High all! I really recently fell in love with the Fallout Universe, with all its complexities and unique stories. In particular, I very much enjoy the subjectivity of interpretations of the games and their outcomes, and I wanted to create my own personal contribution by writing a story specifically set after the Second Battle of Hoover Dam. The Courier is referenced once in passing and there's no mention of a next of kin for the Courier. The story is completely original with entirely unique characters that I've made and it takes place after a non-specific timeline in which Mr House wins the fight for the Mojave Desert. I wanted to share some of my work with my fellow Fallout fans and see what you think. I sincerely hope you enjoy it. Beginning: After the guns fell silent during the Second Battle of Hoover Dam, the world was forever changed. Mr House’s City State of New Vegas gained full sovereignty and control over the Mojave Desert, and his Securitron Army pushed the exhausted NCR and broken Legion out. In the following years, Mr House rapidly expanded the city of New Vegas, and reignited the production of old Pre-War Technology automobiles, bus lines, and a high speed train line appeared. The Strip itself expanded beyond the Three Families; Strip clubs, pubs, casinos, all you can eat buffets filling the area, with some residential apartments and houses now beginning to be sold to the highest bidder, just as it was in the old world. The expanded city of Vegas outside the Strip itself however is a slum, crime, inequality, and denigration is all but abundant, and unrest is growing. Following the removal of President Kimball, his Vice President Donald Watson took over and inherited a State in crisis. Faith in the government had rapidly deteriorated, and the economy of the NCR began to suffer as many relocated to the Strip to live a life of luxury and excess. The NCR is now a shadow of its former self, with Military Police now required to keep order on the streets of its towns and cities. The poverty level is rising. In the East, Caesar’s Legion too is changing, and not for the better. With the Western Campaign a failure by all accounts, resources dwindling, questions about the strength of their Leader Caesar are cropping up in the minds of those closest to him. By 2295, the pieces had fallen into place. The fate of these States and the people who uphold them is uncertain. One thing is for sure. Whatever happens, the Wasteland will be changed unlike it has ever been before. ‘I appreciate your respectful and restrained response to my contact. It is a pleasure to interact with the less agitated members of your State.’ Aminta barely heard Mr House, and instead stared out the windows of the Lucky 38. The skyline of the Strip extended seemingly forever, pushing away the surrounding darkness with neon light. Just beyond the city outskirts, the silhouette of Mr House’s newly created Launch Pad. It was one of five, and she could just see the other four, each slightly further away from the city than the last. She scrutinised them, and was struck by the boundless possibilities of such technology; the opportunities provided. How exciting it would be! Mr House’s voice then cracked her thoughts and brought back to the present. She listened, without comment. ‘Roughly 18 hours ago, a team of five extraordinarily skilled individuals ascended Hoover Dam from the base of the structure,’ The ostentatiously large screen in which Mr House’s face sat suddenly changed to show grainy footage. ‘This was captured by one of our cameras on the perimeter of the dam. I apologise for the bad quality, it has been surprisingly difficult obtaining improved camera lenses, and As you can see, they used some kind of Grapnel Launcher and ascended via the rope.’ On the screen, it was possible to just make out five distinct figures at the base of the dam. They were clearly dressed in dark clothing, though the quality was too poor and the camera was too far away to make out any of the fine details of the material. Aminta scrutinised the footage, watching intently as the five figures used an oblong object, reminiscent of a hunting rifle to fire a rope, or cord up the side of the dam; high enough to catch the top. The operator of the device then disconnected it from the gun, and pressed it into the ground. It appeared to stick. They then ascended the rope. The camera feed then cut to show three of the attackers subdue and restrain two security guards. Due to the light, it was clear that the clothing the criminals were wearing was Recon Armor, though there were no insignia or identifiable characteristics. The two men were then held down by two and clubbed across the face by the third member with the butt of a 10mm pistol. He then turned to the computer and retrieved something from his pocket. Then the screen went black. ‘At this point, at roughly 1:27 am a Trojan was fitted onto the system. It temporarily disabled all the security cameras in the sector. It was one of the strongest Trojans I’ve ever come across, but I was able to get the system back up and running within 15 minutes. Unfortunately we cannot recover any footage from the corrupted data files that detail how the robbers escaped. I hope you can understand why I decided to contact you.’ Aminta pondered to herself. Why would Mr House, a man who controlled Rockets and owned and governed an entire city and it’s enterprises, would need to contact the New California Republic for assistance in a robbery? From where they were standing, he appeared to be in a position any high ranking NCR official would kill for. She didn’t say anything. There had to be more to this meeting than what Mr House was implying. She looked to her left, trying to be casual. Sitting next to her with an overexaggerated grave look on his face was Political Officer Neville Dawson, and next to him was Dennis Crocker, former Ambassador to the Strip. They too were quiet, their faces frustratingly hiding what they were thinking. Not sure where to look, Aminta turned back to the screen Mr House’s caricature face was on. She had to say something. ‘Mr House, why exactly do you think these people targeted Hoover Dam? There are many casinos and places full of money on the New Vegas Strip. Is there anything of massive value at Hoover Dam?’ ‘Well Chief Aminta Marr, no, ostensibly speaking, there is nothing there of real value to anyone, unless they have the ability to take and control the Dam and source it’s hydraulic generated electricity,’ ‘Then why would someone do this?’ Aminta said curtly. She tensed up, not meaning to sound dismissive. ‘Well Aminta, they did take one thing from what we've deduced,’ Mr House said, appearing to ignore her tone. ‘And what was that Mr House?’ Neville cut in. He was leaning forward, hands clasped tightly together. He was trying - and failing - to ease the tension in the room. ‘Well, before I contacted you Neville, and to answer your question Aminta, I ran through my storage records from 2285 to the present. I had Mr Harvey Shwarze, my ‘Representative in Government’ review them in paper form in our archives. Three things - completely inconsequential things mind you, were missing. Three Platinum Chips.’ ‘Three Platinum Chips?’ Neville said concertedly, as if he knew exactly what Mr House was talking about. ‘That’s right. It’s a data storage device, well it was a data storage device. Designed by me before the Great War of 2077. Perhaps once upon a time this would’ve been valuable to somebody, but after the Second Battle of Hoover Dam I had access to all kinds of ruined facilities all over the Mojave to reform to working order. I began reprinting hundreds of Platinum Chips which were variations of the original Platinum Chip. They continuously upgrade and encrypt my software to prevent any outside programmers from accessing my highly sensitive data. I have no idea what a group of hooligans would want with three. I can easily replace them, and since they’re only usable on my systems, well they would simply be useless.’ ‘Perhaps they wanted to sell them,’ Aminta proposed. It wasn’t impossible, she thought. People pay top dollar for things with perceived value, isn’t that the cardinal rule of the Strip? ‘To whom?’ Mr House replied. ‘The point still stands. Nobody has any use for them but me.’ ‘Well, perhaps they thought they were valuable.’ Dennis remarked. ‘In any case, they will soon learn they are not valuable.’ ‘If you have no problems with this Mr House,’ Aminta cut in. ‘Why do you need us here? The NCR has its own problems, big problems, and from where we’re standing, you seem to have everything under control.’ ‘That’s precisely the issue!’ Mr House exclaimed. ‘The very fact they managed to steal anything from me at all is deeply disconcerting! I spent days and nights running statistical simulations for all possible scenarios in and formulated the best plans for countering every scenario I came across!’ ‘I guess my point is, I do not understand, in any capacity, why you, YOU of all people would need to call us for assistance in a matter that you - whether intentional or not - have spent the last fives minutes telling us it isn’t an issue.’ The room fell quiet. Aminta pulled her hands back from the table and into her lap, and looked down at them, pretending to be occupied analysing them. She had exposed the true, unspoken meaning of this meeting, and they all knew it. She bit her lip. Dennis wiped the sweat off his face. Neville breathed in deeply, as though he was going to speak. But Mr House did first. ‘As I understand it, the NCR has fallen on hard times since the Second Battle of Hoover Dam. My Lieutenant after the battle was admittedly curt in regards to handling our relations, and since then it seems your economy is really struggling with extremely poor unemployment and satisfaction levels,’ Mr House paused. Neville looked at Aminta with a look of understanding, and regret but he didn’t say anything. Mr House was right. Of course he was right. ‘It just so happens that while it may look from the outset I’m doing well, with the occasional launch of one of my experimental rockets, crime in Greater New Vegas is extraordinarily high. To be clear, the Strip is not, but the extended city state with the newly constructed buildings - those areas are. I want to make a proposition for the mutual benefit of the NCR, and New Vegas. Neville, think carefully about what I’m about to say.’ Neville spoke up. ‘Alright, I’m all ears.’ ‘Dennis Crocker here can once again become the Ambassador to the Strip, and the NCR can once again have an Embassy. I will also give the NCR access to some of my technologies to help your state re-stabilize after everything that’s happened. In return however, I would like Aminta here, who is your Chief and Commander of both your military and normal police forces, to assist my Securitrons in patrolling Outer Vegas. Securitrons don’t make the best police, and security guards are in short supply and are not equipped, in any sense, to be police. I also would like your help in tracking down the culprits of this robbery; that being an extension of the aforementioned policing stipulation. Such a breach of security cannot happen again. Neville Dawson, I’m willing to sign a treaty pertaining to these terms, or any terms the NCR may propose, unless of course it does mutually benefit both states.’ Aminta felt her twang strike her deep in her heart. For years, the NCR Police Force had been absorbed into the Military Police Unit, and they could barely contain black market dealings of Chems and military grade weaponry on the streets of NCR’s cities. They did not have the resources or power Mr House seemed to think they did. For nearly 3 years straight she had been bombarded with evidence of killings by her own subordinates, illegal incarcerations, and illicit behavior between colleagues within her own chain of command, with no power to rehabilitate or prosecute those involved. Meanwhile, those that had the money to escape fled to New Vegas, desperate to find a life of comfort. It was possible that through re-establishing trade and mutual respect with Mr House, they could rebuild the NCR’s respectability on the international and internal level. She found herself hoping the treaty would be signed. ‘This... is a huge proposition. I hope you can understand the overwhelming nature of what you’re telling us, it’ll take a bit for us to come to a conclusion.’ Neville exhaled, as though he had been holding it for the last minute. ‘I understand.’ Mr House responded. ‘Maybe I ask,’ Donnie piped up. ‘What specific kinds of technology will you provide to the NCR?’ Mr House ran down a checklist. ‘Vehicles. Remade pre-war cars. Excavation machines. Cement mixers. Would provide jobs and improve your infrastructure in the process, whilst also giving me business and improving the situation here. Mutually beneficial for both sides.’ ‘I see.’ Aminta struggled to contain her happiness. She had become a police officer to enforce safety and protect those who abide by the law. This was a way back to such operations, in which she could help those in need, rather than sit idly while their situation worsened. ‘I’ll also be willing to give 10% of the electricity produced by Hoover Dam to the NCR. It produces more than I need.’ Mr House offered. Dennis shifted his weight, and opened his mouth. It was a second before anything came out. ‘15% would be great, if possible.’ ‘Done.’ Mr House concluded. ‘Well, we’ll definitely have to confer this back to President Watson. As previously said by Mr Dawson, this is a huge offer.’ ‘I understand. Aminta, I can only hope you also support this.’ Aminta smiled. ‘I am willing to establish a NCR Police Force here in New Vegas, and assist in establishing prosperity and stability, for the benefit of both states.’ ‘Excellent. I’ll arrange for a Taxi to take you back to the border.’ ***** Nobody said a word in the ride in the elevator down to the entrance of the Lucky 38. There was a perpetual sense of being watched, and listened to, and Aminta supposed they probably were. She sensed from the stiffness of Donnie and Neville’s postures they felt the same way. As the three left through the ground level of the building, the desolate casino indicated a time long past, preserved in pristine condition yet uncannily lifeless; inhabited only by robots. Aminta felt a shiver flow throughout her body, prompting her to hurry outside. Upon exiting, Aminta was greeted by the fantastic lighting she had seen from the Lucky 38. Buildings stretched high into the now night sky, perpetually lit up and calling for you to spend a few short hours in their luxurious suites and lose all the money you have without knowing it. She had visited the Strip a couple of times before the Second Battle of Hoover Dam. Back then, whilst still grand, its exterior walls felt cobbled-together, layered pieces of steel to preserve what glory the pre-war days had. Now, the Strip felt open, almost a complete return to complete pre-war glory, though there was no way of her knowing what such a time looked like. Polished, beetle like cars with extravagant interwoven pieces of silver and gold making up their hubcaps cluttered the road, filled with nicely dressed young women chattering incessantly. Boys, ranging from teenagers to old men stumbled around, drunk and happy, their legs falling beneath them as though they were wet noodles. To the left, the Ultra Luxe Casino hotel stood at the far end of the street, intoxicatingly ostentatious and alluring for any hoping to climb the social ladder, despite the many rumors of cannibalism attempting to tarnish the brand. The fountain outside the front sprayed sparkling water into the night air which caught the light of the strip and reflected it like the jewels the building it was in front of was embroidered in. However, Aminta was not taken by the hotel, and watched two NCR troopers, still in their military uniforms be forced to dance in front of a crowd of onlookers. They were pushed and shoved as they struggled to dance, their arms and legs barely keeping to any rhythm as they fell to the ground, vomiting a putrid yellow substance onto the asphalt. She looked away in disgust and embarrassment for the two men. A man in an expensive looking suit and bowtie greeted the three. Behind him stood a long polished black car. ‘Shall I take you to the crossing point?’ ‘Yes.’ Donnie answered. Aminta and Neville followed his lead. He had more experience on the Strip than the majority of the tourists around them. She started the car once they were all inside, the engine barely kicking as it began to drive. Aminta marvelled at its power, it’s sleekness, at the strength and confidence of its movement and the luxury of it’s exotic wood plated interior. The chauffeur drove to the large South Gate of the Strip, passing multitudinous buildings of similar grandeur and spectacle, all the same though uniquely different, until they all blurred into one mix of different colours and moving forms. The chauffeur leaned out of the side window, showed an identification pass to a Securitron, and the gate opened. Aminta’s car was the only car that left. As the gate closed, the car picked up speed and tore through the rest of Vegas. Immediately outside the Strip, the buildings were noticeably more dilapidated. Aminta watched as the varied prosperity of the Strip curtailed rapidly into a mess of buildings, barely recognisable as residential or industrial, though they were unmistakably new creations. She almost didn’t notice it at first, but they were all the same. Row after row of buildings with the same geometric exterior, though placed at odd angles to each other, as if a child had been playing with them and haphazardly threw them into where they now stood. As the car moved further and further away from the Strip, lights in these buildings became scarce, and the brickwork became exposed to reveal pipelines and shreds of electrical appliances, some still spitting sparks. When the light of the Strip was nothing more than a flicker of light on the night horizon, the copied buildings were replaced with houses, roofs sagging, walls crumbling. As the car zipped passed, Aminta caught wisps of figures; people moving about the ruins and the darkness like ghosts, until they passed the last house, and all that could be seen was the night sky and desert shrubbery.
Here is a 1-shot adventure I made, that could easily be fixed to suit any campaign! It comes complete with a whole town, some notable NPCs, some games to play while they are there, and a heist adventure if your players are keen!I playtested it with my group last Friday and they loved it :) Let me know what you think, or if you play it with your group! ---------- The group has come to the bustling town of Everhaven, a massive stone city in the middle of nowhere outside of all lordly jurisdiction. What once was a safehaven for unlawful deeds, gangs and thieves and murder, has since become an incredible tourist attraction for upper-class citizens to feel the thrill of skullduggery with minimal risk (as well as those looking for an easy pocket to pick). With buildings stretching towards the sky engraved with immaculate relief decor along its pillars and archways; gold and jeweled accents; and magically enhanced lighting illuminating every corner, rooftop, and statue, the city of Everhaven is an overwhelming mecca of visual stimulation.You arrive at the main square, where hundreds of other carriages are dropping off persons of every shape and size. A large group of richly adorned dwarves with gems on every finger scramble out of a red velvet carriage and immediately begin arguing about which attraction to visit first. A few high elves laugh behind their hands, though their red cheeks reveal their obvious drunken state, while leaning against a statue of angels playing fanfare trumpets in every direction - light spewing out of the metal horns in a magical rhythmic dance into the sky above. To your right is a large stable run by a sturdy group of stablehands, who are keeping busy taking care of the myriad of animals being herded into the city with frantic efficiency. Leaning against the stables are a group of rough and unfriendly looking folks, scars streaking across their exposed skin and blades at their belts. If the group talks to them, or succeeds on a 12 PER check, these are mercenaries to be hired for protection for pickpockets. (use the thug statblock (mm pg 350) for 2 silver per day or veteran (mm pg 350) for 2 gold per day).Eventually, an overzealous male half-elf (Fenian, The Silver Song) approaches you, adorned with a sequin silver vest and small white lute. He wears a hat with bells that jingles incessantly as he strides up to greet you. He offers to give you a tour of the city, and he specializes in the grand jewel of the of Everhaven - The Clover. He asks for 10 silver for the regular tour, with the best-selling vocalization, or 20 silver for without music accompaniment.Anyone with a passive perception of 10 or less will at some point, if not multiple points, be pick pocketed during their stay unless they hired a guard.On the tour he points out the various mercenary groups along the way, and makes note of the major attractions. The group can also see these if they decline his services:
The Houndgrave - the shabby pub where mercenaries hang out while in-between jobs. It is an unwashed tavern that most tourists don’t venture to, as it is pretty standard and boring - when you walk in, you immediately greeted with eye rolls and sighs, and a weary Tiefling female mercenary (Fage) approaches you asking if you are looking for an escort through town. There are swords, shields, and stuffed creature heads adorning the walls and empty bottles along the rooftop inner ledge. A roaring fire is off to the far left, and the bar with a hardy human woman (Estella) with an eyepatch behind the bar reaching for a top-shelf liquor on a ladder. She is serving a very excited looking, and out of place, elven man (Dyanmore) escorted by a tired old half-orc man (Two-Tooth) and his dog (Fang), but looks half drunk yet efficient. Two-tooth is a veteran of Everhaven, and know just about all there is to know about this town, though he is short on words.
The Pepper Parlour - a huge buffet, which spans hundreds of long tables being served water, wine, and ale from overworked servers in skimpy, tight uniforms (male and female). Against the entire far wall are foods of all type - starting with cooled foods such as fresh fruit and vegetables, cold soups, cured meats, and iced sweets and moving on to hot foods like roasted potatoes and turnips, a magically rotating pig over a fire, boiling broths, steamed vegetables with exotic spices, savory noodles dripping with cheese, crispy fried meat, and sauces both sweet, spicy, and salty. There is an extensive dessert table with with honeyed pastries, candied almonds, creamed porridge, dates, figs, and chocolates.The floor is sticky and there are crumbs and bones everywhere, despite dozens of goblins shuffling around trying to clean faster than the patrons can messy the place up.
The Velvet Chariot - One of the 3 major casinos, where the theme is elegant, classy, and lush. The casino itself is rich with velvet tapestries hung from the ceiling in waves, and each game table is on its own raised platform surrounded by gold bars, with marble steps leading up to it. Each platform has its own security guard, in crushed red velvet with a gold hand brooch pinning the uniform across their chest. Small pixies flitter to and fro each guard delivering messages.Features a fighting pit that has nightly bouts between all sorts - ferocious creatures, knights, bandits, and local gangs all compete for glory and gold. The fighting pit is in the basement, dozens and dozens of winding staircases leading into a huge arena style seating with black painted walls and a single bright white light illuminating the sanded court. They do not take drop-in offers for fighters, but you can sign-up for a bout later in the week if you should be interested.
The Lunar Court - another Casino, with a dark and entrancing vibe. The roof is enchanted to look like a clear midnight sky with thousands of constellations above. The casino is made up of rows of long hallways, with each game table separated from one another in small alcoves of draped black lace, with plush cushions around a low table. On a PER 13, you can see small silver metal eyes nestled in the drapery flicking back and forth to keep an eye for security. Black and Blue Huge Dragonborn walk the halls in nothing but airy trousers gathered at the hips and ankles, adorned at the wrists and ankles by dazzling diamond bands. (roaming security)Features an elaborate spa with many relaxing attractions, such as heated pools in mushroom-filled grottos, frozen caves filled with crystals, black rooms with salted waters where you can swim with glowing fish, rooms filled with powerful waterfalls, scenic baths enchanted to be overlooking amazing views of forests with magical creatures walking nearby, lava-filled volcanoes, high in the clouds with birds and dragons flying nearby, or underwater amongst coral. They also offer a diverse menu of massage for all needs - gentle, aggressive, with tools such as stones or needles, and other additional services.
