Synopses January - December 1998

last updated 1/14/99

December Twenty-eighth

No gaming.

Next Week:

December Twenty-first

Game: Handle Magic
Master: Karl
Players: Neal, Kathleen, Allen, Jason
Quotes of the Evening: "That's a lesser use of mind control. 'You will pick up the tab' 'Yes... pay bill...'" - Karl
"Creating horses is difficult, as they are pretty complex." "Ooops - forgot to make their assholes - looks like these horses won't last too long." - Karl, Kathleen
"Mood ring eyes: A standard wizard spell." - Jason

The long-lost Emfield ruby, broken into eight pieces, has become the focus of a search by the forces of evil. Needless to say, our protagonists are asked to obtain the missing fragments before the villians can, for the Emfield ruby augments magical power greatly, and in the wrong hands could be catastrophically dangerous.
The fragment lost with the death of Zos, and the destruction of the isle of Malabar, is easily located, and removed from its watery resting spot. Alambar the teacher has the fragment given to Elena, leaving the players six more fragments to recover. Tabar's is in a museum in the city of Ileniad, on Eremdor, Bartok's is on the Isle of Shon, in Kargad, Norfel's is held by a merchant house in Talim Eremdor, Erv Zimdal's is lost in the Dragon Reaches of the far west, Fozz may still have his, in his hermitage in the east, and Tsushima has taken Shin Dao's and been lost in the myriad dimensions.
Of these, having started with the recovery of Zos's fragment, the players fly to Ileniad, to retrieve the fragment in the museum there. They arrive immediately after its theft, find the theives as they flee back towards Talim Eremdor, and cow them into handing over the fragment. It looks like the competition is on the move as well, and the race is heating up.

Next Week: The next fragment

December Fourteenth

Game: ?
Quotes of the Evening: "Hmm. 'Example characters: Leper. Patsy. Mark. Three-year old.' You know, I don't like these examples..." - Karl

Next Week:

December Seventh

Game: Kult
Master: Kathleen
Players: Allen, Neal, Jason, Karl
Characters: Harris, Dr. Anthony Boyd-Wat, William Pennyworth, Andrew Keeley
Quotes of the Evening: "I'm perfectly fucking happy, okay?" - Boyd-Wat
"No, I killed them all a long time ago. The only thing that can stop me now is my karma." - Pennyworth
"To sabotage someone, just put a NAMBLA bumpersticker on their car."
"I see the party is dividing into the law-abiding weirdo half and the criminal but normal half." - Karl

After discovering additional information about the kidnapping, evidence is pointing towards the complicity of the girl's natural father, whose clinic downtown we investigate disguised as HVACC workers. Most unnatural and disturbing things are discovered, including a boardroom table with runnels for blood sacrifices, but the girl is found in the basement, and freed after several ferocious and not-quite-normal dogs are put down.

Next Week:

November Thirtieth

Game: Kult
Master: Kathleen
Players: Karl, Allen, Jason
Characters: Andrew Keeley, Harris, William Pennyworth
Quotes of the Evening: "So, he gets us in, I get us out, and you cover it all up." - Allen
"We'll work with them hand in glove. They get to be the gloves." - Karl

A little girl is kidnapped, and our protagonists investigate. Clues beyond the scope of the police are found.

Next Week: We act upon our findings.

November Twenty-third

Game: Call of Cthulhu
Master: Neal
Players:Karl, Jason, Kathleen, Allen, Dave
Characters:Professor Steakham, Father Kepler, Carol Barteloni, John Sebastian, ?
Quotes of the Evening: "It's very important not to mention his name." "His name?" "Hastur. D'oh!" - Kepler, Steakham
"Does the asylum have group rates?" - Jason
"The walls are black, but glow when you touch them." "Mood walls!" - GM, Jason

Attempting to escape the horrid place in which they have found themselves, the party enters the alien city. It is a place of unnatural geometry, and a great deal of sanity is lost before the party climb the highest tower to confront H*****, who awaits them. Luckily, a dimensional vortex is ascending the tower, and those able to leap into it are returned to the proper world.
Where yet more horror awaits, as the play promised as the evenings entertainment is going on, while the audience weeps blood and the actors babble their lines beyond all sanity. Distracting the audience, however, serves to weaken the power of the hellish phenomenon, and the players are finally able to break the spell. After which, of course, the police get to clean up, and we all get to go talk to nice men with white rooms.

Next Week: We try our hands at Kult

November Sixteenth

No gaming.

Next Week:

November Ninth

Game: Call of Cthulhu
Master: Neal
Players:Karl, Jason, Kathleen, Allen, Dave
Characters:Professor Steakham, Father Kepler, Carol Barteloni, John Sebastian, ?
Quotes of the Evening: "It wasn't an eight week run. It was an eight week show." - Dave
"He had a bit of an unhealthy interest in... sex." "Which you cured him of?" - Psychiatrist, Barteloni
"But they're all evil - or theater critics. Same thing." - Dave

A wealthy socialite and dabbler in theater, Anthony Carmichael, whom several party members met at the recent egyptology exhibit at Wrexham Collage, invites the party to his estate for a lavish costume party. And lavish doesn't do justice to the immesity and wealth of the Carmichael estate, the guests, or the party.
Everything is going swimmingly until a game of hide-and-seek results in the discovery by the players of several grisly murders. Things seem to have gone horribly, horribly wrong - but as the party attempts to flee the estate, they find themselves unable to! Returning via the library, and ancient and evil book asserts itself over our heroes, who suddenly find themselves in some horrible otherworld, near an abandoned city and black lake, upon whose shores a twisted figure capers...

Next Week: twisted figures and other things

November Second

Game: Western Handle
Master: Karl
Players: Kathleen, Neal, Allen, Jason
Characters: Brett Colorado, Augustus Washington Jones, Taylor Jones, Burning Owl
Quotes of the Evening: "He's a politician - he does the baby-kissing thing. Well, except that he uses his tongue." - Karl
"When should I come back?" "How many of them are there?" - Driver, Augustus (on time spent in a whorehouse)

A string of prostitute murders in Chinatown leads Sung Lu, head of the Shung Huey, to seek help. Marshall Gruber points him at the party, and the investigation is on. The Suey Sing, an opposing gang, offers difficulties, but nothing that our pistoleers can't solve.
Apparently, the murders occur on the evenings of the clandestine visits of gubernatorial candidate Horace Hiller to the Scarlet Bamboo House. After fending off still more knife-wielding maniacs, the party heads off to speak with him, at the Palace hotel.

Next Week: mmmm Cthulhu

October Twenty-sixth

Game: Stormbringer
Master: Geoff
Players: Neal, Karl, Allen, Jason
Characters: Sennash bel Hammad, Niwa do Vezhan, Var Potax, Ilsvar
Quotes of the Evening: "We gave themselves a chance to express themselves through violence." - Jason
"Yes, but if we light the guards on fire, that will be a distraction!" - Allen
"How long has he been mayor?" "665 years - in face, it's his anniversary tomorrow. Why do you ask?" - Karl, Geoff
"They won't allow you to torture them." "Oh, it's a union job, eh?" - Geoff, Neal

In the city of Caliph, more clues are discovered as to the whereabouts of the painter Staleat, on whose latest painting the fate of the universe may hinge. Misdirection by the mayor and assault by cultist of the Brotherhood of the Pure Flame only serve to complicate the search.

