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This campaign is effectively over. I don't have the time to continue nor the interest in it. Thanks to everyone who joined this adventure. I hope you have better luck in other adventures.

Hey guys, sorry I haven’t been posting. I’ve been really busy lately juggling work and college, and on top of that me and my family are likely to be moving soon so I need to work on living arrangements. I feel like I need to take a break from this for a few weeks while I get my life together. Sorry if you guys are disappointed with that. I’ll try to give you guys an update at the end of July.

Kaleo Green wrote:
TheMightyAtom wrote:
Kaleo Green wrote:

Kaleo performs a general search of the room and then looks over some of the loose papers.


Assuming this is not a typo and you get a +12 to the roll...

I don't have a +12 to the roll, I have a +6.

Check your last post then. It applies the +6 twice. Might just be some visual error though.

Kaleo Green wrote:

Kaleo performs a general search of the room and then looks over some of the loose papers.


Assuming this is not a typo and you get a +12 to the roll...

Your search is very effective, trawling up what seems to be receipts, though in order to make any sense of them you would need time to study them in depth. You also find information detailing inventory and some strange emails directed at a financing department.

Father Asher Anderson wrote:

Asher was distressed at the signs of someone trying to break into the facility. The arms company had no need of forcing a lock they owned the key to, so was this from a third party? Had pertinent information been withheld from the Riot Crew? Well, yes, obviously. This was corporate America after all. Of course they were holding their cards close to the chest. The priest just hoped the unknown third party had given up on breaching the monster infested facility, for all their sakes.

Not likely, is it? Sigh.

But what really upset Asher was the sight of the bodies. This wasn't his first time seeing a corpse, of course. This line of work ensured that. The priest was a harder man now than just a few years ago. But his faith acted as a constant within him, preventing him from, and indeed reminding him that he shouldn't, become accustomed to violence and death. Once one acclimated to the very worst of sins, what hope was there?

Unfortunately, Asher's discomfort prevented him from being much use in surveying the office.

[dice=Perception]1d20 + 8

[dice=Heal]1d20 + 7

"Requiescat in pace," he said quietly before signing the cross and inspecting the nearest cadaver.

Three different posts, three different methods of resolving skill checks. Interested to see Atom's take on it for future reference.

EDIT: Four different posts, sorry. Julian posted while I was writing.

It seems your nerves have gotten the better of you, and your search of the office nets you nothing that couldn't already be seen by a cursory glance. Your investigation of the bodies, meanwhile, shows you something much more concrete: the bodies suffer damage suggesting that they were moving while heavily injured, something that is seemingly impossible given the level of damage you are seeing (damaged legs, heads, etc.).

Julian Jacobs wrote:

Julian scans the room looking for air ducts, but he shies away from the bodies, letting Carnival look them over, pulling his pocket pistol to be ready. When he finds the vent register, he motions to the others, "Anyone have a way to get this cover off? I knew I was forgetting something, remind me to pick up some tools when we finish here. I'd like to see if I can scout ahead a little, give us an idea of what we are walking into."


Are you transforming into a bat to check the vents?

Alex Weir wrote:

Seeing the door, Alex warns the others. "Careful. Someone tried to break in here. There may be more than zombies and amoebas in the building."

Once in the room, she first focuses on the bodies. She has seen a surprising number of corpses in her young life, many of which then got up and tried to kill her. Fortunately Carnival seems to be checking them thoroughly. Still, something seems off.

Bullet holes everywhere. Where are the guns? Zombies wouldn't carry them off; neither would any of the other monsters we were told about.

She moves to the corpses herself, seeing if she can figure out how they died.

[dice=Heal]1d20 + 1

I rolled Heal, but I'm not actually sure which skill would be appropriate. If it would be Perception, add 4. Not that it matters much with that roll.

Despite your best investigative efforts, the bodies are simply too decayed and damaged to get much useful information from. Still, it is blatantly clear that they have been damaged severely by gunfire.

Carnival. wrote:

"Careful of the corpses, just in case they ain't dead yet." Carinival being the sort of person he was moved to check each corpse in turn to make sure they were suitably dead. If the sight or the smell bothered him, he gave no hint. Instead he simply jabbed each one with the pointed foot of his leather shoe, then checked the corpse for ID, keycards or anything else of use.

[dice=Perception (Corpse 1)]1d20+7
[dice=Perception (Corpse 2)]1d20+7
[dice=Perception (Corpse 3)]1d20+7
[dice=Perception (Corpse 4)]1d20+7

Your search of the bodies nets you little, but somethings start to become apparent. These bodies are very damaged, almost to the point of mutilation. They are all full of bullet wounds and many you would swear are look barely human.

Knowledge (Religion) DC 11):
A blatant hint that these are zombies (non-functional, of course).

One body nets you something of value, what seemingly belonged to a light skinned male of presumably young to middle age: a wallet, within which is a red key card that reads "BASEMENT" and a driver's license belonging to a "Kenny Li".

Assuming everyone is ready, lets get the ball rolling again.

Your brief walk through the woods is uneventful, though you keep your eyes peeled nonetheless. An owl hoots, and you hear frogs croak in the distance. After walking for far too long, you come across a clearing and suddenly it comes into view: the facility.

The building looks old and worn down. If you had come across it on a simple hiking trip, you might just think the building belongs there. You march around the side of the building, taking in the faded paint and shuttered windows, until finally you see the door on the east side. Stepping up to the door, you are surprised to find it unlocked.

Alex Weir wrote:
Alex follows the rest of the party, taking up the position of rear guard. Wary of a possible ambush, she keeps a close eye on her surroundings.

Your eyes fall on the door as you move forward when Alex notices something on the door, a faint dirty footprint on the door, and cracking around the deadbolt, clear evidence of an attempted break in.