The Smiling Lady - In the center of the town square made up of the three major casinos, a huge gold statue of an elegant woman in flowing robes, with a well-placed slit along the side exposing her graceful thigh stands tall. Her smile is enchanting as she holds up a huge levitating coin, rotating between her extended hands. Glowing water shines bright falling across the statue onto the monolith she stands on below. Around the statue are water jets shooting off radiant water in varying intervals. It is a statue of Tymora, or Lady Luck, and the patron saint of Everhaven. It is common to see people toss a coin into the fountain for good luck. (if you toss a coin, gain 1 Luck point)On the hour, every hour she rotates 90 degrees to face a different casino in a huge show of dancing lights and water. Regulars believe this to be a sign that whichever casino she faces is lucky, and there is a flux of people moving from one casino to the next each hour.On a PER 13 check, you can see that there is a room beneath her for mechanics to help fix any broken mechanisms. There is a locked metal cellar-like door leading to it. Spoiler: Through the mechanic's chamber's they find an underground labyrinth connecting all of Everhaven’s attractions.There lies a poem engraved into the stone monolith:"Don't push her far or you may findYour adventures to be through.But on the draw, the stroke, the streakThe Lady smiles on you."
The Clover - The center of the three casinos, The Clover is the oldest of Everhaven’s buildings. You wouldn’t know it from looking at it, as it is also the town’s best-earning attraction and features top of the line decoration. With a towering clocktower, that is said to be the most accurate in the world, mounted above the wide entrance, the Clover is framed by rows upon rows of stained glass windows featuring fields of flowers and clovers, raining down golden coins from a sunny sky. It features the most expansive space for gaming, hosts elaborate shows for entertainment, and the bar is the cheapest in town, with the prettiest looking staff.The decor of The Clover is bright and happy - dreamy neon colors, with a general favoring of green and yellow, bright flashing lights, statues frozen mid leap in the air, or with glimmering jeweled balls suspended in bronze, or with hands and kicks stopped mid dance. There are streamers strung between pillars, which are made up of a clear translucent material which refracts light into thousands of shapes and colors along the room and the faces of the guests. There is loud music being played by a live band in the middle of the room, with a gentle male baritone singer hugging his wand and whispering with soft lips into its amplifying abilities. The roof is incredibly high, with a crystal domed ceiling and similar stained glass windows from the front circling around it.Each gaming table is in the open middle room, with game masters dressed in elaborate Masquerade type clothing - ruffles, feathers, sequins, and decadent makeup. The security is similarly dressed, but less complicated, and wear full porcelain masks.The building is made up of 3 sections:
The center, main casino.
The Bar is to the far left, which is equally flashy as the main casino. Here there are rows of booths where patrons can relax and have drinks, and the servers are very athletic dressed in very little more than feathers and sequins in appropriate places and luxurious headdresses. Your server is a handsome male human, tanned and covered in black sequins augmenting his robust muscles. (Balor) He is kind and flirtatious, but with an INS 12 you can see he hates this job and feels demeaned. Offers you an all you can drink special for 1 gold, or free if you become a member. It costs nothing to become a member but your signature on a hefty contract, written with your own spit. The pen is enchanted to know if you don’t write your own name. They also offer a wide range of food and snacks, also free for members or 2 silver per plate.
The Stage is to the far right, with space for about 200 to sit and watch. The walls are angled mirrors, so they reflect in a kaleidoscope effect what is happening on stage. Every hour on the hour a captivating show takes place, rotating between tamed creatures performing tricks, acrobatics, live bands, jesters, live battles between skilled swordsman, magicians, sexy dance routines, and clerics performing rites of luck on all guests attending. (Clearly timed that way to stop the steady flow of people, should Lady Luck turn her back that hour)
If the group is having enough fun just exploring - let them. Otherwise, if they make enough money or make enough of a ruckus, then a stranger will approach them with a plan too good to pass up. This female purple-skinned tiefling (Marzas Alrozath) has a scar over one eye and is missing a few teeth, but is otherwise well kept and clean. Her hair is shaved in zigzag patterns on both sides and a ponytail at the back. She wears padded black leather, with various pockets sewn in. Her belt has too many coin purses. She takes you to the Pepper Parlour and pays for your meals “There is no better place to talk of such matters than in a room full of raucous pigs.” She explains that she is interested in working with you to break into The Clover’s vault. There is more money there than God knows what to do with. It is heavily guarded with too many traps. She heard from a good source that there is, however, a way around the majority of these hazards - a central access point to the subterranean cellars connecting all of Everhaven together. She knows it's somewhere in the middle of town, but hasn’t been able to find where yet. She asks you to seek it out, as she cannot do it herself as they have her records on file (she became a member years ago, and they have her spit to track her movement inside the casino. If the party is already members they have disadvantage on any stealth checks made while in the Clover. The secret entrance is underneath the Smiling Lady Statue through the mechanic's entrance)Alternatively, you can try and find someone in The Clover who has little loyalty to the company, or someone who knows the space well can help you? Perhaps a key, or a map, or intel on what awaits you? (Fenian the guide, Balor the server at The Clover's Bar, or Two-Teeth at the Houndgrave) Map to the Clover's Staff Area (accessible through the far back of the casino) (one with traps, one without) TRAPS: If any traps go off, make an additional stealth check for alerting the guards (except for Trap 4)
Trip wire - PER 12 check to notice the wire, or DEX 12 save to avoid stumbling.
Door trap - DEX 12 save. A heavy iron block falls on your head. Take 1 D6 damage you are Stunned for 1 minute, with disadvantage on any saving throws for 10 minutes.
Door trap - DEX 12 save. A heavy iron block falls on your head. Take 1 D6 damage and you are Stunned for 1 minute, with disadvantage on any saving throws for 10 minutes.
Huge metal locked door to the vault - PER 12 check to notice the trap. If door isn’t unlocked the right way, then a loud siren goes off and you are Deaf for 1 minute (alerts the guard immediately).
Trip wire - PER 12 check to notice the wire, or Con 15 save or be be blinded for 1 minute
The floor in this room is jiggly. Movement across the room sends nearby creatures bouncing into the air. A successful Intelligence (Investigation) or Intelligence (Arcana) check (DC 15) will grant knowledge of how the jelly floor acts. A Wisdom (Perception) check (DC 15) is required to notice the jelly floor. The walls themselves are slightly sticky, which allows you to walk across.The floor feels like hard stone when lightly touched touch, but while walking across the floor or if hit, it really jiggles. A creature, and any creature who is within 5 feet of them, who is walking across the floor is tossed 10 feet into the air, hits the ceiling and takes 1d6 bludgeoning damage.
If you don’t approach the door from the walls or ceiling (aka you open it from the floor), sleep gas is emitted into the hallway. (DC 15 Wisdom saving throw)
Motion sensor - If the door wasn’t opened correctly, then this automatically goes off. Dex save or else darts shoot from the corners, take 2D6 damage.
Tripwire - PER 12 check to notice the wire, or 12 DEX save to avoid stumbling.
Tripwire - PER 12 check to notice the wire, or spikes fly out from the group. Take 1 D10 piercing damage
Pressure plates - PER 12 to notice the plate, or else the pressure plates release sticky slime to the ground which acts as difficult terrain and sticks to your feet for 1 minute after leaving the terrain.
Holding Cells: 1 drunkard who can’t be woken up, 1 thief who claims he is really good at picking locks and sleight of hand.
Security: A room full of 15 divination sorcerers sitting in a circle. They have their eyes closed and are surveying the casino. There are also 5 fully armed security guards at the walls watching the sorcerers for any sign of a problem.
Technician room: A room full of gears, screws, hammers, nails, clamps, and moving parts. Smells like oil.
Cold storage: rows and rows of raw food.
Changing rooms: 4 rooms filled with ridiculous clothing, some gold, and food. 2 rooms are locked, with 1 having someone changing who screams when you come in, the other has a key in their costume.
Cleaning closet: full of brooms, cleaning agents, and towels. Has a map of The Clover (no traps).
Break room: Food, snacks, and some booze. Has a skeleton key in one of the lockers.
Offices: Keys, maps (no traps), chest (Sleight of hand 20) with instructions about traps and how to disarm them
Vault: 20,000 gold worth of coin, jewelry, and gems. Also a few magical weapons and armor that must be inspected by an agent to determine their worth (as I wrote this as a 1-shot)
CASINO GAMES (all Dealers / Game Masters have a DC 13 against sleight of hand checks) Lucky 7s - Roll 2D6. Players bet either over or under 7. Players can either double down or quit - pot then doubles until either the players cash out, they choose wrong, or a 7 is rolled. Once a 7 is rolled, the house wins. Devil's Dice - Roll 3D6. Players pick a # between 1-6. If 0 of the dice match this number, the house wins. If 1 of the dice match, they win back their bet. If 2 match, they double their bet. If 3 match, they triple their bet. High or Lower - Roll 2D6. Dealer shows 1 dice to player, and the player has to guess whether their sum is higher or lower than the Dealer's dice. Can double down, and then roles swap for who shows their dice first. I tried making a few games that weren't just dice games, but also offered some role play elements. Karaoke - Roll performance against the crowd's reaction. Roll 1D20 against the player's Performance (Player's have advantage if they perform a duet). Earn 1 gold for the difference between these rolls (ie: Player's rolled a 18 performance, DM rolled a 12. Players earn 6 gold) Dunk the Drunk / Archery - Roll for a ranged attack. 10-15 earns back their bet. 15-20 earns double the bet. 20+ earns double the bet plus a special item (up to DMs discretion) Hammer Strike - Simple enough - DC 15 Athletics wins double the bet. *edit - Forgot to add in the casino games like I promised - whoops!