Next Week: Gun-totin in the Old West.

October Nineteenth

Game: Advanced Dungeons & Dragons
Master: Dave
Players: Kathleen, Jason, Allen, Neal, Karl, Jim
Characters:Terra, Tang Kar, Drul, Boromere Tonhaen, Ynogbard, ?
Quotes of the Evening: "No, it's never Ynogbard's turn in the barrel!" "Ah - the no-holes bard." - Karl, Kathleen

"Extreme Dwarf Sports! Get a WWI helmet - dwarf darts! Get an elephant, give the dwarves croquet mallets and tell them to aim for the nuts! Woo-eee!"
"In Beldar, the temples grow on the north side of the mountains." - Dave
"How do you track people on the open sea?" "Boatprints." - Neal, Karl
"You're a cleric - do something clerical. File something or something." - Karl

Lord Armstrong of Teltrad hires the party to retrieve the Eye of Sharyl from the lost city of Zara-tor to the south, as parties inimical to Teltrad are also seeking it, and it holds great power. In the mountains, the parties happen upon a goblin-orc battle, which they watch, and then slay the victors, rescuing an old man. A subsequent meeting with dwarves of the Bolstagger clan provides a guide, and they come upon the lost city without further difficulty. Exploration of the ruined temple ensues, and while camping therein that night, a horrible monster is encountered and driven off.

Next Week: Back to Stormbringer

October Twelfth

Game: Castle Falkenstein
Master: Karl
Players: Jason, Neal, Kathleen, Allen
Characters: Dr. Challenger, Nigel Horace Nelson, Justine Marie St. Claire, Porthos Fontaine
Quotes of the Evening: "In my experience, monkeys very rarely wear little red hats." - Neal
"Oh, this is very bad. The creatures you are describing are an elemental force of destruction; there are three of them..." "It's Hanson!" - Kathleen, Jason

A rash of kidnappings sends the party into the sewers, along with a courageous Parisian police lieutenant. They are accosted by magical dread, evil Sidhe minion (redcaps), and an horrible sewer dwelling monster, but find their way through to the basement of the Parisian house of Aleistair Crowley. After eavesdropping on a meeting between him and a dark Sidhe, Dahout, at which the summoning of a major demonic figure is discussed, the players burst in and have him arrested.
However, the children are apparently at the site of the summoning, which the players locate in an old riverfront warehouse, at the end of that particular branch of the sewer. The children are saved, but Crowley has made good his escape from the prison, and attempts to summon the beast. Without sacrifices, however, it is not interested, and although Crowley escapes on a riverboat, the creature leaves this plane.
In gratitude, the Seelie court gifts the party with a statue of Napoleon. Apparently, it contains the great general himself, able to be released at a time of need. Wacky Faerie.

Next Week: AD&D

October Fifth

Game: Stormbringer
Master: Geoff
Players: Neal, Karl, Allen
Characters: Sennash bel Hammad, Niwa do Vezhan, Var Potax
Quotes of the Evening: "Hey - look on the bright side. With these horrible mutations, we're no longer wanted men, in any sort of the word." - Neal
"The straits of Chaos?" "Yes - they are shaped like a lightning bolt." - Neal, Karl
"You know, if you're fleeing to Pan Tang, life must be pretty bad everywhere else." - Geoff
"Did I say 'cream' filling? Sorry - I meant 'maggot'." - Karl

A war is predicted by an ancient prophet, and the destruction of the universe; our protagonists must travel to the city of Calif, to find the painter Staleat, and (according to the prophet Tranith 'the Holy') allow him to finish his current painting. We do so - but the signs become increasingly mixed as to what exactly will happen when the painting is finished.
The war has arrived, and we enter the besieged city of Calif to find the painter. A meeting with the mayor provides some insight, but the party is stalked by cultists bent on slaying them, and everyone has something to hide...

Next Week: We find out what happened in Falkensteinian Paris.

September Twenty-eighth

Game:Call of Cthulhu
Players:Karl, Jason, Kathleen, Allen, Lauren
Characters:Professor Steakham, Father Kepler, Carol Barteloni, John Sebastian, Holly Kraken
Quotes of the Evening: "It's the Beavis of the Elder Gods! 'Aiee! I need sanity for my bunghole!'" - Jason
"He just left - how can he have pushed the desk up against the door?" "I suggest you don't ask yourself that." - Karl, Lauren
"Do not develop film for people returning from R'lyeh." - Kathleen

The party dug up (heh heh) enough into to be fairly certain that the mummies were working with/controlling the prof. The clues were found when, upon breaking into his lab after he had left late in the evening, they found a hidden passage in the lower storeroom, which was guarded by zombies. Thus began the san loss.
They summoned two police officers. One was ripped apart by the zombies, the other went insane. So much for protecting and serving. But the party members destroyed that zombie, left to regroup, and returned to find Hoff and the now-mobile mummies engaged in some sort of ritual that involved sacrificing live victims. Through the judicious use of shotguns, they managed to defeat the zombies, mummies, and Hoff, at the cost of major chunks of their collective san. Fortunately, Nyarlathotep did not appear. Unfortunately, a dimensional shambler did. Realizing that, much as they wanted to, they couldn't run screaming into the night at this point (which, by the way, is pretty much what your character did), another application of shotgun diplomacy was deemed appropriate. After killing/dispelling the shambler, the party members then faced the police, who, though suspicious, were quickly persuaded that something bad had been stopped. Maybe someone was trying to loot the artifacts, and poor Professor Hoff and a gallant police officer were killed by the criminals. The oddly greenish and semi-decayed criminals. Yes, better to let this case be forgotten, especially with one officer confined to a padded cell.
Oh, and Father Kepler learned a few spells. And a few new phobias.
The GM setup for this adventure:

Next Week: ?

September Twenty-first

Players:Jason, Karl, Kathleen, Neal
Characters: Ilsvar, Niwa do Vezhan, Rocca, Sennash bel Hammad
Quotes of the Evening: "How chaotic is this world? I have my chaosometer." - Karl
"Trouts. With Hats." "That reminds me of a song I had to learn in my youth." - Neal, Jason
"Crab people - they're sentient, but oh-so-tasty!" - Karl
"Program! Can't tell your dimensions without a program!" - Jason
"The demon doesn't need to sleep? Suddenly I don't either." - Neal
"Ghost ships? Them's good eatin'!" - Jason

Escaping the dimension of Knife, we flee through myriad dimensions in our attempt to locate the rogue mistress and return to the evil queen, who can remove the demon hearts. We emerge from Kinfe's dimension into a water world, riven by battle between sea gods. With the assistance of the pirate Kirian, we sail to an altar, which allows us entrance to the undersea temple that is keeping Straasha out of this world (although Sennash is rent asunder by an enraged demon in the process).
Ultimately, a pleased Straasha sends us back to the Rogue Mistress, and back the the evil queen who kidnaps us. Various relationships are revealed, and a major demon is kept from the world by the destruction of the queen and the demon hearts. Boons are granted, and the characters returned to the world.