Now even more on edge, you take up a marching order and begin to slowly clear the hallway. Dried blood is obviously on the floor, and the walls, despite being semi new, are clearly suffering from violent damage. You pace the hallway in an orderly fashion and calmly, if nervously, open the door.

You step out into a large office area, but one obviously in disrepair. Papers are everywhere and the damage to the room implies some sort of fight went down; bullet holes litter the walls, ceiling, and floor, stains of blood are clear in the carpet, and many computer monitors have been smashed. Worst of all, though, are the bodies. Four of them, clearly belonging to people who once simple office drones. Their sickening decay fills the room, and the and even from the distance you are standing it's clear they were victims of brutal violence.

If you'd like to investigate any part of the room, just ask and roll for either Perception, Survival, or Health/Knowledge(Nature) (for investigating the bodies).

Julian Jacobs wrote:
Hey DM, would you mind linking our current map in the short campaign descriptor? I'm on my phone a lot and it would simplify getting to the map for me.


I'm fine with putting in a description post, I just need a definitive answer on which door you plan on using: the one that leads to room 7 or the one that leads to room 1?

Are you guys waiting for me to post?

Kaleo Green wrote:

A few minutes after the van stops at Kaleo's residence, he returns to the van dressed in his leather armor and carrying two black plastic boxes, one larger than the other. Once back in the van, he opens the smaller box, and does a brief inventory of the various lockpicks and other implements inside, before closing it again. He then opens the larger box and does the same, except that this one contains a multitude of dried plants and strangely colored liquids and powders stored in vials. His finger hovers over a viscous silvery liquid, which he then pockets, along with a few other components and an empty vial, after which he closes the box.

Once the others' questions have been answered, Kaleo asks his own to the man in the polo shirt.
"Do you have an estimate as to how many mimics and zombies are in the building?"
Once everyone else is gone, Kaleo takes a minute to mix his materials, gazing intently at them as they react. They flash brightly and briefly, and then Kaleo puts the still slightly glowing vial on his belt, next another, of a different coloration but with the same dull glow.
Mixing an extract of shield.

"There are currently 6 mimics in our care. One of them was close to reproducing before the accident though. As for zombies, we're pretty sure the number caps at 16, but it's not impossible there are less due to fighting between the various specimens in the building."

Julian Jacobs wrote:

As Berto wraps up the presentation, Julian says, ”Hey Berto, can you put up those schematics real quick?” and he takes a picture of the 2 floors. When the others mention needing supplies, Julian looks sheepishly at the others and says, ”Well, I’m ready to go, I guess I got a little carried away.” and taps his chest and those listening hear his knuckles rap against his leather armor under his hoodie.

When they meet with the clients, Julian stays behind Breach, his nose squished in werebat form looking for any interesting scents on the three. While the others talk, he watches the premesis looking for anyone who might notice their group.

[dice=Perception]1d20 + 4

While the two big guys smell of sweat and pistol smoke, the smaller fellow explaining the weapon is a bit of a mystery. He smells strongly of something, but you can't identify it. It smells a tad bit like fish? It's the only thing you can compare it to.

You smell the animals moving around and in the distance you can hear cars, but nothing stands out as out of the ordinary.

Kaleo Green wrote:

Realized I forgot to purchase thieves' tools. :/

Would it be alright if I swapped my semi-auto pistol for a pocket pistol, and then bought theives' tools?

Sure, I’m fine with that.

Father Asher Anderson wrote:
Julian Jacobs wrote:
”That’s $250,000! I wouldn’t even have to work at all!” He looks around at the others shocked and just leans back in a slight stupor.

"That's going to buy you a lot of brownies," Asher smiled to the younger man. The priest rose with the others and prepared to leave, though not before pausing at the sight of the animal people back in the bar. Much like the Riot Crew they were taking the party elsewhere, but unlike the occult mercenaries (happily) they looked to share about a keg worth's of ethanol between them. Brow crinkled in concern, Asher walked up to them.

"Excuse me," he said, apologizing for the intrusion, as he laid his hand on the utterly sloshed panda man. Then he repeated Ephesians 5:18 apropos of nothing.

"And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit."

A faint glow, like a light bulb underneath the skin, came and dissipated from the hand, and this wasn't the only thing to disappear: every trace of alcohol within the animal man's system vanished. He was completely and painfully sober.

"I'm sorry. I don't mean to take the fun out of your evening. But your friends have all had a bit too much, and one of you must be responsible, if nothing else than to drive. Please take care of yourself."

Burning one daily usage of Restorative Touch to remove the panda man's status conditions.


After a quick stop to pick up his armor at the clergy house, one of the older buildings in Portland, Asher was ready to catch a designer bio-weapon. It wasn't how most people spent their Friday night, certainly not most priests, but someone had to do it.

"Uh, thanks?" the panda man muttered, before leaving along with his friends. As they walk out, you can hear the rat man (disguised as a dwarf in his human disguise) whisper "I told you people were staring!"

Alex Weir wrote:

Alex frowns as the bartender beckons her over. Hoodie left me a note? What's it going to be, a cheesy pick-up line and a phone number?

It wasn't.

The star...I don't think it's a secret exactly, but I've never seen it before outside my family. How did he...and "avoided danger?" What danger? Is it related to how weird he acted when Berto came in? And why would he care? I've never seen him before in my life. Have I?

Thoroughly distracted by the note, Alex half-heartedly mumbles directions to her basement apartment. Not the roughest area of town, but certainly a bit shabby and run-down, even though her actual apartment was scrupulously clean. She'd already had her pistol and switchblade with her, but needed to pick up her assault rifle, extra ammo, and swap to her studded leather jacket. Right. Note later. Job now. Focus on the job.


By the time they made it to the meeting location, Alex was back to being calm, cool, and professional. She takes the energy rifle from Berto with a nod.

"I've got a couple questions. First, how big is this creature likely to be? Still the same rat-catching size, or might it have grown? Second, what's the range on this gun? Any quirks about it that would be useful to know before firing? Recoil, tends to fire a fraction further left than you'd expect, that sort of thing."

