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Killer Shrike

Arc 3: A Trick of the Night

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Having survived the cloying tendrils and tentacled horrors of the Cthonic dimension of Nikolai and taken the Heartstone by right of conquest, the hunters returned home...and were immediately called upon to intervene in an emergent vampire outbreak at a club on Sunset Strip. Joined by three time survivor of supernatural horrors turned monster hunter Baretta Colt, and a lay brother of the Roman Catholic Church's ancient brotherhood of vampire slayers, Jack of the Ordo Sanguine, Murgatroyd, Killroy, Joey, and Drew careened off into the streets of L.A. to bring the final rest to any bloodsuckers they could run to ground.

 

They didn't know it yet, but our intrepid Hunters were about to make a very powerful new enemy in the form of a shadowy society of elder vamps known as L'Éminence Nocturne...but that's a problem for later. First they must survive this long bloody night...

 

 

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The Hunters:

   DrewCloseup.jpg Murgatroyd_t.jpg  JoeyManegarmDayCloseUp_t.jpgJamesKillroy_t.jpg BarettaColtCloseUp_t.jpg 

 

Part 1: 

 

Having slain Nikolai and liberated the Heart Stone from his corrupted possession, our beleaguered hunters prepared to exit the Cthonic realm. Aaron Fitzgibbons opted to remain behind in his home dimension with the noble goal of trying to drive off the Elder Thing encircling his world; he is surely doomed to fail but it is certainly heroic of him to make the attempt. He may not have been thinking clearly after consuming an entire bottle of vodka found in Nikolai's drawing room.

 

The alluring dagger Drew had clutched so possessively upon finding had been destroyed in the act of killing Nikolai...almost as if that exact thing were the purpose for which the dagger had been crafted in the first place. The rest of the arcane bric a brac littering Nikolai's manor was deemed too potentially dangerous to dick around with by Murgatroyd so the Hunters kept their hands to themselves. Joey picked up the Heart Stone itself on the premise he was the most likely to survive any unforeseen magical backlash, but he was unharmed.

 

The Pulsing Heart Stone

 

Murgatroyd pulled forth the beacon spell he had been given before departing his own dimension and portentously intoned the incantation scribbled upon it. Everyone tensed up in preparation of something happening...but nothing happened. A tense few moments elapsed. Murgatroyd squinted closely and realized he had mispronounced the last syllable of the last word of the spell. He intoned the spell again, stretching that last syllable properly...and a rift formed in space right there in front of them in dead Nikolai's study. 

 

"Ahem...magic is mostly a matter of repetition...", Murgatroyd said.

 

Exiting the cloying rancid sweetness of Nikolai's dimension and entering the dry arid heat of Las Vegas was an unimaginably uplifting improvement in life circumstances, but each of the four survivors...Drew, Joey, Killroy, and Murgatroyd, were permanently changed in some small way by their time in that doomed plane. 

 

A harried Agent Mathews of Section M awaited them. Though surprised all of them made it, he was alarmed when the attending "specialist" Abernathy observed that the four of them were "different somehow...marked by some alien magic". A tense few minutes followed, and it was starting to look like Section M might decide to quarantine the hunters until they could figure out whatever was going on with them, but Agent Mathews got a text message that superseded small matters such as whether or not to allow potentially Cthonically corrupted individuals to wander around freely.

 

Apparently, a vampire attack had just occurred in public on the Sunset Strip back in LA and he had to get back lickety-split. He took the Hunters back with him via the teleport circle down in the dining room of the  split level house on the fringes of Las Vegas in whose attic the Cthonic rift had been opened in. Emerging back in the classified Section M facility near Riverside, CA which Mathews works out of in an eye blink, the Hunters were told to stand by while Mathews went off to get apprised of the situation.

 

Returning forthwith, Agent Mathews seemed rattled. SAIC Harker, a very senior Section M Agent with decades of experience and a well-earned reputation for being an aggressive loose cannon applied by the Bureau only to those problems where extreme measures are expected to be taken, had arrived at the facility unannounced. Apparently he was running a black op against a vampire infestation in the LA area, without Mathews or anyone else in the field office knowing about it. A pack of newly turned vamps Harker's field agents had been trailing in hopes of being led to a master vampire or at least a bloodsucker higher up the totem pole, had frenzied and killed around 40 people in a night club on the Strip. One of the field agents was dead, and the vamps were in the wind.

 

Harker was demanding resources from Mathews' field office to contain the situation. The hunters were the only team on hand ready to go, so Mathews asked them to step up and go deal with the vamps. After a few moments of thought all four agreed. Mathews ushered them in to meet Harker, but was visibly nervous and practically begged the hunters to "not embarrass" him as "this guy can end my career". He also warned them to not mention Waco. "Seriously, we do not talk about Waco around SAIC Harker. Just...don't, ok? Trust me on this."

 

Harker immediately displayed his "charming" personality in full force, gave them an incredibly terse summary of the situation, sent Drew a coordinate tracker for his "agent in the field" who was in pursuit of "between one and four fleeing vampires", and launched the four of them out into the action by sheer force of angsty will. 

 

Mathews met them in the parking garage on their way out, as they were trying to decide whether to take one of Killroy's or Murgatroyd's rentals or Drew's personally owned vehicle, an unremarkable sedan. None of the cars were well suited to a high speed chase or any sort of tactical situation. Mathews gave Drew the keys to one of the FBI black SUV's, and hurriedly handed out some specialist ammo and gave Joey a shotgun. Which Joey immediately looked down the barrel of, prompting Drew to snatch it away from him and give his young ward a quick primer on shotgun loading, unloading, and general operation. "And don't point it at me, kid".

 

The four then piled in to the SUV, Drew driving, Killroy in the passenger seat, Murgatroyd and Joey in the back. Drew demonstrated his cop driving skills, eventually putting the siren to good use, and hauled ass by every means available to him through  relatively light near-midnight traffic. They were able to make good time towards the blinking blip of Harker's field agent's GPS on Drew's phone. Eventually a HiPol fell in to the SUV's wake and tailed them to their off ramp. As they exited the freeway in front of where it looked like the GPS signal they were following would eventually end up, Drew pulled off the exit ramp and waited.

