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Thursday, July 31

Operation Countdown: Part 2 – Heat of the Night

“Caprice?” gasped Archive. “I…I made it out. But Hammer…I think he’s dead.”

Caprice couldn’t make out any forms in the shadows cast by the burning Humvee, but he was sure Archive was in there.

Caprice point the Stinger at the truck, sight over the sight assembly, and then looked through the peep sight. He positioned the target image in the center of the range ring. The IFF responded with many beeps, signaling that his target wasn’t a friendly.

The terrorists tossed more weapons into the truck.

Caprice placed his left foot towards the truck and leaned slightly forward.

“He’s alive” said Archive. “I…he’s barely breathing but I was able to bring him back. We’re in bad shape. Uh oh…”

Caprice pressed the actuator device forward, outward, and down with his right thumb until he heard a click, activating the BCU. Then he released the safety and actuator device. The Stinger was warming up. The gyro spun to life.

“Uh oh?” whispered Caprice.

The beeping changed pitch, indicating the Stinger had acquired the target.

“The bikers are coming back around...”

“Just one more second…” Caprice had to get them all at once, when they were gathered around a pile of munitions. But it was all in the timing. [MORE]

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Vengeance in Freeport: Part 7a – Home of Kenzil the Evoker

The home of Kenzil was a one-story structure that sat just north of the Cluster in Drac’s End.

“Kenzil was a powerful evoker.” Sebastian led them at a brisk pace toward Kenzil’s abode. “He decided to retire from adventuring and make his home in Freeport near the Cluster.”

“All you wizards know each other?” asked Vlad.

Sebastian shook his head. “I was born with my talents. Kenzil learned his. In fact, he taught arcana and basic sciences at the Freeport Institute for many years. Here we are.”

Kham walked up to the door. He reached for the lock and then pushed hesitantly on the door. “It’s open.”

There was a chorus of blades being unsheathed as they all drew their weapons. Kham stepped inside. [MORE]

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Wednesday, July 30

Operation Countdown: Part 1 – Desert Chase

Three trucks, their contents covered by tarps, were each flanked by two dirt bikes. They ambled down the dirt road at considerable speed.

“They don’t see the spike strip.” Hammer squinted through his binoculars, leaning over the turret of the Humvee. “On my mark…”

Caprice sat in the passenger’s seat, listening to Hammer’s command through his headset, a button in each fist.

“Three…”

The buzzing of the dirt bikes echoed across the desert.

“Two…”

They could see the lights of the trucks.

“NOW!” [MORE]

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Vengeance in Freeport: Part 6 – Xangy’s Pottery Shop

The shop’s interior had obviously seen better days. Toppled pottery, some broken, some not, lay haphazardly on the shelves that stand against all four walls. A long table dominated the center of the room where lumps of clay, sculpting tools, and a basin of water resided. Beside the table were a stool and a stained pottery wheel. The person who threw the ceramic object was seated on the stool, his back to the entrance, as he cleaned out broken shards from beneath a shelf.

Before Vlad could get his attention, the young man swiveled to face him. He had short black hair and a faint goatee.

With a sneer he said, “Since you obviously can’t read, let me speak plainly— we’re closed.” The youth repeated the last two words in Elorii and Solani for emphasis before dumping his collected fragments into a wooden trough.

Kham sniffed. “That’s nice. You’re Rufus’ boy, right? I think you can stay open for a couple more minutes.”

“Maybe you didn’t hear me the first time,” said the young man. “We’re closed.”

Sebastian put his palms together and pointed his fingertips in the shopkeeper’s direction. “We are here on Council business.” He pulled a broken piece of pottery out of the voluminous folds of his cloak. “It this yours?”

“For the last time,” said the young man, voice rising, “we are—“

Kham kicked over one of the large pots. “I’m sorry, I couldn’t hear you. What did you say?”

The young man’s eyes went wide. “I said…we’re…”

Kham took out a pistol and aimed it at his head. “A little louder. I keep hearing that you’re closed, but that can’t be right, can it?” [MORE]

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Tuesday, July 29

Operation Countdown: Prologue

Hammer’s finished rolling out the spike strip. “And me. Sprague scrambled all available team members once SINNER tracked down Saladin.”

“Oh right.” Archive glanced down at his cistron. “The head of Al-Hazzan. Are we sure this is the real deal?”

“If SINNER thinks so it’s the real deal,” said Hammer. “She did a jog around the Internet; my guess is she pulled all the information she needed to find Saladin.”

“So he’s in this convoy,” said Archive.

Caprice shook his head. “Not likely. SINNER calculated Saladin’s reactions to our missions; she’s several steps ahead of him. But we have to capture one of these terrorists alive so we can interrogate him.”

“No wonder why nobody else is assigned to this mission,” muttered Archive. “They’d have to be crazy to take it.” [MORE]

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Vengeance in Freeport: Part 5c - Mishap at The Last Resort

The Last Resort’s interior was a disaster area. The location where the bomb exploded was no more than a smoking black crater.

Vlad stood with Grungronazharr before him. The scorch marks from the blast stopped at his feet, leaving an unharmed “V” behind the big Milandisian.

Heavy smoke hung, inside making vision difficult and breathing hazardous. Wood debris that used to be tables and chairs lay scattered along the east wall along with dozens corpses. There were low moans coming from everywhere.

“Dril’s hurt!” shouted Sebastian. He dragged the Altherian out from beneath a pile of rubble. “Help me!”

Vlad’s ears were still ringing from the explosion. He shook it off and started helping pull Dril out of what was left of the Last Resort. [MORE]

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Monday, July 28

Chapter 16: Operation Countdown - Introduction

This scenario, “Operation: Countdown,” is a series of D20 Modern missions from RPGObjects’ Modern Dispatch 15, 35, and 43 by Charles Rice. You can read more about Delta Green at http://www.delta-green.com. Please note: This story hour contains spoilers!

With SINNER free and several of my own Combat Mission scenarios hinging on the capture of a middle-eastern terrorist, it was time to have Saladin, the leader of Al-Hazzan, finally get caught by Majestic-12. There was just one problem: I didn’t want Saladin to be caught “off camera.” I’ve come to the conclusion that all interesting action should have the PCs at the center of it, and the capture of a major terrorist leader was no exception. So I didn’t just need one scenario, I needed a few to lead up to the capture of the terrorist leader. Searching RPGNow finally turned up what I was looking for.

Fortunately, Hammer is fluent in Arabic and was thus perfectly positioned to track down a terrorist leader. Caprice took care of the explosives (of which there were many). And Archive? Well Archive pretty much got his ass kicked by the bad guys.

I started out with Gun Runners from Modern Dispatch #43. This was a good way to jump into the action quickly. What didn’t quite make sense is that the agents know of a convoy but in the scenario are struggling to catch up. Instead, I had the agents lay the trap. It didn’t make things easier for them in any case. The next scene takes place on a boat involving explosives, which becomes an unfortunate pattern – there’s a 1 in 20 chance of accidentally setting off munitions each round of firearms combat, regardless of whether or not someone actually misses. This rule was…catastrophic, and the players weren’t too happy with the outcome.

Operation Dry Country from Modern Dispatch #15 is much more interesting because it requires some subterfuge on the part of the agents. There’s an interesting moral quandary the agents face in pulling off their plan.