Next Week: We return to Call of Cthulhu

September Fourteenth

No gaming.

Next Week:

September Seventh

It was labor day - we did not game.

Next Week: CoC, Stormbringer, or maybe something else.

August Thirty-first
Egypt me out of my Sanity

Game:Call of Cthulhu
Players:Karl, Jason, Geoff, Lauren, Kathleen, Dave
Characters:Professor Steakham, Father Kepler, Jean-Luc Fermain, Holly Kraken, Carol Barteloni, ?
Quotes of the Evening:"Any time you are describing your residence, and you use the words 'food slot', it's just not a very nice place." - Karl
"This is my father's bible." "Oh - he was a priest too, eh?" "Yes." - Father Kepler, Dave
"Got your nose!" "You know, mummies hate that." - Father Kepler, Prof. Steakham
"Those canapes were really bad." "No, those were canopic jars!" - Jean-Luc, Prof. Steakham

Wrexham college, the university on the outskirts of Boston which employs Professor Steakham, has a gala event to unveil some new mummies brought back from Egypt by Professor Simon Hoff. They are highly unusal in several respects, and at a later private viewing for our protagonists and a few faculty members, another archaeological professor, Roger Ingham, dies of a massive coronary.
His corpse subsequently disappears from the mortuary, and with the discovery of several murdered vagrants, sans internal organs, the party rapidly decides to stake out the mysterious lab where where Prof. Hoff labors late into the night.

Next Week:It's labor day, so we'll be board or console gaming.

August Twenty-fourth
Closed Heart Surgery

Players:Jason, Karl, Kathleen, Neal
Characters: Ilsvar, Niwa do Vezhan, Rocca, Sennash bel Hammad
Quotes of the Evening:"Is that armor i hear?" "No, it's not armor - we are wearing self-mortification devices." Guard, Niwa
"Most peasant mobs carry pitchforks and torches - ours carry churches and cabers." - Karl

We successfully travel to Albion - once there, the Rogue Mistress puts us down just outside the main city, where we head in search of a Justin Carrack, who may have the answer to our chaos mutation problem. Unfortunately, he has left the city in search of a cure for the chaos waves gripping the planet.
We track him to a deceased wizard; deceased as a result of yet another group in search of the planar knife. However, the wizards entrapped demon of information tells us where to go, and we sail the seas south, landing and entering the jungle. We find the ruins where the gate to the chaos kinfe is, and enter the gate. Things get strange, then stranger - and we find the knife only to have its Chaos powers lure in Rocca and knit the knife's soul to hers.
We are ambushed as we leave to sort out matters, but despite their demon-bound equipment we slay mightily and are triumphant. But what next?

Next Week:Neal leads us down the path of insanity.

August Seventeenth
Turn it up, and rip off the knob

Players:Jason, Karl, Kathleen, Neal
Characters: Ilsvar, Niwa do Vezhan, Rocca, Sennash bel Hammad
Quotes of the Evening:"Those aren't normal claws - they're demon claws." "Don't pick your nose with them." - GM, Neal
"For rescuing the Tenatir, we have a tradition of rewarding-" "You mean he gets stolen often?" - Maria de tres Pistoles, Ilsvar
"It'll be a cakewalk - but have you ever tried walking on cake?" - Neal

On our escape from the isle of queen Media, we are intercepted by a pirate ship, the Rogue Mistress. The Rogue Mistress, having taken us on board, rewards us for returning the Tolantir, their crewman, to them, with several neat artifacts. It is then revealed by the captain, Maria de tres Pistoles, that the ship desparately needs a new entropy configuration device, and that we are going to a crashed ship in a dead dimension to salvage one.
We arrive on the dimension where an alternate entropy configuration device is to be found, just as the one on the Rogue Mistress peters out. As we board the wrecked ship, we meet several engineers, who inform us of the location of the ECD, and that there are several more engineers who have gone mad down below, and could we please take them with us?
While the device is removed, Niwa dons a helmet with allows the ship itself to communicate with him, revealing that the originally encountered engineers are, in fact, dead, and posessed by energy vampires who would like nothing more than to be taken on board our ship. We secretly meet the living engineers, trapped below, who reveal that noise bothers the vampires, so we rig up a sonic gun, and use it to immobilize them, while the ship self destructs.
Now, off to Albion, and the removal of these accursed demon hearts!

Next Week:The Planar Knife, and removal of our hearts. Um.

August Tenth

Players:Jason, Karl, Kathleen, Neal
Characters: Ilsvar, Niwa do Vezhan, Rocca, Sennash bel Hammad
Quotes of the Evening:"That's the problem with Chaos, it's hard to build cathedrals. - 'okay, build the church. No, tear it down. No, build it. No..." - Neal
"You take an additional 2 points of damage from your armor becoming superheated." "But then I wet myself, so it cools down." - GM, Neal

We are kidnapped by the evil and super-chaotic queen Porledemia (or, to be precise, her jester and minion Astrolgix), and imbued with demon hearts, which will eventually kill us, although granting great power in the meantime. She will reward us in addition to removing the hearts if were simply rescue for her a creature known as the Tolantir, from the palace of queen Media.
Having little choice, we set out do to so - Media's stronghold is located on a floating island in a plane of floating islands, and we steal an hot-air balloon from some of her slavers to get there. Slowly undergoing chaos mutations, we infiltrate the palace, and rescue the Tolantir.

Next Week:We give the thing to Porledemia... or do we?

August Third
I Kissed a Ghoul

Game:Call of Cthulhu
Players:Jason, Neal, Allen, Kathleen, Geoff, Jim
Characters:Father Kepler, Dr. Edmond Alzon, John Sebastian, Carol Barteloni, Jean-Luc Fermain, Berthol Hecht
Quotes of the Evening:"We know exactly where it is." "No we don't." "Well, exactly being a dimension." - Dr. Alzon, Father Kepler
"In olden times, everyone was naked, except for the priests - hence, men of the cloth." - Father Kepler
"Police? The police are cultists! They'll have to change before they could come and arrest you." - Dr. Alzon

To bolster the ranks of his investigators, Mr. Pickston sends the pathologist Carol Barteloni and Jean-Luc Fermain to assist at the Von Wecht estate.
Von Wecht having died that very afternoon, the investigators investigate - examining the corpse, the house, and the servants; they turn out to be dead of an heart explosion, full of secret rooms (one of which eats Father Kepler), and undead, respectively. Upon dreaming that night, our heros once more find themselves in the Dreamlands - greeted by Father Kepler. They discover the location of Abhoth, from some wandering Dreamlands adventurers, and surmise that Pickston's ledger was hidden in the cave of that unknowable monstrosity.
They enter the cave, and with a strong minds and stomachs acquire the book. As night is falling, they strike a bargain with the ghouls, who transport them back to Earth in exchange for corpses, to be delivered. They return, destroy the ritual being conducted by Timothy Hart, kill a number of cultists, and leave. Mr. Pickston is overjoyed, and most effusive in his thanks.

