GAME 01 (06/06/2020)

Fred (Evan), Amelio (Alan), Frank (Paul), and Sam (Darren)

Geode Corporation is holding it's annual Christmas Party/Year End Awards thingie at "Boomers", a bowling lane in Irvine. Most, but not all, of the company are there. NOTE: Initially only Amelio actually worked there, with Fred, Frank, and Sam being there because of spouses/friends/girlfriends, but in order to get us back together the second day at the office, Jim retconned it so that we were all employees there.

Amelio is there solo. Frank is there with his wife, with the kids home with a sitter. Fred is there because he knows somebody and Sam is there because his girlfriend works for the company. In the retcon we also have positions with the company. Fred is there because his Dad is an executive.

By coincidence, we all end up outside. While in the parking lot, something collides overhead, believed to be three separate aircraft. That's pretty rare. When it does, the wreckage falls on Boomers, crashing through the building and causing all kinds of fiery chaos. Almost immediately behind it is a purple cloud of noxious gas!

Sam runs into the building to retrieve his girl. Frank goes in to retrieve his wife. Amelio runs to his car and tries to seal it up against the gas. Fred runs back and forth a few times. Then comes the weird part... As the gas makes contact with people some of them begin to transform! And by transform, I mean nightmare transformations. Things like growing a chicken head, having your own bones grow up through your skull, turning into a puddle of goo. While Sam manages to get his girl, Leah, out, upon contact with the gas she transforms into an enormous gila monster, then dies. Frank finds his wife but she's being consumed by something in the center of the wreckage! The thing is an enormous organic mass of something, from which emerge thise lobster/spider/weirdass things that try to chow down on people. He fights galliantly to drag her out but fails and she is consumed. Outside, Amelio has spotted a few people running. One of them is a man, who succumbs to the gas and changes into a pile of goo. But the other two, a wife and young girl, he manages to convince to get into his car, then he seals the door. Fred discovers that his cell phone is not working from the second it came in contact with the purple haze. He runs to the edge of the fog and finds that outside the cloud things are functioning. There are cars crashed where some hit the fog, were disabled, then got hit by the car behind them.  Fred never sees his father, an executive from Geode, again, as no one survives of what's left in the building.

It's over for us in a while when the fog lifts and the rescue vehicles come on scene. From the screaming apparently the big glob of whatever and his little minions are still inside.

Franks heads for the hills! Or more exactly, he picks up his kids, makes them pack a bag, and runs to San Diego. Sam goes home and does nothing for a few hours before snapping out of it and trying to look some of this up online. Amelio drops the lady and her daughter off at their home. Fred tries to gather info on the scene then ends up like most of the others, watching the TV for news. They're claiming an air accident involving a cropduster and at least one other plane. It's all a little hinkey.

In San Diego, Frank decides the world needs to know. He starts writing a blog about everything he saw in detail and ranting about how aliens are among us!

Next day we are contacted by Geode to come in. There are a handful of employees who are still alive besides us, but we're the only ones who survived who were actually there. An intersting thing happens in the night before this reunion... We are spoken to and told it's important that we defend the world against invaders and that it's vital we protect one another. All of us gain an intimacy: Need to protect and assist the other survivors of the incident.

Oh, and one other thing... We seem to have gained a power.  It's not like "shoot beams from your eyes" or anything; it's a power that's largely physiological and possibly wtihin the realm of human capability (with some exaggeration).  For example, Sam (a baseball player) has the ability to throw anything as a weapon with a 30' range.  The two people Amelio saved gained a point of MIND (the kid) and a point of CHARISMA (the mom).

The highest ranking remaining person lays out her plan for how the company will go forward. Frank only connects via Zoom. When he becomes too animated about what happened, he gets muted a few times. Sam won't talk about what he saw. Amelio backs up what Frank was saying in his rant. They offer us 4 weeks paid leave. Fred suggests we go have a drink or something, so we go have coffee. Sam says he's not going back after four weeks; he's only there because of his girl and she's gone now. Frank contacts us to provide a link to his website and to say that someone has already gotten in contact with him and we all need to meet in Irvine next day with this person who says they know things. She turns out to be (*ahem*) April O'Neil, a young reporter who knows a few parallels to an incident that happened years earlier.

I don't remember how we wound up at UCI. I think there was a call to April from her dad, who is a cop, warning to stay away from the campus, where something is running amok. So we go there, despite protests of Amelio, and he comes along because of that intimacy. We see it, or rather "them". One of them is a large humanoid figure with strange and random growths coming off of it, the other is one of the smaller dog-sized lobsterdogspiders from earlier.

A few bullets from Frank don't seem to hurt it much, and when it closes in on a security guard we stick around to try and save the guy, but he's eaten quickly. Before we can retreat, April is struck with an obssesive need to document the creature. Sam tries to drag her away and has fair luck, but by then the creature is closing in on them and they can't move fast enough.

About then the creature inexplicably changes direction and heads for a campus building. Frank pursues it because he wants it dead, Amelio tags along, and Fred follows at a distance, while Sam is trying ot restrain April, who will film right up to the second she's devoured so he refuses to let that happen. She decides that yelling "Rape" will be a good way to get him to let go, which he doesn't. Campus bozos show up ready to beat him up, and Sam points out to them that they can just look at her video and they'll hear her threatning to shout rape, but they don't care, so he lets her go and follows at a distance as they go back to their business.

The creature has taken up residence in the Biology lab, Frank and Amelio find. And that's where the game pauses.

GAME 02 (06/10/2020)
We aren't going to back down from this thing, which has taken over the entire biology lab.  Eventually we start to form a plan, as the mutated humanoid creature stands at the far side of the room on guard (or sleeping standing up?).  Anyway, we need light on it so Sam puts his baseball arm to use and throws a lit up cell phone into its vacinity and Frank opens fire.  It rushes us.  For several minutes we beat the crap out of the creature as it tries to claw Frank to death.  We finally destroy it and get the fudge out.  We get Frank to a hospital where he'll tell them some kind of story about an accident or something.  We discover that the authorities have not cordoned off the biology lab, so it becomes a matter of notifying the cops or someething.  Now they've got a really convoluted story about a "rapist" who was firing off rounds from his gun and is holed up in the biology lab.

