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Lair of the Frog - Level 3 Map!
Hi Folks,

The Lair of the Frog map in the file section now includes Level 3. It's hand-drawn, as you can see, but it should work. The blackened areas are solid rock (just in case that wasn't clear). I will provide a key for that level when time allows.
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Midsummer's Eve
Midsummer's Eve started out innocently enough. I was playing at Lady Kyra's that evening. Lady DeFay was showcasing her two marriageable daughters, and Cassandra and I were there as part of the entertainment. I happened to spy Cervil there, and he soon caught my eye and motioned me to a private room. He had new information on the murder that took place at the arena. So did I for that matter, and we agreed to go over to Pale's place after the party to trade information.

It's was dark by the time we leave and Agnor is outside waiting for me. Lucky for us, the cemetery Pale tends is right across the street from Lady Kyra's and the four of us quickly make our way over there. We enter the cemetery and approach the caretaker's cottage, complete with a carefully tended herb garden. "No wonder Pale's so morose! I'd be morose too if I lived in a place like this!" I say it loud enough for Pale to hear, and by the time he answers the door, I'm grinning like an idiot. I don't care. I'm in a particularly good mood tonight. It's Midsummer's Eve and by the end of this night, I'm going to be sleeping in the forest with my handsome bodyguard. Not that I expect anything other than sleeping to be going on, but still! I'm ready to wake with the dawn and wash my face with the Midsummer's Day dew. It's supposed to be wonderful at preserving beauty!

Before we get a chance to say more, Pale starts walking toward the cemetery gate. "Where are you going?" I ask, more seriously now. "I've got to pick up something," he replies. "Ok, then what are you picking up?!" Gods, it's like pulling teeth with this guy! "A robe." Yeah like you need another black ensemble to round out that wardrobe. Whatever. "Well, we've got information to trade about the murder, but I guess we can walk and talk."

The five of us make our way to the crafter's quarter all while discussing what we've found out so far. Cassandra and I decide that we'll need to get in contact with the newly formed Whore's Guild to get more information for the case. We all decide to meet at the Forge and Furnace when we're done with our tasks. We leave Pale at the tailor while Cervil heads off to do some additional research of his own.

At the Forge and Furnace me and Cassandra ask the serving girl if she knows where we can get additional "services" *wink* *wink*. She give us an odd look, but proceeds to lead us to the back where a hidden corridor is located. Agnor's obviously extremely uncomfortable at the thought of visiting the Whore's Guild, so I tell him he can wait for us in the common room of the tavern. After all, we'll be right back.

Cassandra and I press on and after many twists and turns, we find ourselves in a luxuriously appointed office. I nicely dressed older woman sits behind the desk and bids us to have a seat. "New applicants?" "No mam," I reply, "we're looking to get information on a certain man and the brothel's he frequented. It's for an investigation that the king has asked us to do." In short order we are given information not only on Shavir, but also about Jack O Clubs. It seems we may have a deeper connection here than we thought. I also managed to get more information on the strangler I've been hearing about. It seems he has a taste for prostitutes as well as musicians. He's a brown haired, brown eyed human who practically disappears in a crowd. He apparently fancies himself a hunter of sorts.

As we are getting ready to leave, the lady informs us that we'll have to leave through a different way than the way we came in. We are lead around the complex and after becoming thoroughly turned around, we are shown to a door. Our guide lets us out into a dark alley and quickly closes the door behind us. Great. Just great. It's so dark I can barely see, so I know Cassandra can't see. We stare around for a while wondering which way is the way back to the tavern. "Here, let's link arms. I'll watch the ground to make sure we don't trip over anything, and we'll just make our way.... that way!" We start walking and after a bit of complaining, we fall silent and concentrate on not tripping.

It's then that we notice that there seems to be footsteps coming from behind us. I glance over my shoulder and see a distinctly male figure walking behind us. My breath catches in my throat as panic washes over me. Oh gods, it's him! Oh gods, it's HIM! "Run!" Cassandra and I scream as we unlink arms and break into a run. At the end of the alley way I see what looks like two men. A light flares at the end of the alley way and one of the men breaks into a run towards us. Suddenly I feel something wrap around my ankles, and I pitch forward and land hard on the ground. I struggle to turn over and face my attacker, scraping my arms on the rough ground as I do so. I see him and terror grips me. I mutter a defensive cantrip but it has no effect on him. He lifts his weapon above his head, and a squeeze my eyes shut against the impending attack. Goddess protect me! I feel a great weight slam my body. He's fallen on top of me! He's... asleep... I exhale with relief and manage to shove him off of me. I feel an unnatural cold emanating from his weapon beside me.