Finally, I ran Leads and Complexities from Modern Dispatch #35. This is the best of the bunch, involving a switcheroo and an explosive finale in a warehouse. It would be easy if it was just about blowing up the bad guy, but the agents were specifically tasked with capturing Saladin alive. [MORE]

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Vengeance in Freeport: Part 5b - Mishap at The Last Resort

They regrouped at the Last Resort, recovering from its injuries from the month before like a grizzled old adventurer. Some of the tables and chairs were unfinished, but there was room enough to sit and eat. Bobbin Brandydale’s business would recover so long as there was a place for the lonely and the cheerful to buy a drink.

Dril pounded the table in frustration. “Nobody knows anything about the damned sextant!”

Behind them, a courier called out for Bobbin with a gift-wrapped package in his hands.

“Not even Reed,” said Sebastian, thinking of his friend at the Hall of Records. Reed had been considerably unhappy to see the val and dark-kin together again. “And that’s saying something.” [MORE]

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Sunday, July 27

Wolves and Sheep: Conclusion

Jim-Bean returned to the other car to find one of the Goravich brothers dead, a smashed window behind him. Hammer was favoring one leg, staring over Guppy’s shoulder.

Guppy was at the terminal where Medroff sat, typing furiously.

“Can you stop it?” asked Jim-Bean.

“I’m…TRYING,” his fingers danced across the keyboard. “It’s like she’s not…LISTENING to me!”

A red diagram popped up of SINNER’s route on the screen. It was a complex series of stops across the Internet, almost like train tracks.

“What is going on?” asked Hammer.

“She’s plotting out a path,” Guppy said through gritted teeth.

“Out of the way,” said Jim-Bean. He pointed his machinegun at the computer. “We’ll do this the old fashioned way—“

Guppy put himself between Jim-Bean’s barrel and the computer. “No, wait!”

All three of their cistrons beeped as time ran out. [MORE]

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Vengeance in Freeport: Part 5a - Mishap at The Last Resort

Touldrix Neraldin rolled over to Kham’s side of the bed to face him. The blonde-haired, blue-eyed beauty would have been typical of Kham’s harem of willing lasses if it weren’t for the fact that she had pointed ears and slightly webbed hands. She was undir, thus her allegiance to the Undir Benevolent Association.

“Now don’t take this the wrong way,” she said in a perky voice, “but shouldn’t you be with your father?”

Kham swung his legs over the side of the bed and grabbed a bottle of wine. He poured himself a glass. “And since when did you become my mother?”

Touldrix suppressed a giggle. “After what we just did, I should hope we’re not related.” Her expression turned somber. “But seriously, you haven’t talked to your father in years. Shouldn’t you spend more time with him?”

Kham emptied the glass. “Shouldn’t you be more worried about orcs? Don’t forget what I told you to pass on to Finn.” [MORE]

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Saturday, July 26

Wolves and Sheep: Part 5 – The Baggage Cart

“How much time do we have left?” asked Jim-Bean.

Guppy checked his cistron. “Two minutes. Then we’ll be on the other side of the tunnel and Medroff will have a clear signal.”

“We’ve got to stop this train.” With a roar, Jim-Bean charged down the corridor.

He almost made it. A shotgun blast hit him in the back as he passed the Goravich brothers. Jim-Bean crumpled in front of the door.

“Jim!” shouted Hammer. With a snarl, he squeezed off a series of well-placed shots from his Glock. “Jim is down!”

Jim-Bean was laying right next to Medroff. The hacker peered down at him with a sneer. “SAS my ass,” he muttered. Then he went back to typing.

Jim-Bean’s eyes flicked open. He sat up behind Medroff and, smoothly drawing his silenced pistol, shot him in the head. [MORE]

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Vengeance in Freeport: Part 4 – The Terrible Old Man

After a bit of searching, they found Carthy’s house. It was a two-story affair at the end of a cul-de-sac, front by gates and a private garden.

Sebastian stopped in mid-stride. “You feel that?”

Kham rubbed his forehead. “The throbbing headache? Why yes, I feel that all the time.”

Sebastian shook his head. “Not that. I can feel…energy, surrounding that home. It’s like a hand gently but insistently resisting our approach.” [MORE]

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Friday, July 25

Wolves and Sheep: Part 4 – The Dining Cart

The only table vaguely active was host to a gaggle of school children, fifteen or so, all clustered around a pretty young woman who looked about ready to kill them all.

"Miss, when are we going to eat?" asked one.

"Miss, can't the train go any faster?" asked another.

"Miss, can we see the furnace?" asked a third.

Just past the retired couple, Jim-Bean could see the door that leads to the baggage cart. He pulled off his gas mask and drew his machinegun.

“Wow, are you a secret agent?” asked one of the children.

“Did you fight in Iraq?” asked another.

“Did you kill Sad-sad…Sadman Whose Sane?” asked a third.

“Time?” asked Jim-Bean tersely.

Guppy checked, still dazed from the cold-blooded murder he had just witnessed. “Three minutes twenty seven sec—“

Jim-Bean fired his machinegun at the ceiling. “Everyone OUT OF THE WAY!”

The kids, who had flocked around Jim-Bean, shrieked and ran wailing to their teacher. [MORE]

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Vengeance in Freeport: Part 3c - The Temple of Cadic

Dril nudged one of the corpses. “This raid won’t make Scarbelly look good.”

“How so?” asked Vlad.

“With the impostors attacking the Temple of Cadic, it looks like Scarbelly caused a riot and then they ambushed Father Peg-Leg. Maybe we should alert the authorities.”

Kham stepped over the lead cultist’s body. “I don’t see any impostors. Just a bunch of dead orcs.” Then he walked out of the temple. [MORE]

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Thursday, July 24

Wolves and Sheep: Part 3 – Open Seating

Jim-Bean closed the door. Shotgun blasts pounded it on the other side.

“What are you doing?” shouted Guppy in disbelief, straining to be heard over the roaring of the tunnel

Jim-Bean rifled through his duffel bag. He came back up with a gas mask and a tear-gas grenade.

“Is that…?” was all Guppy got out before Jim-Bean

He tossed the gas mask to Guppy. “Put this on!” he shouted.

Jim-Bean pulled the pin with his teeth. Then, cracking the door open a notch, he rolled the canister down the corridor.

More shotgun blasts, coughing and shouting greeted him in response.

“What about Hammer?” shouted Guppy. “He doesn’t have a gas mask, does he?”

“He’ll manage!” Jim-Bean opened the door from the car on the opposite side. “Hammer! Tear-gas!” Then he snapped on his own gas mask and cocked his pistol. [MORE]

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Vengeance in Freeport: Part 3b - The Temple of Cadic

Two orcs, dressed in the same red chain shirts as members of the Bloody Vengeance, raced down the center aisle, waving their cutlasses and howling like all of hell was behind them. Additional duos crash through each of the temple’s four windows.

“What perfect timing!” shouted Kham. He wheeled to train his pistols on two incoming orcs. “I’ve been looking to bag me some greenskins.” He fired two pistols, downing two of the orcs.

“Vindicatio manus!” said Scarbelly.