That night we rest and have a dream that shows us some bizzaro alien figure who is pleading with us to prevent the spread of their kind or our world is doomed.

All I know is that Frank is healing and we're sputtering as we try to figure out what to do next.  That's where April O'Neil, girl reporter, comes in.  She sneaked back into the lab because out of concern for our identities Amelio had deleted all the pictures of the creature that included us in the frame from her camera, and now she wanted more information.  Seems she found a journal and a thumb drive.  The journal passages say:

"...I Cannot trust the computer any longer.  Too many spies and hackers.  Good thing I uploaded the codex to the internet.  Passcode for the codex is the inverse of pie.  Yummy, Yummy pie!"  [After trying a few things we wind up with CAKE as the answer to what is the inverse of pie.]

"...The codex is right!  I can’t believe it.  After all these years of research.  Too bad Suzi left me.  She will regret it!  Her mistake.  I finally found the frequency.  After all these years.  What shall my first message contain?"

"...They are here!  Some astronomer found them.  I wonder how he did that?  Does not matter.  My messages were obviously received.  I will be the emissary to a new world order!  Then the chancellor will listen to me.  I will win the Nobel Prize for sure!  Publish or perish my ass."

"...One more experiment to do.  My TA just doesn’t understand what an honor it is.  The students will all understand one day..."

"...The final experiment.  I am ready.  Those that went before me have proven their sacrifices were not in vain.  I shall not be stopped!"

The thumbdrive has a whacky manuscript on it that claims that it can teach you spells.  Some of these include:

  1. Detect Magic, Detect Portal, Wizard Lock, Wizard Eye, Charm, Heal (to full with a cost to sanity), Heal (partial but all scabby and gross), Speed Reading, Darkvision (mass).

  2. Talk to dead (skull), Reveal true appearance; Telepathic communication for 10 minutes; Breath underwater.

GM Tells us that we can learn these and spend a power slot on each spell.  You accrue Insanity points by reading it.  You accrue instanity points by comprehending spells. 

Amelio and Sam both read it.  Spell decisions (if any) pending.

In the night as we sleep and ponder our next move, we are contacted telepathically by what we rightly figure is the alien from the last dream.  He tells us that he's under attack and needs our help.  We get a telepathic image of the scene.  Some of us recognize it as the blimp hangar in Irvine.  We go there and our guy is under attack by the three dog-sized creatures that don't look like the last things we fought; these are more dog-like except for the large nasty pincer thingies sticking out in front of them.

Anyway he's fighting them off and we arrive and try to help out.  We keep one busy, eventually another gets killed (I think by either Frank or our alien friend).  And the third one claws up the alien guy pretty good.  We finally destroy the first one and then mow down the remaining thing in time to try and keep the alien alive.

So apparently his kind have been to our planet before to keep an eye on our development.  When we became sentient enough that we might notice them (and their probes positioned around the planet) they pulled out and have left us alone.  This other alien hive-mind creature is coming our way to colonize our planet, but this alien's people decide their best option is to weaponize humans.  They send  ship loaded with the purple mist.  Alien-Guy arrives in time to crash into the ship and head off a sort of world-wide spread of this gas, which would have turned most of us inside out with only a small percentage (like us) with special abilities that are usable.

The aliens are called Zurg.  Our new friend from out of town is one of the Protoss, who break down into two camps: The Temlar and the Taldarime.  I believe the Taldarime are the ones who sent the gas while he's a Templar.  His name is ZARATULE (Zair-Uh-Tool)... guessing on the spelling there.

The Journal from earlier belonged to Dr. James Hicks, PHD from the university.  We haven't brought up the book with him yet.

So we're at Fred's house, shacked up with Zaratule.


Zaratule needs parts!  We find that one of the parts he describes fits something from one of the news items.  We go to the guy's house late at night, prepared to steal, but end up confrnting a house of Zurgs!  The home owners are shrieking as we rush in and smack down some bugs with our various weapons and end up capping a large hole in the kitchen in the floor through which they were coming, using a table and a refrigerator.

We rest and Nash (Jeff) goes to hospital due to serious injury.  Next day we continue tracking parts.  Next place we pull up to has some people driving away so we split the party.  One team asks the homeowner, who says they sold the piece to a group of students from UCI who he characterizes as "weird".  The other team follows the car and finds they pull into an apartment building near the crash site and they manage to be stealthy enough to find the apartment they go into.  They are dressed in strangely oversized hoodies.  Team one meanwhile go to the neighbor of the guy who sold his part and discover the neighbor has a large hunk of metal that doesn't match anything Zaratule described.  They buy it off of him for cheaper than the first guy was going to sell it for.

We discuss what to do next and end up surveilling the apartment with the hope of recovering the item.  Amelio and Sam go around back to keep an eye, Nash, Fred, and Frank go to the front door and knock, offering money.  "We got nothing for sale."  They decide to try to slide out the back and go to the parking lot.  Unfortunately for them we had disabled their car before approaching their apartment.

In the parking lot they try to drive away but can't.  That's when they drop their hoods and show themselves as being half covered in bugs.  They then proceed to try and spew bugs in a tremendous stream at some of us!  Eventually one of them winds up envoloping Amelio.  Eventually with the help of others he manages to get loose and we slay the third bug-man.  In each case the student dissolves into a pile of bugs.  We foil some would-be TMZ footage as Amelio and Frank snag some cell phones and delete the images.

Amelio goes to the hospital this time (His turn!) and that puts us on the path to the third needed item.  Going back to one of the guys (the one who wanted to sell us stuff for big bucks) he has only a some paneling from the ship, not the item we're looking for.

