Chris eyed the size of the file, “There’s no reason to duplicate any of the legwork Detective Sorenson has already done. Yeah, Jack, lunch sounds like a good idea.” Looking back at the detective he added, “You got a spare conference room around here?”
Jack replied, “Alright then. You lot get settled in and I’ll go get us a pie.”
Detective Sorenson led the Rangers to Interrogation Room B, where they found a table, four chairs, a single light over the table and no windows. Jack slipped out to track down lunch, and the others hunkered down to pour over the notes, photos, and other documents. Eventually Jack returns with sandwiches and cokes (ed.: In Texas, all soft drinks are ‘cokes’ regardless of the actual brand). At the end of a couple of hours, the team was able to glean the following information:
• Three nights ago reporter Michael Palmer was found dead on the sidewalk outside of the hotel. The case was ruled a suicide.
• Palmer’s body was found by a porter on his way to work at the depot.
• Detective Charlie Sorenson was assigned to the case. He did not agree with official report, and requested assistance from Ranger Co. X to investigate.
• Prior to death being investigated all criminal activity was limited to vagrants and vandals.
• Hotel is owned by the Parr Group (George Parr, aka the “Duke of Duvall County.”)
• The Hotel was opened in 1912.
• A murder allegedly took place in 1922. A young socialite was killed (allegedly by her fiancé). No one was ever arrested for the crime, and there is no official record of the crime.
• A number of underworld figures were reported to have stayed at the hotel
• It was closed in 1951 when the former owner was arrested for tax evasion and was purchased by the Parr Group.
• Parr is content to leave the hotel vacant as “for tax purposes.”
• Palmer was investigating a story about a two Boy Scouts who were spending Halloween in an effort to prove that the hotel wasn’t haunted, but ran out before midnight claiming they had witnessed a ghost in the Panama Hotel.
Jack goes looking for a patrol man to direct him to a good pizza place. On his return he remarks to the team, “I was advised to pass on the pizza. Hope everyone likes ham. What is it with us American’s and not being able to agree on what these beverages are called?”
Now, with Ranger DeHart’s question, he moved closer to the table. “I don’t think so. Said his name was ‘Buddy Jefferson.'” Then he looked at the Crime Scene photo. “Wait the guy on the right side of the picture looks like him, but its pretty fuzzy.”
“But there was also no real evidence of foul play. With other crimes on our docket,” he waved his hand wearily in the general direction of the squad room, “the decision was made to wrap this one up quick.”
The Ranger then looked over at the detective, “We all came in my car, can you rustle up some transportation back to the depot?”
“One last question, Detective. Is there anything hinky about the Parr Group? off the record of course.”
“Well, the Parr Group is a property management company set up by the Parr family out of Duval County. If by ‘hinky’ you mean not completely above board, that describes the Parr family. They pretty much control the county down there, but they tend to deal more in political maneuverings than in murder, and we’ve never had any rumblings of illegal activity out of the Parr Group.”
“OK then, let’s saddle up fellas,” Chris the looked at Gabe, “One more thing before we split up. Gabe, you and Rod meet us over at the Panama when you’re done questioning the porter.”
This Star… Part 1
Well, we’ll be heading over to check out the scene,” Chris said indicating his team. “In the meantime, Detective, I’ll need you to pull EVERY file on the Panama Hotel. However, before we head over, what can you tell me about this?” *holds out the note for the the detective to read*
He looks at the note. “‘A veil covers the billets weight’. Hmm. ” His face is a study in perplexity. He shakes his head and hands it back. “Means nothing to me. Do you think its connected?” He begins gathering his files to share.
While Sorenson is collecting his case files, another detective saunters over, “Walll, lookee here fellers,” he drawls. “These must be the Rangers Sorenson asked fer. Ol’ Homer must be purty desperate. A couple o’ darkies an one o’ them looks like some kinda Injun!” He grins at the team with tobacco-stained teeth.
Jack looks the new comer straight in the eye, “Wow. You must be the chief detective. You the one who figured out it was the fall that killed the fellow?”
“All’s I’m sayin’ is that you don’t look anythin’ like the Rangers I’ve worked with before. Y’all got some ID?’