US Department of Astral Affairs Log Book NEVER TRUSTING, ALWAYS WATCHING NOVEMBER 2005 Welcome, Recruit: This is introductory course five of Lucid Dreaming. Practice is essential, and completion of this course is mandatory for admittance to the more advanced Dream Walking and Astral Projection wings. Training process is highly dangerous and experimental. Failure may result in permanent brain death or physical demise. Foreword: On Sandmen: Ever experience Dejavu? Dream of an event before it happens or of a person before you meet them? Dreams are not mere musing of the mind. Classified experiments have shown that dreams have the ability to influence "destiny", or future events. Human consciousness is connected, and the more people who dream of the same event, the more likely it is to occur. Under the skin of reality, the United States fights another war for the soul of the future. Our enemies are so far shrouded in mystery. We call them the "Sandmen", and they work to influence humanity's dreams to further their interests. From them we adopt our motto: "Never Trusting, Always Watching." Lucid Dreaming is being conscious during your dreams, taking control of it, and molding it in your image. It is the foundation of highly advanced techniques like Dream Walking and Astral Projection, which involve penetration into the Astral Plain. Recruit, you have been chosen to learn this weapon of the future. The following transcript on the department's first contact with the "Sandmen" is from one of our finest: Staff Sergeant P. Sherman, one of our pioneering operatives in the Astral Plain, and was appointed Chief of Dream Walking in 2005, heading the fight against the Sandmen and the Collective Consciousness. On Sandmen: Staff Sergeant P. Sherman, astral excursion log dated ... dated fifth November ... in the Year of our Lord two-thousand-and-two. I - I have just woken up from my latest Lucid Dream, ten minutes ago. S - sorry, I'm still rattled. I've encountered something, and it tried ... to kill me. I’ll start from the beginning. I followed excursion routine perfectly. Left Fort Knox at 1700 and pulled into my driveway at 1830. An hour of cardio on my wheelchair followed by six sets of push-ups, sit-ups, and pull-ups. Ate dinner at 2000 and relaxed with Beethoven and a book until 2300. Began meditating in pitch darkness on my bed until I fell asleep. My alarm woke me at 0300. Dead tired. Nothing new, just standard protocol. Popped my anti-acetylcholine pills and fell back on bed. Immediately felt myself sinking into the mattress, hallucinating, seeing red and green, then blue. Kept chanting in my head “Be Lucid. Perform reality checks, Sherm.” Soon, the mattress fell away. Felt like my body was suspended in air. Couldn’t hear anything, or feel anything. Sleep paralysis check, I confirmed. I meditated to remain calm and let myself slip further. Began seeing more splashes of colour and then faces: my wife’s this time, when she was younger. Hallucination check, I thought. A stark breeze brushed my cheek and I opened my eyes. Sure felt warmer than 20 degrees. Reality check one, failed. Pinched my nose and tried to breathe; no problem whatsoever. Second reality check failed. I then stood up; no wheelchair. Final reality check, failed. Three for three. I’m dreaming, all right, and fully lucid. I control my breathing. Don’t need air in here, but it tricks the mind to be calm. Get too riled up and I could wake up, even under the pills. I lift my eyes to survey the dream. I’m just outside Sam’s Town, an old red casino teetering on the edge of Vegas. Not in the golden lanes where all the glitzy gaming hotels are, but nowhere in Vegas is it dark anyway. “Sherm, what’s wrong?” I hear. And something soft presses against my arm. Haven’t felt it in years. Caroline wore the same red spotted blouse as on our honeymoon. I’m dreaming of ’97. Been dreaming of Caroline an awful lot lately. “You keep spacing out Sherm,” she says and … oh God help me. She looks at me with those sapphire eyes, like a captured galaxy. She puckers her lips, and I … I meet them. I know it’s just a dream, but it feels – felt so … so real. A – anyway, I push her away after a moment – or two: mission comes first. Haven’t been so Lucid before in any dream. I turn around: tons of people going in and out of Sam’s Town. The music is blaring, and the neon too. But I don’t see a target. Makes sense, most people wouldn’t dream themselves to the entrance of Sam’s Town. It isn’t iconic enough. Down the lane, I see the arching citadel of the Bellagio hotel. In the real world, it wouldn’t be so close to Sam’s Town, but in this dreamscape, it was just a stroll away. I feel Caroline wrap around my arm again, and we walk along. “Let’s go back … hey,” she pines, and Caroline squeezes closer than I had thought possible. “Sherm, we already saw the Bellagio yesterday!” She tries to pull me back, but I gently usher her along. I could leave her and run ahead, but in dreams, it’s best not to act too differently than you normally do. Sends your subconscious warning signs, could wake you up. “Well, what’s one more time? Come on, it’ll be quick,” she grumbled loud enough for me to hear. Entirely by design, Caroline. Well, in retrospect, I’m certain it was. Together we walk towards the Bellagio’s majestic fountain, now jetting diamonds in the sky, framing the hotel behind with celestial gates. The crowd thickened as we neared, a dense mass of phones, pointing at the fading jets. “You know what? This is nice,” she says softly. “Yes it is,” I smile, but my eyes are scanning the scene. Bingo, my intuition was right. Everything about this place is all wrong. When me and Caroline came here years ago, the Bellagio hadn’t even opened yet. If this is my dream of ’97, the Bellagio should be a skeleton, and the fountain, a mud yard. Even if I’m dreaming of what I saw on TV, it shouldn’t be this vivid. Too vivid to be my own. And more importantly, the people. Hoodies, flipflops, tube tops, Chinese silk … People didn’t dress like that back in ’97. And the gadgets, I’ll be damned if we had I-phones back then. I feel the ivory balustrade next to the fountain. It’s pockmarked and my fingers bump along a firm surface. It’s cold and slightly damp too, like after a brief shower. Odd: it didn’t rain a drop when we came in ’97. Which means … someone else is here – someone who visited Vegas after ’98 when the Bellagio opened – and this fountain is his or her dream. I scan the clearing. A great way to tell a Lucid dreamer apart from dream characters is the way they move. Dream characters only move when the dreamer is aware of them. Otherwise, they remain frozen in place; and the whole left wing where Caroline and I were standing was completely stuck. “Let's see it from over there” I point to the far end of the gallery. The fountain is moving too, so the dreamer must be watching it. As we stroll along, I see more active dream characters, and the camera snapping gets louder too. Finally, at the end, the crowd at the balustrade is abuzz. Yet, the group behind them is frozen. In the middle of the two is a lone girl in denim and black tights, just watching the Bellagio through the fountain spray, now forming starbursts in the night sky. “What’s your name?” She whips around, eyes forming a question, but too startled to ask. She sweeps her chestnut bangs over her right ear. “Erm … Lucy King” “Lucy, I need you to be calm. My name is Penn Sherman.” “And I’m Caroline, his wife” my wife interjects, shooting me a questioning glare. “I was getting to it, honey.” “Maybe we should get back, dear?” she tugs again, far harder this time. Harder than Caroline ever could when she was alive. It nearly trips me. “H - hello, I guess?” Lucy says, taking a step back. “I’ll get to the point. Do you know you are dreaming?” “Honey … please, I’m begging you,” Caroline gives me a pained smile. Lucy’s eyes narrow at me, and I continue: “This is the Bellagio fountain, but you can’t be here in real life right now, can you?” Lucy looks to the sky, and all-round. Dream characters spring into action around her. The sound of snapping cameras and idle chatter picks up, as if Lucy had only just noticed it. “I was … at home,” she whispers, then her eyes widen in shock. I grin at her. “You see, I’m dreaming too, Lucy. This means the world of sleep is connected! I’m doing a test for the US mili...” “ENOUGH” Caroline screams, but her voice rips at the seams, sounding … queer. “We are going back, NOW.” She readies herself for a huge pull. I blink. Are dream characters normally this pushy? I slip out of her grasp. I blink again. Did she get bigger? My 5 foot Caroline is now 7, with spindly arms hanging down to her knees and her neck arching forward towards me at an impossible angle. “Holy shit, this is a weird dream,” Lucy mumbles. And Caroline’s voice breaks, morphing into something harsh, like a hundred shattering plates. “YOU HAVE GONE TOO FAR.” The flesh on Caroline’s hand melts into a flat sickle. Lucy never had a chance. The creature that was Caroline swung that cruel arm, cutting Lucy’s head off, eyes still wide with shock. There was no blood. Lucy’s body just shimmered away, waking her from the dream. “What the fuck,” I shout. The creature snaps its head towards me and smiles, like Caroline. Grains of … sand seemed to be falling out of her body everywhere, but then circulating into her stomach, then out again. The ground was littered with the stuff. “We can’t have you interfering with the dreamscape any further,” the creature grates at me, sending shivers down my dream body. “What the hell are you?” In reply, the creature brandishes its sickle arm at me. Not wanting to be intimidated, I force a laugh out of myself for bravado. “You got nothing on me. This is just a dream. Like Lucy, even if you cut off my head, I’ll just wake up.” The creature chuckled. Then its harsh, otherworldly voice came. “Correct, if it is your dream, but where are you?” The Bellagio; Lucy’s dream! And I start running back towards Sam’s Town. The insectoid skittering of the creature’s pointed feet sounded a step behind. I run as hard as I can, and I make it back past the fountain to the street. The block of buildings where Sam’s Town begins is just four strides away. But then I just … fall. My legs are all busted again like after my second tour in Afghanistan, and the creature is closing in. All around it, Lucy’s dream of the Bellagio is collapsing, falling away into an empty black void below. Fountain waters poured into eternity along with Lucy’s dream characters, like mannequins. Cars and streetlamps folded down with the ground. But ahead, the block of buildings with Sam’s Town’s shimmering neon remained intact, just as bright as I left it. I start crawling towards my dream – three strides away – but a shadow casts over me. The creature with Caroline’s face was there, with a street lamp at its back, bleeding sand all over the sidewalk. The streets were empty: no cars or people. It was just me, and it. I could already hear Sam’s Town, the whistles, the Michael Jackson they always had on, everything. And the sickle-shaped arm stabbed into my chest. I howled with pain, but I kept going, kept crawling – two strides away. I jerked and cried out as it stabbed me again in the arm – one stride. One arm left, I grip onto a streetlamp and heave my body forward, but the bladed arm pulls me back, slicing down my dangling forearm. But I manage to gain an inch. My head passes the boundary and suddenly I feel my legs again. I hear rumbling, and my dream of Sam’s Town begins to fall apart; the neon sign crashes to the ground. I need to be quick; get back in before the dream collapses without the rest of me. I’m almost there. And the creature stabs me again, this time in the chest, but I manage to kick off the asphalt with my legs and launch myself into the sidewalk. Sam’s Town’s music blares loudly, as if welcoming me back, and the neon sings in a dazzling spectrum which quickly fizzles away. The sound system fails. Buildings are crashing down around me. And I look at the creature. The street is like a damn beach from the sand pouring out its stomach. Behind it, the dream world is darkness as the creature’s unblinking eyes fix on me. My vision fades, and I flip the bird at it as I die. I wake up and my body’s on fire. Something warm is running down my thigh: Blood, I recognize the smell. The emergency lights are on. My left arm refuses to move; it looks like a half-eaten chicken wing, but it doesn’t hurt. Adrenaline is pumping through my veins. The heart-rate monitor I’m hooked up to is going mad, and I can feel my chest go. My cell is ringing and nearly rattling itself off the bedside drawer. Home base must have picked up my readings, which means that paramedics are on the way. I just need to wait. So here I am, bleeding all over my corridor, back against the wall and feet bracing myself upright. Patched myself up as best I could, but I hope the doctors can save the arm. Trust no one. I repeat. Trust – no – one. These things can be anyone, even your wife, and they are hunting Lucids. HQ, we’ve made first contact. I recommend that all future Lucid dives take place monitored on base. I see headlights through my window. The paramedics are here to pick me up. Staff Sergeant Penn Sherman, signing out … and Caroline, I’ll be back. END OF TRANSCRIPT: ON SANDMEN 5TH NOV 2002
[Online][5e][EST][LGBT+] Sunday Steampunk-ish DnD Game
Looking for: 2-3 Players When: Sundays anytime after 2 PM EST. Exact time to be determined based on group availability. Game start date tentatively set for March 15th Platform: Roll20 for play, Discord for either text or voice depending on players' preference Characters: starting at 4th level. I'm pretty chill with most stuff, if you want any specific homebrews, just run it by me beforehand. My Experiences: I’ve done a little bit of dming here and there, and have been playing 5e in particular for the past 3-4 years. This will, however, be my first true long campaign, so do expect some bumps in the road here and there, but my goal is to make sure we’re all having fun! Player Expectations: Keep an open mind and respect each others’ boundaries. As we most likely won’t know each other, we might resort to using traffic signs or have a trigger list if the need arises. Have to be LGBT+ friendly. Any level of experience is welcome! The World: completely steampunk homebrew world, inspired heavily by Fallen London, the pantheon is as you would expect, with some surprises ;) Campaign Style: Very RP heavy, somewhat combat-light. Expect some sessions in a row without any combat. I’ll try to emulate a sandbox of a world as much as I can - you guys will be exploring the world and picking up plots as you see fit Premise: “At first there was nothing, and then there was the Lorelei. Or that’s how those most devoted to the Empress-Queen would tell the story: what used to be a land of chaos and violence turned to structure and civilisation under the so-called calming guide of humankind. What was once a small port controlled by a family shrouded in more mystery than gilded gold has quickly became a dangerous, encroaching frontier tearing through neighbouring countries, slowly taking over the Orcish nation-states, with sights set on something far more outlandish for the future. But this is not the only thing that haunts the little overgrown satellite, no - whatever’s left of nature is slowly being twisted, deformed, and no one quite knows why. The poor somehow become poorer, and the rich even richer, especially with new mines set to begin extracting hours in the dark expanse of the sky. The Mantles are slowly established across each city, bringing a new wave of governmental oversight. We’ll begin our story in Kama, the last resort of religion. The city that looks like a fucked up mesh of old gothic style churches and neon-saturated design of Adam’s Way. It looks … hideous, even up close, where the direct line that separates the rather impoverished citizenry and the old abandoned and destroyed temples of the old from the glossy, golden neo-gods and the towering structures of the blinding casinos that are ever developing, ever engulfing more of Kama is no longer observable. Looking up at the abandoned Southern entrance, watching the bodies of the elder Revolutionaries hang as they have for the past few decades, you think that by all means Kama is a place that should have been abandoned, left to rot and become the tourist trap it was designated as by the empire: circus show of those people who still cling to their platinum dragons and seas and nature, those who still cling to rose symbols and whisper words of May, commands that the spring and revolution brought forth… “ DM me if you’re interested, and feel free to comment any questions!