Vlad charged at Captain Scarbelly, only to have a magical force obstruct his path. Magical sparks met the edge of his blade as he tested its resilience again and again.

“Since when does Scarbelly cast spells?” asked Dril to no one in particular.

“He doesn’t,” said Vlad. “Or at least, he didn’t.” [MORE]

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Wednesday, July 23

Halo Team Slayer Tonight!

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Wolves and Sheep: Part 2 – Generic Coaches

This entered an especially long coach. The passengers sat on benches opposite one another, like on a subway.

Nothing much was happening; the passengers just sat and stared at one another with that slightly embarrassed way people do on trains. The conductor, whose nametag labeled him as Albert, meandered from passenger to passenger, checking their tickets with a spectacular lack of enthusiasm.

Jim-Bean didn’t bother to put away his SIG. “Excuse me, which way to the baggage car?”

Albert had to be in his seventies. “Baggage car…?” he trailed off, ending each sentence with a vague question. “I suppose that’d be…” he pointed behind him.

“Great, thanks,” said Jim-Bean.

Guppy passed him, his own Beretta out. “Thank you very much!”

Albert shrugged and went back to collecting tickets.

“Seven minutes,” said Guppy as they prepared to enter the next car. “That’s very strange.”

“What?” asked Jim-Bean, trying to look everywhere at once.

“Nobody screamed? No panic?”

Jim-Bean snorted. “Our weapons are silenced. The train is loud. And have you ever been on a train before? It’s like a slow death. Nobody looks at anybody else, including other passengers.” He pushed open the door and for a moment their conversation was cut off by the noise of the train. [MORE]

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Vengeance in Freeport: Part 3a - The Temple of Cadic

The room was as cold as night in the northern seas. Friezes and mosaics covered the walls—scenes of plundered ships aflame, treasure being buried on tropical beaches, cold justice meted out to the disgraced or the betrayed.

“Well, this is different,” said Dril.

From above there was a cold, rusty creak. Beldin looked up

The whole ceiling was lined with nets, ropes and chains, like the mast of a sailing ship. On the ground, pews dominated the room; about thirty feet before the end, there was a raised platform decorated with nautical paraphernalia—a captain’s wheel, a walking plank. Above them all hung the focus of the room: a golden skull and crossbones superimposed over two crossed swords. Fires smoldered in the empty sockets.

“Cadic’s a…different kind of god,” said Kham with a smirk. [MORE]

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Tuesday, July 22

Wolves and Sheep: Part 1 – First Class

The rail cars were basically long passages with cabin doors on either side. There was hardly anyone in first class, but Hammer kept his pistols holstered.

“Good thing there’s nobody staying in the back cars,” said Jim-Bean, dusting himself off. “Or they might have heard that.”

“Which,” asked Hammer, “the car exploding or you swearing when you almost fell off the train?”

Jim-Bean glowered at Hammer. “Both.”

“Do we know who this guy is?” asked Hammer as he made his way down the corridor.

Guppy shook his head. “Only that he has SINNER and he’s going to release her to the Internet if we don’t meet his demands.”

“Excuse me?” asked Jim-Bean. “Her?”

“Synthetic Intelligence Network and Reference,” said Guppy. “SINNER identifies herself as female. She’s the successor to the ABLE DANGER program, using data mining techniques to associate open source information with classified information in an attempt to make associations between individual members of terrorist groups. She also runs all of Blacknet.”

“And we lost her?” asked Jim-Bean in disbelief. “How do you lose a program?” [MORE]

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Vengeance in Freeport: Part 2 – The Orc Who Would Be King

“Are you sure we can trust Elijah Quelch?”

Quelch had directed them to the Temple of Cadic. It was easily spotted several blocks away, with a peak crafted to look like a crow’s nest that rose high above the surrounding buildings. A huge Jolly Roger was fixed to a wrought-iron spike at its peak.

Kham shrugged at Dril’s question. “Falthar hates the guy, but Quelch is the most knowledgeable of that kind. Trust me, if there was anyone else Falthar could have recommended, he would have. If he directed us here, I believe him.”

“Kham’s got a lot of friends in Freeport,” said Vlad.

The outlines of the building became visible—a cylinder of roughly hewn stone gone green and white with lichen. As they walked across the wooden dock that led to the door, the temple’s doors opened and a crowd trampled across the dock.

“Hey, manflesh!” shouted a guttural voice. “Wake up! No seaweed god will protect you from t' Bloody Vengeance!”

“And a lot of enemies,” added Sebastian. [MORE]

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Monday, July 21

Wolves and Sheep: Prologue

The caboose of the train appeared ahead. Jim-Bean shifted gears. “Yeah. So when I say jump, you’d better jump, because you’re not going to get another chance.”

“What about you?” asked Hammer.

“What about me?”

“You’re staying behind? I don’t know if we can do this with the just two of us…” Guppy trailed off at the implications.

Jim-Bean smirked. “Nah. I wouldn’t miss this.”

The car pulled up alongside the train, which chugged along rhythmically on the right side of the car.

“But the car…?” asked Guppy.

“What about it?” said Jim-Beam.

Hammer shook his head in disbelief. “Guppy, you’re up.” The window rolled down on Guppy’s side.

“Wait, I go first?” asked Guppy, voice rising in panic.

“Guppy,” said Hammer. “We’ve been over this. Look at it this way…would you rather be last?”

Ahead, the train entered a tunnel, roaring as its passage echoed in the tight confines. [MORE]

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Vengeance in Freeport: Part 1 – Maps and Legends

The Milandisian known as Vlad Martell craned his neck to look out the doorway of Egil’s office. “Do you think they have anything useful on the sextant?”

“This is the Temple of Althares.” Kham, dressed in a new blue overcoat and wearing green lenses, sat in front of Egil’s desk, tapping his foot. “If anyone knows anything about the sextant, it’s the Brothers of Althares.”

Dril paced behind Kham. “We’re wasting time.” He was dressed in a plain brown cloak, with the hood pushed back to reveal his dusky features. “The Cult of Leviathan is much more nimble than the Brotherhood of the Yellow Sign.”

“Please,” Kham rubbed his forehead, “don’t bring them up again.” [MORE]

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Sunday, July 20

Wolves and Sheep: Introduction

This scenario, “Wolves and Sheep,” is a Spycraft mission from Combat Missions by Yours Truly. You can read more about Delta Green at http://www.delta-green.com. Please note: This story hour contains spoilers!

Our cast of characters includes:

Unlike the high profile “Hot Air,” “Wolves and Sheep” was a lot easier to slot into the campaign. Since it took several years before Combat Missions saw the light of day, the reference to the Carnivore program (which has since been discontinued, at least officially) really dated the scenario. I changed it to SINNER, which in turn was inspired by the Red Queen from the Resident Evil movie.

What I didn’t realize is that it’s never clear exactly why the bad guy is going to release this supposedly terrible threat to the Internet. It was in my head all along--he was going to use it to reveal credit card numbers to the world, a scary notion five years ago that’s no longer quite as frightening as it once was—but I never actually put it IN the scenario! Oh well, SINNER had different ideas anyway.