“Anything you’d like to tell us about Det. Sorenson’s case? Off the record of course,” Chris added softening his glare.
Gabriel looked over to Chris. He seemed to have things well in hand. He looked around at the others to see what they thought of this new detective. He doubted he’d hear much of anything useful from the man himself.
He snorted. “A tin badge don’t mean nuthin’. You can get one o’ them anywhere. Lemme see your Warrants of Authority.”
Sorenson shuffles his feet uncomfortably.
Holding his hand out for the return of his badge, he continued, “Now detective, are you going to answer my question or do I have to hold you as a person of interest?”
Sorenson, awed by the resolute coolness of the Rangers in the face of a possible confrontation, stepped into the space left by the retreating detective. “I’ll be happy to show you the file.”
Gamemaster notes are in italics
You leave the Depot out the front door. From the street, you can see the gateway to the famous Strand, once considered the economic capital of the West, rivaling even Wall Street. But that was before the 1900 Storm. Now, there was evidence of slow decay, as the prosperity shifted north to Houston and even further west to California. To one side lay a closed hotel, with some windows boarded over and others broken. On another nearby street you could clearly make out a sign advertising The Salvation Army.
“Christ, I need a barber,” Jack announced
Chris pulls over at the first barber shop he sees.
You make your way to the headquarters of ‘Galveston’s Finest.’ As you exit the car and make your way to the front door, you pass a number of police, both uniformed and plainclothes. They each look at you a little longer than you’re comfortable with, and then move on.
James doesn’t register anything outwardly, but inside he thinks, “Yeah, we’s black men; get over it!”
“Well, shall we get out of the sun,” Gabriel says to the others as he walks towards the doors.
Chris looked at his car. The only available spot in the GPD’s parking lot left very little room for his Chevy. Thoughts of dinged paint scampered across his brain. Looking up at the cops giving him and his fellow Rangers the ‘eye’, Chris thought it might be best to get the team inside and meet with the Detective. He followed Gabriel and looked over his shoulder at the rest, “No invitations now people.”
Then eyeing Jack running his fingers through his fresh buzz-cut he added, “It’ll grow back eventually, but if y’all gonna take your Daddy’s spot on this roster you need to look the part.”
Jack grinned, “Nah. This is my natural coat. Call the sasquatch-look freshman jitters. I feel much better now.”
You enter the station, and approach the desk sergeant. As you ask for Sorenson, he gives you the once over, and then directs you to the squad room.
Inside, Detective Sorenson is just as the desk sergeant described him: tall, broad-shouldered, sandy-haired and still fairly young-looking. You could just as easily imagine him as a college linebacker as a detective.
Gabriel felt awkward. Was he supposed to introduce himself to the detective, and if so, how? He wasn’t sure how many people even knew about this branch of the Rangers. He looked over to Chris for direction.
Seeing the odd collection led by the man in the pearl-gray hat, Det. Sorenson quickly walks over.
“I’m Charlie Sorenson. You must be the Rangers I asked for…though I didn’t expect a team…. Anyway, I’m glad you came right over. I’d like your thoughts on a case.”
What have I gotten myself into… Jack kept the thought to himself, but was already starting to wonder if he was in over his head.
Chris*tries to get a read on Det Sorenson’s body language*
All eyes in the group were on Chris. “That’s what I get for wearing my Ranger hat,” he thought to himself, “everyone suddenly thinks I’m the leader. Man I sure wish Jack Sr. was here. I’m not sure I’m ready to lead a group.”
Outwardly, Chris broke into a broad grin and tipped his hat back on his head, “Normally, one Ranger is all you need. But the home office thinks your case needs a little more attention than normal.”
He stuck out his hand, grabbed Detective Sorenson’s and pumped it vigorously, “I’m Ranger DeHart,” dropping the hand he gestured at each of the others in turn, “Vargas, Freeman, Cooper & Macher. Why don’t fill us in on the case.”