Otto approached the console and plugged himself in for the next round of debugging. This wasn’t quite the same as his foray into SPIRE’s depths. That adventure required a more focused avatar. Not being able to build his ‘castle’ had left him more vulnerable to the pressure of SPIRE’s matrix and events such as the worm ambush. If that worm had sunk its ‘teeth’ into Otto, the damage would have been serious. More than just smelling the rainbow. His castle walls on the other hand would have prevented much of that potential damage. Even so, the first time he had tried to build his castle, he had been rebuffed and thrown out of SPIRE’s space. To force his way in despite of that would be the same as attacking SPIRE. Here the castle was fine, although he wouldn't be able to take it all the way in. Dataspace did seem to favour the savvy defender. His avatar formed around him, standing on the front battlement of the castle. Fluffy white clouds manifested in front of him and the walls, inner moat, spires and inner keep formed up behind him. He was slowly approaching a the point where he wouldn’t have to look anymore. It was difficult to build up a sphere of awareness around him that wasn’t limited by his brains natural tendency to focus entirely on a small area. But he could cast his awareness around without having to turn his avatar’s head to look. His castle was impressive to him, but the Tree was on another scale. The simple width of the trunk was a couple times larger than the breadth of his castle. The castle had formed up quickly enough, but rested in the shadow of the Mother Willow’s presence. The main trunk sunk into a solid layer of clouds below, obscuring the ground and the roots from sight. But the main trunk itself couldn’t be seen. It was surrounded, wreathed in massive twisting vines and branches looking very much like their own old forest trees. The spread out in every direction and only gained in thickness as Otto sent his awareness upwards. The branches that were large impressive trees in their own right expanded to become great twisting spans covering the sky above him, spreading their own foliage to block out the light. The appearance of the tree was that of natural growth. Through the foliage and branches of the tree, in towards the Mother Willow’s depths, soft light radiated out. But nothing so harsh as the bright neon of SPIRE’s inner conduits or his own exaggerated dataspace hand. While colossal in size, the tree truly had the appearance of a natural living thing. “You know, It’s like a legendary World Tree,” Otto noted. It hadn’t failed to impress him yet. “Is this an Earth Legend?” SPIRE asked. “Yeah, the World Tree is said to hold the heavens in its branches and the underworld in its roots. It’s a connecting force holding all the world together,” Otto explained. “It’s also said to be a source of life and powerful wisdom.” “Humans have many interesting legends and metaphors.” Otto smiled lightly, but shook himself to focus his attention. “Okay, I think we can finish up the recognition control today,” noted Otto. The drawbridge of his castled started to drop, rattling with the turning of massive gears that held the chains of the bridge. The castle itself floated towards the tree, gliding through the false sky. “You believe this phase to be nearly complete?” SPIRE asked. “Yeah, then we can reactivate most of the Tree’s functions so it will do more than just revive the Hyowean. It has shown to be willing to heal her, but I need to do more if she wants to do more after all. There’s limiters sunk into the tree all over the place, but I think they’re mostly chained together. Whenever one goes out, the others should get weaker.” The castle arrived in reach of the tree as the drawbridge came to a rest on a flat projecting ‘vine’. In a blink, Otto was walking across the drawbridge. “Will you complete that step during this visit?” “Hmmm,” Otto mumbled. “Yeah I think so, I should have enough time to start inspecting the limiters that are woven through the control package.” He crossed the drawbridge and entered the territory of the Mother Willow. “We have access,” SPIRE informed. “Do be cautious of hidden elements.” “I will, but I’ve got a schedule to keep. If I can’t get to the limiters in that time frame I won’t leave Tank and Aurula hanging,” Otto reasoned. “But If I can’t, it won’t be because I was slacking.” Otto continued to work his way through the framework around the Mother Willow. It was not an easy task, but he did have SPIRE’s support. While the SI was strangely blind to most of what went on in it’s own mind, it could help out elsewhere easily enough. SPIRE was great at being a simple calculator when Otto needed it. Too bad it couldn’t make itself be more. Then again, that would make it harder for the Superior to hold onto their ‘top spot’. A couple hours later Otto was slacking, if only a little bit. But he had permission now. He was inspecting the limiters that had been placed into the trunk of the tree. Still for a minute he lost complete track of what he was doing. “Otto? Are you well?” SPIRE asked. Otto jumped in surprise. “What? Uh, no. Just tired from last night.” Otto had been distracted, thinking about the process of repairing SPIRE’s damage the previous night, not to mention what else he’d found. He returned his attention to the spike and chains that were the representation of the limiting aspects of the control package. They were invisible to sight at first when he had found the dataspace realization that was the tree. Certain constructs didn’t really reveal themselves until you knew to look for them. An organic mind might perceive the shadow of ‘something’ existing in that space. But with so much of what Otto saw being metaphorical, he needed at least partial recognition before the things he looked at would take an understandable form. SPIRE had stopped being surprised Otto could handle what he was ‘seeing’ so quickly, but that suggested there was something to his ability to ‘recognize’. As for the restraints, when he had found the first trace and recognized it, the trace had taken a form that he could understand. It had resolved itself into a massive spike, twice as wide as he was tall, driven into the trunk of the tree and protruding past the layer of vines. The spike was used to hold a chain that was wrapped close around the trunk of the tree. Around the spike was a rust patched black metal ring with four links welded at diagonal points, He could only just reach his arms around one side of the ring. But the rust… that was his work. Simply playing with the recognition control had necessitated damaging the limiters. He could do this, It was just hard work. He recognized the feeling of his left hand rubbing his eyes in real life. Habitual actions enacted in real life were a sure sign of fatigue. Suddenly, a voice intruded on his musings. “A signal!” he heard Aurula call out in alarm.
The Gerlen approached the research center quietly, it’s screen at full power. It wasn’t here for a fight, but they had tracked clones that had wandered into the section and never come back out. This was part of the ‘held’ territory the raiding crew had taken. Any space that lacked a dataspace presence had been initially assumed as a captured point. They were carefully picking through to discover what spots were and weren’t actually held. The first real surprise was finding that there was no other ship in the vicinity of the Manifestation of Fate. Whoever these people were, they had arrived with only the shuttle, they weren’t part of a larger crew. It had unsettled them when they found the shuttle without it's mobile SI core. Still, it was only those who were currently on board now to worry about. This raised the possibility of wiping them out with an ambush and having nothing further to worry about. But that crew did roll through any drones or Gerlen they had come across without casualties. An impressive accomplishment. They had seen the wreckage of the heavy transport and the damage to the construction bay. The invading crew was small, but capable. Any ambush would have to be carefully planned and executed. Rather than the deviation fields that combat variants used, shadow types like him had a sensor scattering material grown into his skin and a visual obscuring holo field. At a glance he seemed to be wearing a true black full body suit. He also had thick padded soles instead of boots and any gear he used was shrouded in thick cloth, all to reduce any potential noise he might make. Thermal sensing could still be a problem, but sapients who thought to use or had the inborn sense to use thermal sensing were quite rare. He was following a pair of failures stumbling towards the research center now. It wasn’t hard to redirect the substandard clones, they were easy to give orders from short range dataspace comms. Although short range was all they dared use. After a couple incidents they had agreed to avoid directly connecting to the ship dataspace, only using manually controlled consoles. They had even taken to posting soldiers at clone bays when the batch was coming due in order to prevent early dataspace corruption. The ship dataspace was damaged in ways that weren’t readily apparent. A few soldiers had lost track of who was friendly and had suddenly opened fire on companions. This hadn’t been seen to happen to any of the mental failures, the common factor had been individuals capable of accessing dataspace. But while they had those who could make use of dataspace communications, Gerlen were rarely grown with the potential to be codesetters. They didn’t have anyone to try and immunize against whatever was causing the problems. The shadow continued to follow the two failures at a distance. The commander had been clear. Reconnaissance only. They weren’t to confirm the presence of higher order intelligent Gerlen just yet. The clones turned a corner ahead of them, entering the last hall before the central hub of the research center. Whatever defenses were there opened fire on the two decoys, shredding the soldiers with ease. The shadow approached the final corner and kneeled, pulling a small palm sized orb from a compartment in the side of his stomach. He put the orb on the ground and the bottom hemisphere separated into six spiked legs while a panel opened up on the top revealing a small sensor and camera combo. He hooked into the drone via short range data comms and began controlling it for exploration. It didn’t even get around the corner before it froze. A Human! There was a Human here! It was wearing a full body suit with heavy patches scattered across it's body in critical points, looking very much like a simple body armor. The Human had a messy mop of brown hair on it's head, but was otherwise clear of fur although it had a layer of stubble around the lower sections of it's face. A male then, only males had facial fur. He had come out from whatever it was doing to inspect the Gerlen corpses that had been gunned down. As the shadow watched through the tiny scout drones eye a deeply green scaled Kraltnin stepped out of the central hub and approached the Human and a blue Leralin peeked out the door as well, it’s crest raised high. The Human was kneeling next to the corpse, his right hand extended out. Instead of flesh and blood, he had a prosthetic that moved almost as naturally as his normal body. The harness he wore had a heavy collar, suggesting a dataspace suite. The human looked up for a moment, brown eyes scanning around for anything else of note. The small holofield of the spider drone hid it from sight. It only had a few minutes of runtime, but it didn’t need a huge power reserve for its purpose. Better the drone in sight than himself, holofields tended to distort space on larger figures. Next to the human was what might have been a typical hover drone except instead of the usual dual plasma repeaters, it instead carried a heavier D-field emitter, two small dishes antennae on the sides revealing its purpose. A pair of smaller silver hover drones floated within range, each with repeaters sticking out of both sides. This confirmed the invaders taking two of the drone makers. It also suggested they had the skill to modify and construct their own schematics! A fourth drone floated into view, coming past the blue Leralin, this one bearing it’s own sensor suite. The Shadow didn’t hesitate a moment, the little spider drone skittering out of view. He scooped the drone up and ran as fast as he could. What he’d learned in these couple moments was too important, he couldn’t afford to be spotted.