”The specimen will get no larger than three feet in diameter before reproducing. No need to worry: it’s sterile, one of the modifications made to the creature ensures that any time it undergoes mitosis it simply ejects cytoplasm without duplicating any dna.”

”Now, as to the device:”

  • Name: Amoeba Disruption Rifle (“Oozi”)
  • Damage: 1d8
  • Range: 50 ft.
  • Capacity: 10
  • Damage Type: Sonic
  • Weight: 3 lbs
  • Special: When an ooze is struck by a shot from this weapon, it must make a DC 15 Fortitude save or be stunned for 2d6 rounds.

    ”Projectile deviation and recoil are minimal. Putting it bluntly, it will shoot as straight as you can. That said, you’ll want to aim for the creature’s nucleus: it seems to have a habit of moving erratically.”

  • Carnival. wrote:

    The stop at Carnival's home was short, and sweet. The extent of the costume change was to walk in, put his jacket on a hook, grab something off the table by the door and pop it in his ear - a Bluetooth headset - and return to the van. One might say it was an utter waste of time, but Carnival apparently considered it a very nice jacket.

    Still, in the van he rolled the black silk shirt sleeves up, revealing his forearms - one covered in tattoos of plantlife with silver running through them in intruiging glints and gleams, and a second set on the other that was only partially complete.

    After a moment he breathed out, slowly, and ribbons of light flickered around his hands before hardening into gleaming plates of...something. Flexing his fingers out for a moment, Carnival smiled and reached up for his glasses.

    For anyone seeing his eyes for the first time, or the second or third for that matter, it was probably a freaky experience. The 'whites' of his eyes were entirely blue instead, even in the dim light of the fan, and his iris was the colour of old bronze. His pupils were slits, which widened impressively in the dark van. Cleaning the lenses, he slid them back on and grinned at anyone staring.


    Meeting the nasally arse, Carnival kept his gob shut for the most part and didn't insult the man with all the money. He did size up the muscled help. Just in case the little runt decided to hold onto there pay later.

    But there was one question that needed answering. "Any critical items, systems or creatures that could present a danger to us, or others, in the event of an engagement where they might become harmed or damaged in some way?" His voice held a cool, detached tone, and sounded like this was a standard question he asked often.

    The man raises an eyebrow, seemingly surprised at your professionalism. "There is one thing. I've recently received news that explosives have apparently been heard used within the facility. It's possible that this is just unstable ordinance going off, but regardless: know your back stop, and be careful around the south wing of the basement (rooms 6 and 7)."

    Julian Jacobs wrote:

    I’ve only ever used google sheets so I don’t have experience with Roll20, but I’m game to try what ever.

    On an unrelated note, does Berto accompany us in missions or is he just mission control for us?

    The most recent post will make this clear, but Berto is more like mission control, he doesn't accompany you on jobs.

    Berto stands up and shake’s Cillian’s hand. ”Alright then. If everyone is in agreement, we go tonight.”
    After a brief phone call where Berto explains the plan to the customer, you begin to walk out of the bar. The veterans from before have apparently got smashing drunk, and it seems like they might be getting ready to take their three man party home. The animal folk are also getting ready to leave, carrying their catatonic panda buddy on their back. As they stand up all of them begin putting on various accessories (hats, glasses, etc.), and before your eyes the animal forms have faded leaving only the perfect image of a group of drunk human teenagers. The wizard trio seem to be long gone, and Hoodie is nowhere to be seen. Before the group can reach the door, Alex notices the bartender beckon her over.

    ”The guy in the back wanted me to give this to you.” he whispers as he hands you a note. He then straightens up to yell to Berto: ”Berto! The tab!” Berto wordlessly digs into his pocket and tosses the bartender a gold coin without turning around. ”Keep the change!” he says.
    The note is written on a sheet of notebook paper folded in half horizontally. The back has a strange star drawn on the back. A very familiar star. In the inside, written in all caps, is the message:

    Before you can even consider the note’s meaning, Berto calls the group outside and you all quickly find yourselves shoved into the back of Berto’s van. After a few quick trips to your homes to collect your gear (feel free to add details here), you find yourself driven to the far edge of the city where you find a covered pick up truck parked near the edge of the forest. A trio of men step out. Two are large and intimidating, wearing sunglasses to hide their eyes, while the third is a much smaller man in a polo shirt. He steps up to shake Berto’s hand, to which he eagerly reciprocates.
    ”This is the crew, huh?” the man says in a nasally voice. His voice does not express doubt so much as it expresses a state of fact. Berto replies back smoothly ”Yup. Best of the best.” ”That remains to be seen.” he says, before walking back to the truck and opening the back. He reaches inside briefly before coming back with the energy rifle.”This button engages the device, then you simply pull the trigger to activate it. It functions much in the same way a self loading rifle does. It can be used 10 times before the battery runs out of charge.” After showing the group how to load and unload the weapon, he hands Berto the rifle along with two more batteries. ”Thirty shots. Hopefully you won’t need any more than that.” He then goes back to the truck and comes back with a small metal box. He demonstrates its function by pressing a button on the top, causing it to expand five times larger, then presses it again to make it shrink again, then opens and closes it. ”The containment field. Self explanatory.” He then hands the box to Berto, then points further into the woods. ”The facility is 1000 yards that way. Any questions?”

    After answering any relevant questions, he waves goodbye and he and his guards step into their truck and drive away. Berto hands both rifle and containment field to whoever steps forward to grab them, then waves goodbye as he steps into his van.
    ”When the job is done, call me.” he smiles and gives you an encouraging thumbs up before driving off, leaving you all to your job.

    When the building comes into view, you’ll be on the side of the building that leads to room 7. You’ll have to walk around to get to the other door.

    Alright, map is up. Check it out.