Detective Sorenson shuffled his feet in an awkward manner, almost as if he were a child caught in an embarrassing situation, “My Captain didn’t think I should call,” he began, slowly. “But things just didn’t add up to me, and I thought it wouldn’t hurt to ask for another opinion.” He took a deep breath. “A Galveston Daily News reporter apparently took a header out of an upper-story window of the old Hotel Panama – you may have seen it on your way over, it’s near the depot. Anyways, officially it’s a suicide, but I’m not so sure. You see, the reporter was still sort of new, and he was looking into reports that the Panama was haunted. A couple of Boy Scouts tried to spend the night there around Halloween, but ran out screaming like Girl Scouts within a couple of hours. Anyway, the department says suicide, my gut says something else.”
Jack raises his eyebrows.
“Hotel Panama?” Chris removed his hat and scratched his head. “That’s a new one on me. I’ve got quite a file on Galveston ghost stories but nothin’ ever mentioned the Hotel Panama.” Placing his hat back on Chris continued, “What else can you tell us, Detective?”
Jack can not mask is utterly incredulous expression.
Gabriel leans back against the wall, settling in for a ghost story. He wondered how it would line up with some of the Native spirit stories he was told as a child.
The Hotel like everything here isn’t familiar to James, as this city isn’t his beat. He does know and respect the instincts of another policeman however.
The detective took another deep breath. “That’s the thing. The hotel has been closed for many years. We’ve had a few vandalism calls out there, and rousted a few hobos, but never a story about ghosts. We figure the Scouts were there to prove to their younger friends that just because the hotel was old and boarded up that it wasn’t necessarily filled with spooks. Then they lit out like their shorts were on fire jabberin’ on about scary voices.”
Jack’s eyebrows go higher.
“How bout the non-ghostly angle? Did the reporter have enemies? Any hoods or Realtors got reason to keep kids and reporters out of the hotel? I seen some mean Realtors before.”
“As far as the reporter was concerned, he was still considered a rookie at the News, and was tryin’ to make his mark. Nobody at the newsroom seemed to know much about him.”
to be continued….
Last night at 7:00pm CDT I attempted the first running of TwitteRPG. It was a success but not in the way I expected. Let me back up just a bit, Wednesday evening, Viri from the Bard of Valiant was on Twitter venting her frustrations at WoW. Somebody suggested playing a tabletop RPG. Viri replied that there was nobody to play with.
Inspiration struck, Viri was online with quite a few friends and we were communicating in real time. This was 90% of what we needed for an RPG game. Without preamble, I typed ‘You are in a damp passageway. Traveling on you come to an intersection. What do you do?”
Viri replied that she listens with a better than average notice skill. I typed back “To the left you hear the muted sounds of laughter. To the right you hear a deep throaty voice call ‘Come here little adventurer.’ Viri replied “I go left.”
By this point, I was getting other comments on my little attempt to cheer up my friend (and later discovered folks commenting on the Twitter feed on my Facebook profile). Right then both Viri and I were called away from our respective keyboards. When I returned I had quite a few “What happens next?” Tweet replies.
So yesterday on the spur of a moment I decided to try to run an RPG game with a little more planning. I announced in the early afternoon that I would be running TwitteRPG later in the evening. When I got home from work I had quite a few “Would love to play but can’t tonight replies”. I also had quite a few request for the rules.
The end result? there is interest in running an RPG over Twitter. However, folks would like more advance notice. Folks would also like the rules. So towards that end I will write up the basic rules this weekend. We will also schedule the next game rather than it be a spur of the moment. In short, the experiment was a success if only for the fact that it showed a definite interest in the game.
This first invitation is for unique Magical items to be sold in Ye Olde Shoppe of Magicks, a retail chain store found in all major Ayuhwa cities and border posts. Ye Olde Shoppe of Magicks sends it’s buyers across the width and breadth of Blogeria (I’m really liking this name more and more) searching for unique items of magic. Are you the Lord of a Kingdom of Blogeria and wanting your unique magical items for sale through a reputable retailer? Are you a wandering Wizard seeking to supplement your income by providing your goods to someone willing to buy in large quantities? Submit your items of magic for our review and one of our buyers will contact you shortly.