 

Their HiPol tail pulled up and wanted to know what the hell was going on; Drew flashed credentials and his retiree badge and gave the patrolman the basic situation and asked him to get back on the freeway, loop back around, and close off the exit ramp for thirty minutes. The patrolman was hesitant but called in Drew's FBI consultant license number and was told to comply with Drew's request.

 

A few minutes later, a shitty Civic with three tweaked out punks in it drove by the SUV, followed by other vehicles, and then by a small sports car which seemed to sync up with the GPS signal on Drew's phone. Pulling back onto the road, Drew maneuvered the SUV around to pull up abreast with the sports car...windows were rolled down and our hunters met fellow hunter Baretta Colt.

 

A shouted conversation through the windows established the situation...the car full of tweakers that had driven past first was three of the vamps from the club attack. Drew indicated understanding and then pulled ahead, lights flashing. In Drew's head, what would happen was the erratically driving wigged out bad guys would reasonably and rationally assume the siren spinning black SUV pulling up on them was just a cop trying to pass them to go somewhere else, which would allow Drew to get in front of them and bar their path.

 

What actually happened was the vampire doing the driving panicked, recklessly tried to veer off the road, lost control of the vehicle, and ended up flipping the getaway car in a rolling crash ended by slamming  into a civilian car. A pileup ensued. 

 

Drew's tactical driving skills proved useful again as he was able to bring his large vehicle to a sliding halt, somehow avoiding collision and also luckily ending with the SUV's headlights pointed directly at the upside down getaway vehicle of the three vampires Baretta had been pursuing. There was a brief pause as those involved took stock of the situation. Then all hell broke loose.

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Drew got on the SUV's PA system and ordered all civilians in the area to depart immediately due to extreme danger, lethal force authorized, etc...and using cop lingo, confident authority, plus the pure decibels of the PA system (and maybe a little luck as well)...he convinced most people to do just that. A couple of die hard cell phone users further away from the action were unswayed however, and began filming the incident. There were also doubtlessly security cameras in the nearby shops, and less visible looky-loos with recording devices. Drew was already worrying at that problem in the back of his mind and coming up with a containment plan.

 

Stopping a bit further down the road, Baretta Colt exited her vehicle, slapped leather to get the cold steel of her custom 1911's into her hands, and put a round through the back window of the upside down Civic to blow a chunk out of the trapezius of one of the vampires, who howled with anger and a predatory promise of vengeance.

 

On the other side of the Civic, Killroy wasted no time stabilizing his sniper rifle on the passenger door's window frame and taking a booming shot to completely blow the shoulder off one of the other vamps with one round from his small supply of consecrated bullets.

 

Murgatroyd rolled down his window and extended a knobbly fist, pointing his fancy signet ring at the now one-armed vampire Killroy had shot, and emitted an invisible-to-the-human-eye burst of arcane energy arranged in a mystical latticework meant to emulate ultraviolet light. The vampire's flesh blistered and peeled away immediately, and the young vamp emitted a horrifying shriek as he caught fire and died.

 

The vampire shot in the trapezius by Colt sprang from the vehicle and rushed at her, one arm limp but the other poised to strike. She snapped off a high shot to stop the creature, but missed! Killroy's big gun boomed again and the vampire's torso literally exploded, burst by the consecrated large caliber round. Luckily the round was consumed by the release of mystical energy and did not continue on to strike Baretta who was directly in the line of fire.

 

Joey jumped out and ran towards the upside down Civic, eager to get to shoot his new shotgun, but the third vampire...the driver...burst free from his seat belt and knocked the driver's side car door clear off its hinges and thirty feet or more away with one hard burst of strength. Then he launched himself catapult-like from the vehicle straight at Joey in a mighty leap, landing just short.

 

JOE VAMPIRE Pic

 

Drew had opted to depart the SUV and braced across the hood of the vehicle; he snapped off a shot at Joey's attacker deliberately targeting the knee with the intent of taking the vamp alive for interrogation. Drew took the shot, and hit the back of the vampire's knee with perfect accuracy as planned. Unfortunately, the 10mm round caught a bone, ricocheted around quite a bit, spalling horrifically, and ultimately blew the leg clean off just above the knee. The vampire's blood gushed out in a massive spurt, coating Joey, and the vamp fell to the ground nearly drained of the mystically infused blood that allowed his undead body to persist...and thus nearly expired.

 

Baretta yelled out, exasperatedly, "don't kill that one! we need to question him!" and Killroy relayed that info, but not knowing what to do Joey hesitated. Finally he put down his shotgun (still unfired) and clamped on to the vamp's thigh, squeezing the truncated leg with superhuman strength as a sort of half-assed tourniquet.  

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Baretta and Killroy rushed over to help Joey, and Baretta pulled a first aid kit from her backpack. Killroy provided his belt, and working together they managed to get a real tourniquet in place. Joey carried the nearly-dead-for-real vamp to the back of the SUV and climbed into the back with him while the rest of the group tried to think of a way to restrain the vampire should he recover. Various increasingly unlikely scenarios were explored, but finally accepting that there wasn't much they could to do restrain someone who could rabbit punch a car door completely off its hinges and send it flying, Drew ordered Joey to just sit on the vamp and use his own superhuman strength to restrain the perp.

 

Killroy and Baretta ran down a couple of cell phone video tapers to confiscate their phones as evidence. Drew pulled ID's and cell phones from the victims, called in their drivers licenses, found a phone number for the vampire named Dai on one of the dead vamps phone, and called that in for directory lookup.

 

In the back of the SUV, silently the vamps regeneration had kicked in and healed him enough to put up some fight. Throwing Joey off of himself with tremendous strength, the vamp tried to escape before realizing he was missing a leg. Joey bounced off the inside of the SUV but was unharmed and kicked off the interior wall to land a devastating punch on the vamps sternum in an attempt to regain control and prevent escape. Unfortunately, the badly injured vamp could not sustain that kind of force...the tourniquet was burst from the pressure as the vamp's chest caved in. Bleh...dead for real this time.

 

Murgatroyd had bailed from the backseat of the truck what with all the brouhaha going on which got Drew's attention and he returned to the truck...seeing the situation he just sighed and handed off the cell phones he had pilfered to Joey to data dump and sift through. Meanwhile using the cell phone number Drew had called in to get billing records, analysts texted Drew an address for the last known residence of Dai, and he shared that info with the team.