    Also, the Blaze Arms Map now has a room key, though it's a bit sparse on descriptive details right now.

    Alright. I think for this part of the adventure we'll try using Google Slides and see how that goes.

    I'm getting started on the map, and I need to ask: what would be the best way for all you to simulate combat? A virtual tabletop like Roll20, doing it in chat, powerpoints? I'm open to ideas.

    Not a typo. 2500 gp = $250,000. That said, a large portion of that will go to gear, so Julian isn't exactly set for life.

    Kaleo Green wrote:

    Kaleo works to commit the floor plan to memory while the others voice their questions, waiting until Berto answers their before asking his own.

    "You mentioned the virus dies in exposure to UV light. Do we know whether the zombies it makes would die as well?"

    "Ha!" He laughs "You wish. The zombies aren't gonna be taken down by anything that isn't a bullet or sword."

    Julian Jacobs wrote:
    Julian looks between Carnival and Alex and says, ”Mm Hmm, also, is there a room access or security systems still active? Oh, and is there anyone still in the building or can we just go in guns blazing?” The rest of you probably find this amusing since all Julian has is a pocket pistol. ”If they’ve got any kind of decent duct work, I can probably sneak in there and get a look at what we are facing.”

    "They cut off power to the building after they flooded it with UV light. The worst thing you'd have to worry about is a locked door. If there's anyone in the building, they're not supposed to be there, so you shouldn't worry about collateral damage either. Air ducts are probably a no go, as they are far too small for you to crawl through." He pauses, then smiles. "Although, a bat might be able to sneak through..."

    Alex Weir wrote:

    "First question: what makes Blaze think this...amoeba...is still in the building? If it uses acid, couldn't it have dissolved a door or something? Which leads to my second question: did they happen to mention how smart this thing is? It would be helpful to know if we're dealing with an animal, vegetable, or mineral here.

    Unrelated third question: a talking fungus that messes with your brain?! What the hell does that mean?!"

    Alex takes a deep breath and visibly composes herself. "Sorry. Mimics I can handle, zombies I can shoot, but stuff that f+$*s with your brain is big trouble. That fungus worries me a lot more than the amoeba."

    Once Carnival finishes talking, she nods. "I agree that the east door is our best bet. As for the gun, sure, I'll take it if that's the general consensus."

    "The building is hermetically sealed, and from what they've told me it only dissolves stuff that it's trying to eat. It's a germ: the only things it knows how to do is eat and run away."

    You outburst surprises him, and he sits up when you raise your voice. "Taking this seriously, are you?" He waves a dismissive hand. "It's nothing serious. Apparently it likes asking people questions about the outside world. If it sees you, it makes you want to stop fighting at just talk to it. The main things they said was don't try to fight it and don't let it touch you. Really, it's nothing to worry about."

    Carnival. wrote:

    Smirking, Carnival said, "Reckless? Me? You fight one half giant wearing nothing but sunglasses and some butter and people make all sorts of untoward comments."

    Considering the list of horrible that this place had, he added, "Are we sure this isn't the Umbrella Corporation? 'Cos this sounds like it should take place in a Bayou and we have to kill the grandma."

    Shaking his head a little, he said, "OK, I'm gonna guess we should give our sniper the stungun, so as to minimize the chances of recklessness. Looks like the best idea would be to go in through that East door, head up north to those rooms that aren't connected. Then we can sweep the rest."

    Looking at Berto, he asked, "Don't suppose this lot was smart enough to make some gear this thing couldn't melt too fast that we can also borrow? Also, what kinda time frame are we looking at here? Normally when dealing with zombies you need to escape by dawn, but if we have two or three days to take our time it'll make things simpler. Spellslingers can just hurl all their magic at the problem, we go take a nap, repeat until success."

    My wife burst out laughing when she saw the Mimic.

    Berto chuckles at the Silent Hill reference. His smile fades at your question of protective gear. "Unfortunately, no. Anything they have that could do that is a bit too expensive for them to just hand off to us. That said, you might not need it: according to them, it only uses acid on things it has grabbed onto, so as long as you don't wrestle with it, you should be fine."

    "Time frame is a bit more tricky. They gave us a time limit of three days, but the actual job shouldn't take longer than a few hours, barring any particularly bad screw ups." He turns to Asher. "Hey, Father Anderson! What time is that bake sale at the church?"

    Father Asher Anderson wrote:

    The good priest shook his head, not in answer to Berto but instead in exasperation. So this amoeba was the arms company's own creation and had already claimed lives? Asher was relieved that the thing wasn't loose in the city, but Blaze was not exactly endearing itself to him. Still, at least its leadership was eager to fix their mistakes: hiring outside expertise like the Riot Crew hinted as much.

    "Do you have this 'directed bio-weapon', Mr Ardizzone?"

    While not at all eager to hand over this amoeba weapon to someone intent to replicate and sell it to the highest bidder, Asher wanted to get underway as soon as possible. People had already been hurt and this threat needed to be dealt with. Besides, it was his solemn duty to answer any call for help. And should something like those samples of zombie virus be destroyed while the group was there, well... that would just be unfortunate.

    Mimics disguised as Amazon boxes... Love it.

    Berto raises an eyebrow and says "No no, Father Anderson, the amoeba is the 'directed bio-weapon'. The Blaze representatives said it was a prototype for a particularly wealthy investor, so they are eager to keep it safe."