OK that’s the in character pitch. Here’s what I’m looking for. Do you have a unique magical item you’ve written and posted at your site? provide the link and I’ll include it fully credited in the write up for the land of Ayuhwa. If you are one of the world builders I’ll include the ‘fact’ that it comes from your land. Again leave the link in a comment.
After Rididdlethumb finally passed his test and the rest of the party finished with rebuilding the town of Egami, the entire party continued on with their quest. Having recently recieved a vital clue they ventured on to a dungeon purported to contain the next part of the Staff of Genesis. Reaching the dungeon the party entered. The first room they entered contained a fountain. Rididdlethumb examined the fountain and discovered it wasn’t water but was in fact acid. He lost all of his rope in the discovery.
The party discovered the entrance to a secret room underneath the fountain. Inside the room the party discovered very old frescoes depicting a Royal family though there was something familiar about them. Other frescoes depicted the disassembling of what the party determined to be the Staff of Genesis. Coming back up the stairs after finding nothing else of importance in the room and continued on through the dungeon.
The next room contained Orc, Ogres, Drow and Mind Flair. The fiends all seemed to be feasting on human; Bawb, Sir Gallahad, and Rididdlethumb rushed into the room. Nevets held back cowering at the door due to his overpowering fear of doors. Because of his holding back he noticed Andrea shaking off a slight headache just before she vanished from view. Nevets immediately cast a spell of protection. The Drow bodyguards ran into the room and the unconverted Drow yelled, “Attack the traitors!” and the room went dark.
Nevets had targeted the Mind Flare at the back of the room because he knew that his Dust of the Purple Sage bowstring would cause havoc to his party if he fired near them. Unknown to the rest of the party, Andrea had cloaked herself and made a beeline towards the Mind Flare. The remainder of the party were engaging Drow. Andrea killed the Mind Flare by slitting its throat, the Mind Flare’s escaping essence caused Nevets arrow to begin to bounce around the room during which it failed to explode but managed instead to kill every Orc and Oger.
Nevets then cast Continual Light. The evil Drow had to shield their eyes and their armor nd weapons turned to dust. The party was then able easily dispatch the remainder of the Drow (even Hawrayn’s bats and Bawb’s kitty cat helped). Just as the battle was ending, Nevets, Rididdlethumb and Andrea’s annoying bodyguard noticed a woman enter the room from the west. Just as Nevets thought there was something familiar about her she vanished. Nevets and Rididdlethumb (Editor’s note try typing that name over and over) convinced the party to head back to the paintings.
Back in the painting room Nevets and R-thumb immediately noticed that the woman they saw looked a lot like the eldest daughter in the main painting. Sir Galahad then tipped his helmet at “Andrea”. She revealed that it was her sister we saw. Also that her sister was after the same staff the party was searching for. “Andrea” was not revealing much beyond that. Nevets and a few others then heard footsteps approaching. Nevets asked “Andrea” if there was any other way out of the room. Andrea showed the group a secret passage.
The group exited the painting room, Andrea and Nevets stayed behind to booby trap the door to the secret passage using his D.E.T. Cord. Hawrayn summoned spiders to spin webs in the passage way to conceal the fact the party had used the passage. At the other end, ‘Andrea’ and Nevets booby trapped the door at the other end of the passage. The party found themselves in what used to be a library. All the books were piled on the floor soaked in flammable liquid. As the party were searching the book pile they heard the explosive sounds of Nevet’s booby trap going off.
Nevets found a treasure in the pile that he considered very valuable, a book of magic recipes. Nevets flipped through the book and immediately recognized Dust of the Star Fairies, Dust of the Purple Sage (a prime ingredient in D.E.T. Cord) and Dragon Bubbles. Nevets quickly put the book in his pack. The party left the library, R-Thumb walked off down the hall and found himself suddenly stuck in the floor…. To be continued next game session.
The party had just defeated a whole slew of Orcs and Goblins when we last checked in on them. As the party began construction on the massive temple Tiakara’s gods demanded of her, the Mayor of the nearby town of Egami, Juan Valdez approached the party. He and his entourage wanted to know who was responsible for the incredibly large explosion. The party told him that it was Tiakara worshipping her gods. Mayor Valdez thanked us for defeating the Orcs and Goblins that had been plaguing the town for years.