 

Baretta and Killroy wanted to immediately go check out the location, while Drew insisted the team first lock down security footage and secure the scene.  Tensions between Drew and Baretta were immediate and they were unable to agree. Thus the team split, with Baretta and Killroy driving off to Van Nuys while Drew managed the scene by calling things in and putting arriving law enforcement to work,  Murgatroyd paged through his field spell book for a detection spell and Joey wrote a grepping script to sift through the data he gained from the dead vamps' phones looking for keywords, patterns, and hopefully some kind of a timeline of changes in behavior as gleaned from texting and calls.

 

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Murgatroyd worked out the details of a functional detect spell for Dai using a profile photo on one of the dead vamps phones, and with the crime scene under control, Drew was comfortable leaving the rest of the cleanup to others. Saddling back up in the loaner black SUV, the trio headed towards Van Nuys guided by Murgatroyd's spell.

 

Meanwhile, actually already in Van Nuys, Killroy and Baretta found Dai's residential address easily, half of a duplex in a lower rent neighborhood. The side of the duplex they were interested in was possibly vacant, though a dim light could be seen behind the front window's curtain. Uncertain if Dai had possibly turned neighbors, the duo proceeded cautiously. Finally, after some cell phone communication back and forth with SAIC Harker and Drew & team, they decided that the place was probably deserted and moved in via breaking a corner of the front window and opening it for ingress.

 

They found a shitty, poorly furnished and not very tidy bachelor apartment, abandoned. Upstairs in the single bedroom on a beside table Baretta found a kinko's copies cardboard box about half full of band flyers for "Maximum Carnage", apparently the name of Dai's wannabe metal band. The other three vamps that were killed by the team earlier appeared to be the rest of the band. According to the flyer, the band was celebrating being picked up by Slip It To Me records with a "one night only" appearance at the Lush...the club where the vamp attack had occurred. On speaker phone with the rest of the team, Baretta told them the url for the band's website, which Joey looked up...and from there dug into Slip It To Me records, and its parent company Glitterglam Industries. Various clues about the adventure were thereby revealed. 

 

Meanwhile, Drew's expert driving was leading them inexorably to an abandoned music studio in a rundown industrial area of Van Nuys...Music Town Studios...Joey looked it up and discovered that the abandoned building was still listed as being owned by one Samuel Phillip Wilson...owner of Slip It To Me Records and Chief Operating Officer of Glitterglam Industries...hrm...The group surmised that Samuel Wilson is likely the vampire called "Slip" who is known to have been hanging around LA for nearly four decades but somehow always avoids capture or destruction. He's as slippery as his namesake.

 

Between that and Murgatroyd's spell clearly indicating that Dai could be found inside the studio, the group was sure they were in the right place. Killroy and Baretta rejoined them soon. While waiting, Joey's program finished processing, and he reviewed the findings. A clear pattern emerged of normal dumb ass wannabe rock star behavior between the three vamps and their social network, and then several days ago a marked change in who they were communicating with (or more to the point, weren't) and what they were talking about...it was obvious when they had been turned. The main thrust of conversation that emerged was that "Slip" wanted them to do something violent to someone called "Vincent", and back and forth conversation about whether they actually would. From the tone of the conversation, they were working up their courage.

 

Joey relayed all of that to Drew, and Drew called it in to Mathews and asked for analyst support. 

 

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Reunited, the five Hunters reconvened their partnership. Drew cast an experienced eye around the area and pointed out a snipers blind for Killroy to support a plan of luring Dai out of the building into the front courtyard so that Killroy could take the shot while the rest of the Hunters took up supporting positions. Drew wanted the easy on the eyes Baretta to play bait, going into the building, getting Dai's attention, and then running out to kite the vamp into the open. 

 

Baretta was having none of that idea and suggested they send the supposedly invulnerable kid, Joey, in instead. Drew took exception that she'd send a kid in, and the two resumed their already contentious relationship. Not wanting to see the group fracture again, Joey quickly volunteered to be the bait and the argument was grudgingly settled...aided by a nearly silent electric luxury sedan pulling up behind the building on the other side of the studio. Joey and Drew noticed it, but the rest of the group had their back turned and did not. Joey pointed it out and the team sprang into action mode.

 

Joey and Drew made for a window on the front of the building while Murgatroyd took up a position nearby at a corner, and Baretta tactically jogged towards the other corner where the vehicle Joey and Drew had spotted allegedly was. Killroy snapped in to support Baretta.

 

Murgatroyd got Drew's attention and conveyed via pantomime that his detection spell indicated Dai was on the other side of a boarded up window by the also boarded up front door. Drew turned and fired without hesitation, the bullet luckily finding a gap between the boards, shattering some remaining glass, and could then be heard to ricochet off of something indoors, followed by an improbable "OW! WHAT THE $#*%!" from inside.

 

Nearly simultaneously Joey plunged through the window he had been aiming at, shattering the board over it. Killroy refocused his attention in that direction. Drew noted some of the shards of wood as potentially useful makeshift stakes.

 

Around back, Baretta could see that there was indeed a fancy luxury vehicle parked behind the building and that one of the board sections had been pulled down off a open window...presumably the driver of the vehicle had gone inside. She pulled out her cell phone and snapped a picture of the license plate and sent it to SAIC Harker. 

 

Inside the studio Joey could hear both Dai in the front lobby, and someone else on the other side of a wall towards the back of the building. Running towards the front lobby, he came out near Dai and leveled his shotgun. Finally! He'd get to shoot it!

DAI Pic

 

Dai, seeing some kid wearing a "I {heart} LA" t-shirt (which Drew had bought him earlier at the first crime scene to replace Joey's blood-soaked original shirt) and pointing a shotgun at him, stared menacingly and said "Like...just...GO AWAY, MAN!" with the full force of vampiric influence. However, though not entirely unaffected, Joey proved to be resilient to this type of control and said, "Uh, no...", and prepared to shoot. Dai, startled that his most reliable trick hadn't worked, activated vampire speed and blurred out the window Drew had shot him through, bursting boards, took a swipe at Drew forcing him to dive for cover, and finally...conveniently...ended his movement smack in the middle of the courtyard and Killroy's sights. Drew and his damn improbable plans that somehow work out way more often than they should at play again, perhaps? 