Next Week:Stormbringer!

July Twenty-seventh
Not Pennsylvania Too

Game:Call of Cthulhu
Players:Jason, Neal, Allen, Jim
Characters:Father Kepler, Dr. Edmond Alzon, John Sebastian, Berthol Hecht
Quotes of the Evening:"Oh, there will be peace on Earth - after a period of extreme violence." - Allen
"Once Cthulhu rises, there will be only two stats that matter - speed and taste." - Neal

Mr. Pickston ask that our heroes, in the company of the noted antiquarian Berthold Hecht, recover for him a ledger, which was stolen by one Ernest Von Wecht, and which is probably located somewhere at his estate. They travel to Von Wecht's Pennsylvania estate, and are welcomed by his manservant Timothy Hart. Timothy leads them into the massively overheated study, where they speak with a cooperative but incredibly aged Von Wecht.
That night, strange dreams of being in a forested land, together, and chased by huge creatures plague the party - and they begin to feel that these are more than dreams. When they are rescued by some Dreamlands adventurers, Mary Sonderson, N'tih Lawaa, and Corgard, the nature of this strange land is revealed. Then they wake up.
They examine the estate, find a secret tunnel, and then, just before their next meeting with Von Wecht, are informed that Von Wecht has died, upon reciept of the blackmail which Pickston has sent him.

Next Week:Time to retrieve the ledger.

July Twentieth
Hand to Face Combat

Game:Martial Mystic Mecha Hero
Players:Karl, Allen, Neal
Characters:Tohan Liu, Wu Li, Guer Li
Quotes of the Evening:"*ping* It is too late to evacuate the building *ping*" "Oh, that's a useful warning." - Karl, Neal
"The walls are melting? Yes, yes, it's time to go." - Neal
"Yes - it's a self destruct button. You push it and the button melts." - Jason

We use the hyperspace transported to travel from the monastary to the emperor's palace. He is waiting for us, to say the least. However, he reckoned without the intervention of the forces from the black and evil realm crashing into ours, and did not realize the true prowess in hand-to-hand combat of our characters. ('These are my finest troopers' *wipe* 'They were'). However, despite our defeating him, and perhaps saving our dimension from being thrust into the other, we have no time to rejoice, and flee through a random dimensional portal from the collapsing palace...

Next Week:*ring* *ring* "Blargh!"

July Thirteenth
The Silicon Chip Monks

Game:Martial Mystic Mecha Hero
Players:Karl, Allen, Neal
Characters:Tohan Liu, Wu Li, Guer Li
Quotes of the Evening:"Of course we're afraid of them! We're from an asian universe - what do you think we think these monks are like? 'What is the sound of one hand slapping your punk ass?'" - Karl
"You know, that's a really mad scientist." "The one who turns your own nose against you?" "Yeah." - Neal, Karl
"What's their armor like?" "It's like cardboard, only wet." "Oh - stormtrooper armor." - Karl, Neal, Allen
"He has a detector detector - which is good, unless they have a detector detector detector; but if he has a detector detector detector detector..."- Karl
"The shaman is named Sweet Bear?" - Allen

Having met the red-headed league, of rebels against the galactic empire, we are trained with them, but kept away from their secret mission to a base on the other side of the planet. Instead, we are to infiltrate a monastary, to discover if it is working for the imperial government.
The monastary at first looks pacific, but we discover enough strange things that when we return to the base to find it occupied by imperial troops, and discover that the imperial forces knew about the rebel assault, and destroyed their own base along with all of the rebel forces, we realize that the monastary is some sort of command center. We return, break in, and discover a hyperdimensional portal, and the emperor's right hand scientist, leaving through it...

Next Week:Oh, like we're not going to jump into it.

July Sixth
Betrade Agreements

Players:Karl, Neal, Kathleen, Jason, Allen
Characters:Ynogbard, Boromere Tonhaen, Terra, Tang Kar, Drul
Quotes of the Evening:"I am Ynogbard, the hysterically sadistic!" - Guess who
"Home is where you hang the halberd" - Boromere
"Thats how Tang Kar beat the sewer rat - he outlived it." - Boromere

We descend into the sewers of Beldar, to find the culprits in the break in. After smiting several small monsters, we discover incriminating documents, and return them to the king, who thereafter favors Teltrad in the trade agreements.

Next Week:Up in the air.

June Twenty-ninth
Still More Violent Incompetence

Players:Karl, Neal, Kathleen, Jason, Allen
Characters:Ynogbard, Boromere Tonhaen, Terra, Tang Kar, Drul
Quotes of the Evening:"Clerics of the God of Fate are not much fun - 'I cannot heal you, for you were meant to die of this wound." - Neal
"They could be anywhere." "The dead?" "Yeah" - Tang Kar, Terra
"What other weapons are available to clerics?" "Worshippers of other gods - they are blunt, and obviously dense." - Terra, Tang Kar
"We wish you to represent us in a matter of village-shaking importance" - the elders of Drul's tribe
"I'm prepared for anything; I'm traveling with a paladin of death!" - Ynogbard
"What is the best armor a wizard can wear?" "Underpants" - Tang Kar, GM

We are hired by the lords of Teltrad to assist their trade advisor in Beldar, a small kingdom between Teltrad and Delar, both larger countries eager to trade with Beldar for its mineral wealth.
On the way, we fight clean of an ambush, and arrive in Beldar. Quickly we become embroiled in the underhanded trade negotiation war, meeting the key players and finding dirt on them. A break-in at the Delar representatives rooms may give us the keys we need to discredit them.

Next Week:We investigate this crime

June Twenty-second
Explosive Plot Devices

Game: Castle Falkenstein
Master: Neal
Players: Karl, Geoff, Jason, Dave, Kathleen
Characters: Lionel Caerwyn, Reginald Oakley-Stringum, Dr. Challenger, Bran Sin'aran, ?
Quotes of the Evening:"Old Navy - clothing evoking rum, sodomy, and the lash." - Geoff
"Let's kill him, read his intestines, and we'll find out the truth." - Reginald
"Oh, I walk everywhere with murderous intent, but it's only because I am surrounded by nincompoops." - Dr. Challenger

Our only remaining clue leading us to the East Anglia mansion of our nemesis, MP Charles Bryce, we journey there to investigate. Sure enough, shady local characters bear investigating, and soon our stakeout of Bryce's mansion and the house of a Mr. Moorcock pay off - thieves break in to Bryces, and Moorcock sets out in some flying device toward the mansion, undoubtedly to rescue them!
Dr. Challenger foils the flying machine, though Moorcock escapes, and the rest of the team apprehends the break in artists - just as the house explodes! Bryce is insane with rage, but as we have the culprits, can do nothing to us.

Next Week:After 3 years, we are finally going to play some AD&D.

