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Dark Labyrinths
We ventured out of Sanctuary once again, to travel to the ancient labyrinth ruins that once served as the home of the minotaurs. Long lost to the pages of history, the minotaurs have left a great treasure of knowledge and artifacts behind, for those who are brave enough to seek them. We have been brought to this place to find the slave dealers who have been kidnapping local beings and selling them in the markets below the Darkness.

Upon first entering the mazes, we overheard someone threatening a smallish creature. When we investigated, we discovered a room with vicious slavers beating up a helples, but long-winded, halfling. We easily took them out to rescue the seemingly helpless creature. Our simple task of dispatching some less-than-humane monsters, quickly became an epic tale of heroism and bravery, as we found that the little one we rescued was the owner of the Half-Moon Inn. The Inn is a place frequented by most of the inhabitants of the Seven Pillared Hall, a sort of halfway point from the surface of 'civilization' and the Underdark. The owner, grateful for our stepping in to save him, graciously provided us room and board for our stay here in the Hall.

We thought we would have to maintain a low profile, to keep hidden while scouting around for information, but the Seven Pillared Hall is home to a vastly eclectic mix of races. You would think a fight would be breaking out every few minutes, but the peace is governed by some wizards who also inhabit the Hall. Their peace is enforced by a gigantic brute named Brug. Kaiwren, with her silver tongue, has been able to win him over, which is a good thing because I would NOT want to meet this one in a dark alley. As long as we maintain the law of not starting trouble in the Hall itself, we will remain on Brug's good side.

I must go. We are going to make our first exploration of the labyrinth, so everyone needs to rest and prepare. I will add more once we return.

If we return...
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Dixie Flatline
Some days, McCoy Pauley woke up screaming. Those were good days.

Wiping cold sweat from his brow, he swung his legs over the bed to the floor, and ran a hand through his graying hair. His legs were shaking. He reached out and thumbed the AR display hanging over his nightstand to see what had woken him.

A face hung in the air. It looked corporate. McCoy slapped at the play button, and the recorded message poured forth.

"Mr. Flatline, my name is Mr. Johnson. I'd like to hire some assets for a project I'm working on, and I believe you may have the ones I require. Please contact [team name]* and let them know about this offer."

Pauley rubbed his face and looked at the display. Four AM is a bit of an odd time for a job offer to be coming in, but work was work. He yawned and began to prep a message for the team, stopping only to rub his temples in a futile attempt to stop his oncoming headache.

Monday game: I'm not doing the cold open thing again. Just assume that you've been running with each other for two or three months, getting jobs through Dixie Flatline (your fixer, a 4/4 contact). You may want to discuss what kinds of jobs you've done previously, and agree on a team name.
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So far, it looks like Matt and I will be using this EW for both campaigns - at least he hasn't objected to it yet.

As far as formatting goes, if the entire post is going to be out of character, just preface it with OOC. If you're going to mix and match, leave the in character stuff as normal text, and italicize the out of character stuff.

Personally I may bring back an aspect of EW use that Matt touched on the first time, and I forgot about. The things you write on EW may give you some sort of karma discount - for example, if Millenium Baby writes about using demolitions to blow up things at a family reunion to entertain the grandkids, he may find that it takes a bit less karma than usual to raise the skill.

I'd like to stress that this is a bonus thing - what I like most about EW is using it to flesh out your characters and their motivations. Last game in particular everyone did an excellent job at it - Nick's posts allowed me to customize the encounters with Fineas a bit more, and Steve's posts allowed me to actually contrive a scenario in which a Lone Star legal center got bombed. Then Michele's post on how killing Bob Newhart affected her character's ability to create art, Matt's creepy Emergence Journals, Eric's surrealistic take on running, and the flat out amazing jobs of characterization that both Mark and Patrick did, and you can see why I like using EW so much.
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Correspondence of Mencia de Morena - 29 Sommerzeit, 2523 – The Three Feathers Inn – Delberz
<<OOC: This is entirely written in Estalian.>>

