then we found out the bad news. Seems one of the head vamps was able to mind control Flea and find out all about us, including secret ID's and all. I can't blame Flea, but it's something that we are going to have to deal with as soon as possible. It could totally ruin me.

Well, after talking to the Mystic types, we were able to put together some theories. The warehouse is owned by some ex-Mafia types, who joined up with the Shadowfists rather than be destroyed with the rest of the Mob. Justin Grishom took over other parts of the old Mob as well. So it looks like we have some Shadowfists looking exist as immortal Vampires. Great.

After delivering the some stuff for the Mystics, we are summoned to the park by the cops because of a bomb. Doesn't sound too bad....

Vanguard Mission Log Supplemental:

Approved the final plans for the base renovation. Doing a big computer update and adding in a lot of security cameras. Have a nice secret enterance under the street, so that none of our identities can be comprimised. Mason asked if he could reside at the base. I wasn't my intention for us to live there, just to rally there. I thought about it for a while, and I guess it would be good to have a team member there to handle things.

Gaming and Grilling

Just a reminder, boardgaming at my place on Saturday, July 2nd, starting at noon. Grilling starting around five, then round two of boardgaming. Attended any or all portions, as you see fit. "To Protect and To Serve Grilled Meat"!