June Fifteenth
Bulls in Chinatown

Game:Western Handle
Players:Neal, Jason, Kathleen, Dave
Characters:Augustus Jones, Burning Owl, Brett Colorado, Michael Dyson
Quotes of the Evening:"Burning Owl is bison-sexual." "That's Un-herd of!" - Neal, Dave
"Actually, he used dark chinese arts to find your names." "Well, if anything would find our names, it would be dark arts." - GM, Augustus
"You use Apache tape - to Pache yourself up!" - Burning Owl
"The word 'dispense' should not precede the word 'sex'!" - Augustus

Referred by Marshal Gruber, our heroes enter Chinatown at the behest of Sung Li, to solve a series of whorehouse murders. They investigate, and the clues wind up pointing (rather crookedly) towards the new gubernatorial candidate, but also towards other power groups within chinatown. The party follows its strongest lead to the Palace Hotel, and sets out to investigate Horace Hiller.

Next Week:We return you to your regularly scheduled victoriana.

June Eighth
The Steam Lord Shuffle

Game: Castle Falkenstein
Master: Neal
Players: Karl, Geoff, Jason, Dave, Kathleen
Characters: Lionel Caerwyn, Reginald Oakley-Stringum, Dr. Challenger, Bran Sin'aran, ?
Quotes of the Evening: "'Discretion' is my middle name." "And your first name is 'Lack of'" - Lionel, Bran
"Maybe she put the gun in her mouth, and as she was swallowing it, it went off." - Dr. Challenger
"This is 1871 London. You do not drag old men out into the street and shoot them." - GM
"No, let's go outside, follow him, and interrogate him somewhere private where we can enjoy it." - Reginald

At the behest of our patron, Prince Edward, we investigate the murder of one Mary Vincent, a typesetter, and the implication in her death of the MP Terence Sloan. Ms. Vincent's body was found in Minister Sloan's locked study, to which only he had the key; Minister Sloan, though active with the nefarious Steam Lords, is secretly passing information to us. Or was - his contact was Ms. Vincent.
We investigate, finding that Ms. Vincent met Mr. Sloan at a pub; they both left, he roamed a while, then returned home to find her body, and be arrested - there was no reason for her to have gone to his house. We discover that the doors to the balcony of the study have latches almost certainly opened with a magnetic device, and that the person who did this gained entrance to the study via the balcony from a neighboring rooftop. The doors were made at a certain firm by a craftsman who showed up, made the latches, and then left the firm.

Next Week: We further our investigation

June First

Neal gone, Allen gone, Dave & Geoff gone - no gaming.

Next Week: Neal runs Falkenstein

May Twenty-fifth

Neal gone, Allen gone, Dave & Geoff gone - no gaming.

Next Week: ?

May Eighteenth
Vermont in Winter

Game: Call of Cthulhu
Master: Karl
Players: Neal, Allen, Kathleen, Jason, Lauren
Characters: Dr. Edmund Alzon, John Sebastian, Carol Barteloni, Father Kepler, Holly Kraken
Quotes of the Evening: "This is my assistant Madam Va-Voom. The doubly evil but eminently shaggable Madam Va-Voom."- GM
"Mr. Thou-shalt-not-commit-adultery-with-things-man-was-not-meant-to-know Pickston." - Neal
"Almost as bad an idea as shooting the sorceror who could have gotten us out of this." "Hey - he called me a bitch." - Allen, Lauren
"I open the window." "What?" "I want to be able to see if anything is coming after me." "Newbie!" - Lauren, all the other players

Asked by Mr. Pickston to retrieve a certain book from a Dr. Vinge, in a little town in Vermont, our heroes set out in midwinter to the village of Horeston.
From the start, Horeston is discovered to be super-evil, and when all hell breaks loose, and sanity loss starts happening at a rate like Cthulhu's appearance on Oprah, no one is that surprised. Local witches summon up Ithaqua, which blasts out their souls and leaves the husks mindlessly summoning a shoggoth and some mirror things; a sorceror summons zombie indians massacred in the 1700s to protect himself, but the mirror things get him and so pretty much everything comes after the player characters. Luckily, they had found the road out of town, so they nab the book, start the car, and leave the happy town of Horeston to the long cold winter.

Next Week: ?

May Eleventh
Dirty Work

Game: Castle Falkenstein
Master: Karl
Players: Neal, Jason, Allen, Kathleen
Characters: Nigel Horace Nelson, Dr. Challenger, Porthos Fontaine, Angelica Marldendale
Quotes of the Evening: "It's not Darkest Africa, man - it's just outside of Vienna!" "Is there plumbing there?" - Nigel, Dr. Challenger
"This is a more subtle archaeological expedition - they don't use dynamite." - Nigel
"Being undead means never having to worry about cholesterol." - Angelica
"Testing each stone sounds like a pain in the ass." "Horrible death sounds like a pain in the ass, too." - Nigel, Dr. Challenger

Still in Vienna after the Count Jovich affair, our heroes are asked to find some young nobles who recently disappeared at the site of an archaeological dig outside Vienna. At the dig, which is on the encampment of the Ottoman Sultan when he was besieging Vienna, a Prussian archaeological team is found. Suspicion leads to investigation, and the kidnapped (!) young men are found and released. Apparently, some powerful artifact lies underground in an ancient tomb, and the Prussians intend to obtain it and whisk it away to Berlin.
this obviously cannot be allowed, so our heroes enter the tomb, pass all the nefarious traps, retrieve the artifact, and summon the Austrian authorities. Well done!

Next Week: Cthulhu awaits...

May Fourth
Urban Renewal

Game: Champions
Master: Jason
Players: Karl, Kathleen, Neal
Characters: the Janissary, ?, Blackcat
Quotes of the Evening: "Well, she has martial arts, which she imparts to her hair. But it's armor piercing." - GM
"Hey - it wasn't our device that blew up!" "It wasn't his either - he stole it." - Blackcat, GM
"A cafeteria? Who would run it? Not me - I'd need a full body hair net!" - Blackcat
"Well, I lost another leg, but I grew three more arms. How does this affect my insurance premiums?" - Blackcat

Our protagonists journey downtown (San Jose) to get some more insurance, and to have their newest member sign up on their policy. While their, they notice excavations underway by the evil corporation they thought that they had shut down, so they investigate. Suspicious behavior soon becomes outright flight for the corporate employees, and a WWII era vault is discovered, with it's contents, the Ameritank, a WWII soldier in a huge battle mech, bursting forth along with several combat suited goons to attack our heroes.
Caught down in the vault, we take a pasting, but once able to flee to more advantageous terrain outside, we battle the mislead Ameritank to a halt, and arrest all the goons.

Next Week: Falkenstein

April Twenty-seventh
Of Gods and Sods

Game: Stormbringer
Master: Geoff
Players: Karl, Jason, Allen, Kathleen, Neal
Characters: Ilsvar, Kra Bon, Var Potax, Roca, Sennash bel Hammad
Quotes of the Evening: "It's not like you could have had sex with the lights on, is it?" "Hey - so I heard bat wings, so what?" - Jason, Neal re: dragonquest
"Boy, that would be bad. 'Okay, you're on top of the tower - what do you see?' A stream of yellow water comes down." - Neal
"Be very fucking quiet." - Ilsvar
"Neal 'tasty buttocks' bringing up the rear?" - GM
"Just ask yourself this question: 'Am I flammable?'"- GM
"Hell, at this point you could kill me with a Q-Tip." - Ilsvar
"In fact, that is exactly what the God says: 'Oh, damn, my dice went all over the floor.'" - GM

Arriving on the island, we encounter abandoned buildings and histories of Chaos experiments, along with a tribe of strange people who decide not to fight us. We enter to volcano where the altar is, become increasingly paranoid, find the altar, a pair of dragon critters, destroy the altar, have Ilsvar get killed by a dragon, have Sennash find a suit of magic armor by the other dragon, and escape. Quite exciting.