 

Killroy didn't hesitate to ease his rifle's trigger back, and a third round from of his dwindling supply of consecrated bullets exploded Dai's head in a geyser of blood and flung the corpse several meters to thud against the side of the building. "Dammit, we needed him alive!", Drew muttered. 

 

With Dai gone, Joey ran further into the building to find the other person he had heard and rounded the corner, shotgun at the ready, on a frightening looking and much more menacing vampire...who stared Joey in the eyes...and that's the last thing Joey remembered, locked in some kind of a mental mesmerism. Unknown to him, the vamp then pounced upon Joey and started to try to feed, but the vamp was rather dismayed to discover that his fangs could not penetrate Joey's skin...like, at all.

 

SLIP Pic

 

The vamp, who was none other than Slip, was just starting to realize that he might be in a bad situation when Baretta leaned in through the back window and saw some vampire trying to feed  on a seemingly helpless Joey. She aimed carefully before unmercifully blowing the back of Slip's head off with one of her own limited supply of blessed bullets. Four decades of dodging some of the best Hunters in the business as well as other enemies came to a close for Slip, shot from behind like Jesse James. 

 

With no further threats remaining, the team regrouped and called it in. SAIC Harker was "not happy" that they had managed to kill all the known vamps and thus known sources of information. He ordered them to sit on the bodies and the car and he would helo lift to their location.

 

Thus endeth the session....

 

Part 2 >>

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3 hours ago, Killer Shrike said:

Reunited, the five Hunters reconvened their partnership. Drew cast an experienced eye around the area and pointed out a snipers blind for Killroy to support a plan of luring Dai out of the building into the front courtyard so that Killroy could take the shot while the rest of the Hunters took up supporting positions. Drew wanted the easy on the eyes Baretta to play bait, going into the building, getting Dai's attention, and then running out to kite the vamp into the open. 

 

Baretta was having none of that idea and suggested they send the supposedly invulnerable kid, Joey, in instead. Drew took exception that she'd send a kid in, and the two resumed their already contentious relationship. Not wanting to see the group fracture again, Joey quickly volunteered to be the bait and the argument was grudgingly settled...aided by a nearly silent electric luxury sedan pulling up behind the building on the other side of the studio. Joey and Drew noticed it, but the rest of the group had their back turned and did not. Joey pointed it out and the team sprang into action mode.

 

Yeah, let's just say that Beretta has some lingering PTSD that can become an issue when soloing certain types of enemies (like VAMPIRES!). 😰

 

There was a decent chance she would not have been in a state of mind that could follow that plan after she came face to face with one of them while alone. She wasn't going to admit she had that particular weakness to someone she just met a short time before, so she got a little bristly.

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3 hours ago, Killer Shrike said:

I didn't have a problem with it...you don't get to be the final girl in every supernatural set to by being dumb.

 

Also, it was well within her "looks out for number one" psylim.

 

Yes, that is true too. She wants to be part of a team because soloing is suicidal.

 

I'm kind of liking that her initial intro gave her a vampire hunter specialist sort of feel, even though she really isn't. I may run a bit with that to carve out a niche specialty alongside her "Final Girl takes a level in badass" theme, but I am still worried she'll end up being Vasquez from the Aliens franchise, if I'm not careful or the dice betray me. 😨

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Everything is relative to baseline 8 characteristics 0 point normal humans. So, people with a 150 odd points plus some number of hidden points of gear are quite good by comparison. And as on each character their butter is spread thin over their toast, even a single +1 in something and a semi-niche ability is enough to cast a character as a "specialist".

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I think each one of us got a vampire kill this session. Murgatroyd got a finishing blow on the vampire in the car, Drew technically killed the vampire whose leg he shot off, Joey definitely killed the vampire Drew technically killed, Killroy and Beretta both got head shot kills. We're officially vampire hunters. And millionaires. Why do I think we'll end up forfeiting some of our millions? It's just a bad feeling I have.

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Nah...I would only take away something you had earned if it were in pursuit of something more interesting. The only thing "money" / bounty payouts represents to me is character motivation for some characters. Some players get some kind of vicarious / power projection thrill out of their characters gaining wealth and power, and if getting big bounties helps them feel validated or they just want to "keep score" I'm ok with that. Players that are all about character development that have characters that are motivated by the desire for money can use the promise of bigger payouts to justify their participation in ludicrously dangerous adventures.

 

Players with characters that care about other things will find a different motivation. For instance, perhaps Murgatroyd puts his newfound wealth into furthering his research to extend his longevity. Killroy doesn't care about bounty money, he cares about killing monsters cuz monsters need killin. Baretta is similar, she needs revenge / closure / empowerment. Joey needs to find out who and what he really is (we the players know but he the character has no idea yet). Drew is the only character currently in the group motivated by getting paid, and he's one of those tough talking teddy bears...scratch past the gruff jaded exterior and you find a sheep dog determined to protect and contain the herd.

 

Also, since players can if they like switch out hunters between arcs / when it makes sense to the story, its kind of "whatev"...if a player feels like now that their character has struck it rich they would no longer fight monsters...that's fine. Make a new hunter who is still motivated to hunt monsters (for whatever reason) aka allow the player to keep participating in the campaign, and keep going that way. 

 

If a player came to me and said something like...I'd like to have something happen that caused my character to somehow be divested of the fat stacks of cash they've earned by killing all these monsters we've been hunting, and have at least part of an arc revolve around that...well, that would be a good narrative hook and thus be _more interesting_ than just having some large number passively written down on a character sheet or some number of points of Wealth. 

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I know what our problem is: we weren’t getting paid to take a vampire alive. Although I doubt that would have mattered. Our gunners are too good at what they do. They have a particular skill set. 

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The secret is, I am ok with any outcome...I just play the story out as it emerges...it's all just a choose your own adventure novel with a GM assist.

 

The version of the story where the players remember not to kill all the bad guys in front of them and instead focus on going after the alluded to bigger fish is one fork.