Amelio examines the backpacks that contained the craft parts and finds a note from an OCC professor.  So we contact him directly and find he's got a the coiling we are missing.  He's testing it and it has no resistance and thus the throughput is instant for any data transmitted on it.  SUDDENLY... the door burst in with a massive burst of bugs!  Standing in the doorway are two bug-men (like the collge students) and two of the dreaded dog-bugs.  We set to harming them and actually win this one with less damage than usual to ourselves.  The professor failed his SAN check and ran into his office.  We grab the cabling and run out!

Zaratule now has the major components for his bomb... we just need to let him build it.

GAME 04 (06/11/2020)

Fred, Frank, Amelio, Sam, and late in the first fight arrives Nashton...

We start with a call from the guy who is selling us space junk and he has competing bidders but since he offered it to us first if we come pick it up he'll sell to us first.  So we show up and as we are at the door, the military shows up and five of their guys get out of the Hum-V.  Then as they are halfway up the lawn to us, up pull the next group... the monsters!  In broad daylight there are two humanoid mutant aliens and four of the dog-spikey aliens.  They (the aliens) proceed to shred the military guys.  A dual blast of toxic vomit eats two of them down pretty low on life points and the bugs just finish 'em off.  Of the 5 men, 1 ran away (with only 2 LP left), 3 were dropped, and their leader survived with one 1 LP at the end.  But the leader's main actions were running back to the truck and calling in for advice and support.  The rest of us were dealing with the bad guys.  I believe it was Fred who got the junk off of the home owner ("Bud") and ran out the back door to circle around to the SUV.  Amelio went back and grabbed the aliens' own van because it was still running, and uses it to run over bugs, destroying a few.  Inside the house, Bud kills the last of the humanoids since it followed him upstairs and he had the shotgun.  We drag the bodies back to the Humvee and the military leader is magnanimous in letting us save his guys and then leave afterward.

We head back with our materials and give them to our pet alien.  He plans to make a Graviton bomb.  This is a bomb that opens a localized mini-black hole that will suck in the bad guys.  Problem is there are two locations of these things, and soon we discover there's a third, since the military have shown up at a "gas leak" in another location.  Oy.

So we're chillin', Zarathule is tinkering, and Frank gets a phone call.  It's his wife... you know.. the dead one?  She wants him to come pick her up at Boomers.  He declines and has a meltdown.  Likewise Fred gets a call from his dead dad and quizzes him on some things.  Whatever is calling has his memories.  Sam gets a call from his dead girlfriend, and he decides it's a good time to break up with her.  Amelio gets a call, but it's from the two people he helped rescue from Boomers.  Their husband/father called and she wants to go pick him up.  He gets her to come to us, but he can't convince her that it's an obvious trap.  Can't remember how she ultimately is prevented from going.  Don't think anyone knocked her out or chained her up...

There's footage on the news of some kids with a blaster and a light saber reeking havoc.  Seems that some of the salvage from the crash has ended up in the hands of hooligans.

We end the session as we're scoping out an area that the police have cordoned off, deciding how/if we're going to go in.


Fred, Frank, Nashton, Amelio, and Sam

April O'Neil lets us know that there's a spree of burglaries targeting the Geode employees.  We decide we need to move again.  However, while we're at Fred's Dad's house, two people knock on the door and when there's no answer, they split up and go round the building in opposite directions.  Turns out these two are regualr humans and burglars; we can only guess that they've been put up to this somehow by our adversaries because they are targeting Geode people specifically.  Regardless, Frank comes at them with a gun and they run but not before one goes down from a gun-butt to the head.  The other is nearly headed off by Sam and Fred when suddenly a familiar white panel van pulls up and out get mutated humans and zerglings.  It's two of the dogish zerglings and a guy who has a cobra-head!  They scratch up and poison Nashton pretty good but everyone stays vertical this time.  However, not without firing gunshots and awakening the neighborhood.  Afer all... IT'S CHRISTMAS DAY!

We defeat them and then split into three factions.  Frank, Nash, and Sam hop into the bad guys' van and try to flee.  Amelio tries to get our alien buddy into his car and casually drive away.  Fred sits on his porch and waits for the cops.  Frank, Nash, and Sam wind up under arrest.  They somehow expedite getting us out of jail the same day (A Christmas Miracle).  Since Nash is all chewed to fuck, we can get away with the story that they uncionscious guy and his friend showed up, tried to home invade and shot at us and we were merely rushing our injured to the emergency room.  The cops didn't think twice about Amelio driving past (with a hiding Zaratule in the car).

We end up retreiving our vehicles from the Boomers' site.  We do have an appointment next though.  It seems we are being brought together day after Christmas at Geode because the boss (the dead one) called our new CEO to say he was alive and that everyone should come in to retrieve their bonuses and there'd be a surprise.  Well, we know what the surprise is and realize it's just the aliens crank calling us.  But we like Prince Albert in a Can and we bite, because we think there are normal, unharmed people at Geode and we'd like them to stay that way.  Well, they don't.

Frank goes in first, has some conversation, scopes things out, and discovers there's been a lot of fodder replacement hiring.  Almost know one there is recognizable except the 5 non-partygoers from game 1.  As others from our group filter in, Amelio discovers outside that there's a big hole in the ground in the dirt lot nearby and a hole in the fence between it and the building.

As we prowl the grounds looking for the enemy's hiding place, we find that LAN room has the card reader removed and it is deduced that the door will be unlocked as a result, so we all get ready, two folks go in and are beset by aliens the second Frank raises one of the floor screens to look under there and finds 2 Zerglings and 2 of something larger whose name escapes me.  Anyway, Frank is in a bad spot with every single thing between him and the one exit.  Amelio and Nash go in to help, but as they block the door, Fred and Sam are outside.  Sam gets in some ranged attacks wile the group beats the crap out of the aliens who are beating the crap out of Frank.  Fred shouts "Run!" which causes some confusion among the new workers but not as much as the two zerglings that come out of the men's restroom do.  Not because of the toilet tissue still stuck to their paws, but because they team up on people and shred them like pulled pork.  Fred pulls the fire alarm and calls for Sam to come help and the two of them start focusing on those things, with one going down and the other fleeing with part of a body.