Next Week: Not sure.

April Twentieth
Good Guys, Bad Guys - We're The Ones Standing

Game: Dragonquest
Master: Allen
Players: Neal, Jason, Kathleen, Karl
Characters: Devan, Olafina, Penelope, Talalynn
Quotes of the Evening: "Theft? Ha! Your laws don't apply to me, human!" - Devan
"Dral is god of ass-kicking." "Oh yes." - Talalynn, GM
"Basically the halfling kicked a lot of ass - mostly because they couldn't hit anything higher." - Talalynn
"According to the rules that I am playing, which none of you have seen." - Jason
"However, I can see your thoughts, and-" "Don't look at the hobbit! DON'T LOOK AT THE HOBBIT!" - Naga, Talalynn

We deliver our message to the king, or rather his chancellor. Later, the chancellor sends for us, asking us to perform a sevice for him (for which we will be recompensed, of course). Of course we agree, and soon we are off to secure the reappeared stronghold of a wizard, lest evil forces use it.
We are attacked by goblins and hobgobins while camping, but they are defeated, and we reach the stronghold without further trouble. The wizard's guardian naga luckily takes a liking to us, slays the evil wizard following us, and allows us to assume custody of the place from it.

Next Week: We wrap up stormbringer.

April Thirteenth
Without Fear of Contradiction (They're All Dead)

Game: Stormbringer
Master: Geoff
Players: Karl, Jason, Allen, Kathleen, Neal
Characters: Ilsvar, Kra Bon, Var Potax, Roca, Sennash bel Hammad
Quotes of the Evening: "They got kicked out for unnecessary roughness." "From the temple of the god of execution? on Pan Tang?" "Yes." - Var Potax, Sennash
"'stocky' as in you can make a kind of soup out of him." - Ilsvar
"The special 4D Cthulhu trading cards." "My eyes have grown tentacles! But I can see so much!" - Neal, Jason
"We're hoping these are the terminally stupid bandits. 'Number One' *stab* 'Now serving number two...'" - Sennash
"Oooh - a bar. That's a great place to recover. 'One for me, one for the wound...'" - Sennash

On the wagon ride to Dakos, we encounter some individuals fleeing some bandits. We drive off the bandits, who set an ambush, where we kill all of them (silly bandits). The people we rescued turn on us, wound Kra Bon, and we kill all of them (silly victims). Turns out they were members of an assassins guild.
Once at Dakos, we rest up, then board ship for the isle of Duroth Imbren, there to destroy the Chaos altar.

Next Week: more DragonQuest

April Sixth
Sleeping With The Enemy

Game: Dragonquest
Master: Allen
Players: Neal, Jason, Kathleen, Karl
Characters: Devan, Olafina, Penelope, Talalynn
Quotes of the Evening: "Hey - I have an axe! Don't call me a slut, halfling!" - Talalynn
"Let's kidnap the king's daughter. Then he'd have to read the note we brought him!" - Talalynn
"I'm delicately hiding the sledgehammer away to appear more feminine." - Olafina

On our way to take a letter to the King of Rindel, we stumble across a village laboring under a curse. We investigate, but ultimately fail to solve the mystery, and everyone in the village dies. Ah well.
Next Week: Back to Stormbringer

March Thirtieth
Whose Side Are We On, Anyways?

Game: Stormbringer
Master: Geoff
Players: Karl, Jason, Allen, Kathleen, Neal
Characters: Ilsvar, Kra Bon, Var Potax, Roca, Sennash bel Hammad
Quotes of the Evening: "There are two ways we can do this. There is the hard way, and then there is my way!" - Ilsvar
"Pan Tang has sangiducts." - Var Potax
"What happens if you accidentally stick your finger in?" "Priest Stumpy - come here." - Ilsvar, priest

Hired by dubious wealthy person Alundin Jaspers to destroy an altar of Heon Hurn, Chaos god of executions, our party find themselves in the odd position of needing to steal a major artifact of law, so that they can destroy a major artifact of Chaos.
Well, pissing of deities never stopped us before, so we hit the temple of Donblas to steal the Hammer of Kestus (which will then allow us to destroy the altar). We are successful in doing so, and we make a rapid exit, meeting with a caravan which will take us to the port city of Dakos where we can catch a boat to the tiny island upon which the altar is located.
Next Week: Dragonquest

March Twenty-third
Grand Reft Auto

Game: Car Wars
Players: Jason, Karl, Neal, Jim
Quotes of the Evening: "Let's put this in perspective, Jim; you're worried about hitting the wall head on at 20 - but the whole point of your maneuver is to get Jason to broadside you going 100." "That does put it in perspective." - Karl, Jim

More destructive fun, in Jason's donut-shaped arena. Plus we got to make our own cars this time.
Next Week: Stormbringer!

March Sixteenth
The Hardest Part of Omnipotence

Game: Handle Magic
Master: Karl
Players: Jason, Neal, Kathleen, Allen
Characters: Hyric, Khufu Semer-Hathor, ?, Erik Greyfalcon
Quotes of the Evening: "Oh sure, I'm going to strap explosives to myself and charge into battle." "No, that's what teammates are for." - Neal, Allen
"It's a magical crank call: *ring* *ring* *GOOOOOOSH*" - Neal

The Kthan, it turns out, are collecting ancient and powerful magic artifacts; on Nafin, they are after Agar's Hammer. A complex spell casting session to interrupt them ensues, leading to the ultimate destruction of a number of enemy mages, the re-hiding of Agar's Hammer, and the theft of the Wandering Wizard's book, hopefully putting a serious crimp in the Kthan's plans. However, more evil is certainly brewing in the land, and out heroes have a limited time to decide how to stop it...
Next Week: Undecided

March Ninth
Magic Shovels

Game: Handle Magic
Master: Karl
Players: Jason, Neal, Kathleen, Allen
Characters: Hyric, Khufu Semer-Hathor, ?, Erik Greyfalcon
Quotes of the Evening: "Girly Assassin! Girly Assassin!" - the characters
"How did you get that (long extinct) title?" "I earned it." "Ah - making your evil the old-fashioned way." - Allen, Kthan
"We were looking for the magic bagpipe, to lead the clans into battle. We found the magic kazoo - to lead the clowns into battle." - Jason

The Kthan and many henchpeople are found on Nafin, digging up an artifact of great power. Much spellcasting ensues, with our heroes ultimately beating an hasty reatreat by dimension dooring to another continent entirely. Then, rested up, they plan their counterattack.
Next Week: Retaliation

March Second

Game: Handle Magic
Master: Karl
Players: Jason, Neal, Kathleen, Geoff, Allen
Characters: Hyric, Khufu Semer-Hathor, ?, Hasim, Erik Greyfalcon
Quotes of the Evening: "So, I want self-cleaning clothes." "Wait - do you mean clothes that clean themselves, or clothes that clean you?" "Ooooh." - Neal, Kathleen
"It's Hasim the Flatulent." "He gets on the boat behind us." - Jason, Neal
"It burns when I pee - because it's steam!" - Jason, discussing the merits of create water

Our protagonists are asked by an instructor at the College of Magic to accompany him to the isle of Nafin, where a number of practitioners have recently been slain. Unfortunately, no sooner is the investigation underway than the instructor, a powerful mage, is slain, leaving our heroes to continue the investigation. They find many clues that the perpetrators are working for a group of evil mages, the Kthan, who are up to no good here on Nafin.