The other problem is that I didn’t flesh out the fight on the train, other than to state that the agents fight a random number of thugs per train car to get to the engine. This is a bad idea; a roll of the dice could make it really easy for the agents in one car or make it overwhelmingly brutal in another. So I cribbed from Lock, Stock, and Five Smoking Hitmen, a scenario for Feng Shui in Pyramid. Have I mentioned a Pyramid subscription is the best deal in gaming? It really is.

Is it sad that I crib from other people’s works to make up for my own? Don’t answer that.

Defining Moment: Jim-Bean faces down a train car full of children on a field trip…and wins. [MORE]

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Vengeance in Freeport: Prologue

A lone elorii stood at the edge of a cliff, peering down at the boiling ocean that glistened in the light of the rising sun. Osalian was displeased.

But it was not Osalian’s choice to make. Ilmarė held the painstakingly crafted brooch up to the sunlight. It was engraved with the sign of Belisarda, vaguely reminiscent of a weeping willow tree with a hovering dot at its apex.

She looked at the acorn-like mark on the back of her hand. Cael Greybeard, the Ardakene elorii, had taught her much about working with humans, defending them, even loving them. She was here to continue his legacy.

The sign needed to be charged. But was Belisarda listening? Did she even care?

Ilmarė was about to find out. Like a child throwing a tantrum, she began the Unspeakable Oath. [MORE]

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Saturday, July 19

Nemo Solus Sapit: Conclusion

Guppy looked out over the valley. There was nothing left. “I never saved Hector,” he said.

“Hector?” asked Hammer.

Guppy nodded. “I went under deep cover. To save an orderly who worked there. He was the one who inducted me into Majestic-12.”

Hammer frowned. “I have your cistron.” He tossed it to Guppy. “I don’t think you were there to rescue Hector.”

The screen flashed “DISAVOWED.”

“I don’t understand…” Guppy’s voice trailed off. Had he imagined it? Was he really insane? Or had Majestic-12 just abandoned him?

Guppy scanned his fingerprint. The message disappeared as if nothing had ever happened.

Jim-Bean was silent the whole time.

“You okay?” asked Hammer.

He gazed at his companions with a dazed expression. Jim-Bean looked over his shoulder at the valley below. “I don’t think…I don’t think I’ll ever be okay again.” [MORE]

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Chapter 31: Vengeance in Freeport - Introduction

This is an adventure set in the Freeport setting, "Black Sails Over Freeport," written by William Simoni and “Vengeance in Freeport” by Bret Boyd. You can read more about Arcanis at http://www.onaraonline.org. Please note: This adventure contains spoilers!

Our cast of characters includes:

  • Dungeon Master: Michael Tresca (http://michael.tresca.net)
  • Beldin Soulforge (dwarf fighter) played by Joe Lalumia
  • Kham Val’Abebi (val rogue/psychic warrior) played by Jeremy Ortiz (http://www.ninjarobotstudios.com)
  • Nauris Drilian (human rogue/ranger) played by Mike Best
  • Sebastian Arnyal (dark-kin sorcerer) played by George Webster
  • Vlad Martell (human fighter) played by Matt Hammer

I’ve always felt that players get far too comfortable with adventures, just assuming that monsters sit around in dungeons waiting to die. I figure that as PCs get higher level, they should be reminded that they’ve made enemies, and that those enemies have enough resources to hurt their family and friends.

This session reminded our heroes just how vulnerable they really are. It took some doing though; Vengeance in Freeport is more interested in having PCs solve a mystery than putting them in any danger, so I amped things up a bit. And if you see real-world parallels to what’s happening in Freeport (questions of “offshoring” and terrorism), that’s not an accident. What might surprise you is just how the PCs pick sides.

In the midst of all the bombing, politics heat up between orcs and humans. And finally, we find out just what happened when Captain Scarbelly didn’t deliver that staff of defense to Kenzil the Evoker. [MORE]

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Friday, July 18

Hellboy Takes to the Web with NBC Universal

In a first of its kind, Universal Pictures' Hellboy teamed up with talent from across NBC Universal in a multi-channel on-air and online viral campaign to raise awareness and broaden the potential audience for this blockbuster summer release.

Hellboy can be seen in humorous spots satirizing The More You Know PSAs, with the team of SCI FI Channel's Ghost Hunters, NBC's American Gladiators and as a part of USA's Characters Welcome campaign. The most successful online clips have been Hellboy's interviews with Bravo's Inside the Actors' Studio host James Lipton, which brought in well over 200K views and playing video games with NBC's Chuck, which was seen by over 100K. This is significantly stronger traffic than a traditional: 10 or: 20 second movie clip would bring in online.

Video Spots with JAMES LIPTON and HELLBOY:

Chuck and Hellboy

Ghost Hunters and Hellboy

Gladiators and Hellboy

Mun2 and Hellboy

Hellboy Message--"PSA"

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Nemo Solus Sapit: Part 17 – The Eye of Azathoth

“Go go go!” shouted Hammer.

Jim-Bean hit the gas as the world went mad around them. Flaming white balls of plasma, the apparent source of the screaming noise, spiraled down out of the opening in the sky to circle the shaft before screaming into the woods, crashing in an eruption of flame. Bolts of lightning struck the ground.

A huge bolt lashed down and struck the road right in front of the speeding van. Jim-Bean jerked the wheel hard but not in time. The van tumbled halfway into the carter, its back wheels spinning.

Guppy and Hammer hopped out.

“Where are you going?” shouted Jim-Bean.

“We have to get out of here!” shouted Hammer. He was already running.

“But I can stop it!” he shouted, raising the cane heavenwards. “Watch!”

Jim-Bean lifted the cane over one knee and brought it down hard, snapping it in half.

Nothing happened. [MORE]

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Cold Visitor: Conclusion

Turning, Corinalous plunged the sword beneath the waters of the bubbling spring, where its form was surrounded by another humanoid shape, this one made of water. Corinalous raised the blade on high, where a swift, cool wind sprang up from nowhere to swirl around the blade. Finally, a massive, rocky shape rose up from the earth in front of Corinalous, and the Altherian grasps Fleshripper in both hands as he prepared to smash the sword, now glowing a deep crimson color, against the creature.

Then he stopped. "I spent my life bound to this blade, and I never knew the power it held. Now…" His jaw trembled, and he looks at you for the first time since your return. "I can't…I can't—" Abruptly, his face twists into a grimace of raw hatred, and from his mouth came the cruel, vicious voice of the King in Yellow. “We are awakened now! It is too late! Your quest is for NOTHING! Now, feel the wrath of Divine Vengeance!”

Corinalous pointed the sword at Kham and began chanting again, growling the words of his spell through clenched teeth. Somewhere in his eyes, Kham could see a deep well of terror and remorse, but the rest of Corinalous’ mind and body were overcome with rage.

Kham reflexively drew his pistols, then lowered them. “Dad!” he shouted helplessly. [MORE]

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žižkov television tower, žižkov, prague

A very creepy tower...crawling with giant faceless babies:

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Thursday, July 17

Nemo Solus Sapit: Part 16 – Simon’s Plan

“Nobody move or I kill the good doctor.” He flashed a wicked grin at Jim-Bean. “Hello, Jim, old bean. Good to see you again. The grownups are talking now. Children aren’t allowed in. Tell them, Doc. Do it.”

Candice cleared her throat. “It's alright. I can -- I'm just going to –“

“That’s not what I said, Doc. I said the grownups are talking now,” said Damon. “Don't paraphrase me.”