“Still, you thought you saw something,” Otto asked. “I had thought, but it is gone now,” Aurula answered. “Allow me a moment and I will playback the records.” Otto, Tank and Aurula shared a moment in a short range dataspace gestalt. Aurula pulled up the records and the three of them watched. “Ah, there,” Tank said first as his tail twitched, although he was only a split-second ahead of the other two. “A ghost energy signature, too faint for any of the regular drones to catch,” Aurula noted. “It shows up just as I bring the sensor drone into the corridor.” “Hmm, yeah, any ideas on what it was?” “I don’t know. I haven’t seen this before,” Aurula replied, unhappy that she couldn’t help. “If the pair of you do not know, then the chances I would be familiar are quite slim,” Tank explained. “Hmm,” Otto thought out loud. “Well I don’t like it. When we meet tonight, let's make sure to share this little sensor ghost with everyone else. Matchka might know, even if no one else does.” “Should we head back now?” Tank asked seriously. “No, I’m pretty sure they left,” Otto answered. That took both Tank and Aurula by surprise. “You think we were being watched?” Aurula asked. “Maybe, maybe not. But I’d rather assume the worst,” Otto explained. “That way, any other surprises will be pleasant ones.” “An interesting viewpoint,” Tank acknowledged. “Besides, I still have work to do here,” Otto said as he returned to the console, rubbing his eyes.
16 days after arrival
Matchka floated along in a copy of one of the original transports they had been using since the first storage room raid. They’d installed a D-field emitter as well as several small drone docks to allow more firepower, but it wasn’t the combat hover that Stacey was currently piecing together. Aurula had gone through the control package and found several errors. It was taking time to convert a control package from one of the vehicle schematics they had taken. Everything they opened up had problems and that didn’t include converting the package for a unique vehicle. Personally, Matchka suspected the process of copying had allowed an opportunity for the data corrosion to spread. Not that they had much choice, it was that or nothing. Her ears twitched back and forth as she listened to the footfalls of her companions. It was one of the usual groups, Herself, the brothers, Mason and Rob. It was a bit later in the ‘day’ for them to be on this trip, but they had decided that only one group would be out at a time, so they’d waited for Otto, Tank and Aurula to return from their group trip to the research center. Yesterday’s sensor ghost had made her paranoid as well as the Humans. It was difficult to say if those ghosts hadn’t been there before they had started to use the more advanced sensor drones, but with the advent of the Gerlen clones, it was better to be safe. And it was reasonable to assume that ‘ghost’ had been a small energy signature. Her best assumption was that it was a very small short range drone. Perhaps with a holo field to make it virtually invisible. That would mean that someone had indeed been very close. SPIRE had mentioned a ‘stealth’ variant of the Gerlen clones… The current group was reasonably well armed for this trip. They had a small array of drones and some improved equipment this time. They had two of the Defensive drones, four offensive drones and one sensor drone on them. A similar complement to what they planned on loading into the combat hover. Matchka wasn’t confident that would work as well as Stacey and Otto assumed. It was difficult to control two drones, and they had planned to load it with seven! Even now the thought caused her ears to droop with doubt. For the group loaded onto the small transport she was piloting now, Mason would use one of the defensive drones, and one of the offensive. She would use a defensive and two of the offensive ones and Daniel would control the fourth offensive drone. While one seemed to be his limit, he’d proven in the simulator to be quite good at incorporating it into his own actions. “Mike, thoughts?” Matchka asked. The older brother turned towards her, both of the harness arms unfolded from his back, one setting it’s plasma repeater on his right shoulder, the other draping the D-plate over his left. “Feels good so far, haven’t had any tweaks or twitches,” he responded, then faced forward again. “Bit heavier though. Wouldn’t want to wear this all day, every day.” Yesterday he’d tried an improved harness she had built based off some of the assault Gerlen schematics. They’d put an unloaded weapon on the one arm and an uncharged shield. Both of the arms had spasmed and locked up. When she had inspected them after the fact, the gun mount had been attempting to fire at the first person in sight. Failing that the logic had hard crashed and frozen. She had since gone through the code logic with a lice comb. She wasn’t going to allow any bugs to infest the harness again. That had been yesterday morning, she’d spent the whole rest of the day making sure it was safe. Only her last check before this run had reassured her. On the upside, once familiar with the bugs, further problems became easier to sort out. “Coming up on the third clone bank in a couple minutes,” Mason informed the group. Minutes later they were coming up on the last corridor. Matchka’s ears perked up. “Plasma fire?” “I ain’t hearin’ nuthin’,” Daniel replied. “Matchka has the best hearing of the group,” Rob replied. “True,” Daniel acknowledged. They all held their weapons at the ready, not knowing what they would find. Just as they were coming up on the entrance to the cloning bay the door opened up. Everyone cocked their weapons. A single Assault Gerlen with a plasma repeater on his shoulder exited the room. A haze of heat radiated from the length of the barrel on his shoulder and steam rose from the nozzle on the front. His body was cut by shrapnel and he was spattered with thick fluids. He faced them and shrieked, his gun firing on the group. He was outmatched. The shots from the plasma repeater hadn’t focused on any one single target and splashed across multiple D-fields to no effect. They all opened fire on the Gerlen as it had fired on them. His shield was overcome and he was filled with holes. “Well that was weird,” Mike commented. “Yeah,” Rob agreed. The cloning bay was trashed. Something had been wrong with that Gerlen and it had destroyed all but one of the vats and killed all of the other clones. “Let's finish job,” Matchka commented. “Then solve puzzle.”
?? Days after arrival. On the edge of dreaming
For the first time in awhile, Tsury approached consciousness. She had spent a great deal of time in hibernation after Barnbinbun had begun starving her. It wasn’t her fault she was unable to make the nano-fix he wanted, she simply didn’t have the capability. So he had tossed her in a cage and left her to wither away. There was another memory in between the last moment in the cage and now. A passing dream of life giving water and pleasant humming voices on the distant edge of wakefulness. As she slowly gathered her awareness, she was vaguely surprised to realize she was immersed in a seed chamber. The core seed that was her true self surrounded in the warm embrace of roots and royal sap. Further extension of her awareness showed that her current body was in fact still there. The roots has simply pressed through into her core. Further extension of her awareness revealed an impossibility. She was in a Mother Willow? How was that possible? When had that happened? This… this tree was old. Over four millennia old. Completely unlike the stunted sapling she had once been allowed to grow. It had a history and a great depth of knowledge. She could only marvel at the depths of its roots and the breadth of its branches. Was this what the Mother Willows of before were like? Before the Razing? A twitch of surprise and she acknowledged the most recent addition. A scattering of blood across it's… now ‘her’ roots. It had been absorbed and studied. It was incomplete and wouldn’t yield a full genetic blueprint, but there were some interesting traits suggested. Hardiness, but with above average requirements. Strong immune system due to exposure. She needed more material for full resolution however. As she began scanning through her options, she considered beginning the process of dissolving her current body, with the exception of the eyes and supporting nerves. Ushen vision was quite powerful, it would be a waste to lose that, but the Mother Willow didn’t have common racial strains like the Ushen available. It would be able to recover the altered strains she had used for herself, but that had limitations, It was much more difficult to alter further without the base strain. Without being in an active body, Tsury was unable to experience the full range of biologically driven emotion. Which was a blessing, Ushen were notoriously nervous and panicky. As she considered looking at what should could replace that body with, Tsury realized there was something… pulling at her.. Her attention shifted. A message waited for her, at the intersection between the Mother Willow and the attached dataspace of the controlling network. There was something odd happening to the dataspace network of the tree. She could feel it ripple and shake periodically as something was poking and prodding at its roots. She lacked access to locate the source of the disturbance, but there was a feeling of… fresh air, flowing from that direction. She opened up the message. A face formed before her. A light skinned creature, the construct consisted only of it’s upper torso, the rest of it’s body fading away into incoherence. It’s head had a bundle of brown fur and it's eyes were the colour of fresh soil. It lightly bared it’s teeth for a moment then began to talk. “Hello, my name is Otto, I am a male Human and a member of the crew that removed you from Barney’s imprisonment. I am also the one who broke your slave implant. I hope you don’t mind.” It bared it’s- his teeth again. With shock she immediately felt at the edges of the implant that had governed her actions up until now. It felt different, once the mere thought of disobedience could ignite forced pain. Now there was nothing of the sort. There were still traces of influence, but it was now hers to control. “So, there were some disagreements with a couple different Alphas on Hrossincru,” the Human explained after giving her the moment he had correctly guessed she’d need. “So we had to get off planet. We are now on an almost derelict Silianisca survey ship. I have placed you in the the resident Mother Willow. Your predecessor rests at the back of the tree, I’m afraid they’ve passed on.” She reached back and could see the slow absorption of the Treiddikx body. It bore the signs of Hyowean alteration as well. As the… Human spoke, she began casting through the array of strains, she’d never had so many options for building a vessel body before. Although, most of it was restricted. There was so much she couldn’t use. “I’m going to admit I have some hopes for what you might be able to do,” The Human continued. He held up a pair of arms, one with a functioning manipulator appendage. It held five digits, four for gripping and a shorter more flexible one for fine control. The other appended ended abruptly in a scarred stump. “I kinda need a full proper replacement, and I’m hoping you might have some talents to support that goal, but I won’t be upset if it’s outside what you can do.” Well... there were possibilities. Tsury wasn’t sure yet, but given some material she could probably grow a hand. Attaching it was a different story. “To support that goal, and in understanding of the nature of the Hyowean, I’ve placed a sample next to your body,” He suddenly bared his teeth fully and the sides of his eyes crinkled. “I’m sure a couple members of my crew will be pissed at me when they find out. Anyways, it’s got some blood, some hair and some skin. I’m not hurt though, we have a little spare nano-fix left. I honestly don’t know what the best sort of sample was, but there ya go.” She forced a portion of awareness into her inert body, slowly flexing her fingers, then hands and finally her arms. The body was extremely stiff and sore, but as sensation returned she realized the container was in