Meanwhile in the Server room, they clear enoug of the bad guys that Frank can actually escape but they remain in order to put down the last one before coming out to check on the chaos, which is big.  We haul unconscious Nashton, who went down in the server room, to the car and drive away, ignoring the questions of pesky Pat from sales (or wherever).

I believe Zaratule is still working on his device for detecing them.  Once that's done he'll go back to working on the graviton bomb.  We've moved locations to a warehouse not far from the blimp-hangar-fight in an earlier game, and started to set up shop.  Investigation of by Frank of the apartment that used to belong to the students found a giant hole in the floor.  We are second level now.


Frank, Fred, Amelio, Nash, Sam

We are called ot the students' apartment by Frank who found a giant bug hole in the floor.  An inspection of the joint results in discovery of more data!  A thumbdrive.  This one we find out contains the rest of the Codex of Zerg (added in its entirety to the Documents page).  Frank toys with going down the hole but once it gets too narrow and slimy he's outta there, and who could blame him?  In fact, as soon as he exits we can hear noise from the tunnel.  We throw another fridge on the hole and get out just as they are shredding their way through it.

There's a discussion of informing the police and/or the military.  After lots of back-and-forth and a phone discussion with a military official, the bulk of us (all but Amelio who wants to guard our Alien buddy) go to the miitary post that's set up near Boomers.  While we are telling him as much as we can without disclosing the presence on this planet of Zaratule, an alarm is set off.  Knowing we can handle ourselves and being short on soldiery, he issues anyone who wants one an M16 with a one-shot grenade launcher.  The bugs are going toward the 405.

We set oursevles up in tthe path of the bugs while the officials block the freeway, and we begin our defense of the planet.  Burst fire + Sharpshooter + Proficiency in Long Gun is a good thing, as Sam gets to waste some bugs and falls in love with using automatic rifles (after the fight he fills out an application to get an AR15).  Some of the grenades do pretty good, if spread out, damage, and as they close in we continue backng up.  Some of the soldiers with us take a bunch of damage.  We end up climing the fence to the 405 and right about there is were we make our stand finishing off the last ones.  But we're not the only game in town... While we're fighting a helicoter gunship has shown up!  This sounds like it'll be easy, but the problem is... the enemy has evolved and sends out two flying worm-like creatures that fire spiked balls from the tips of their tails.  The helicopter takes lots of damage but not before doing a good amount into the crowd of bugs below which helped our ground efforts.

So we're sharing info with the military (as much as we can without outing our Alien visitor).  And the device for scanning for anomalous substances (or whatever you want to call it) is finally invented by Zaratule.  We manag to figure out that alien power sources are emanating from three locations.  And that's where we freeze for next time... about to descend on one such place!


After a tour of the neighborhood homes where the 3 power sources are being detected by the alien technology Zaratule cobbled together (eventually), we debate wethere to break in or just knock.  First place has no one home.  After a while it's decided not to break in but to check the other houses.  Next one has a teen boy but he won't answer the door and is not interested in selling anything.  But then "We want to buy something that you found recently," through a door when the kid has either a light saber, laser pistol, or cloaking device is a sure recipe for failure--especially when the kid STOLE TONS OF ATM MONEY ALREADY!  Why would he need our money?  At the third place is a man working on his car.  Fred and Frank approach him to discuss something they suspect his son found recently while Amelio goes to the side of the house because he suspects the kid is going to bolt (Sam is in the car).  Sure enough, when the dad shouts for the kid to get out there he tries to sneak out the back and Amelio stops him.  Amelio plans to put pressure on the kid to give up his friends and at the same time Fred decides to put pressure on the dad, which kind of removes him from "our side".  Up to that point he was with us, but now that his kid is being threatened by us he's defending the kid.

Eventually he's convinced that getting rid of something that is "radioactive" is a good idea and becaue the kid knocked over ATMs and they don't want it on his record, he helps us with the other two kids.  I'm going to cut to the part now where we have all 3 pieces of technology, except I should mention that when asked what authority we are doing this under, the Amelio gave them info for contacting the Colonel we met last game.

With the 3 powered items retrieved, Zaratule can use the power sources from two of them to make a bomb.  He already has the power sources from two other places to make the other two bombs.  As we're debating what to do next, Colonel James calls.  He knows about our wreckage collection activities and wants to know why and wants to see the devices.  Well, we're at that crossroads:  Do we tell him about Zaratule?  It would certainly advance things, even if it means they try to nab him as an alien curiosity.  When we finally decide to tell him we go there and spill about 80% of things.  I mean, we phrase things in the best way possible for us.  Colonel James questions us about all the times we withheld information and wants to meet Zaratule.  Oh, and there's this scientist, Mellissa.  She's been assigned to this gig by a General and she and Amelio butt heads immediately.  We end up allowing her and the General to meet Zaratule with his permission.

Zaratule talks in their heads, completely entrances Mellissa who will do anything for him, and we agree to move them from the motel thing we're in over to the government's makeshift facilities.  The plan then is for Zaratule to build a Graviton bomb and then once it's perfected the staff will build two more on that model.  Thing is, it takes Alan about 100 tries to successfully craft the first one.  In the meantime, another nest has popped up (a small one).  That one hasn't gone deep yet so they're going to drop a conventional bomb on that one.

There's a long, long, long, long discussion on how to deliver these bombs to the nests.  They should be next to next to make sure they get everything around it, but they eat everything in the radius so does it matter than it's not right next to the nest.  Do we carry them down the holes?  What if someoen gets stopped halfway?  Do we drop a bomb that clears some ground, then we drop ours in?  Do we fly drones or radio control robots, or do we just nuke Irvine from orbit?  And on and on and on.