Before they could accept his thanks Mayor Valdez went on to explain that although the townsfolk were happy about the defeat of the fiends, the explosion had in fact leveled most of the town, including both taverns, the orphanage, the brothel, the school, the hospital, many homes and most importantly (to the mayor at least) the mayor’s residence/City Hall. Not only that but the creation of Fairy Cannon Cove flooded the coffee fields and rewoke Mountain Du.
The Lawful/Good members of the party felt the obligation to stay and repair the damage they caused. They first started by replanting the coffee fields. Nevets and Aria’s dragon, Argentum, began digging out a canal for irrigation purposes, the rest of the party except for Rididdlthumb began rebuilding the town.
Rididdlthumb was being tested by his god, unbeknownst to the rest of the party. Nevets was trying to figure out how to speed up the digging process when an idea struck him, if only he had access to Dust of the Purple Sage like his bowstring was coated with. While he was thinking about how to get more a strange women came up, addressed him by name and handed him a bag. Inside the bag was more than enough rope saturated in Dust of the Purple Fairies to accomplish the job. After he surveyed the best location for it, Nevets asked Argentum to gouge the path for the canal. Meanwhile, Rididdlethumb was still being tested, he later told the party he was in a never ending box maze.
Nevets placed his D.o.t.P.F. encrusted rope in the path and sent Argentum back to the town to warn the folks about the upcoming boom. Argentum took flight, Nevets cocked his bow and let an arrow fly at the cord. The cord went up, the canal was finished and Egami’s coffee crop was restored. Nevets marveled at the usefulness of his Purple Dust Encrusted Threaded Cord, deciding that was too long a name he shortened it to Purple D.E.T. Cord and rode his bear back to town. Rididdlethumb continued to fail his test of the gods.
While Rididdlethumb continued his test, Nevets and the rest of the party rebuilt the orphanage. Still being tested, they rebuilt the hospital, the taverns, the hospital. Rididdlethumb continued to fail his test, the party built a new university for the town and named it after the Mayor’s mule, Wyzass. Nevets being a lawfully/good cleric refused to rebuild the brothel, he built an insurance office instead. The Mayor decided to run the brothel out of the back of the insurance office.
To be continued….
My good friend Dr. Checkmate issued this challenge to Uncle Bear and myself using the Savage Worlds setting Necessary Evil, create a super powered being named The Dungeon Master. Uncle Bear’s take on The Dungeon Master is quite unique. However, due to the “Heroize Yourself” thang discussed by other network bloggers. I couldn’t help but make mine a hero. So thanks to Dr. C and Uncle B. for the inspiration for the hero version of STEVe (just an FYI Dusty Rhodes is the DJ name I used on the air at the college radio station during the late 80’s)
Name: Dusty Rhodes/The Dungeon Master
Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d8, Spirit d8, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Fighting d8, Healing d8, Knowledge (RPG) d10, Knowledge (Computers) d10, Notice d8, Repair d10, Spellcasting d8
Charisma: 10; Pace: 6; Parry: 6; Toughness: 5;
Hindrances: Power Negation (needs access to electricity), Weakness (water can short out power), Quirk (tends to monologue), Loyal
Edges: Arcane Background (Super Powers), Dodge
Gear: Wireless computing devices on utility belt
Super Powers: • Absorption (4) • Ageless (1) • Matter Control (4) • Super Sorcery (5) • Teleport (1)
Dusty is a nerd in the classical sense. He spent more time with his beloved computer and RPG rulebooks than he did in actual social situations. One day while sitting at his computer statting up his teh kewl new monster he was struck by power surge. Instead of frying, Dusty found himself charged with electricity. Dusty then discoverd he suddenly was able to channel electricity and manipulate matter into the forms of his creations for his various RPG games.
With more experimentation, Dusty was able to bring his creations to a limited form of life. The constructs are fairly mindless and attack whatever Dusty instructs them to attack until they are destroyed or destroy what they attack.