    ”One at a time friends, too many questions and only one Berto!” Berto says jokingly. He begins to flip through the images as he talks. ”Firstly, it’s an amoeba. Kinda like a germ, but bigger. This one, as you can see is quite a bit bigger. The guys at Blaze did some experiments on it, made it stronger, faster, and with a helluva lot more acid. I can’t say much more than that: those Blaze guys were very hush about it, said something about keeping the info confidential. Called it a “directed bio-weapon”, whatever that’s supposed to mean. Evidently, something went bad in the lab they contained it in, and it escaped and caused mayhem. Mayhem we’re getting paid stacks to put an end to.” He gives you all a greedy smile and continues. The next image he puts on screen shows a strange metallic weapon, not unlike an smg. ”Capturing it should be no issue. Our employers were willing to provide us with a unique energy weapon that they said should knock it out in one shot, along with a container to keep it in. It is very fast though, and you should be careful getting close to it. One of you shoots it while the rest keep it from bolting, and it should be no problem, barring any recklessness.” He looks directly at Carnival as he finishes his sentence, hinting at a past incident.
    ”The trouble is finding it.” Berto continues, flipping to the projector to the next image, a set of schematics detailing the floor plans of a building. ”Blaze’s building isn’t exactly little, and you’ll have a lot of ground to cover. And unfortunately, you won’t be the only ones there.” In rapid succession, he flips through a series of images: a zombie with an earring, a box with human arms and legs, and a slimey mass with an open toothed mass spread out on a rock within a contained enclosure. ”When the amoeba escaped the chaos it caused let a few other creatures out. A zombie virus was released that apparently infected some of the staff that got killed by the other escapees, and now they’re wandering the building’s halls.” Noticing your expressions, he puts his hands up placatingly. ”Don’t worry, the virus is inert now, apparently it dies in exposure to UV light. All that’s left are the zombies. Then, a family of mimics got out. They have a habit of disguising themselves as boxes, so be careful of that. And finally, there is a…” Berto pauses and rolls his hand as struggles to figure out the word he’s looking for before he straightens up and snaps his fingers. ”Fungus! That’s the word. A talking fungus that messes with your brain. It got out during the chaos.” He turns off the projector and steps out in front of you again. ”This is not going to be easy, but it is well worth the pay.” He pauses for dramatic effect before continuing. ”2500 gp. For each of us. And a 10% discount on any weapons and ammunition we buy from them. Any questions?”

    Carnival. wrote:
    "Day was going fine until you told me I missed all the best violence. You know you're not allowed to do that, it's agains' the rules." Nodding over to Julian, Carnival added, "I assume that the idea here is that we're either huntin' your new friends or recoverin' somethin' they pinched." Picking up his doughtnut, he considered for a moment. "That or the story is unrelated, and we're on baked goods sales today." He took a bite.

    Berto laughs. "Always eager for a scrap, aren't you Carnie?"

    He looks around the room at the lot of you, then speaks again.

    "No, there was nothing stolen, and we dealt with that group. Mrs. Thorn and her grunts will deal with whatever flak comes from that. It's none of our business what she gets up to." He pauses, then stands up to start fiddling with the projector. When he turns around again, he's smiling. "Instead, we are going to get to work on something a bit more lucrative. What do you know about Blaze?"

    Knowledge Local DC 15:
    Blaze Arms is a munition company recognizable both to mundanes and the magically initiated. Their weapons end up in the hands of everyone from rabble-rousers like the Sons of Hell to the big shots like the Society of Gilded Oak or the Shield Legion. They have manufacturing plants in various locations in Portland. They have a rivalry with another munition company called Blizzard.

    Knowledge Local DC 20:
    Blaze Arms also does weapons development, and while this includes things like armor piercing rounds and easily concealed guns, their are rumors that they are working on more powerful weapons: futuristic energy launchers, targeted bio-weapons, and civilian vehicles that convert to tanks with the push of a button.

    He nods at your response, then flips up the projector. A brief video clip appears on screen, showing a giant cell dissolving and devouring a rat in an eye blink before shooting out of frame near instantly.

    "They're hiring us, to capture this."

    Julian Jacobs wrote:

    Oh my goodness, giants? That’s so cool...I mean, that sucks.” Julian has a hard time containing his excitement at the prospect of seeing real giants, but tries to commiserate with Berto. At Father Asher’s words he looks askance and says. ”Laying it on a little thick aren’t you Father?” He turns back to Berto and asks, ”So, does that have anything to do with our job? Do we get to see the giants?” When Berto responds, he takes the moment to snag another donut and hide it under the table.

    Sleight of Hand: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (5) + 6 = 11

    "No no no…" Berto says dismissively with a hand wave. "Not a real giant, just some putz wizard who’s half decent at size distortion. If it was a real giant, I’d have been in some real sh*t."

    Perception: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (16) + 7 = 23
    Berto's eyes very clearly follow your hands as you sneak the donut, but he gives away nothing but a brief smirk.

    Father Asher Anderson wrote:

    "... This Sunday's sermon will be on self-defense and necessary violence, Mr Ardizzone. You're welcome to attend."

    The priest's words were gentle but his eyes held the paternal gaze of a father catching their child smoking: he wasn't angry, just disappointed and concerned in equal measure. As a man of the cloth, his stance on bloodshed was, to no one's surprise, not one of approval.

    Of course, Asher realized his hypocrisy in admonishing anyone else for violence. The only reason his next sermon was slated to cover such severe subjects was because this was what had occupied so much of the priest's free time, trying to reconcile the near-nightly brutal forays into the paranormal, and his faith. Asher was caught between two Christian virtues: the commitment to non-violence, and protecting the innocent from what would prey on them. Adhering to the latter too often forced him to ignore the former.

    The incongruity chafed at his soul, and while he was quick to extend biblical charity and forgiveness to others forced to used violence, including the rest of the Riot Crew, he spared no such mercy for himself. He was an ordained priest. He should be held to a higher standard. And within his own mind, Asher was failing that standard.

    Berto raises an eyebrow before busting out into laughter, though you get the feeling that it’s a fake laugh judging by the tone.

    ”Oh, Father. You know me, I’m no good in churches.” He chuckles before leaning in, and more quietly says ”If I went to a confession, there’d be a line!”, before letting out a short chuckle.

    Alex Weir wrote:

    Alex frowns at the story. Shivs for fingers? She wracks her brain trying to remember if she’s ever seen or heard of a creature like that.