Activity has picked up.  They're putting down the ones that try to come out, but it's getting harder and its' happening more frequently.

We start at the Armory, the base of operations for the military.  We are trying to figure out our delivery system for the 3 newly made graviton bombs when the ground shakes, people scream, and some of the bug creatures erupt from a hole in the floor of the armory.  As we start picking those off using nearby M16s and the aid of a handful of soldiers, from the hole emerges an ENORMOUS bug creature, this one in the D&D "collossal" range, and it is followed by a second one!  We manage to take out the first one (somehow) as we lose soldiers, but the room is essentially divided with soldiers, the colonel, and Sam in the north and everyone else in the south or near one of the escape doors.  Turning to his favorite weapon: The Car, Amelio jumps into a parked Humvee and tries to back into one of them, but it starts to crush it like at in can.  Most of the gang get out of the building successfully (if you include getting opportunity attacked as successful) and Zaratule gets squashed by one of them.  Sam also sees the colonel go down and they start texting him to get out of the building (as if he'd choose to stay in there if he had an option).  When one of the ginormous creatures pursues a PC out through a wall of the building and chases off after a vehicle, Sam has the chance to run out and does.  PC's rendezvous elsewhere as they try to coordinate a few things, including the fact that since the Colonel is likely deceased, how do we get the general to go along with our chosen solution? We have Mellissa, the scientist, with us but she seems to think there's no way we'll convince him to do what we're asking since the Colonel knew it was pretty much career suicide to begin with.

At the new location we decide we need to go back and see if there's anyone to save.  Good thing we did because we do find the badly injured colonel still alive.  Zaratule is toast.  We do salvage his stealth belt.  And we do have the bombs (Amelio and Melissa got them out of the building earlier).  The colonel gets a couple of Harriers online for our little mission.  Mercifully, the colonel decides to use marines in this suicide venture of delivering the bombs.  With four places to worry about our plan is:  Bomb 3 simultaneously with the gravitons, cleanse the fourth with conventional weapons.  We are part of that group.

So how did it go?  Well, depends on how much you like Hell.

Seems that in all this we ended up in a fiery... oh, I'm not sure I can say afterlife, but at least another dimension, as a result of the bombs going off.  We've torn some kind of hole in space and time and dropped ourselves into a place that Amerlio recognizes.  Seems this warp is something that was described to him by Zaratule.  We're on a floating plane that is only anchored down by chains that go down into the lava.  Needless to say, any description I can give you here WILL NOT DO IT JUSTICE.  So I'm going to gloss over it.

We are level 3 now.

Fred, Frank, Amelio and Sam

So with Irvine moved to another plane of existence we try to figure out what to do and where to go.  We end up heading for the last place we worked with Colonel James, hoping the scientist (Mellissa) will have some clue as to what is going on and what happened.  In any event, the entire city of Irvine is floating over a sea of read liquid that covers a hellscape that includes volcanoes.  There are six large towers from which massive chains extend up to where they attach to the underside of the landmass we are on, and they are pulling us down slowly toward the (Blood) Red Sea.  Somehow we figure out that it's going to take about 100 days for us to get all the way down there.  We race to the first HQ.  But first...

A man, lady, and children are seen surrounded by three large snakey demon creatures with large spear/glaive weapons.  They kill the man and when they do the others come running our direction so we intercede and do a pretty solid job of cutting them down with M16 fire.

We finally head toward the HQ, and find that a guy resembling "comic book guy" is engaged by 4 zerglings.  Sam, who is driving tries to run one over, but only hurts it and the four of them kill the man in seconds before we can stop them so we speed off.

Seems the old HQ is gone.  A few soldiers were left behind to redirect traffice to city hall.  So we hop back in the car and off we go.

Then we run into a bunch of those snakey demons again with some new victims.  We hurry to the scene... and get our asses kicked!  In fact, two of us go down before... oh, wait... rewind!...

I forgot to mention the Mephit.  A horrible little demonic creature showed up as soon as we were conscious earlier.  I don't remember its name for this recap, but I should because it repeated its own name hundreds of times!  Like everything here, it lives to make deals.  It insists on following us around.  Now back to the action...

So with Fred and Amelio down and two of three enemies only injured, Frank asks the mephit if he can stop these guys.  In exchange for a tiny bit of his soul (1 Sanity point) it will do so and gets the creatures to depart on the condition that we never stop those guys from their appointed torturing if we ever see them again.  We drive the injured duo to city hall.  The place is overrun with refugees, and as we are directed to go somewhere to get care to our two team members, Sam and a Copy get into a pissing match, whcih Frank breaks up.

Once everyone is situated and the two injured are being looked at, Sam goes off to find the Colonel and Scientist, and fails utterly.  Fortunately the newly healed Fred and Amelio (healed with Amelio's magic now that he's conscious) head off to do what Sam failed to do.  They get a message to the colonel and get a meeting with him where they lay out what little they know and get a sit-rep from the Colonel.  Interestingly, the city of Irvine has split in two and is only connected at the middle by one bridge.  Sam wants to go see that because he took a spell (at a great cost of sanity) that let's him detect gates and dimensional anomalies and that's both the center of the city and an unusual way for the city to be connected together.  The only portal he detects however is the one overhead, up out of sight.  There's an Irvine sized hole in the sky.

One of the many things we've encoutnered during our driving around is a bird-like demon who has more power than the mephit that's following us.  Frank and Fred wind up making bargains with it individually.  Frank gets some magic beans.  Just kidding... he gets an idol that allows him to fly (at the cost of sanity-per-use).  Fred gets information on the starting place to find two objects, artifacts that can cut the chains.  We'll need two because we have to sever the last two chains at the same time in order to make sure Irvine, chained down at one end doesn't tip over as the freed end rises.