A man in flame colored robes and black hair is the first to reach me. He cuts the bonds around my ankles with his dagger and reaches out his hand to help me up. Is it... Pale? He helps me to my feet but I maintain my grip on his arm. Too shaky. If I let go I'll fall. I grip him hard but he doesn't say a word. The others ask if I'm alright, but I can only manage to shake my head. He almost caught me. HE almost caught me. I see a giant figure burst through the gathering crowd running toward us. Agnor. Suddenly he's on his knees in front of me. He looks to be begging. What's he saying? I can't stay on my feet anymore. I fall to my knees with my arms around Agnor's neck. I somehow end up in a conveyance. Then suddenly I'm back at the cottage in the cemetery, only now I'm inside. Pale is asking me if I want a sleeping draught. "Will it make me dream?" "I can make it so it won't." "That's what I want." Time passes and a cup is placed to my lips. I drink and slip in to oblivion.
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Pointer-left Black_man_bus_suit_thumb

van illa
Posted in ShadowSEA
OOC - downtime things
I'll be posting Van's take on the first run, but, while it's in my head, I'd like to do some downtime stuff. I'll be filing a report of all that happened during the mission with my employers. I'm interested in seeing exactly how much this particular run made me. Now for a shopping list:
-makeup kit
-salvette slivergun
-silencer for Ares Predator
-small doses of kamikaze, cram, deepweed, gammascopaline
-stick and shock rounds
-insulation, shock frills, and chemical resistance for my armor jacket
-goggles (preferably some that can pass for other eyeware) with image link and
-new shoes

To do list:

Inquire with other team members as to connections between organ leggers and ghost cartels. Gather information about previous runs.

Search company records for departments, commissions, and extra-corporate organizations Iris Gibbs has been involved in for recurring names.

I'd like to pay the bill at Blue Nile. (just how expensive is red meat, anyhow?)

Drop suit off at the cleaners.

OH, I nearly forgot I walked away with an SMG. Let me know what kind that is.
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The Scooby Gang is On The Case
Day Three (cont.):
After taking care of your early morning visitors, the party decided to head back to home base and recoop. When the group returned to the Market Tavern for some shut-eye, they found that Val had returned from an evening of... well, that's probably best left to the imagination.

After nappy-time, the party approach their old friend Rasputin the bard. Someone paid his monkey and he sang you a tune of loss by a "Seer of Stones, a Cutter of Roots, and a Winder of Wire." After, asking around it was determined that the the Seer, the Root Cutter, and the Finesmith had all been robbed recently. The Game was afoot!

The gang headed out to the Finesmith first. Located in the prestigious Crafthall, Crenshaw the finesmith is a slender man with a permanent squint from his constant use of a magnifying monocle. He found the robbery odd. The thieves took all his coins and a bag of powdered silver, but they left more valuable items that would not be hard to fence. His supplies of silver wire, gold leaf,and mithral were all untouched. Kref plumbed the depths of his wizardly knowledge and was quick to point out that powdered silver was a material component for many abjurations spells... especially wards. The party also asked after the crafthall manager Henrick Mendon. Crenshaw described him as a miserly, somewhat unpleasant man who been acting a little off of late. He was out of the hall today, so the party couldn't speak with him.

Next stop, the Root Cutter. Entering this tiny shop the party found a "mellow" druid named Caledon and his equally mellow wolf companion. Sensing this interrogation was best done carefully, Winter Cherry booted the party out and made with the druid speak. Nervous at first, Caledon eventually opened up. Apparently some of the local druids found his "tampering" with nature unsettling and he had to move to the citadel. Once he determined Winter Cherry was cool. He told her about the burglary. Again, the theft was odd. The the items taken were body parts of various creatures Caledon kept for use in his concoctions... The hand of a troll, the antennae of a rust monster, the claw of a rast, the horn of a minotaur, and the stinger from a monstrous scorpion. He also mentioned that Henrick Mendon had been in shopping for flowers, an event he found out of character for the crafthall manager.

With two mentions of Mendon, the party felt pressed to speak with the man. Upon returning to Mendon's office, they discover he was still not in. Undaunted, Val "distracted" the leatherworkers across the way while Caledon got his thief on. Nothing like a half-naked amazon playing "Hey look at me!" when you need to break and enter. Caledon found the small office very tidy and well kept, but nothing out of the ordinary. He picked the lock on a trapdoor in the floor and discovered a staircase leading to the crafthall's cavernous storeroom. The staircase, the lift, and a large ramp leading out to the street through double doors appeared to be the only entrances. Pressed for time, Caledon headed back upstairs. He slipped back out of the office and the party left with none the wiser.