 

The version of the story which we are in where our gun bunnies one shot kill every single bad guy is not necessarily a less interesting story...Joey, Drew, and Baretta have all picked up some of the investigative slack by doing good police procedural type things like running drivers licenses, checking out known addresses, getting license plates, doing internet research, cell phone dumps, etc. Murgatroyd helped overcome missing information due to every possible interrogation subject getting summarily executed with extreme prejudice within seconds of being encountered, by using his facility for divination magics. 

 

The next session will be a heavy roleplaying burst at the beginning w/ Harker, the bulk of the session will be action (not necessarily combat, but probably combat, high speed chase(s), etc) with maybe a lull in the eye of the storm if I can manage it wherein the heroes can have a moment of inner reflection and the bonding experience of solidarity in the face of shared danger, a final burst of excitement, and a twist ending. Not much investigation needed; the bad guys will gladly come to you. 

 

If Killroy survives into the third act / session after next, there's one possible version of that story where he can use his real estate acumen to track down the big bad via deeds / following the thread of property ownership. Similarly there's a cop angle that Drew could pursue, there's some hacker stuff Joey could unravel, and a magical angle that Murgy could work. I have a specific thing Baretta will be doing off screen in Steve's absence...Harker's gambit to salvage something from this mess, and that offers a fifth approach to getting to the final scene. If any two angles pay off its enough for a solid lock on moving the story through the third act successfully. One character can carry the team in a pinch, but the more threads that weave together the more satisfying it will be. Other outcomes are also possible. 

 

The version of the story wherein the hunters can't find Vincent or opt to not pursue the matter is also ok. There are other vignettes, other stories to be told with these hunters or different hunters. Hopefully you the players decide you want to go after the real big bad for reasons of your own. I'm not going to force you to go after him if you don't want to. 

 

It's all good. The fun for me is the emergent narrative. I could write up a fiction novel with these characters and this plot and just script everything if I wanted to put the time into it, but that isn't very satisfying to me. I like being surprised by the choices of unpredictable human agents of chaos (aka players) making bizarre decisions and acting in unexpected ways and the occasional hand of randomization via wonky dice rolls and seeing the story that emerges thereof.

 

My hot button as a GM, the thing that makes me not want to run a game anymore, is players that wont do anything, passive players who sit like lumps, refuse to engage with the story or propel the story in any direction on their own. Players who want the story to happen to them rather than make it happen. Players that want and expect to be put on rails and pushed through the adventure,  players who think their contribution to the session is picking up dice and dropping them on the table when prompted to do so. Very boring. There's only one actual rule at my table when I'm the GM, regardless of the game being played...do things that make it fun for the other people at the table!

 

You guys have been driving the action with very little prodding. Steve and WilyQ are good at initiating activity. You and Scything are good at adapting to the situation and finding ways to facilitate forward movement in the story. King Red is good at filling his role and providing a safety net within which the rest of you can take risks. It's an effective team dynamic, and one that has thus far been working well for the group. 

 

I tend to run my campaigns like a TV show...each episode has to have its hook, and some episodes are standalone, but most have some element of a larger plotline / metaplot threaded thru them. As a game within a game, see if you can spot me laying the ground work for future arcs as we go....

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1 hour ago, Scything said:

I like the TV episode style of play because the plot becomes more compact and interesting. 👍


ya. hopefully each session amounts to a GOOD episode and not a crappy middle of the season slump Netflix filler episode.

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I'm looking forward to our next episodes as opportunities for character growth. I have a direction I want to steer Murgatroyd the cowardly lion since it appears he'll be hanging around with action movie stars for the foreseeable future. There are worse things than gaining a reputation as capable hunters, although perhaps capable hunters with room for improvement would be more accurate.

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The Hunters:

    DrewCloseup.jpg Murgatroyd_t.jpg JoeyManegarmDayCloseUp_t.jpg JamesKillroy_t.jpg JackMaywood_th.jpg 

 

Part 2: 

 