    [dice=Knowledge Dungeoneering?]1d20 + 5

    Knowledge: Dungeoneering:
    Such a small detail is not enough to give you a clear picture. You know that many creatures have claws and you wonder if that could be construed as “shivs”. You also know that some martial artists can focus their body’s energy to form invisible blades, allowing them to cut someone with nothing but their fingertips.

    And since I completely neglected it last time…
    As you leave the room, you catch a final glimpse of Hoodie, and you see that he is writing something, though the angle prevents you from seeing what it is.

    Sorry about this week, been very busy. I’ll post a reply by tonight. Is Kaleo going to post or is he waiting for me?

    The big metal door is at the end of the hall, you didn't walk through it, you just saw it.

    Berto waits until you have all settled down before taking a donut and seat of his own. He sighs and unzips his jacket, revealing a wife-beater underneath with a hand sized patch of blood on it. "The price I pay for getting tangled up in other people's messes." he grumbles.

    He looks up at the lot of you and smiles sheepishly. "I can see you are all eager to get started, yeah? I hadn't meant to be so late, but when the Boss asks for a favor, you can't say anything but 'yes'." The name is one familiar and yet distant to you all: you've heard Berto speak a few times about his own employer but it's only ever been complaints and vague descriptions. Still, you've learned from him the seriousness of their commands.

    "Wasn't even supposed to be that hard: Help Mrs. Thorn (The manager of another Riot Crew team) move a few boxes out of some fella's apartment. 'Course they neglected to mention that those boxes were being repoed." He gingerly puts a hand to his stomach."One second you're moving boxes and the next you've got a 9 foot giant and his muscly friends poking your chest telling you to leave. Some words were said, someone got called tubby, someone got punched in the face, that same someone's three buddies jumped us, and pretty soon things were almost out of hand." He shrugs his head unhappily. "I see someone go after Thorn and what do I get for the trouble?" He angrily lifts his shirt, revealing that his belly wound appears to be a series of five holes jammed into his stomach. "Some crazy kung-master with shivs for fingers perforates me and my second best jacket!" He huffs unhappily before looking down and uttering a dark chuckle. "I got him though." he says, reaching into his jacket pocket and flashing to all of you an SMG tucked into the pocket of his coat. "Took 100 rounds, but I got him. Have to get my jacket fixed, got blood all over my car and had Thorn lecture me about she 'doesn't need my help', but I got him."

    He sits up and becomes cheerful. But hey," he says. "No need to get bummed over my bad day. How have all of you been doing?"

    Cillian "Breach" Gibson wrote:
    "Berto you prick! Keepin' your best team waitin' like that. I'll be needin' a bloody good story as payment for the wait, looks like you've got one to tell." While the words are harsh, the intonation behind them is not, Breach saying them with a smile as he pushes out a chair for Berto with his foot.

    "And I story you'll get, Breach, a real nail-biter!" Berto says with a big grin, and as he takes a step closer to you he pushes the chair back into place.

    "But not in here. Bennie! Our room is ready, yeah?" He says to the bartender. The bartender doesn't even turn around, saying only "Zeta." in response. Berto points to a door on the other side of the bar and motions for you to go there, then stands up and walks over to the bartender to pay for your food.

    As you follow his silent instructions you find a hallway with 10 doors on each side leading down to final door made of metal. You walk down it until you find a door with a giant Z on it: Zeta, just as the bartender explained. You open the door and step inside, revealing a small space room with rolling chairs, a table with a projector on it, and a table against the far wall with a box of donuts on it and a piece of paper that reads "ENJOY". Soon after you step into the room, Berto joins you.

    Father Asher Anderson wrote:

    This isn't right...

    Even as the enormous and much belated Berto entered the bar, Asher's eyes never left the hooded stranger. The guy was wound tighter than a three-day clock and despite his protestations otherwise was clearly expecting trouble. There was violence in the air.

    As the masked man sat down again after his false start (springs tightening yet again...), Asher was furiously pondering how he could, or indeed should, prevent whatever it was he planned. The priest didn't wish to see anyone hurt, but any effort to placate the man could instead set him off. The priest felt like he was sitting inside a keg of nitroglycerin with an ornery badger: the safest action seemed to be to do nothing at all.

    Asher didn't like this one bit.

    Alex Weir wrote:
    "Hey Berto. You get into some trouble?"

    Alex's voicing of further trouble drew the priest from his reverie and he finally turned to Berto. And in so doing noticed that his hand was tensely hovering over his revolver, concealed in its holster. He had apparently unconsciously reached for it at the first sign of struggle. Asher grimaced to himself. Perhaps he was wrong about not belonging in this world; perhaps he was getting too accustomed to its oddities and brutality.

    "Mr Ardizzone, are you well? he asked nodding to the other man's brow.

    [dice=Heal]1d20 + 7

    Just a cursory glance to see if we can tell what caused the injury and whether our manager is going to be OK.

    As your eyes flicker over Berto’s form, you focus on the bandaid first, and the bruising around it immediately identifies it as the consequence of a punch to the face. Looking over the rest of him, he seems mostly ok except for what you think must be an injury on the stomach, and though the red color of his jacket hides it well, it’s pretty clearly something that made the big guy bleed.

    ”Father Anderson, always worrying.” he says calmly, putting a hand on your shoulder. ”But hey, if you weren’t worrying you wouldn’t be doing your job right!” He laughs. ”Just a little bit beat up, nothing to worry about.”

    Julian Jacobs wrote:
    ”Ah, he’s here finally!” exclaims Julian as Berto walks in relaxing his tense posture. Julian hurriedly ushers him over to their table sniffing the air as he walks over, anticipating the smell of blood but curious about what else he might detect.

    You smell Berto and, as usual, you get the usual smell of sardines that seems to constantly hover on the man, but as you step closer you catch a whiff of a few other unique smells: gunpowder and blood, some Berto’s, some from someone else.