The party now headed off to speak with the "Seer of Sones" and old halfing woman named Amarathea. She was distraught as the thieves had stolen her collection of "charms." When asked to describe the items she gave the following list: a chunk of black iron ore, a moonstone, a vial of dirt from the fields of Elysium, and a piece of obsidian. Nothing else appeared to be missing from her shop. Before the party left Amarathea did one of her readings on Cross saying,"Darkness reaches out to do you harm; only by remaining alert and on guard will you prevail." Stunned by the wisdom of her reading another party member (can't remember who, but it's critically important...really)(*edit - now unmasked as Kref.) also asked for a reading and was told, "Your actions are mirrored by others; one who seems a foe may yet become a friend."

Bouyed by their discoveries, the party headed back across town to find a hubbub in the market. Pushing through the massive crowd, the party found their old friends the Band of the Crimson Mantle descending into the sewers. Pratchett shouted out, "Friends, citzens, take heart, for the Band of the Crimson Mantle goes now to seek the source of your troubles. Do not fear for our safety; instead, prepare a the feast for our return, for we will be victorious. Farewell! ... and tell those other Demon-slaying tossers to sod off!" Actually, he didn't say that last part, but he might as well have. Enraged (or at least a bit put out) the party found the Angus brothers in the crowd. Brom and Arb were accompanied by the disheveled, one handed gnome named Stump who also happened to be Elinda's adopted father. The Angus brother's weren't sure if the BotCM would succed, but they're seemed fine having them try.

Stay tuned, in our next episode, Cross gets yelled at by an Angus. Don't touch that dial.
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A Prophet Has Risen
"Dr. Willis Frank Steiner, wake up." A deep bellowing voice wakes up the good doctor.

"Who's there?" Replied Dr. Steiner strapped to his bed at Archibald M. Alyssum in Seattle, Washington. Accustomed to hearing voices when no one else is around, the Doc asks this new voice in a pleasant and undemanding tone, "What is....YOUR name?" The manner in which he asked was that of a cynical man who has heard many voices and with each a new name. Friends without faces with the same name can be awfully confusing. Even for a young doctor.

"I have no name for I'm not of this world. Your are not to speak to me, but only listen. In your tongue, you will be called my prophet. Your skills and talents are now mine as your decaying, imperfect body will be cast aside and I will give you a new body. A body that will grant you eternal life. This is my gift to you as long as you follow me. Take it and free from darkness. Do you accept my gift?"

Unable to utter words from his mouth, Willis begins to believe this isn't a voice coming from his head. A long silence occurs as Willis contemplates how he will answer.

"Nod your head or something." Spoke the Voice impatiently, "It is a yes or no question."

Dr. Steiner realizing his situation and understanding the magic power over him, nods his head agreeing to this unknown entity. Just then a force of energy consumes the doctor while he struggles with his arms and his legs. Strapped to his bed, his facial expression is that of a man screaming in pain, but without a sound coming from his mouth. After three long seconds of pure agony, he his able to hear his voice at the same time the pain stops. Another three seconds pass by until the Doctor blacks out.

Awake again, Doctor Willis Frank Steiner lifts his head up so he can see the door. He hears the thoughts up a nurse close by. It was as if he was standing by her ear listening to her speak. "I wonder if Doctor Balding will ever ask me out for a drink. I've been working for such long hours and a girl needs to let loose once in a while. There is nobody else in this place worth a spit. Maybe I should date one of the patients. Crazies need somebody to love too." Just Doctor Stiener realized he wasn't hearing her voice, but listening to her thoughts. Something changed in him, something made the clatter of voices in his head go away. He could now focus on the minds of everyone in the building and read their thoughts and see their faces. Finally, a chance to get free.

"Go now child and we will make the world our playground. Make followers of me and we will enjoy life as long we see fit." Just then the voice went away and all the Doctor could hear were the thoughts of the nurse and sounds of her feet as she stopped at Room 201. Doctor Willis Frank Steiner's room. He began to telepathically communicate to the nurse and project his thoughts into her mind.

"Hello, Nurse Chumbawba."
What a Stange Name. What does she look like? let's find a memory of us looking into a mirror, shall we?

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