“The grownups are -- are talking now. Just leave,” said Candice.

“Do you know what you did to us?” sputtered Damon. “It was fine, in here, until you had to shove that thing in Damon’s eye!” Damon rapped a knuckle on his head. “But it doesn’t matter now. None of it matters. Because I found my cane. We found it. We didn’t even know what it could do. But now Xada-Hgla is coming in his pure form.” He laughed. “Tell them! Tell them about Candice! And Mal! Your new therapy really does work! You are I, I am you, we are us. Nobody’s alone anymore, not even in death. Now SAY THE WORDS.”

Candice swallowed hard.

“SAY THEM.” [MORE]

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Cold Visitor: Part 13b – The Ritual

The ground exploded upwards as a shower of yellow tentacles flailed everywhere. Men screamed as they were tossed effortlessly into the air.

“Stop that thing!” shouted Vlad.

A strand of yellow shot out around Laskin’s throat. It whip-snapped him across one of the monoliths, smearing the remains of his head across the granite like chalk.

Beldin roared and struck backwards with his axe, hacking one of the creatures off at the knees. It fell to the ground face first.

"Keep chanting!” shouted Ilmarė. “I imprison thee with ensorcelled metal,” she read, “lest ye forget who bound thee!"

Silas pointed at Vlad’s dagger. He traced a circle around the perimeter and the dagger cut a path, slicing through snow, smoke, and corpses.

Kham fired two more pistols at the King in Yellow. The blasts barely penetrated. Yellow tentacles slapped him sideways, like a parent chastising a child. He stumbled in the snow.

Dril took aim at the King in Yellow’s head and fired. The shot penetrated, but tentacles spiraled up to reform the hooded head again. A tentacle speared through Dril’s thigh. With a yelp, he fell to one knee.

Soldiers were dying everywhere. Tentacles snapped necks, speared through their torsos; those were the lucky ones. Vicious, fanged mouths appeared at the ends of yellow tendrils, gnawing on men’s faces.

Vlad skidded in front of Ilmarė just as more tentacles snapped at her. He bashed them aside. “Keep going!” he shouted. [MORE]

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Wednesday, July 16

NCRPC Updated!

The National Center for Reanimation Prevention and Control (NCRPC) has been updated. Check it out!

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Halo 3 Team Slayer Tonight!

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Cthulhu Tales Online for Free!

Check it out!

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DVD Review: The Fog

John Carpenter's score, while reminiscent of Halloween, is scary in its own right. Wayne's helplessness and terror, as she shifts from sultry on-air voice to a mother terrified for her son, is palpable. And the glowing fog, when the special effects are up to snuff, is truly terrifying. Carpenter knows when to show his zombies and when not to show them, and it's a credit to his nascent (at the time) moviemaking skills that even when the zombies show up, they're scary enough that the glowing red eyes of the lead zombie burn in your memory long after the movie has faded. [MORE]

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Book Review: Influence

It's a bitter irony that marketers have turned a book about resisting marketing into yet another marketing tool. Now that I've read this book, there won't be another magazine subscription, car, or house I buy without a fight. Buy it today so you can start fighting back too. [MORE]

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Nemo Solus Sapit: Part 15 – Hank’s New Cell

Guppy awoke from his latest dream to a padded room of all white. Surveillance cameras dotted every corner. There were two separate doors with elaborate locks. He was in a maximum security cell.

The wind had really picked up outside. The tiny block-glass window flickered from lightning outside, officially announcing the storm's onset.

Guppy paced in the dark. Now that he had finally cleared enough of his mental cobwebs to remember his original mission, he wondered about Hector. Where was he? Did he suspect Guppy’s mission? Damon certainly did, and yet Van Dyson seemed to be protecting him. And where was Uncle Mal? Guppy hadn’t encountered him at the Center.

With nothing else to do, Guppy sat and waited.

The thunder outside rattled the entire room. The lights flickered. Once, twice. Then they went out. [MORE]

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Cold Visitor: Part 13a – The Ritual

The nine granite monoliths jutted up out of the snow like fingers, stabbing heavenwards in accusation for a past transgression. The obelisks were in a V-shaped formation, with the men lined up nervously in the center.

Ilmarė stood at the front next to Silas. She held the book up in front of him, but refused to let him hold it. The elorii didn’t trust a human, much less a human wizard, to such an important task.

Vlad nodded to Yusik. “Sergeant Yusik. Spread the oil!”

Yusik and his men ran around the perimeter of the obelisks, pouring oil in a circle as they did so.

“Think this’ll work?” asked Beldin.

“It better.” Dril finished loading his rifle. He cocked it and scanned the horizon. [MORE]

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Tuesday, July 15

Nemo Solus Sapit: Part 14 – Willow’s Creek

When Hammer pulled on the latch, it opened with a rusty creak. There was a stepladder leading down.

Jim-bean emerged from the ladder. As he illuminated the room with his flashlight, rats scurried for cover. Something metallic caught the flashlight’s reflection way in back.

Jim-Bean took a few more steps until his foot hit a bulk on the floor. In the dim half-light, he could make out a backpack.

Hammer rifled through its contents. The backpack contained t-shirts, underwear, an iPod, and a wallet. The billfold contained an ID.

“According to the ID, this belongs to a Malvin Kuhn.”

Up ahead, Jim-Bean could make out the metallic thing that reflected light before. It was a hook in the ceiling. And suspended from it were several heavy chains, like a meat rack. There were household tools strewn about; wire cutters, pliers -- a pool of dried blood. [MORE]

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Cold Visitor: Part 12 – Fire

“We’re leaving!” shouted Vlad. “Yusik, do you have the silver?”

“Aye, aye, Captain!” Yusik held up two sacks full of silver coins.

Vlad turned back to the men. “All right. Gather up all the supplies you can. We are abandoning ship. Let’s show these outlanders what the Green Griffins can do! Move people, move!” He pulled a cloak over his shoulders.

Dril stepped over to Kham, both hands on the hilts of his blades. “I find it odd that everyone was killed out there except you.”

Kham turned his back on him as the men made their way to the exit. “Me too,” was all he said. [MORE]

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Monday, July 14

Nemo Solus Sapit: Part 13 – The Mission

In the midst of Hank’s feverish visions, Sprague stood over him, filling his field of view.

“Well you did it now, Gupta,” said Sprague, checking his watch. “Global News Network is all over you.”

“What happened?”

“You crashed your car. We found you unconscious outside of it. You’re lucky we picked you up before GNN did. That would have been a very bad for you.”

“How bad?”

“Disavowed bad. If Warner had his way you’d be gone already. But I have a better idea.”

Guppy didn’t like the sound of that. [MORE]

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Sunday, July 13

Nemo Solus Sapit: Part 12 – Escape

The computer finally powered up. It was open to the Van Dyson Center’s intranet. Guppy’s fingers danced across the keyboard as he searched for information.

The Van Dyson Center was turning a tidy profit from its frequent upscale patients to consulting fees, lectures, and seminars sponsored by the Center. Guppy typed in a search for Candice Van Dyson.