We go shopping at the Lowes and the Big Five.  We need climbing gear and lots of rope.  What we end up with is the idea of dismantling power line since there's no electrical power flowing in this world and using that cable to lower ourselves down.  We still have the Stealth Generation Field (belt) scavenged off of the dead Zaratule last game.  Current plan:  Fly down with the cable and secure it then ride that down, pursue the location of the needed artifacts, retrieve them by whatever means, cut the city free, hope it fills the gap and this all ends.

Oh, and also we're having to make a sanity check every day.  Seems the longer you're here the crazier you get.  So forget the 100 Days of sinking.  On 3D6 the average person fails a DC12 check most of the time.

Fred, Frank, Amelio, Sam (plus 4 NPC army men)

We begin the big descent down the chain.  Since the flight item takes Sanity with each use, mountain-climber Fred descends the chain, bringing along a thread (connected to a rope, connected to a whatever, etc. until it gets to the cable that was harvested from the power lines).  During his descent there's a fifteen minute period or so where a group of flying creatures decides to next on the line just above Fred, giving us some concern but eventually they fly off and he continues.  After that we do fairly well getting down until one of the last climbers whose scent has quite obviously been picked up by the flyers.  They circle around until they get bored and then they fly off.  Everyone gets safely on the ground, safely being a relative term.  Because there's a war on down here, ya know.

Zerg are fighting demons with the city dangling above them as their prize.  Each time one gets a launch up the chain they get brought back down again by the other faction.  We try to sneak away but unfortunately we wander right into four encroaching zerg, which we put down with a couple of grenades and some gunshots.  Now unfortuantely that means we've drawn attention.  So we try to run as fast as we can away from the scene only to have to stop and repel one group of bad guys.

I literally lost track of how many fights we had.  So I'm just going to cut to the chase:  During our travels across the fiery landscape to reach the obelisk that likely contains the artifact we seek, we lose a few army men NPCs, and a couple of us got pretty injued (Sam went down so it's his first experience with the talking wound spell).

The end of the road this time is the obelisk.  It is surrounded by 6 other obelisks.  Inside that perimeter is a large monkey-like creature that is being taunted by a circle of demons.  Those demons proceed to kick our ass when we come in too close sneaking up on them.  One of them winds up flying off with one of our army men before the others fall.

Frank, Amelio, Nash, and Sam

I'm probably not going to remember the names of all the demons we encountered.  Here goes.

At the end of last game we were at the obelisk at which the big monkey-demon is imprisoned.  He finds us to be unusual and asks what faction we are part of.  We refuse to give an answer.  Amelio is doing most of the talking.  If we can get him out of there he'll help us with our chained-down-city problems.  He'll tell us about where to get the sword of Zariel (sp?) if we get him out.  Supposedly he can be freed if we each dedicate a bit of our souls to the six obelisks imprisoning us.  Since we need what we need, we each put up a point of sanity and... nothing happens.

After monkey-boy calms down, he tells us he can only think of one other person who would know, and that's an Ice Demon in an icy cavern across hell.  So we set out on that trek.  We come to a river of lava and try to look for a natural crossing.  First one is occupied by demons who are at a nearby tree, pulling down large pod-looking things and bashing them open to unleash the creature inside, which they then chase around, catch, and tear off the legs and eat.  Tree Chicken.  They stick around long enough that we have to move on.  Next bridge we find is likely to collapse says Amelio after an inspection.  Third one's a charm.  However, as our first soldier is going across we have a group of three flying hell hornets wich apparently hive nerby fly over and try to take us out.  Eventually we put them down but not before wasting a lot of our ammo and taking a bunch of damage (we all resisted the poison).  We get across the bridge.

We also encoutner a group of undead of some sort... skeletal demons... that want to know who we are.  Fast-talking Amelio talks them into thinking that we are there with the permission of their master.  They try to engage us in a bargain and after several failed attempts to bargain with "that would break another bargain we have" given as reason why we can't go along with them, they simply agree to pass us by and never encounter them again.  Amelio Jedi mind-tricked them.

We reach the ice cave and go in.  Inside is Mestopheles, who looks basically like an icy gargoyle.  We ask it about how to get monkey-demon free and he says he'll only tell us if we dam up the Styx river.  He supplies us with ice javelins that will be involved.  He also gives us to oversee our journey, a icy version of the Mephit we have following us.  He's supposed to keep an eye on us.

Well, during the journey we have another bunch of hornets coming our way and it is pointed out to the ice mephit that if we die his master won't be happy, so it lures them away and comes back later un-pursued.

At the Styx we find the spot we're supposed to dam.  Now did I mention WHY we're daming the river?  It seems Mestopheles wants to free a buddy of his who is trapped in tthe pit at the base of where the water pours into the Styx.  If we stop it up they'll be able to free themselves.  Everyone mentally files this away under "we're going to have to fight this later aren't we?" and we go about it.  But there are others here.  Specifically there are two demons here torturing a female demon be endlessly lowering her in a cage into the Styxx to dissolve her skin then bringing her back up.

We move in toward the demons to maybe talk with them (because the talking is working out today, mostly) and on sight they charge us.  After we defeat them, using much more ammo, we do the damming up and let the water divert.  It will take a long time to lower so we head back with our job accomplished.  Upon return to Mestopheles he tells us the only thing that can cut those obelisks is the sword of Zariel.  Sounds to us like just the thing we're looking for anyway for bashing chains.  We take what info he offers and get out.

On the way back we stop by where the woman was submerged.  She's just a head sticking out of the water, still stuck in the cage.  After some bargaining we agree to release her in return for knowledge about another artifact which turns out to be the Glave of Bel.  We part now with two leads on artifacts we need.

We end as we approach a location that we have been told is where we can find the next part of our journey.  (Oh, and the Monkey-demon's name is Ubilex).