Addressed to Adriano & Maria-Lucia de Moreno
Durango, Estalia

Dear Father & Mother,

I’m continuing my correspondence while seated inside of an interesting establishment – The Three Foes Inn along the road to Middenheim from Altdorf. We’ve been given a new task which takes us along this route by Inquisitor Altmann, through whom we are employed. The latest task is to travel to Middenheim and locate a Darius Gormann, another of his employees, who has gone missing. Apparently he failed to make his check in several days ago and there is concern that he might have fallen prey to someone he was investigating, Herr Gruber. There is no telling what hideous corruptions this one might have gotten involved with – if there is one thing this job provides it is the insight into new and awful ways that individuals fall prey to the ruinous powers.

I had intended to continue my correspondence in Altdorf, unfortunately I found myself having very little free time while preparing to depart again for this new assignment as well as arranging some personal business. As soon as I return to Altdorf, however, I intend to make my way to the Estalian Embassy there. I understand that to be the easiest and most reliable way to post my letters to you, perhaps I shall assemble a package to post in fact. It would be nice to have a pleasant conversation with someone once more in our native tongue as well, some days it is difficult sorting out the nuances of this Reikspiel language. (I suspect my mastery of the language is less than perfect, given the responses I occasionally receive to things said.)

I did luck into a fine clothing establishment that I thought to write about. Mother, I believe that you, especially, would appreciate the store. I purchased a very fashionable set of clothing there, tailored, just before we departed. I’m looking forward to my first opportunity to dress up a little. The establishment is called The Habidashiry.

In other news during the brief period we were in Altdorf, Gottfried parted company from the group for a time, at least. Something was said about him having church business to attend to that demanded his attention. And the magic-slinger that we had previously worked with, the Wizard Gerhardt, returned to our company from whatever individual tasks that he had been set to by our employer. I’m not sure if his return bodes well or not. Beyond the Wizard, the traveling group consists of Rudeger (Our doctor), the dwarf Hornar, Jurgens and myself as well as an elven fellow who was assigned to work with us by the Witchhunter. I could not really tell you much about the elf, I don’t even really recall his name. He very much keeps to himself – even more so than the last elf that we met when we were pinned down at the Reaper’s Bounty.

I should, possibly, give you warning that the company I have been keeping within the general working party has begun to influence some of the skills that I’ve picked up. (As you once told me, Father, one doesn’t stay a Diestro forever, except at heart.) There are a vast array of skills that prove to be useful to the work that I do these days, some of which I’ve been able to learn from my companions or those I’ve met. Some of those skills have come in handy, even while I’m writing this letter to you and sitting quietly at my side table while I listen and subtly watch those around me in this establishment. (A coaching in which seems reasonably popular. It even counts nobles amongst its patrons this night.) There is something very strange going on here, though I’m not entirely sure what – just a great deal of suspicious, or at least odd, behavior – from the young couple who apparently use this establishment as the setting for their liaisons to the serving girl in the bar who got strangely upset and ran out after a boatman drank himself into oblivion and passed out on his chair. I suppose that perhaps it is also possible that I’ve just spent too much time in the presence of those tainted by corruption and am misreading the behaviors – but best to err on the side of caution and watchfulness.

I will write more once we reach Middenheim, or after that business is taken care of at the soonest opportunity.

Your daughter,
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Into the temple
As the four arrive at the grounds of the temple the evil is palpable in the air. They survey the area and decide to investigate the remains of a shattered building first.

The building has collapsed. However, they discover access to a basement. Loehn squeezes through the entrance. As soon as she gets to her feet a dozen dire rats scurry out of their hiding places. She screams, "RATS!!" as she readies her axe.

Her axe flashes and three of the rats are dead. Meanwhile Shajerx's dire weasel companion, Wheezy, joins the fray. Loehn draws the remaining rats away from the entrance as the rest of the group squeezes through the hole. Several more rats are killed and the rest retreat.

With the rats defeated the four search the basement. The only item of interest discovered is a trap door. This time Loehn isn't so quick to enter (she's petrified of rats) so Shajerx takes the lead discovering a small wine cellar. In no time the others join her. After a brief meal, with lots of wine to wash it down, the four plunder what wine they can carry and smash the rest.