A few articles popped up. One, an interview conducted with James Brady for the PARADE syndicated newspaper supplement, made brief mention that the Van Dysons were married on October 21, 2001 but had recently divorced. It coyly related Van Dyson’s utter refusal to broach the subject. “The wounds are deep,” wrote Brady with his usual perception.

Articles from before the divorce mentioned Candice in pleasant terms. She was often said to be hovering about during interviews, bringing coffee, one ear monitoring the questioning in a warmly protective manner. It was mentioned that Candice was a professor of astronomy at UC-Samson.

More articles detailed the mysterious disappearance of Candice six months following her divorce from the doctor. The articles related that after resigning her position at UC-Samson, she paid off the lease on her apartment and moved away. Parents and friends had no idea of her whereabouts.

Guppy hacked into her credit card account. There was reference to Diaz Transporters, who delivered the contents of her office to Candice’s apartment. The entire fee was paid up front. A few clicks later and Guppy was looking at the work order.

Signed at the bottom was the signature, “Candice Van Dyson.”

“Why didn’t you use your maiden name after your divorce?” Guppy whispered to himself. [MORE]

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Cold Visitor: Part 10 – Snowstorm

“Elise?” asked Messer again.

“I’m here,” she replied. “I ran out after that thing attacked me. It’s out here with us.”

“She’s lying!” came Merkin’s voice. The rotund, bearded man stood on the other side of them, a few paces away. “That thing’s not Elise. It’s something else.”

“Aren’t either of you cold?” asked Kham. “You’re not dressed for the weather.”

“Don’t be a fool,” said Merkin. “We’re wizards. We prepared spells to protect us from the elements.”

Messer took a hesitant step towards Elise.

“Wait,” Kham whispered to Messer. He handed the sergeant a vial. “This is a healing potion. Give it to Elise.”

The blowing snow mostly concealed Messer’s face, but Kham could make out his confused expression. “Why?”

Kham whipped out two pistols and fired in each direction. [MORE]

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Saturday, July 12

Nemo Solus Sapit: Part 11 – Van Dyson’s Home

The television set suddenly came to life. Hammer swung his pistol at the television but managed to not squeeze the trigger. The unmistakable music from some old WB cartoon was at full blast.

Van Dyson’s entertainment center had a collection of compact disks, with an emphasis on Russian composers – Mussorgsky and Stravinsky were particularly well represented. His DVD collection indicated a preference for film noir and included cinemaphile editions of classics in widescreen format.

Jim-Bean walked over to the television and shut it off. “Did you hear that?”

“Besides the television?” asked Hammer.

“Yeah,” said Jim-Bean. “From the bathroom.”

They turned to listen.

There was a faint at first sound at first, but it was growing louder…a hollow, wet sound, coming from the bathroom. [MORE]

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Cold Visitor: Part 9 – Breakdown

“You know something about the creature under the ice, don’t you,” said Dril menacingly.

“If you mean to imply that I am somehow not to be trusted,” said Silas, “perhaps I should ask you the same question. Perhaps you didn’t actually defeat the creature after all. Perhaps it’s one of you.”

Sergeants Calder and Yussik lined up behind Silas. Some of the soldiers did likewise.

“The dogs were our only chance of detecting the thing,” said Silas. “It’s convenient that our only means of uncovering the enemy have been eliminated.”

There was a quiet click as Kham raised his pistol and pointed it at Silas’ forehead. “Why don’t you back down Silas.”

Silas had a wand out in a flash. He pointed it at Kham’s forehead. “Why don’t you put away your pistol, Altharian.”

“Now everyone calm down,” said Vlad. “We don’t want to do anything hasty.” [MORE]

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Friday, July 11

Nemo Solus Sapit: Part 10 – The Encounter

An odd noise cut through Guppy’s feverish dreams. He sat up with a start.

Guppy strained to listen, but he heard only silence. Then the bedsprings creaked behind him.

He whipped around and started to scream as a big hand covered his mouth. It was Damon Newcomb.

“Hullo, Hanky.”

Damon shoved Guppy against the mattress and pressed his full weight against him.

Guppy flailed desperately, but Damon pinned him. He uncapped a syringe with his teeth and brought the plunger to Guppy’s throat.

“He didn’t want to do it this way. Thought you were an interesting case!”

The bedsprings trained violently. Damon straddled Guppy, squeezing the plunger to his throat.

“Azathoth doesn’t care if you’re interesting. I know you’re a spy.”

Damon brought the syringe towards Guppy when suddenly there was a loud clanging at the door, nearly shaking it off its hinges.

Damon looked up, confused. Nobody was there.

The split-second distraction was all Guppy needed to shove Damon off the bed. The syringe went flying.

They both stared at it, reaching the same conclusion.

Guppy dove first, grabbing it with both hands. He spun on his back and pointed the needle upwards just as Damon landed on him. The impact pumped the syringe’s contents into Damon’s chest.

For a second nothing happened. Damon’s pupils became pinpricks. Then he slid off of Guppy.

The door burst open and orderlies rush in.

“Thanks, Candice,” whispered Guppy. [MORE]

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Cold Visitor: Part 8 – Dog House

Kham undid the latch and entered the kennel.

The torches had been snuffed; it was pitch black. A tindertwig sizzled to life in Kham’s hand. He threw it to the floor.

The light found a mass of dogs in a wild melee in the corner. Barking mixed with hissing, gurgling, and screeching. Dogs were being hurled about and then charged back into the fray with a vengeance.

The tindertwig illuminated parts of some thing. It was a dog, but not quite. It struggled powerfully.

Jandis poked his head into the blackness. “What's going on, damn it?”

Kham aimed both pistols. “I'm going to shoot.”

“No!” shouted Jandis. “Wait!”

From out of nowhere, a forest of yellow tentacles sprang up out of the dog. The dog slowly rose up on its hind legs, becoming more humanoid. It was wrapped in its own yellow tatters, its vaguely humanoid face glaring at him, its tentacles undulating in a wind that wasn’t there. It extended a tendril. [MORE]

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Thursday, July 10

Nemo Solus Sapit: Part 9 – The Third Audio Tape

“Hello, doc,” said Damon in a strange, deep voice.

“Simon? Do you know who I am?” asked Van Dyson.

“Billy told me a lot about you,” said Simon. “Billy is a…smart boy.”

“What happened on Christmas night in Samson?”

“Use your…imagination.”

“I'd rather you tell me, Simon.”

“Peter was…naughty,” said Simon.

“What did Peter do?”

“He shouldn't have done it.”

“Tell me, Simon,” prodded Van Dyson.

“He scared Damon. He crept up behind him in the dark. And he scared him. Damon fell down. He fell on his toy. It cut him up. It cut him up real bad.”

The voice turned mocking. “Damon needed someone to help him. So I…introduced myself.” He chuckled. [MORE]

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Cold Visitor: Part 7 – Returning to Camp

The camp was sullen and paranoid. Lieutenant Jandis, a nervous-looking soldier with a monocle, addressed the men.

“Since the C-captain’s gone,” stuttered Lieutenant Jandis, “and I’m the ranking officer, I’m assuming command.”

Kham sat down at the table, watching the other soldiers stare at their feet. “What happened?”

“Something came in,” said Sergeant Messer. “Came right through the exterior door.” He pointed at the door that entered the mess hall. “Took the Captain, and Privates Lilit, and Pivar.”