her left hand. The face returned to a neutral expression as the brown eyes gazed towards her. “Anyways, the original owners of this ship have met an unfortunate demise, and we’re attempting to capture it. We were surprised to find this Mother Willow here, that was just a good stroke of luck. But we had a talk and we put you in there assuming you’d be revived. I hope that when you can come out, we can be friends.” The face closed it's eyes and inclined towards her as it finished speaking and then faded out of coherence. She focused the attention of the Mother on the container in her hand. A root caught on the container and drew it into the membrane wall of the seed chamber. A moment of sustained pressure cracked it open. The materials were quickly isolated and the process of absorption began. Humans. Tsury hadn’t heard of that race before, but Hyowean were highly restricted in what they were allowed to know. Very much like the trees that formed the core of their lives, they were trapped in place an at the mercy of whatever came their way. Her master ship had been ambushed and she had been scooped up onto an escape shuttle with her owner. Days later they had been caught by Kraltnin raiders and then she’d been sold away to Barnbinbun. It had all happened so quickly, she’d felt like she was in the eye of a hurricane, desperately trying to remain rooted against the earth moving winds. And then she had spent months in imprisonment and isolation as the Kraltnin Alpha had attempted to beat her into making what he wanted. Then he had brought out that horrid machine that rewrote her implant loyalties. When she had proven still incapable of making the advanced nano-fix that he wanted, he’d stuck her in a cell. Another message was waiting. This one from a day ago at most. She activated it only to see the same face as before. “Hello again,” he started, he wasn’t smiling, but his attention seemed to be focused just past her. “So I’m somewhat passable with managing code. And I had a pretty good lesson in slave package cracking as you may have noticed.” He showed his teeth again. She couldn’t argue that. “So I was looking through the research center systems here, trying to dig into the history of the ship and more information about the slave package in general. After taking a good look at the network surrounding the Mother Willow, I think I’ve found some… vulnerabilities.” He face shifted towards her and he bared his teeth again. “Progress is slow, but there is progress. I wonder just what your tree can do when released from the Silianisca slave control. I mean, I have a SI backing me up in cracking this whole network and it’s a pretty hard slog. I bet they really don’t like the idea of some upstart Human like me doing this.” His mouth opened up revealing just a bit more teeth. “The idea of them being annoyed makes me really want to do this.” Considering his actions and mannerisms before, the baring of teeth must indicate amusement. It had a predatory quality to it. She suspected her ‘Ushen self’ would have been terrified by that expression. Her core self really only had two emotions. Caution and curiosity. Both of those could ramp up depending on circumstance, but everything else depended on what biology she chose to develop. The Hyowean understood better than most how the mind could be but a plaything of the body. His face turned back to what he had been focusing on. “I hope we can be friends though, I’d hate to turn around and have this bite us on the ass. Ha.” He waited a moment before continuing. “Hey, I’m told Barney, uhh… Barnbinbun was pissed at you because you couldn’t make the advanced nano-fix. But my crewmates supported me trying to crack the tree control network because they were hoping that would allow you to do just that.” She felt a brief flash of alarm, but he continued speaking. “I felt it was best to be upfront about that, we’ve got a couple injured people with us. Their injuries were bad enough that we have to keep them in stasis and we don’t have a medic on hand that can patch them up,” He explained. “Most of us are escaped slaves. We’re really lucky escaped slaves, but there is only so much we can do.” She knew his companions would be disappointed. A Hyowean Willow couldn’t make nano-fix, although it was true the tree could fill an integral step in the production of the material. If they had injured friends in stasis, then it was only reasonable to hope. She initiated the process of body dissolution and began planning her new vessel. There was no rush at the moment however, she could see the shackles were still attached that prevented her from choosing a body of her own without oversight. There was a default Gerlen bodie if she really needed to be active, but the Human had claimed he was making progress and she believed him. She could see the cracks forming. Tsury was interested in seeing the options the new materials would open up as well. It was always interesting finding out what kind of person she would become when inhabiting a new body though. Most importantly, this time she could truly develop a body that she wanted. It would be difficult integrating, adapting and balancing the different biologies of course. She couldn’t wait to begin. Tsury was anticipating the experience with more enthusiasm than she had ever felt before.
Just got back from Vegas and wanted to share my experience for anyone coming since there always seem to be questions every week about similar stuff. Stayed at the Luxor for three nights Wed-Sat this past week on an mlife offer with Resort Credit and Freeplay. Staff was very nice at Luxor and we stayed in a Tower Premium Room with 2 queen beds. Room was very nice actually. We were on the 2nd floor and didn't have much of a view, however, this is probably the nicest room I've had in Vegas. To give some reference, I usually only stay at the lower end strip properties since I'm a low-roller and that's what I get comped. I've stayed in a Flamingo Fab Room, Excalibur Royal Room, Bally's basic room (Jubilee?), The Rio (Never again.), and the Linq. The only property that was close was the Flamingo. I will say that the Luxor's room isn't as nice as the Go rooms at Flamingo though. We were very happy with the room for a comp room though. If you do stay at Luxor just know this: You have to walk. A lot. I like MGM's Casino and the walk to there even though it's only a few properties down is about 20-25 minutes and you have to walk through Excalibur unless you take the tram. All and all though, wasn't a bad place to stay and would definitely take it over Excalibur by a mile. We hit up three buffets for brunch on our trip: The Aria, Bacchanal at Caesars, and Wicked Spoon at Cosmo. The Aria buffet was free from our myvegas points. (Facebook/Mobile game where you can earn some free stuff for your Vegas trip. Mostly buffets and free nights but there are some shows there too.) It was pretty good. Food all looked fresh and tasted good. Food is pretty standard buffet fare though which is where the other two buffets really shine. Purchased the unlimited drinks add-on for $19.99 for two people. We had margaritas and they were pretty good for 4 of them for $19.99, but beware, they are pretty slow bringing out drinks. I think brunch normal price is $28.99 which is a fair price I think for this buffet seeing as worse buffets charge that much. Friday we went to Bacchanal on a Groupon, $88 for brunch for 2 with two mimosas each. Simply put, this is the best buffet in Vegas I have been to. (I have not eaten at Wynn or Sterling Brunch though.) Worth the price. Mimosas were very good. They were not all orange juice like some places make them. The food though was all on point. Slab bacon and Chicken and Waffles were delicious. Meats from the carving station were good as well. Chilaquiles were amazing too. Decent selection of seafood, Lobster Eggs Benedict was a favorite. My wife is Vegetarian and she had a very good selection of stuff to eat here and she was very happy with her choices. Saturday we tried Wicked Spoon and we were really glad we did. We did the unlimited drinks and brunch buffet which worked out to about $115+tip. The service here was the best I've ever had any any buffet. Wife and I got through about 5 glasses of champagne each along with a 6th to go. He just kept bringing them out and was very fast to refill our water and clear our plates. Food was very inventive and delicious. Pork Pozole Sope and Gordon Ramsay style eggs were excellent which is saying a lot since buffet eggs are usually gross. The best thing I ate all trip though had to be this truffle pasta they had out. Normally when you get "truffle" dishes they're just made with truffle oil or something, however, there were decent sized chunks of actual black truffle shaved onto each dish. I love truffle and it was sooooo good. Now, where this buffet lacked was the carving station. I had some chewy beef that was the worst of the three buffets. However, I'd definitely go back here again even at the steep price since the drink service was so good and that truffle pasta was amazing. The other two places we ate were VegeNation and Primrose. Vegenation is a vegan restaurant downtown. Probably best Vegetarian/Vegan place I've eaten at. Had the meatball sub which was good and my wife says they're spaghetti and meatballs are delicious. She strayed from it this time and got the Veggiechanga which was a vegan chimichanga. She wasn't too happy with it. It was filled with a lot of meat substitute and not as much veggies as she thought it would have. She regretted the choice the whole trip since she loved the spaghetti and meatballs last trip. Primrose is a new restaurant in Monte Carlo/Park MGM. I had the Filet and frites and it was delicious. Decent size filet on top of bone marrow and mushrooms. The frites were ok, definitely not as good as Bouchon's, but good. My wife had the tomato pasta and it was very good. Kind of spicy with perfectly cooked pasta. Drinks were good and my wife ordered some lavender infused drink that was very tasty. All and all would recommend, dinner for two with drinks ended up around $120+tip. One thing to mention though is the Monte Carlo is a mess right now. So much construction going on and the entrances and exits are very inconvenient. We went and saw Brilliant at the Neon Museum downtown and it was a pretty good show. Show lasts about a half hour and they give you some time after the show to snap pictures with the signs lit up. If you like vintage Vegas stuff I'd definitely recommend it. I think tickets were $26/pp for the show and you could buy a ticket with a tour of the museum for $42/pp. Few other quick things: Go to the Cosmo's Chandelier Bar and order a Verbena ($16). It is the coolest cocktail I've ever had. You sip this cocktail after eating a flower than makes your tongue tingle and it is delicious. Even if you're not a big gambler I suggest you check out MGM and play Sigma Derby and/or Fortune Cup. They are mechanical horse racing games that are a fun way to kill time and you're money doesn't disappear instantly. Sigma Derby user quarters and Fortune Cup is a more updated version with a minimum bet of $1. The D on Fremont also has one of each machine and I saw the Fortune Cup machine at a few other casinos like the Cosmo. Hit a quinella for $150 on the Fortune Cup machine at the MGM and my wife who is not normally a gambler had a fun time picking horses to win. I also realized I don't think I like Fremont that much. Gambling is better downtown, but the whole atmosphere just isn't for me anymore. I think between the amount of non musician 'performers' and homeless beggars I saw and smelled on Thursday night I'm going to hit up the mob museum next trip then skip Fremont from now on. TL;DR Buffets: Bacchanal >= Cosmo > Aria, go see Brilliant, Luxor's Tower Premium room is an excellent choice for a budget room, Vegenation has great vegan food, Primrose is good but Monte Carlo is a mess, Play Sigma Derby and Fortune Cup, maybe skip Fremont? EDIT: Oh, almost forgot. The new Esports Arena at the Luxor looks awesome if you're into that sort of thing. $25 for unlimited play from 12PM-12AM. The setup there looked really nice. Thinking of trying to get my gaming group (Who are also really into Poker) to taking a trip for gambling and gaming.