  • The adventure resumed at the derelict sound studio w/ dead Slip & dead Dai, exactly where we left off last session.
  • Murgatroyd put together a spell to help break Joey out of the mental paralysis Slip had put him in
  • Jack was not present, but was driving towards the general vicinity per earlier instruction and was notified via phn by Harker where to go
    • It was established that Jack is one of Harker's assets, and has been working on the op all along, but was responsible for some aspect of the mission happening further south and was not present when the attack at the night club by Dai and his bandmates went down.
  • Having helped Joey, Murgatroyd wanted to use the bodies of Slip & Dai for material components to cast a retrocognitive spell
  • Baretta fixated on watching Slip's car like a hawk per Harker's phn directive
  • Drew looted Slip's wallet and called in Slip's license and car plate to Section M dispatch for lookup
  • Joey tried to hack Slip's phone but it turned out to be encrypted
  • Jack arrived in his armored van as Killroy was moving Dai's headless corpse into the sound studio to get the body out of view
  • Jack and Killroy interacted, then Jack joined the crew inside the derelict building
  • Murgatroyd's spell worked; he was looking for the most powerful entity Slip had most recently interacted with in the last few days. 
    • The spell allowed Murgatroyd to see (not hear) an obvious argument between Slip and a powerful vampire lady of hispanic appearance at some kind of fancy / dressed up event approximately 3 days ago.
    • Murgatroyd retained a vestigial sense of awareness of the direction in which the altercation occurred.
  • Joey hacked Slip's car and was able to get a dump from the nav system. The car turned out to be less than a month old. Joey grep'd thru the data and cross referenced it to eliminate uninteresting locations. The derived set included an office on Sunset Strip which was easily determined to be Slip's offices at Slip It To Me Records, a residential address in Venice Beach and an office in Malibu. Or maybe the residential address was in Malibu and the other office was in Venice Beach. Difficult to say, really.
  • Harker arrived via helicopter, pissed off, and roundly chewed everyone out. 
    • Drew gritted his teeth and suffered thru it, despite it obviously irritating him to take $#!^ from Harker
      • The rest of the team let it slide off of their backs 
    • He instructed the team to put a bag over Slip's head and "perp walk" his corpse to the helicopter, making it look like he was "alive" but incapacitated. 
    • He instructed Baretta to drive Slip's car back to the Section M facility. 
    • He instructed Jack to take Baretta's place with the team and "ride herd" on them.
    • Harker instructed the team to haul ass to Slip's office and grab everything of "actionable value", and to be very obvious in the doing of it
      • He explicitly instructed them to be "be seen" taking Slip's stuff in an official way
      • He strongly suggested that they were probably already being watched
      • He explained to them (in his own way) that his "brilliant plan" is to make other vamps think that Slip has been taken into custody and is being questioned. He wants the team to further that illusion.
      • He hopes that the prospect of Slip giving up details of vampire identities and operations within the city will cause a panic / cause some of the vamps to lose their cool and out themselves.
    • Harker departed via helicopter w/ the corpse of Slip posed so as to appear still alive.
  • The team, minus Baretta, saddled up in their vehicles and drove off to Slip's office
    • Baretta's POV was left at the derelict sound studio as she had left driving Slip's car.
  • Jack took some kind of alchemical potion to grant himself enhanced awareness for the evening. Drew wanted some, but Jack was not in the sharing mood.
  • Arriving at Slip's office, it was decided that Drew, Killroy, and Murgy would go in directly flashing FBI consultant badges. Jack and Joey would stay outside as their appearance does not jive with "FBI Consultant"
    • Killroy opted to leave his sniper rifle in the gov SUV to avoid drawing notice to it
    • Drew bulled through the initial wariness of the security guard in the building and eventually gained access to Slip's offices upstairs and left Killroy and Murgy to loot / case the joint and got the security guard to take him to the video surveillance control room where Drew was able to scan through a week's worth of security footage 
      • Drew didn't find anything of interest in the security footage other than confirming that Slip only came and went after sun down, and that Dai and his bandmates had visited once a week ago slightly before sunset.
    • Killroy found info about the record company's legitimate business activities but nothing of interest to the investigation. However, he took the laptop from the desk of the company's business manager to give to Joey.
    • Murgy worked some magic and confirmed that Slip's office was absolutely inundated with the typical magical residue common to places where supernatural creatures spend a lot of time, but nothing of immediate use. However, looking more deeply, he discovered that the trash can under the desk had a single thing in it, a ripped in half invitation to a "gala" hosted by Glitterglam Industries several day's prior. Murgy remembered Joey saying something about an association between Slip and Glitterglam Industries earlier in the evening.
  • Joey was in the back of the gov SUV doing internet related stuff in pursuit of more clues, Jack was basically sitting in his van contemplating his navel or sharpening a knife or something
    • A sniper shot penetrated the gov SUV, narrowly missing Joey's head.
    • the screech of tires converged from both sides of the parking lot was followed immediately by the chatter of assault rifles as gunmen in both vehicles opened fire on both the gov SUV and Jack's punisher van. 
      • Jack's armored van bore up well, but the gov SUV got shot to hell and its windows are more or less kaput
    • Jack and Joey disembarked their vehicles and took cover in between them. 
    • Jack braced himself on the hood of the van and fired his massive pistol at one of the gunmen in the vehicle on his side. 
      • Jack called Killroy and told him that he & Joey are under attack.
      • The truck re-positioned, coming around to the side so that the rear passenger side shooter could fire directly at Jack without his van in the way. 
      • Jack executed a combat roll, closing the distance between where he was and where the truck currently was, coming up near the rear tire of the moving truck essentially at point blank range to the rear passenger side shooter .
      • Jack snapped off one round at point blank range; the shooter managed to get his arm up in to the line of fire which saved his life but the .50 pistol round destroyed the gunman's lower arm.
      • Killroy told Murgy that Jack and Joey were under attack and ran out, taking the stairs two at a time
      • Murgy opted to take the scenic route...the elevator, calling Drew and nonchalantly telling him of the situation.
      • The truck attacking Jack took off. 
    • Joey ran out into the open, initially to shoot his shotgun, but then just went all in and sprinted across the intervening distance and launched himself through the open rear window of the truck, plowing through one of the gunmen with bone breaking force. 
      • Joey clawed across the seat and punched the gunman in the other rear seat in the shoulder, breaking their collarbone and staggering them. The shooter in the front passenger seat whirled around and tried to shoot joey in the back of the head, but Joey ducked it and the round instead killed the shooter with the broken shoulder / collarbone.
      • Joey and the front passenger fought inconclusively across the front and back seat divide
      • The driver panic'd and took off driving, Joey still in the car. 
      • Joey got tired of flailing around, and instead just pushed forward hard on both the driver's and passenger's side chairs, breaking the gearing and forcing both men face first into the dash. The passenger's head was smashed, but the driver was able to brace himself on the steering wheel and avoid getting crushed.