Silas stood next to Jandis, arms crossed. Elise and Merkin stood behind him.

“It’s important we don’t close with the creature, whatever it is,” said Jandis. “I want you to use crossbows only.”

“Are you crazy?” asked Sergeant Laskin.

“What're we supposed to use,” said Sergeant Messer. “Harsh language?” [MORE]

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Wednesday, July 9

Nemo Solus Sapit: Part 8 – Van Dyson’s Office

Guppy focused on the picture on Van Dyson’s desk. It was the woman who haunted his dreams.

“That’s her!” said Guppy. “That’s the woman!”

“Who?” asked Van Dyson.

“Her!” Guppy picked up the portrait and turned it around. “This is the woman whom I’ve been seeing!”

“Well now we know where you’re getting your visions from.” Van Dyson sighed. “Hank, that’s my wife, Candice.” [MORE]

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Cold Visitor: Part 6b – Going After Suven

He leaned down to brush back Ilmarė’s hair from her face. “Are you all right?”

Ilmarė’s eyelids fluttered. Then she began to twitch.

“Uh, guys…” said Dril.

Vlad and Beldin were chopping up the former Suven, leaving nothing but a yellow stain in the snow.

Ilmarė’s body arched in pain. “She’s going into convulsions!” shouted Dril. Ilmarė’s limbs flailed.

The dwarf stumped back over to Ilmarė. “Put something in her teeth!”

“What?” asked Dril.

“I said put something in her teeth! A belt, anything! She’ll swallow her tongue if you don’t!” [MORE]

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Tuesday, July 8

Team Halo

I'll be on as Talien on Halo 3 this Wednesday night. Look me up!

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Nemo Solus Sapit: Part 7 – The Second Audio Tape

“Billy, you understand that you, the Princess and Simon are all in Damon?” asked Van Dyson on the tape.

“Yes,” replied Damon’s sing-song voice.

“If Damon is sick, then all of you are sick. You want Damon to get better, huh?”

“Yes!” said Billy/Damon, his voice rising.

“So, help him. Tell me about the night in Samson.”

Damon’s voice quivered. “We were playing hide n' seek. Simon was looking for his toy and Peter -- It was real dark.” Suddenly Billy turned hysterical. “No, I won't tell! Simon’s a good boy. He doesn't need to know!” [MORE]

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Cold Visitor: Part 6a – Going After Suven

“We’re lucky.” Orgun kneeled in the snow, his blue eyes taking in every inch of the ground before him. “There hasn’t been that much snowfall since Suven disappeared. I can see his tracks. And that of something else.”

“What kind of something else?” asked Vlad.

“The tracks appear to be that of a large creature dragging itself along the ground,” said Orgun. “It uses muscle contractions.”

“Like a worm,” added Dril.

“Yeah,” said Orgun, frowning up at Dril. “Like a worm. The creature was pulling Suven behind it.” He pointed out a series of red spatters in the snow. “Looks like he didn’t give up without a fight.”

“Wait a minute.” Beldin looked over his shoulder and back at the blood spattered trail. “We’re doubling back towards the camp.”

“There!” Ilmarė pointed. [MORE]

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Monday, July 7

Simulation of a giant meteor collision with Earth

This is some scary stuff:

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Sunday, July 6

Nemo Solus Sapit: Part 6 – The Showers

Looking down at the water dripping into the drain, Guppy caught sight of a hole in the tile where a busted water pipe poked out. Clearly at some point there was a handle there, but now it was just a hole with a busted pipe.

As he looked closer, a perfectly formed globule of blood emerged from the pipe, following by a gurgling sound that seemed to come from deep in the bowels of the plumbing system.

The blood lingered tentatively, as if unfamiliar with the laws of gravity, before tracing an upward line along the tile.

The gurgling grew louder, closer, and then more blood flowed from the hole and spread up the wall.

Guppy looked away, disturbed. There was no one else in the showers.

When he looked down again, the blood streaming from the pipe had formed five letters written in blood. N-O-T-A-L.

Shaking, nauseous, Guppy focused on his feet and the drain, too scared to look back up.

Blood dripped by his ankle. Suddenly, a shooting pain laced his arm.

“What the hell…?” asked Guppy.

Sharp slashes appeared on Guppy’s skin, like some invisible knife was slicing his arm. [MORE]

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Cold Visitor: Part 5 – Apprentice’s Room

Kham entered a lavishly decorated room with rugs on the walls and blankets piled high on the beds. There were two desks, two beds, a table, four chairs, and a long table covered in books and glassware. It seemed like a cross between a library, laboratory and domicile. Also near one of the beds there were several piles of books and ledgers all neatly arranged in stacks.

Invisible, Kham crept over to the books. It didn’t take long for him to locate Elise’s journal. It detailed six months of drudgery, brightened over the last two months by…

“Hello, Sergeant Messer!” whispered Kham to himself.

Messer and Elise occasionally rendezvoused in the attic of the wizard storage area.

“I support Silas’ actions,” wrote Elise, “in getting the Hastur Shard.”

Kham slammed the book closed. “Hastur Shard. Great.” [MORE]

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What I'm Up to These Days

A few folks inquired about my latest writing endeavors over on ENWorld so I figured I'd give an update here rather than hijack the thread. Here's what I'm up to currently:

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MonkeyGod Presents returns to RPGnow/DTRPG

For various reasons the entire MonkeyGod catalog of products had been unavailable at RPGnow/DTRPG since the beginning of this year.

Not anymore!

All of the MonkeyGod products we were distributing are now back on sale at RPGnow/DTRPG, including such critically-acclaimed titles such as From Stone to Steel and Frost & Fur, and adventures like The Hero Snare (learn to fear kobolds), Hellstone Deep (venture to the lowest layers of hell) and ENnie-nominated Song of Storms.

And to celebrate, from July 4-7, the entire MonkeyGod Presents line is on sale at 50% off!

Enjoy.

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Nemo Solus Sapit: Part 5 – The First Audio Tape

“Hello, Billy,” said Van Dyson on the tape. “How have you been?”

“Never better, sir,” came a strange, child-like voice.

“Billy, where does the Princess live?”

“In the tongue.”

“Why the tongue?”

“Because she's always talking, sir.”

“And where do you live?”

“I live in the eyes,” said Damon with Billy’s voice. “You know that.”

“Remind me,” replied Van Dyson. “Why the eyes?”

“Because I see everything.”

“And where does Simon live?” [MORE]

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Cold Visitor: Part 4b – Silas’ Encampment

A loud slamming noise came from the door on the northern wall, which was part of a double door system used to go outside without letting cold air in. Seconds after the slam, two soldiers ran into the room.

“Blood spatters.” Ilmarė leaned over to whisper in Beldin’s ear. “Covering their leggings and boots.”

Panicked looks covered their faces as they scanned the room, finally settling on Captain Penser. They ran over to her, leaning over the table and forgetting all pretense of military protocol.

“Captain,” said one of the soldiers. “Miles and Suven are dead.”

The mess hall became deathly silent. [MORE]

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Saturday, July 5

Nemo Solus Sapit: Part 4 – The Cell

Guppy woke with a start. The darkness rendered the room almost void of any color. It took Guppy a moment to orient himself.