    Alex Weir wrote:

    Alex frowns at Hoodie's behavior. From the bartender's reaction, that was not part of his usual routine.

    What the hell was that all about? Was he expecting someone else?

    ...Never mind, Alex. Unless he starts causing trouble, it's not your problem. You've got a job to do.

    With Berto finally walking in the door, looks like it's time to find out what that job actually is. Alex glances at his split eyebrow and raises her own eyebrows quizzically. "Hey Berto. You get into some trouble?"

    ”Trouble is such a baited word.” he says smoothly. ”It’s only trouble when you are loosing!” He laughs only to grunt slightly and put a hand to his stomach. ”I’m a little torn up, but you should see the other guy!”

    Carnival. wrote:
    Carnival pointed as the massive bald man entered the bar. "Tab's all his." He looked over at Berto, sunglasses glinting, and with a serious expression on his face added, "You're late, Berto. You have to pay the price for that. I ordered extra cheese on these chill cheese fries. They are..." Carnival paused, and put an evil emphasis on the next word, "Delicious."

    Berto smiles, revealing the quartet of gold teeth that replace his canines. ”I suppose this is the price I pay for being late.” he says in a thick italian accent. ”I know, how about you get it as a discount on the next suit you tear up, eh?” He lets out a deep belly laugh. ”Only pulling your leg, Carnie. Hey! Bennie!” He shouts to the bartender. ”The food is on me.”

    Sorry for the wait. Allow me to get things moving again.

    8:20 PM

    You look around the room, having sat around doing nothing for a near half an hour. You look around the room, ready to either leave and let Berto know how it feels to get left hanging, or call the fat bastard, when your eyes settle on Hoodie. He’s stopped looking at the clock or the people in the room, and now is focused solely on the door. Based on his body language, you can think he might be getting ready to jump to his feet. His mood is clear now: he’s agitated, and ready for action. Your eyes turn to the door, and as if on cue, you see a shape materialize behind it. The bartender notices it as well, and you see him reach under the counter for something. As the door swings open, Hoodie rises to his feet, and a short figure steps into view.

    ”Hey Al! What’sa matta, fall in the toilet again?” you hear from across the room. Looking over reveals it came from one of the veterans, an older fellow with bleached hair and a bad spray tan. The comment illicit uproarious laughter from his friend, a Native American, and you easily hear the animals behind you join in. The bartender relaxes and a look over at Hoodie reveals that he’s sat down and began writing something. As the new comer goes to sit down with his friends, a new figure follows behind him.

    80 inches tall on the dot and practically as big around, this giant African man wears rather casual clothes, a red jacket and a pair of jeans. He hasn’t a hair on the top of his head, and unusually for him, a bandaid hastily covers a split eyebrow. You recognize him on sight: Berto Ardizzone, your manager.

    Sorry about this week. I've been a tad bit busy helping family. Expect a post by the hour.

    Alex Weir wrote:

    [dice=Knowledge Local]1d20 + 5

    Alex raises her own eyebrow. ”’Sons of Hell’? I’m afraid I haven’t heard of them. Or ‘Selene’s Blessing’ for that matter. I’m afraid I’m still fairly new in town. I’m going to go out on a limb and say they aren’t the local goth band.”

    Come on Alex, you aren’t that new. You should know this.

    With a hint of self-deprecation in her voice, she continues. ”So...who are the Sons of Hell, and should I be worried that one of them seems interested in me?

    Alex is technically underage. She came to Portland at 19, and she’s been here a little over a year. That probably doesn’t matter in a place like Thracie’s, but she also just isn’t much of one for alcohol. It messes with her aim.

    I think it can be justified with the bartender not looking super hard at you. He just finds the idea of someone going to a bar and not getting a drink to be funny.

    ”What? Slow down love, you’re getting it mixed up!” He says with surprise. ”I’m pretty sure that guy ain’t involved with the Sons. And good thing too, because they’re some nasty mofos. The kind of guys dealing in the most exotic and strange concoctions you can think of. White powder that’ll you breathe fire, take a bullet standing, walk around with demons in hell.” He frowns and shakes his head. ”Nasty stuff, and some nasty guys who deal it.”

    ”Anyway, about a week ago, there was a group of five of em’, and they all sat in the back and got nice and wasted. So they started messing with a few Legionnaires sitting up front near the bar. Things got said, and then the leader pulls a gun out, so everyone goes for their guns, and I’m thinking ‘Damn, about to be a damn shootout in my bar!’” He smiles, with a look that says he still doesn’t know what to think about it. He points at Hoodie, and says ”And that’s when this guy right here, walks right in the middle of that mess, and says something to the guy who started it. Now I don’t know what he said, but it must’a been serious, because that guy went white as a sheet. Put his gun away and just left.” He finishes and goes back to cleaning. ”I don’t know what guy he works for, but it must be somebody real important, to have pull like that.”

    Julian Jacobs wrote:
    Julian sits back, watching Alex and Breach do their thing. As he watches them, he says quietly to Carnival, Father Asher and Kaleo without looking at them, ”Something about this seem fishy to you guys or am I just feeling jumpy?” Hood still up, the folds around his ears change again and his nose becomes blunt and slightly bat like (loose +4 to Perception and gain scent 30 ft). Julian sniffs the air to see if he notices any interesting smells other than the pack of anthropomorphs.

    The room smells exactly as you would expect it, various kinds of alcohol, sweaty drunks and the sharp stink of tobacco smoke. A sniff in the direction of the bar leaves you curious, though, as you can’t identify about half of what’s there. Additionally, the young black man among the trio of wizards across the room has a strange smell about him that his friends don’t: The stink of a decomposing body, mixed in with the smell of his sweat.

    Alex Weir wrote:

    Alex frowns a little as she studies the tattooed man. On closer inspection what she'd originally thought was "jumpiness in general" seemed to be specifically related to her, somehow. He definitely wasn't just an overwhelmed kid.