Dusty has what appears to be a teleportation ability when in reality he travels the electrical grid. He carries his mobile devices on his belt to keep tabs on “trouble” spots because Dusty loves to help his fellow heroes. How much help? Well that’s debatable. Dusty will give the heroes cryptic clues on how to defeat the villains and provide them with Teh Kewl Attack Assistance before leaving for the next trouble spot. If Dusty leaves before the battle is done, the heroes have just as much chance of being attacked by Dusty’s creatures as do the villains they are fighting.
Dusty’s main weakness, due to the electrical nature of his power, is of course water. Water attacks will disrupt the electrical cohesion of Dusty’s constructs. Also Dusty will be unable to “transport” out if sufficiently wet. Without access to the electrical grid Dusty’s powers are limited. Dusty is loyal to a fault to the entire hero community. He will leave one battle if he thinks other heroes need his help more. Dusty also tends to monologue, “Now face the power of my Dire Bear.” (think Silver Age platitudes).
Dusty is trying to figure out ranged attacks using his electrical powers but as yet is still unsuccessful.
Sunday 3-29-09 we were playing our 2e D&D game The Quest for the Genesis Staff. We had just finished defeating Moloch the Demon and were dividing up the treasure when the player to my left excused herself momentarily. My attention was focused on the player to my right. I turned to look at Jazz and discovered not my friend but the DM’s dog sitting in her chair. I immediately quipped that Rayne, our Kender (Jazz’s character), had found a Cloak of Canineability. Bill our DM, who is fond of taking cues from the ad-libs at the table, told me to write it up and we’d give it to her.
I liked the idea so much I wrote it up systemless for dropping into your campaign.
The Cloak of Canineability: Made from an enchanted cloth covering a fur undercloak this cloak provides the wearer with the ability to speak with all creatures in the Canidae Family; understanding and being understood by all species in the Canis genus including dogs, wolves, foxes and jackals. The cloak allows the wearer to channel the abilities (similar to DC Comics Animal Man) of whatever canine the DM determines to be closest to the wearer. This channeling ability extends for a radius of 1000 yards centered on the PC (ie if you’re on a boat and there’s no canines aboard the boat you’re not going to be able to channel any abilities). Once the ability is channeled it lasts for 15 minutes.
There is also a limited ability of transformation when wearing the cloak. You can assume the form of one different canine/per level of magic user (4th level has four forms to choose from). However this is limited by a duration and each form can only be used once per day. When in the canine form you are for all intents and purposes that animal and have only those animals stats and abilities though you retain your memories and intellect before and after.
Price: 50,000 GP (or equivalent) Weight: 4 lbs
Col Winston and Sgt. Sassy escorted the prisoner they captured in last week’s game out of Scatterpoint across the wastes and to the Stargate.
Meanwhile, Maj. Johnson along with Sergeants Kyle, Emo, Mystery, Steeleflex, and Meeker took the Spiral to Black Shackle to rescue Sister Canondale. Enroute Sergeant Steeleflex attempted to make the trip on the boarding platform outside the car. The conductor told Sgt Steeleflex to sit down and politely ordered his party to keep an eye on him.
Major Johnson ordered Steeleflex to sit down. Just as Steeleflex sat down the team heard the rending sound of the rear door of the car being ripped from its track. Twelve Malakar marauders spilled onto the train and began demanding money from the passengers. Sergeant Kyle had the brilliant idea to pull her Zat, put it against the floor and sending a stun pulse through the metal of the car. Sgt Kyle called for her team to get up off the seats and then fired the Zat against the floor. She managed to stun the first three quarters of the car but not the Malakar.
Steelflex successfully taunted that Malaker causing them to focus their attention on the team instead of their intended helpless victims. During the ensuing battle the team discovered three things. They discovered that Malakar have claws, ineffective against their Kevlar but claws nonetheless. They discvoered that their P90s don’t deal out quite as much damage against the Malakar as the team is used to. They also discovered that Zats are completely useless against the Malaker.
The team did manage to finally defeat the invaders and rescued the other passengers. After the conductor regained consciousness he surveyed the damage to his train. The team feared the worst having already become a thorn in the side of many of Scatterpoint’s residents. They were pleasantly surprised when they were given free passes on the conductor’s train.
Next: Rescuing Sister Cannondale