His eyes wandered across the unfamiliar room. He couldn’t shake the feeling that he was being watched.

Then he heard it. A ragged breathing sound, like someone standing over his bed. But he didn’t see anything.

Guppy gingerly crossed to the door and peeked through the glass partition into the empty corridor. He glanced back at the room, and still saw nothing.

There was the sound of footsteps approaching. A light switched on down the corridor. The footsteps got closer and closer, until they stopped right outside the door.

Guppy recoiled from the door, waiting.

A key entered the lock and jiggled it. The door didn’t open. He could make out a shadow at the glass partition.

After a minute where nothing happened, Guppy crept back to the door. He slowly inched up to the glass to peer through it.

A pair of piercing eyes met his gaze. It was the woman who had caused his car crash. [MORE]

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Cold Visitor: Part 4a – Silas’ Encampment

Dril stepped forward. “What can you tell us about the creature beneath the ice?”

Penser looked at Silas. “I don’t know of any such thing. Do you, Silas?”

Around them, other Green Griffon soldiers began to gather round, their curiosity roused by the strangers. Most of the men were content to stare at Ilmarė.

Silas’ eyes narrowed to slits. “No,” he said slowly. “I don’t. What did you find?”

“The King in Yellow.” Kham was warming himself by the fire. He didn’t bother to turn around.

“This plane has been hijacked by the Brotherhood of the Yellow Sign.” Dril took a menacing step forward. “Whatever it is under the ice is going to get out. It may take hours. It may take days. But eventually, it will escape. And then we’re all going to die. Any questions?” [MORE]

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Friday, July 4

Nemo Solus Sapit: Part 3 – The Tapes

A solemn guard placed the safety deposit box on the table in the middle of the room. He stepped back through the gate and waited.

“Great, it requires a code,” said Hammer.

Jim-Bean said the numbers out loud as he punched them in. “October twenty second, two thousand and one.”

He sorted through some paperwork that meant nothing until his hands felt a thick envelope. Jim-Bean opened it and spilled the contents on the table. Audio tapes.

The deposit box contained audio transcripts of Van Dyson’s dialogue with Newcomb. The return address listed Dyson’s home address.

“According to these records,” said Hammer, reading from a sheet, “Damon Newcomb had multiple personalities: Billy, The Princess, and…Simon.”

Jim-Bean slapped the dashboard. “I knew it!”

“Looks like Damon was dressed as a little girl until he was eight,” said Hammer. “His mother called him Mary.”

They listened to the tapes as they drove back down to Van Dyson’s home in Samson. [MORE]

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Cold Visitor: Part 3b – The Lorehouse

Ilmarė cocked her head. “Someone’s coming.”

The sound of trudging footsteps breaking through the snow reached their ears. Soon, a light accompanied the noise and three heavily clothed figures stepped out from the storm, illuminated by a blue-green torch.

The first figure pulled a thick scarf down from his face, revealing a thick black beard beneath a red nose. “Welcome to Milandir,” he said. “I hope you can cope with boredom.” Kham stepped forward, but the burly man looked past him. “Vlad? Vlad Martell? Is that you?”

Vlad peered around Kham. “Jag? Jag Orgun?”

The two men shook hands warmly. “You’re the last person I expected to see here! I kept telling the men that the Duke would send reinforcements!” Jag searched Vlad’s face for some sign of hope. “You’re not here to rescue us, are you?”

Vlad put up his hands, helpless. “I’m not sure how we got here myself. Are the rest of the Green Griffons with you?”

“Aye,” said Jag. “Although a lot of men have moved on since. A few of us are still with the Griffons: me, Messer, Laskin. We’ve got a new Captain now.”

“I hate to interrupt the family reunion,” said Dril. “But did you say we’re in Milandir?”[MORE]

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MUTO: Street Animation

Called MUTO, the video is a series of digital stills assembled from sequential paintings on the streets/walls of Buenos Aires, Argentina. It's bizarre and a little creepy, but amazing to watch.

MUTO a wall-painted animation by BLU from blu on Vimeo.

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Thursday, July 3

Nemo Solus Sapit: Part 2 –The Van Dyson Center

Guppy woke up in a cold sweat. It was all just a bad dream.

Faint at first but growing louder, Guppy could hear a repetitive sound outside, like an echo of some sort, but vaguely familiar: thwip, thwip, thwip.

Guppy glanced around the room and realize it was not his bedroom.

He climbed off the bed and walked in the dark, tripping over something. A tray clanged loudly.

Guppy felt his way along the wall to a small opening in the door. A glass pane.

He peered through the glass at the empty corridor outside, realizing what it meant…he was inside a cell. [MORE]

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Cold Visitor: Part 3a – The Lorehouse


Kham continued to read aloud. “And the sages said that this Dweller in the Depths was of the very spawn of Azathoth and half-brother even to Dread Leviathan, the Lord of the Great Abyss, and that the Thing in the Lake would mate with the Black Ewe with a Thousand Young, aye, even Tizzhet; and upon that hellish and cloud-like Entity had begotten the Twin Abominations, even Nug and Yeb. And it was deemed unprudent to utter upon the lips of men the Name of the Thing in the Lake, wherefore was it known as The Unspeakable.”

“The Unspeakable One.” Dril lit a tindertwig and threw it on the pile. The books sputtered into flames. The light illuminated their faces with macabre shadows. [MORE]

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Wednesday, July 2

Nemo Solus Sapit: Part 1 –The Mission

Their cistrons beeped. Jim-Bean’s cistron shrieked, “Tacos! I need tacos or I’ll explode!”

Hammer’s hand reflexively went for his pistol. “Jesus, why’d you change your ring to that?”

“Invader Zim. After that last incident I thought it might be a good idea for us to have different rings.” [MORE]

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Cold Visitor: Part 2 – Springer Mound

Small, sputtering torches were planted out in a row. They seemed more to mark a path than any real attempt to keep the oppressive snow at bay.

They followed the torch trail to a slight rise. It was the first real geographic feature they had encountered.

The hill was not more than a few score feet tall, but on the otherwise featureless plain it stood out quite a bit. As they walked over the ice towards the hill, it felt pulpy.

Ilmarė wrinkled her nose. “Do you smell that?”

There was the beginning of a sickly smell on the air. Once they reached the hill, the smell was worse.

“Smells like rotting fruit,” said Vlad.

Kham bent over and rested on his knees. “I think I’m going to be sick.” [MORE]

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Tuesday, July 1

Nemo Solus Sapit - Prologue

Ever since he returned to the United States, Guppy was a hunted man. He was a celebrity, claimed by the Indian government as one of their agents, denounced by the Pakistanis as a rabble-rouser, and denied by the U.S. as having anything to do with CIFA at all. GNN had taken a peculiar interest in him and it seemed like they were dedicated to tracking down his identity.

Guppy was returning to base when a van suddenly screeched in front of him. He slammed on the brakes.

Out hopped a news team pointing a camera at his head. A pretty blonde stepped out and shoved a microphone in his face.

“Mr. Gupta! Margaret Ellens, Global News Network: Is it true that you’re the agent who single-handedly saved Indianational 270?”

Guppy threw the car in reverse, backed up, and tore around the GNN crew. He couldn’t go back to base using his normal route. [MORE]

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