      • Joey ordered the driver to pull over or get killed horribly. Having seen the incredible strength of the spindly teenager, the driver pissed himself a little and pulled over. 
      • Joey took the wheel, forcing the driver to cower in the floorboards amidst dead former friends, while Joey drove the truck back to the parking lot of Slip's office building.
  • Meanwhile, back at the offices of Slip It To Me Records, Murgatroyd's elevator reached the ground floor as Drew was passing by, on his way out from the security monitoring room. The two of them walked out of the lobby onto the forecourt of the building overlooking the parking lot where Killroy had managed to make it to the shot-to-hell gov SUV to retrieve his sniper rifle and Jack was in the process of telling Killroy what had happened. 
    • Murgatroyd noticed a penny on the ground and bent to pick it up (a 1947 Wheat Penny, what luck!), and a sniper round shattered the plate glass window behind where his head had been a moment ago. The report of a high-power rifle was heard. Oh yeah, the sniper!
    • Drew wasted no time, grabbing Murgatroyd and bodily pulling him to safety over and then behind the security / reception desk inside the building. 
    • Jack took cover behind his van
    • Killroy grabbed some cover while unlimbering his own sniper rifle. Two can play the shoot you in the head from a long distance game!
    • But no one could see where the shot had come from. 
    • Drew, grinding his molars a bit, risked a longer look  and was fortunate enough to spot the sniper very far away laying down up in the hills above the office building, unluckily illuminated by the navigation lights of a plane passing over head on landing approach to LAX. Unfortunately, the sniper was well beyond the range of Drew's pistol (he can do the improbable, not the impossible) and he had no way to communicate the information to Killroy. Drew ducked back before the sniper could take his head off.
    • Drew and Murgatroyd hatched an ad hoc plan, sort of. Not getting into the full details of his brilliant stratagem, Murgy told Drew to grab a stack of paper from the desk drawer and get ready to throw it into the air between the desk they were hiding behind and the front entrance, which Drew did. On Murgy's command, Drew tossed the pile of papers into the air like confetti, Murgy ignited it with his Ring of Blasting creating a flurry of flaming papers, and Drew made a mad dash for the door under the cover of that distraction...it seemed to work as a sniper round slammed into the back wall behind them, narrowly missing Drew.
    • Drew ran full out like the former football player he is to Killroy's position, trusting to luck that he wouldn't get shot.
      • With Drew's guidance Killroy used his own rifle's scope to find the sniper's roost in time to see the sniper rolling out of frame and presumably making a break for it, which he told Drew and Jack.
        • Jack jumped into his van and hauled ass in the general direction of the sniper's position, but realizing they were up against the hills and there was no direct route, he deftly maneuvered his vehicle around and started tacking towards the snipers location via side streets as best he could.
        • Joey, driving his appropriated vehicle like he stole it (which he kind of did), roared back into the scene and seeing Jack's van tear off decided to follow along.
    • Jack and Joey, engines roaring, navigated around the landscape and came to the lip of a canyon. Realizing they wouldn't have time to go around and still catch the escaping sniper, they dismounted their vehicles. 
      • Joey could smell the sniper, and quickly telling Jack that he had captured one of the shooters and he was in the truck, Joey took off running into the canyon at obviously superhuman speed. Jack was a bit nonplussed by that, and glancing into Joey's stolen SUV and seeing the state of the three dead bodies and one terrified survivor, Jack reconsidered his first impressions of the seemingly out-of-place teenager and mentally upgraded Joey from a curiosity to a possible threat.
      • Jack pulled the hapless captive out of the vehicle and coldly questioned him. According to the captive, Jeremy Gardener, he and the other shooters had been hired by someone named "Benny"...$5000 each up front and another $5000 promised on completion. Jack found an envelope with 5k tucked into the man's jacket pocket and took it. Jeremy asked plaintively if Jack was going to kill him...Jack visibly thought about it and decided not to.
  • While that was happening, Joey was racing through the canyon, sniffing the wind and tracking his prey. Quickly overtaking the merely mortal gunman from behind, Joey launched himself off an embankment and landed squarely, feet first, on the shoulders of the sniper. Joey's intent was to disable, but he again miscalculated the frailty of normy's and with a sickening spine splintering crunch the sniper was essentially crushed and died moments later from extreme trauma. Oops.
    • Not to be deterred, Joey realized the sniper was retracing his own path, going back to where ever he had been before going up to the hill to take up a snipers position. Joey tracked the sniper's backtrail up and out of the canyon on the other side, emerging next to another office parking lot and a motorcyle which he could tell by scent belonged to the sniper. 
    • Joey was checking out the motorcycle to see if he could get anything of interest off of it, and called Drew on his cell phone to update him on the situation. As he was talking a dark silver BMW X6 M pulled up and a trio of men dressed in tailored "casual" suits got out. To Joey's sensitive senses they were obviously vampires and his hackles were raised...this was dangerous.
      •   benny_t.jpgChadwick_t.jpgGregory_t.jpg
      • Rather than tell Drew something useful like, "Three vampires just pulled up and are approaching me", he instead said, "...gotta go, bye!" and hung up. Teenagers...¯\_(ツ)_/¯
    • Initially the bad guys didn't seem to realize that Joey wasn't the sniper, but realization dawned after Joey turned fully around. Wasting no time, Joey pointed his new shotgun at the front-most vamp and finally pulled the trigger on it, hitting the bloodsucker solidly in the torso! Yay! 
      • The front of the vampire's suit and high quality button up silk shirt was shredded, somewhat ruining his casual chic style, but the buckshot did very nearly nothing to the dead flesh underneath the overpriced clothing...most of the pellets failed to penetrate and the few that did made barely noticeable red divots of bloody flesh that immediately began to heal over.
      • Joey was like...uh oh...
      • The bloodsucker Joey shot growled angrily, popped fangs and visibly vamped out...springing at Joey and trying to grab him. Joey shook him off, surprising the vamp with his strength. The other two vamps pounced as well, trying to latch on and overpower Joey. 
      • Realizing that the odds were very clearly against him, Joey ran away, back through the canyon, approaching 90 mph. None of the three vamps he had encountered turned out to have vampire speed as one of their abilities, and they did not pursue. 
  • In the interim, Jack was driving back to the Slip It To Me Records parking lot where Drew was in full swing locking down the scene, getting local law enforcement to set up a perimeter, and being official like. 
    • Drew, obviously concerned about Joey's absence and a bit distracted, did have an uncharacteristic flub with the first cops on the scene, seeming at a loss for how to spin the story. Murgatroyd stepped in and fixed it with some patter. Killroy remained on alert, just in case the sniper circled back.
    • Jack rolled back into the scene in his van. Drew, Murgy, and Jack huddled; Jack updated them that Joey had run off by himself, and the info he had gotten from the goon Joey had captured. 
    • Drew was incensed that Jack let Joey go off by himself, but Jack was kinda of like...not my problem, I'm not his babysitter...also I can't run as fast as a car so whatev.