Next Week: Resolution?

February Twenty-third
Handling Class Negative What?

Game: Car Wars
Players: Jason, Karl, Allen, Neal
Quotes of the Evening: "I'm cool under fire - it reminds me of mother." - Jason
"I'm your worst fucking nightmare! I'm my worst fucking nightmare!" - Neal

We had a fiery good time; those who did not know how to play Car Wars learned, and everyone got blowed up real good.
Next Week: Handle Magic. No, really.

February Sixteenth
The Gunfight Car

Game: Western Handle
Master: Jason
Players: Karl, Neal, Dave, Allen, Kathleen
Characters: Rev. Obadiah Black, Augustus Jones, Michael Dyson, Taylor Jones, Brett Colorado
Quotes of the Evening: "The lawyer has a 23 strength?" "It comes from breaking rocks." - Jason, Kathleen
"The Donner pass restaurant - now serving ice cream." "It all tastes like chicken!" - Allen, Neal
"Oooh - shootout in the marshals' office - between the marshals!" - Neal
"It's the Polka Train; no bloodshed, but the suffering was intense." - Neal

Marshal Gruber sends the party to prevent a robbery from a train bringing passengers from Utah to California. Our heroes board the train at the start, and leave at the end, with the money, but along the way bridges are blown up, citizens are terrorized, devious plots are uncovered, and, of course, lots of people get shot.
Next Week: Unbeknownst

February Ninth
That's No Finger!

Game: Western Handle
Master: Karl
Players: Jason, Neal, Dave, Allen, Kathleen
Characters: Burning Owl, Augustus Jones, Michael Dyson, Taylor Jones, Brett Colorado
Quotes of the Evening: "The only one who would know about the museum would be Burning Owl, and that's because he woke up in a case there one morning." "Hey - them coyotes was good eatin'!" - Augustus, B.O.
"The leader was a tall man - no on recognized him." "It was two midgets." - GM, Michael
"Danger sense? One member of our party has unstable dynamite strapped all over his body! It's always going off!" - Augustus
"I become a Quaker." - Augustus
"I uncorked the knowledge that lay within." - B.O.
"I got useful skills, and understanding Burning Owl is not one of them." - Augustus
"I've written my name on my scalp - so no one else can take it." - Augustus

The party is hired by Marshal Gruber to recover certain religious artifacts stolen by a band of criminals from a San Francisco museum. These bandits have holed up with their stolen artifacts in the desert east of Yreka; they are also being pursued by two indian tribes, from whom they have also stolen artifacts.
As might be expected, the bandits attempt some evil occult ritual on top of the butte they are holed up on - they players wait until dark, and sneak in to stop them. After an altercation with some indians, and the discovery of damn near an whole indian nation on the other side of the mesa, they ascend the butte, shooting it out with the bandits, and manage to scale the cliff and stop the ritual with some heavy gunfighting and quick thinking.

Next Week: Jason runs Western Handle

February Second
Dial V for Evil

Game: Gurps MIB
Master: Dave
Players: Karl, Jason, Allen
Characters: Agent L, Agent J, Agent T
Quotes of the Evening: "It would have to be forty-five yards across for you to hit it, and not invisible." "Maybe it's some sort of zeppelin-like alien." - Agent J, Agent L
"I kick down the door, yell 'good guys duck!', and spray the room." - Agent T
"Vanda, eh? I bet that 'v' is for 'evil'. We should get her." - Agent L
"I'm not saying she's evil, but a house landed on her sister." - Agent J

Assigned to protect Durndil, trade minister of Tarka, at a trade conference, our heroes thwart numerous attempts on the hapless alien's life. Sniper fire at LaGuardia (it was a space ship, but it looked like a Lear jet to everyone else), poison at the conference, burrowing spider robots in the sleeping quarters, and finally the assassin itself at the signatory table. Nothing got past the Men in Black.

Next Week: By popular demand, Handle returns to its true gory nature.

January Twenty-sixth
...or Alive

Game: Handle Western
Master: Karl
Players: Neal, Dave, Jason, Allen, Kathleen
Characters: Augustus Jones, Michael Dyson, Burning Owl, Taylor Jones, Brett Colorado
Quotes of the Evening: "Your name is 'Tater Joe'?!?" "That's Taylor Jones!" - Augustus, Taylor
"The US Marshals are low on good people, so we're hiring bad people. Like you." - US Marshal John Gruber
"...drawn from the dregs of society." "That's only because your people killed off the society that approved of me!" - Gruber, Burning Owl
"Oh, I doubt even they approved of you." - Augustus
"I claim to be one hundred and fifty." "Ah - no one could be that insane in only one lifetime." - Burning Owl, Augustus Jones
"We're more law than this town has ever seen!" - Brett
"They're not gonna kill us - we're all gonna commit suicide." - Taylor Jones, commenting on certain townspeople's veracity
"We take the 'law' out of 'logic' - when we're done, it's just a room full of 'ick'" - Augustus
"If we kill all the witnesses, we don't figure it out." "No, if we kill all the witnesses, we have figured it out." - Brett, Burning Owl
"Pass me the horse tape." - Augustus
"You know, I'm not gonna figure this out, and it's not gonna bother me. I'm just gonna start killing people." - Burning Owl
"You know the kind of men he sends - violent and incapable" - Michael, re: Gruber's hiring policies

Sent to the Nevada town of Middleton by Gruber to solve the murder of the local marshal, our protagonists uncover a web of murder and deceit. The local mining magnate, Finch, was killed five years ago, and his highly suspect will named several local luminaries as beneficiaries. However, the money then disappeared. Sure enough, several subsequent deaths are revealed by our investigative team as murders, and the deceased Marshal Anderson is found to be the mastermined of the whole plot. With the aid of local strongman Robert Dawson, his three killers are apprehended.