Frank, Amelio, Nash (late), Fred and Sam

We approach some doors and Amelio finds that built into the bas relief on the door is an item in the eye of the relieve that resembles the power sourse on the belt. He holds up the belt to point one at the other and the door opens!  About then we hear the horrible sound of zerg popping from egs of some sort.  They've been covering the landscape outside of the tomb and we've just done something to awaken them.  We enter quickly and try to bar the way but it seems we can't figure out how to close the doors.

Frank picks a direction (left) when we approach the first fork and the rest of us take up positions to create a bottleneck.  But we have trouble fighting a handful of these things and there are hundreds of them from the sound.  Cpl Van Helsing (Darren's NPC soldier) runs around the corner, just past Frank, and goes right through an illusionary floor.  He fails to make a save to hold on, hits the bottom and is never heard from again.  Though we can't see it from up there, below the illusion is a pit full of spikes and a couple of jets that fire flame that quickly disposes of what's left.  Frank ties a rope around a pillar and tries to figure out what to do next.  Now the sound of zerg coming into the hall is deafening.  So Sam realizes time is of the eseence, turns, runs back to where Frank is and leaps from that point, hoping to go far enough to grab the far edge.  He narrowly makes it (only because I burned my luck reroll already in the first ten minutes of the game) and Sam is on the other side.  Frank throws him the rope, he does his best to hold onto it but now desperation has others jumping across.  One of those is Fred's NPC army man, Army Mann, who fails and goes out the same way his peer did.

The next few minutes is filled with people jumping and trying to grab the line if they have to in order to be safe, with Amelio, who doesn't have athletics, brining up the rear, narrowly getting across because of the line tied around his waist as a bonus to his roll.  Zerg proceed to run at us and fall into the pit and get exterminated.  They can't get enough of a jump and so they bottleneck on the other side of the divide.

We start checking out the rest of the place, using the light of cell phones.  There are traps in some rooms, which seem to correspond to a hole in the wall that is well obscured, leading us to believe that maybe there's a key or something we can use to turn off the traps. One room is divided by an energy field that would instantly toast anyone who tried to pass through it, another features a pair of robots that activate on proximity but deactivate when you back up.  All the rooms feature video screens, if in some cases concealed in a wall where they must be revealed.  There's some sort of puzzzle at play here involving all four of the emblems on the screen and how activating them in the various rooms causes them to change on the screen in the first room.  Eventually, puzzle-man Amelio figures out that you need that activate right color in the right room in order to get the one on the display in the main room to turn on and when all four are on, it causes a door to open elsewhere.  (By now Amelio has also disabled the traps by putting something into that hole in the wall and turning it picklocks style).

The door that opens is in a special room that has four pillars with engraving on them that corespond to the four Protoss groups.  With the cloaking belt, I believe it was Amelio or Sam that goes past the two sentry robots and peeks in the newly opened door and finds that on the other side is a larger robot, which immediately awakens, ignores the cloaking technology, and says something in a foreign language.  Naturally he gets the heck out of there.  Some of the team run back up the hall, while Sam and Nash stay down there and hide behind the pillars.  The robot is not fooled and repeats what it said.  Sam steps out and greets it. It repeats sam's greeting with the same inflection.  I then proceeds to mimick him enough that he realizes it's trying to learn his language, so he calls the others down.

After a night of constantly talking to it and teaching it our words for various things, it tells us it is Teldaren, the guardian of the Protoss Tomb of the fallen.  He's never seen anything like us.  We exchange information about our city being pulled into the Warp, he tells us about the Blood Wars.  When we tell him that we haven't seen any Protoss inside the Warp, he's saddened.  He adds Zaratule's name to the appropriate pillar of the fallen.

We gather further information from him and he gives us TWO of those blasters like Zaratule had (pistol type) and THREE mini-graviton bombs.  Now we're thinking maybe we can kill three of the six chains with these.

When we finally go to leave, Teldaren goes up to the top and guns down every remaining Zerg in sight, clearning a path for our exit.

Fred, Frank, Nash, Amelio, Sam (+2 NPC soldiers still hanging in there)

Caspanar, the demon who follows us invisibly, tells us we're better off going for the Glaive of Bel than for the Sword of Zariel next.  The sword he says will be harder to get.

On our trek we encounter 6 Hell Hornets, which do some damage but we finally get them under control.  When we reach mt doom The Hell Forge we see it's too heavily trafficked for a frontal assault or to sneak in as a group since invariably at least one of us will bomb a stealth check.  Frank pays Caspanar (in insanity) to find out how to get in.  Seems you can only get in by being captured (A plan that NONE of us agree with since being captured by demons seems... disagreeable), or you can get in by invitation.  Well, the only demon we're on good terms with at the moment is Ubilex, the monkey demon.  After several attempts to find an alternate entrance we go all the way back to Ubilex and talk to him.  If we can destroy a pillar we think we can set him free.  Supposedly the only things that could do that were the Sword or the Glaive, but we've got 3 graviton bombs.  So we make an agreement to get him to provide us safe passage into the Hell Forge to get an audience with Bel and safe passage out in return for destroying a pillar and setting him free.  So Sam coughs up a graviton bomb, Amelio sets it in place and one implosion later, a mini blackhole takes out a pillar and Ubilex is free.

Good to his word he takes us to the Hell Forge, gets us in, talks briefly with Bel, and Bel will LEND us the glaive in return for an errand.  Seems he is trying to build an Infernal Cannon, a fusion or magic and tech, for an at-that-moment-unknown reason.  When we talk to someone later on we find out it's to shoot down anything that comes into the Warp (Like maybe zerg ships?  Or invaders like us?  Who knows.)  In return for lending its use followed by its retrieval by his minion, Polenar (another Mephit that will follow us invisibly), we must bring him blood of Tiamat, the six-headed dragon queen of hell.