  • Drew started motivating the group to get organized and go find Joey, when Joey reentered the scene, cresting the same hills the sniper had been up on having followed the same path up the back side of the hills. Remembering that he's supposed to not be seen doing superhuman things, Joey slowed down to normal human running speed for the last leg of it, and jogged down to rejoin the group. 
    • More or less giving the adults the necessary information, he finished with the existence of the three vamps that he had run away from. Jack's eyes light up and he was already on his way to his van to go find the vamps. Drew, cursing a bit, slowed him down and the group got organized...Killroy would ride w/ Jack, Joey and Murgy would ride with Drew in the shot up gov SUV. Jack would follow Drew.
    • Jack was more or less like..."whatev, so long as I get to kill some vamps, cuz that's my jam man."
    • Letting the cops know they were in pursuit of some "drug dealing human traffickers" spotted in the area on the way out, Drew and crew took point and Jack followed behind in the armored van w/ Killroy as shotgun and they all rolled out, leaving Slip It To Me Records in the rearview.
  • Heading west on access roads, with Joey doing his best to try to interpolate where to go despite having taken a very different route to get there, the two vehicle caravan was ambushed by a pouncing BMW lurching out from a side street and trying to t-bone Drew's gov SUV.
    • Drew saw the on coming vehicle at the last moment and stomped on the gas to surge forward, causing the Bimmer to miss. Jack, a pretty good driver himself, also stepped on the gas and barreled forward to t-bone the BMW has it narrowly missed the gov SUV and passed in front of him, the reenforced ram bar on the front of his van squarely hammering into the luxury sedan. Pushing the gas all the way down, Jack rammed the BMW into the back of Drew's gov SUV, squishing the BMW between them.
    • The three vamps inside the vehicle were damaged, though one of them...the same one shot by Joey...less so than the other two. But, they were in full on vampire mode and were not incapacitated. 
  • All hell broke loose. 
    • The van screeched to a halt, the BMW wrapped around its front. The gov SUV kept moving forward, three vamps exited their ruined vehicle in various creative ways...one basically brute forced his way out through seatbelt, metal, and windshield like it was made of tissue paper, another dive rolled out with superhuman dexterity, and the third extra tough vamp pulled himself out through the sun roof on top of the car.
    • The strong vamp hurled himself at the armored van, on the drivers side, shoulder checking it like he expected the van to give way. The heavy, armored vehicle actually resisted the massive force and moved very little, but the driver's side door was damaged. 
    • The tough vamp drew a pistol and shot at Killroy through the van's windshield, but the armored glass stopped the bullet, the bullet spiderwebbing the glass.
    • The dexterous vamp drew a fancy silver dagger and threw it with incredible precision at Killroy through the passenger's side window. Killroy smirked at the vamp, thinking the armored glass would surely stop a dagger after bouncing a bullet...but with a sharp cracking sound the dagger chipped out a narrow gap in the window right next to the jam, passed through with unerring accuracy. Looking down Killroy was surprised to find the dagger sticking in his beefy left deltoid. 
    • The strong vamp brute forced the drivers side door of the van, with the sound of bending metal, and one armed Jack back into the drivers seat. "Dinner!", the vampire said with vampiric presence rolling forth and causing Jack to feel fear and hesitate (PRE attack). 
    • Joey launched himself from the passenger side of the still moving gov SUV, hurling himself at the dexterous vamp, but missed completely and shot past.
    • In the back of the gov SUV, Murgy aimed his ring of blasting and shot the tough vampire still standing on the roof of the ruined BMW, scorching the vamp with UV-enriched arcane energies. The vamp turned his attention from the van to Murgy and the ruined gov SUV. 
      • Murgy nervously let Drew know that they now had a pissed off vamp looking their way.
      • Grimacing, Drew did complicated things with the steering wheel and parking brake, sending the tortured SUV into some kind of power sliding tactical u-turn and got the vehicle pointed back towards the van and BMW. 
    • The dexy vamp ignored Joey and superhumanly leaped clear over the van and BMW to land on the otherside near the drivers side of the van, where Jack was struggling to shake off the strong vamps frightening presence while stealthily palming a holy water bomblet and getting ready to throw it. Looking past Jack thru the cabin at Killroy the dexterous vamp said, with full vampiric scare on, "give me back my knife!"...but Killroy was unphased; "Don't worry, I will!" he growled back.
    • With the SUV pointed back at the fight now, rear tires smoking and seeking traction, Drew released the brakes and barreled forward. Things got really complicated for a moment.
      • The tough vamp on the roof of the BMW calmly watched the approaching gov SUV and timing it just right sprang high into the air, flipped around, and came down feet first through the shattered windshield of the SUV, landing in the passenger seat vacated by Joey earlier. 
      • Drew braked hard at the last moment to control the collision with the front part of the BMW in an attempt to get the broken car to scissor around to hit the driver's side of the van.
      • The BMW jackknifed around the van's ram bar with a screech of metal on metal, around to the van's front panel and then into the open and already damaged driver's side door. The van's front driver's side frame crumpled a bit under the abuse but held out.
      • The super strong vamp on the other side of the door braced himself for impact...the driver's side door hit him and snapped off its hinges with more metal screeching sounds. Then the BMW hit him, and that stopped too.
      • However, the van itself was also pushed back several feet, and this caused the strong vampire to lose his grip on Jack as he...still seatbelted in...moved backwards along with the van.
      • The dexterous vamp grabbed onto the side of the van and lifted his feet off the ground and into the lip of the door, riding along with the displaced van.
    • The vamp that jumped into the gov SUV leered at Drew. "Nice driving!" he said, then shot Drew in the face at point blank range. Luckily, Drew was able to lurch out of the way a bit and caught the bullet on his right chest where his armored vest caught most of the damage...but it still hurt. 
    • Joey, having recovered himself from his failed tackle, power leaped across the battlefield and landed feet first on the upper chest of the super strong vampire, who was now more or less standing in the open as the van had moved back but he had not. Counter to the prevailing wisdom around the table, Joey surprisingly did not bounce off the vamp but instead seemed to catch him flat-footed. Strong vamp went down, his chest visibly compressed and blood oozing from his mouth and eyes. Still "alive" but much more damaged than he had been by the various automotive related impacts he had suffered (Joey's reduced negation doing good work). 
      • Standing on the depressed chest of the super strong vampire, Joey yelled "Boo yah!"
      • The dexterous vampire noticed this and Jack heard him mutter, "what the hell is that kid?". The tough vamp didn't notice that their heavy was in distress.

 

The store was closing so we had to stop mid-battle. Everyone got 3 XP, Joey was voted MVP. No XP can be spent between this session and the next.

 @Durzan Malakim @King Red @L0rd_Magg0t @Steve @Scything @WilyQuixote

 

 

<< Part 1 ... Part 3 >>

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On 6/18/2019 at 12:30 PM, Killer Shrike said:

< forthcoming -- i want to write this, but our CEO moved our release date up a week to be ready for a conference, and omg omg omg it's hair on fire time right now and people are losing their minds >

 

While I've been looking forward to reading about all the action that I missed out on, I can wait.

 

I hope you're not one of the people losing their minds.

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