Next Week: Dave runs MIB

January Nineteenth
Worse Than Quicksand

Game: Call of Cthulhu
Master: Dave
Players: Neal, Karl, Allen, Kathleen, Geoff
Characters: Dr. Edmund Alzon, Prof. Steakham, John Sebastian, Barteloni, Shamus O'Roarke
Quotes of the Evening: "It's self-defense!" "Ah - pre-emptive self-defense." "I am gonna get so pre-emptive on his ass..." - Shamus, Prof. Steakham
"It's a partial moon - but it's the middle part." - Dr. Alzon
"Cthulhu's outside... and he's got a corsage..." - Geoff
"I am here to give you extreme unction. How do you feel, my son?" "" "That'll be two Hail Marys - and you'd better get going, you don't have long." - Geoff
"Well, they're no worse than the locals, but the locals are killing people for a good reason." - Dr. Alzon
"They have this important ceremony, one which they've passed down to their children..." "I think it's our duty to interfere with it as soon and as thoroughly as possible." - John Sebastian, Shamus O'Roarke
"I subscribe to Modern Shotgun Archaeology." - Dr. Alzon

Prof. Randall Steakham recieves a letter from a colleague in Louisiana, asking to investigate the disappearance of a Dr. Darke. He secures the company of Mr. Sebastian and Ms. Barteloni, and flies to the deep south. Darke apparently disappeared while investigating a local ritual at a small bayou town, so Steakham and Co., accompanied by the adventure archaeologist Dr. Alzon and his companion Shamus, head into the swamps.
The town is quiet, as are the natives, but our intrepid heroes soon piece together the facts. A local ritual is keeping something horrible bound beneath a local hill, and Darke was looking to stop the ritual and bring it forth. Colleagues of Darke's arrive on the same errand, and we assist the natives in taking care of them. The unspeakable remains in slumber.

Next Week: Either Dave runs MIB or Karl runs Handle.

January Twelfth

Neal, Geoff, and Jason were gone, so we did not game.

Next Week: Dave runs CoC

January Fifth
Immortal, You Say?

Game: Castle Falkenstein
Master: Karl
Players: Neal, Dave, Jason, Allen, Kathleen
Characters: Nigel Horace Nelson, Bran Sin'Aran, Dr. Challenger, Porthos Fontaine, Angelica Marldendale
Quotes of the Evening: "Transylvania. Talk about a bad place for a land war. 'Sir, half of the army is eating the other half!'" - Karl
"I am Count Jovich. Allow me to demonstrate my awesome alliterative abilities, amazing and astounding absolutely all." - Count Jovich
"Do you have a wooden stake? It can have blunt ends..." "Blunt ends make it hurt more." - Dr. Challenger, Angelica
"I'm sure he is in the servants.... quarters." - Count Jovich
"Did you hear that ungodly screaming last night?" "No - what were you doing?" - Bran, Nigel
"You survive, but you wet your ethereal pants." - Nigel
"How does he get his cuban cigars?" "He has his bats fly over and bring them back one at a time." "Hee - picture all those poor bats carrying cigars flying over the Atlantic." - Dave, Karl, Kathleen
"I slept like a concussed lamb." - Dr. Challenger

Arriving in Bergschuetz, the party finds that there were three groups staying at the inn, and setting out for the Count's castle (just under a day's ride away) the night before the disappearance. The first group, leaving before dawn, was a group of Hungarians; the second, the party of an English lady, and the third Hulschoen and Krulz. Strangely, another group is staying at this inn this night, and are introduced to the party as Austrian Staatspolizei, by the names of Henker and Druenn, as well as three other men and a woman who are not introduced.
The following days travel to the castle passes swiftly, as the road gets steeper and more winding each mile, until it is high among the mountain crags with drops of a thousand feet around each corner, and rickety old stone bridges. Then the axle breaks, and Marko the translator is thrown, his leg breaking. Challenger's ability to tinker repairs the axle, but the sun is going down, and for some reason the party is highly unwilling to be caught out here after dark. At the long drawbridge to the castle, an eruption of bats spooks the horses, but by sheer will they are guided in their panic into the castle, as the portcullis closes.
At the castle, the party is guided by an elderly butler past the abandoned wings into the large main section of the castle, and introduced to a tall, handsome man. Count Jovich. He in turn introduces his guests, the Lady Mary Mistenstrom with her maids, travelling companion, and bodyguards (among whom is Laurence Scrif! He feigns not knowing the party, but later speaks with them in the library). She subsequently snubs the party as 'not any proper sort of people', being Americans and ruffians, particularly the unescorted Lady Marldendale, but excluding the courtly faerie Bran Sin'Aran. Additionally, Henker and Druenn are present, but none of the others, their carriage having gone over a cliff. (Later this is discovered to be a ruse). There are also a Prussian, Albert Berkel, and a Chinese man, Sun LoShu, visiting, but they remain taciturn and withdrawn.
The night passes uneventfully, save some screaming heard by Bran, and the fact that Henker and Druenn are terrified in the morning, and proceed to barricade themselves into their room. However, it is the disappearance of Marko, ostensibly taken to the servant's quarters, that really sets off the warning signals in the party's minds, and when Bran flies to the bottom of the cliff that Castle Jovich perches on, and finds thousands of bodies (many very recent), well, it's stake and knife time.
Led by Nigel and Porthos, our heroes storm down through the massive double doors blocking the stairs into the mountain. They pass through a huge cave, and over a wooden platform beneath which is heard some ghastly scratching. A door opens onto the cliff face beneath the castle, and a small path around to another door. Behind this door, an awful sight confronts Nigel and Dr. Challenger, (Porthos staying to protect Lady Marldendale back before the cliffside path); the room is an abattoir of human remains - and several living captives! Among the captives are Hulschoen, Krulz, the female SP agent, and a number of Hungarian rebels. Among the dead, sadly, is Marko. Then the butler, drawn by the commotion, opens the door - and runs!
Nigel chases him past a caged beast of terrifying nature, all stone and with claws like butcher knives, and manages to apprehend him before he can reach 'the master'. Then, after seeing the freed captives safely barricaded in a room with the remaining guests, the party frantically begins a search for the Count, as the sun sinks in the west.
"The tower!" As the sun touches the horizon, they storm the twisted tower which leans out over the cliff - and find coffins containing two of the guests, who are promptly dispatched, their heads cut off and thrown downstairs to be taken outside. Then, using their great strength and aided by their desparation, the heroes smash through the ceiling, to find the sarcophagus containing their host. They attempt to stake him, but he springs from his coffin, and removes Porthos' crossbow bolt from his heart, mockingly. Things seem bleak, but the aging roof draws Porthos' attention, and he begins to shoot it, letting in thin streamers of sunlight. Challenger joins in, and as Bran mentally challenges the much more powerful Count, trying to get that critical moment of delay preventing him from escaping through the floor, Nigel tosses the lid of the sarcophagus through the weakened roof, letting in the last rays of the setting sun, and reducing the evil Count to ash.
With the destruction of the Count, everyone passes a safe night, and the following days sees the party return to Vienna, and thence to Castle Falkenstein, bearing the thanks of a grateful Count Hulschoen, to recieve the gratitude of King Ludwig and a letter of inquiry from a Dr. Van Helsing about their recent adventures.

Next Week:Dave will be running Cthulhu. Or vice versa...

December Twenty-ninth
Surprise Party

Game: none

Jeanne was having a birthday, so Kathleen, Jason, Dave and Karl turned up for that; Neal stayed over the Hill, Allen didn't recieve the invite in time, and Geoff was in England.

Next Week: Interview with Count Jovich

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