The companions then decide to examine the perimeter of the temple itself. Disappointed that the windows are too small and too high to see anything they move to the main door. As they approch within ten feet of the main door Shajerx and Adolphus are unable to continue. They can't even bear to look upon the door.

Undaunted the four move on the the smaller doors that flank the main door. Not even checking the latch Loehn smashes it open with her axe. The interior of the temple is in ruins. They search the area carefully until they find a throne behind the main altar. Bael seats himself upon the throne and proclaims his own majesty.

Shajerx moves on continuing the search not noticing that Adolphus (who never leaves Bael's side) has taken up station near the throne and Loehn has stopped for a wine break. Fortunatly, her search is uneventful. The four regroup at the throne. Shajerx announces she has located four paths that lead down to a lower level.

After some bickering they decide to take the stairs located in the west vestry. Bael recommends following the wall to the right to ensure they can easily find their way out and the others agree. They move cautiously down the stairs and along the hall. They explore the armouries and find little in the way of opposition or loot.

They next come upon a large room. Peering in from the threshold they see it is an immense room with a high ceiling supported by pillars. Loehn takes the lead, but as soon as she enters the room a portcullis slams down behind her. "That's why we need a thief," Adolphus blurts out. Loehn spins and tries to lift the gate to no avail.

Suddenly a haunting song comes drifting down from the ceiling. Loehn readies her axe. Adolphus, witless, grabs the bars of the gate trying to get closer to the sound. Suddenly a harpy swoops down on Loehn swinging a club. Loehn sidesteps the attack and launches one of her own slamming her axe into the monster's shoulder. The harpy shrieks in pain her song ended.

Another of the beasts appears high in the air singing its deadly song. This time Loehn is overpowered by the magic in the monster's voice and begins moving towards it. Bael fires a crossbow through the gate at the first harpy inflicting yet another wound. Shajerx summons a hippogriff which finishes the first harpy, ripping out her throat.

Loehn is in more trouble than ever, though, as the second harpy slams its club into her chest. Luckily her plate armour absorbed the blow. The hippogriff lunged towards the monster raking its claws down the harpy's chest. The harpy faltered in her song. Loehn regained her senses in an instant and slammed her axe into the monster's head ending its wicked life.

The threat past, the four gathered round the gate. The combined strength of Loehn, Shajerx, and Adolphus strained against the gate. With a loud snap the mechanism holding it in place gave way. Loehn drug the bodies of the harpies over and used them to prop up the gate.

The four explored the room finding only a secret door in the northwest corner of the room. They could find no way to open the door and moved back into the hallway to continue exploring the temple.

The moved into a hexagonal room dominated by a chair near the north wall. As they searched the room, they noticed a squeaking sound and looking up saw three dire bats. Shajerx attempted to calm the beasts. One of them whirled away, but the others were unaffected and swooped on the party.

Bael launched a crossbow bolt at the nearest bat tearing a hole in its wing. Loehn dropped her axe and slammed an arrow into the same bat nearly killing it. The second bat swooped down at Adolphus. The cleric deftly blocked the attack with his shield and brought his mace down on its head. Shajerx threw her spear at the first bat finishing it. As the second bat twirled back towards Adolphus a second arrow from Loehn's bow pinned it to the wall.

A search of the room revealed a secret door behind the large chair. Bael examined the wall nearby and got the door open. The four moved carefully through the hall. The passage opened into an augery chamber. The four took turns answering questions. "Are we supposed to be here?" "Maybe." "Will one of us turn on the others" (with a pointed look at Bael) "No" "Are we close to reaching our goal?" "No" "Are you fucking with us?" "Yes"

Realising the chamber was bogus they moved on until they came to closed door. Shajerx reached out to open it and cold shot through her arm. The pain caused her to pull back in shock. A few strokes from Loehn's axe remedied the situation.

Inside they discovered a crypt. Shajerx frightened of the possibility of undead retreated to the hall. Loehn and Bael plundered the corpses.

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