    He keeps looking at me. Why? I've never seen him before, and with those tattoos I'm pretty sure I'd remember if I had.

    There was still a mostly-innocent explanation. Looking around, then at his phone...yeah, that was the behavior of someone waiting for a contact. Paying closer attention to her than the other patrons? Also not that unusual. Alex was fairly average in the looks department, but she did seem to be the only woman in the bar not sprouting fur or feathers. That would be enough for some guys.

    But he wasn't acting like a typical horny drunk. He didn't seem to be drunk at all.

    I really don't like this.

    Cillian apparently didn't like it either. With the complete lack of subtlety you'd expect from a guy nicknamed "Breach," he simply walks over to the guy, sits down, and starts talking.

    Well, that could be a distraction if nothing else. "I'm going to go grab a drink" she tells the rest of the group, then walks to the side of the bar. From there she can catch the bartender's attention while still keeping Cillian and the weird guy in her peripheral vision. Just in case.

    When the bartender walks over, she smiles at him. "Just a water, please, and maybe some info." Lowering her voice, she inclines her head towards the back of the bar. "The guy in the hoodie. How long has he been here? Any idea what's going on with him?"

    Assuming diplomacy would be the roll, if one is needed

    [dice=Diplomacy]1d20 + 4

    The bartender chuckles lightly. "That's funny," he says, in what is obviously a Boston accent. "Askin' the bartender for a glass of water." Nonetheless, he walks over to the tap and fills you a glass of water. The glass is well made, shaped liked the open mouth of an anaconda.

    As you ask about Hoodie, his eyes flick over to him instinctually, then back to you. He lowers his voice slightly as he answers. "Fella came in here about an hour ago. He's not here often, but when he does it's always the same thing: a margarita and a bottle of Selene's Blessing. Then he takes a seat in the back and watches the bar. I don't know jack about him. All I know is that he's quiet, and he must be a badass."

    Noticing your expression, he cocks an eyebrow and smiles. "Alright," he says. "Check it. What do you know about the Sons of Hell?"

    Knowledge (Local) DC 10:
    The Sons of Hell is a local gang, dedicated to selling unique and mystical drugs, and running stolen weapons.

    Cillian "Breach" Gibson wrote:

    "I did say I was bored. Let me know when Berto shows 'is ugly mug, I'mma poke tha f@%~in' bear." Cillian stands up, all 6'8" of him, and strides over to the hoodied man.

    "I ain't seen you here before bruv. What's ya story?" he says, as he pulls out a chair, spins it around and sits down on it, leaning forward onto the backrest and taking a swig of his beer.

    As you get closer to him, two more things stand out about Hoodie. First, it's clear that he's wearing some kind of mask (Like this only solid black), which he keeps having to lift slightly in order to enjoy his drink, apparently a margarita. The second thing is more subtle, enough that you might not notice it unless you're looking for it: no matter how he moves, the lights overhead never illuminate him. It's as if he's sitting in a permanent shadow.

    Hoodie doesn't seem to acknowledge your presence, looking at his phone (now that you're closer you can see that he's apparently using it to check the time), then peering over your shoulder to check the door, before his eyes briefly fall on you as he does his visual check around the room, before sitting back down again. He remains silent, seemingly ignoring you, before evidently realizing that you're not going to go away, then sighs.

    "Now's not a good time to talk." He finally says. His voice is a lot younger than you'd first expect, belonging to someone just past their teen years. He doesn't sound the least bit intimidated or even excited, saying it the same way you might say goodbye to someone. "I'm kind busy right now, so a conversation is going to have to wait."

    Alex Weir wrote:

    I have a question about the trait Hunter's Blood. (This is what I get for picking a complicated trait, but it was so dang perfect.)

    It says: "You earn a +1 trait bonus on Diplomacy when used to gather information, Knowledge (religion), and Survival when used for tracking when related to an undead quarry."

    The way I'm reading it is: I get a +1 bonus to Diplomacy (anytime I'm gathering information), +1 to Knowledge Religion (anytime I use the skill) and +1 to Survival (only when tracking an undead quarry).

    Is that right? Or should all three bonuses only apply when it's related to the undead?

    Related, how should we handle it if I don't know the quarry is undead? If I'm following a zombie's tracks but I don't know it's a zombie, how would that work?

    Sorry for the sudden barrage of questions. After rolling Diplomacy in my latest post I got to thinking about whether or not the +1 bonus would apply, and realized I didn't actually know.

    Looking at the way the trait is worded, I’ll take the more open interpretation and say that it applies as written: diplomacy and knowledge (religion) are flat trait bonuses, and survival for tracking applies only to the undead.

    As for if you don’t know what you’re tracking, I would think that part of tracking involves figuring out what you’re tracking. Maybe a Knowledge check to determine if you can tell the difference, which then determines if you get the bonus.

    ”What about Alucard?” You hear a slurred voice call out to you a table over. You turn to see the hyena chick has turned to face your table, and is giving you a quizzical look. Before she can get another word out, her friend the crow interrupts her. ”No way, dude!” she begins. ”That’s the name of an anime character, I told you that this morning!”

    Both women immediately start bickering, evidently over some argument had earlier in the day. The reptilian man smiles and laughs while the rat man just facepalms. In the background, you see the wizard trio all doing their best not to laugh at the situation.

    A listen in on the vets doesn’t reveal anything too shocking. Both simply talk about their experiences in the field. Granted, that usually doesn’t entail fight witches in Vietnam or having a suicide bomber stand back up after he’s already blown himself up, but you can’t be too surprised, being where you are.

    Eventually, it starts to become clear that the two men are waiting for a man named Albert, who they expect to show up any minute. One jokes about it, saying ”You know Albert. Dumb bastard could lost walking across a football field!” illiciting laughter from his friend.

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