He provides us safe passage across his land (in the form of a small glaive that would be a sort of sign of his office) that we can present when confronted.  We separate and bid Ubilex well and head for the... ahem... Six-headed Dragon Queen of Hell.

On the way we encounter some mini dragons that we manage to stay hidden from (mostly because they suck and seeing things it seems).  But we aren't so lucky when we come across a detachment of dragonman troops.  They close on us and we ask for passage and they ignore us and continue, so then a blaster shot from I. Ron Mann, (Paul's Army man) takes one out but, but they keep coming.  So there's a long and bloody battle which ultimately results in much injury and one unconsciousness (Frank).  We proceed up to the gate and find two sentries:  A dragon man and a bull man.  The dragonman greets us and asks if we are the ones hwo dispatched his squad of soldiers.  We admit.  He's impressed that we are fighters, wants to know all the same stuff about us that everyone wants to know, but Amelio gives him enough double-talk that eventually the Dragon Queen herself lets out a roar from inside the cavern and instructs Amelio to just tell him why we're there.

After some discussion there are three things she will accept as payment for the blood that Bel needs to work further on his Infernal Cannon (which she is aware of):  First would be if one of us would volunteer to be eaten by her.  That's not our first best choice.  Second would be for her to devour the majority of someone's soul (That's right 51 points of insanity).  I've heard crazier things... like talking wounds.  The third option would be to bring her the sword of Zariel.  After some discussion she tells us that she would just need it for 10 minutes and after that it would be ours.  She's not totally sure that it will survive what one of her men needs to do with it.  But this is by far the best option.  So we agree.  She points out that we should have asked for safa passage as well, but she relents and grants it anyway.

So now we're off to the Citadel of Blood.  It's, as she put it, an "Anathema" to this realm, and so when we get up close we see that it's held to the ground by chains not unlike the ones pulling down our city.  This likely means that something else was once pulled into the warp.  Whatever's in here is considered dangerous by demons, so, you know... only good things ahead.

It appears to be a giant scab-like hill with veins or puss running through it.  Enormous men with spears seem to hunt along the cracks in the scab, poking at things and pulling them out.  They see us, we present our glaive of Bel mini-version and they just grunt at us and keep to it either through deference or indifference.

We find three passages we might try, though any path we take is going to be GROSS.  Finally we head down a passage and not far in there, the lead individuals trigger some pustules to burst!  Suddenly large hell-mosquitos in swarms come pouring out of the lanced cists, and we... hold right there for next game!


Frank, Amelio, Sam, and eventually Fred

Combat, Combat, Combat!  Inside big Scabby Mountain, we encountered some pustules that burst when we were in proximity causing Hell Mosquitos to attack us.  We have ZERO area effect attacks which is what was needed in order to harm the swarm which followed us, so we had to resort to using one of our last two graviton bombs, else be sucked to death.  Hell math is Hell Mosquitos + Mini-Graviton bomb = 0.  Hope we don't need it later.  But in our rush to escape the mosquitos, Sam ran into a room where a scene is playing out that involves two of the bearded devils.  With the mosquitos gone, they rush us and a combination of blasters and Amelio's glaive take them out (Same used the last of the M16 ammo to little if any effect).

Now what the duo had been doing was torturing another bearded demon who was suspended from chains, taking the blood/pus version of Chinese water torture on his head.  After some negotiation, we agree to free him if he leads us to where he believes the sword of Zariel to be, lead us out afterward, and not discuss us with others at any time.

First place he leads us is an area filled with those pustules.  He flies through.  Rather than risk 4 of us doing Stealth rolls, Frank used his flight object to ferry us across one at a time.

Second place he leads us is to a room where there is some kind of shadow demon with wings and a shadow whip "encouraging" six large demons (like the Pusfarmers outside) to work faster.  When he sees us he goes right through a wall and away, leaving the six of them to rush in on us.  (About now Fred arrives at the game.)  This is one of the cleaner fights.  Yes, they had the same pack-tactics gang-up abilities that others have but we had two blasters and a glaive, and for once... good shots.

Third place he leads us is to a room with a group of gnolls (Hell gnolls?) at work, with the same darkness demon from earlier, who attracts their attention and gets them to attack us.  He stands beside an enormous statue of a Gnoll that the characters wouldn't know, but any player who has ever owned a copy of Dieties & Demigods would recognize as Yeenoghu, the gnoll demon-lord of hell.  Shadow demon, called Balor, disappears.  The gnolls don't rush us outright because we retreat and they're playing cagey too.  It's not until the demon lord sneaks up behind the group and puts up a field of darkness around the trailing character, Amelio, that the gnolls engage at the front.  So it's Amelio, Sam, and eventually I Ron Mann against Balor, and Frank and Fred (trading weapons back and forth) against the gnolls at the front.

Sam rushes the darkness and gets in one hit with his bat on the bad guy, misses thereafter, and gets clawed to (near) death.  He'll be out most of the fight.  Amelio injures the demon after finally getting his sight, but eventually falls too.  I Ron Mann out-lasts the darkness and gets in blaster shots on Balor, who eventually moves out to the big room where eventually Fred goes down and it's the all-Paul show as Frank and I Ron Mann take on the last two gnolls and Balor.  Ron takes out Balor with a well-placed blaster shot and then they kill the last two gnolls.

There's a period of immediate insanity-accruing/immediate-healing to get us all functioning.  Then we move on to the main event.  There's a door with a relief on it like the one that let us in to the Tomb of the Fallen.  The belt does indeed let us in.  There is then a series of doors, remiscent of a series of air-locks, as we go in, hit a button, door behind us closes, next door opens.

We end up in a room with two of those familiar roomba-spider robots from the Tomb of the Fallen.  Amelio sneaks past them with the belt and discovers that on the dais on the far side of them is a protoss gaming glove on with a pressure plate.  He attempts the Indiana Jones swap, with likely the same level of un-success.  Game stops there because it's 10pm and a fight is likely about to break out.