General running information: We normally run on sidewalks and sometimes on the shoulder of the road. On the Strip, run only on the sidewalk. You take your life into your own hands if you run on the road. Downtown (Fremont Street), stick to the sidewalk. There are some bike lanes, but they’re not used often and therefore not always respected by drivers. It's also technically illegal to run in a bike lane. This guide is written for tourists by a local who lives on the west side of town and focuses exclusively on road running. It's not complete by any means, but a good start. WeatheConditions: Las Vegas is in a desert. There is limited shade, few clouds, and the sun is brutal. Always apply sunscreen and lip balm, wear a visor or sunglasses, and hydrate more often than at home. Summers are hot, obviously, so you’ll want to run early, before 8 AM, or after dark. Due to the extreme heat, running in just a sports bra is fine, as is running shirtless for guys. Winters bring large temperature swings. Daytime temps can be quite pleasant, and nights get downright cold. There is a monsoon season around springtime, but 99% of the time, you won’t have to worry about precipitation. More important than the temperature is the humidity. There is none. You will sweat more and therefore need more water and more electrolytes than running at home. Bring water with you when you run, no matter where or how far you’re going. Also note that Las Vegas is at approximately 2000 ft/600 m elevation. If you’re coming from a coastal area, you may see slightly slower times. If you’re coming from a mountainous area, enjoy the extra oxygen! Safety: Las Vegas is a city of tourists. Be aware of your surroundings and the people around you. The tourist areas are pretty well policed, but personal responsibility will reduce your likelihood of being a target. Avoid the northern end of Las Vegas Blvd, north of Neon Museum, and the area east of Atomic Liquors. Also, hydrate well after a night of drinking. Running Groups: Las Vegas Runners Red Rock Running Company Performance Footwear Miscellaneous: Weather forecast here Strava Heatmap Major Races
The Strip Most folks stay on the Strip, so you can access this route from your doorstep. The route is simple: exit your hotel onto Las Vegas Blvd. Run either north or south on Las Vegas Blvd. The south end of the Strip is the Welcome to Las Vegas sign, just south of Mandalay Bay. Be extremely careful if you cross to the sign, as you’ll be going across four lanes of highly annoyed traffic. The north end is a toss-up between the Wynn and the Stratosphere hotels. The distance between the Las Vegas sign and the Stratosphere is approximately 7 miles, and you can turn around at any point. If you get a late start or want to avoid the overpasses, head to Flamingo, then turn east. Run 1 mile east to the Howard Hughes Corporate Center. The area is low traffic, wide streets, grass and palm trees. Run north on Howard Hughes Parkway to Sands, then turn and run back to Flamingo, unless you’re done, then turn west on Sands to the Strip. Continue east on Flamingo to Maryland Parkway. Head south on Maryland Parkway to run past the University of Nevada - Las Vegas campus. Feel free to veer off and run through the campus. There are plenty of winding paths. The athletic facilities, including a track, are on the west side of campus. I’m not sure about access to the track. Continue south to Tropicana or Russell and turn west to return to the Strip. If you went as far south as Russell, you’ll have to follow Paradise north, then Tropicana west to the Strip.
Start your run around 5 or 6 AM. By 10 AM, there won’t be room for you to run.
Run only on sidewalks, and please use the overpasses.
There’s plenty of busses, taxis and ubers to get you back to your hotel.
Fun fact: The Strip is not within the Las Vegas city limits.
Downtown Downtown encompasses the Fremont Street entertainment district, the home of classic casinos and the world’s largest video screen; Fremont East, an area of recent renovation and hipster bars; the Arts District, an area with starving artists, secondhand stores, and a fun retro vibe; and Symphony Park, home to the Smith Center and the Frank Gehry-designed Lou Ruvo Brain Institute. I haven’t personally run in this area, but here’s a potential 5-mile loop that takes you through the highlights. If you want to add mileage, extend south from Charleston on Casino Center into the heart of the Arts District. Turn onto Wyoming or Oakey and head back up Main Street to Charleston to resume the route. This extension isn’t the prettiest side of town but does pass by two fantastic ice cream shops.
If you want to run under the Vivavision (video screen), you’re probably fine to start any time before 3 PM. This area doesn’t really get crowded until dark and is pedestrians only.
Bike lanes are available downtown, painted green. Since they are only downtown, not all drivers are aware of them or respect them, so run cautiously.
There are quite a few homeless folks in the area. Usually harmless, but don’t be surprised at seeing them.
Fun fact: The Golden Gate is the oldest casino in Las Vegas.
City and County Parks Sunset Park is just 5 miles east of Mandalay Bay. Run south on the Strip to Sunset Rd, then run east to Sunset Park itself. The park has miles of paved trails, both in a manicured park with playgrounds, basketball courts, etc., and in a more natural desert setting. Plenty of bathrooms (which may not have doors) and water fountains here. Craig Ranch Regional Park/craig_ranch_regional_park.php) is in North Las Vegas and would require transportation from either of the tourist hubs. There's a farmer's market on the weekends, and a 5k would take about 1.5-2 laps around the park exterior. Clark County Wetlands Park on the east side of town is a fantastic getaway from desert landscapes. 14 miles of paved trails pass through ponds and reeds, providing plenty of bird-watching opportunities. Red Rock Canyon & Western Beltway Red Rock Canyon is a dramatic sandstone respite away from the bright lights of the Strip. The 13-mile paved loop is perfect training for marathons and includes 1500 feet of elevation gain in the first 5 miles. There’s a second tough uphill around mile 6.5 as well, and then the trail flattens out, with mild rises. You’ll pass by sandstone cliffs and Joshua Trees. Be careful of the traffic, as you share the road with both cars and cyclists. The loop is one-way, so be careful, especially on the tighter turns. If 13 miles isn’t enough – or if it’s too much – there’s a great multi-use trail that parallels the 215 beltway. The paved trail starts in the south at Peace Way and runs about 12 miles total. There’s one intersection at Flamingo, and then underpasses for the rest of the trip, at least until Sahara. Charleston Blvd, the road to Red Rock, is directly in the center. You’ll continue west for another 6 miles or so to the loop entrance.
No water once you leave the visitors center, so come prepared. Bring more water than you think you’ll need. If you’re not sure, err on the side of too much. I recommend 2L for a half-day hike, so adjust according to your distance and pace. Water is available at Red Rock Visitor Center & the Albertson’s on Charleston shortly before the park.
Bathrooms available at Albertson’s on Charleston, the Visitor’s Center, and some of the pullouts in Red Rock.
Admission to Red Rock is $7 for a car, $3 for a cyclist or pedestrian. Cash or cards accepted. These rates are currently under discussion to double.
I highly recommend having your own transportation for these runs. While uber & lyft have great coverage in the western suburbs, phone reception out at Red Rock itself is spotty.
Fun fact: Red Rock is home to Mojave Max, a desert tortoise used to predict the start of spring.
It’s too damn hot and I can’t stand the treadmill. Help? Run in air conditioned bliss at the Las Vegas Athletic Clubs (LVAC) gyms’ indoor tracks. They are for locals and therefore require a traditional monthly gym membership, but they do have a one-day pass to try them out. Oh, and I'll be here for a week. UNLV’s Student Recreational Center is open to “the Community” and has an indoor track. Nevada residents can get a monthly pass, not sure about out of state folks. More info: Further from the Strip, the indoor track at the Henderson Multigenerational Center is available to non-residents. If you’re military, the gym at Nellis Air Force Base has an indoor track as well. ETA city & county parks 8/28/17 ETA major races 9/28/17
Mr. Nostalgia Jan 19th 2019 - Chapter One. Nost’s mind drifted slowly into consciousness like a dead body floating to the top of a murky water. He opened his eyes cautiously with an as yet undefined sense of dread. He did not know where he was, and more than this, he did not know who he was. He did not yet know himself by this name, but he would soon. His head throbbed, and he felt a trickle of warm blood matted to his unkempt hair, he felt the cold ground beneath him. His ribs hurt when he tried to take a deep breath, as if bound by barbed wire. He tried to stand, but fell back sharply against a trash can, his vision blurring slightly. He was in an alley, it was cold and it had been raining. He heard footsteps and as he raised his head he saw the unfamiliar outline of a large figure, not quite man shaped, it’s feet making a cacophonous echo on the cobbles that sounded to Nost like hooves, moving slowly down the alley towards him. For a brief instant the figure appeared to be nearly seven feet tall with horns sprouting from each side of it’s head, cast straight up three or four feet further into the night air above him. A deep bass voice issued the words “Cleas no coir?” accompanied by a laugh that seemed to bounce off the high walls of the alley as if in stereo. Nost closed his eyes and shuddered violently, his hands and feet scrabbling on the wet cobbles trying to propel himself backwards in an ungainly crab-like manoeuvre but finding himself already pressed against the errant trash cans that marked the end of the alley, What was this?, where was he? He felt on the abyss of giving in to blind panic, he had to get out of here. “Take it easy mo chara, you’ll hurt yourself”, Nost opened his eyes at the familiar words he had not heard in years, “You ….speak Irish?”. He could see he had been imagining things, the figure seemed like any other man, lean and tall, dressed in a sharp suit, well tailored and of the latest fashion, a dark blue double breasted cut with black and white wing-tipped shoes and a fedora almost like a gangster in a Raymond Chandler novel. “I speak many things” The figure said, his back turned to Nost now as he unzipped and began urinating against the wall, in the cold air of the night this seemed to produce an inordinate amount of steam. Nost replayed the words the strange figure had first said -”Cleas no coir?”, it took him a moment to translate as the figure continued empting what must have been a prodigious bladder and began whistling a discordant tune, “trick ...or treat?”. The figure laughed as he finished and turned around, “Sorry, I like to make an entrance.” He casually stepped to where Nost had been lying and picked up a half empty bottle of cheap whisky from the ground,”Do you mind?” As he stooped over to do so, Nost noticed the horns still protruded from his head but much smaller now,flanked by ears that were not human but animal like and hung down at an angle, he looked like a bizarre man/goat hybrid. Nost garbled something that was more of a noise than a word. “Slainte!” the figure said as he put the bottle to his lips and drained it in one draught, hurling the empty vessel over his shoulder, so it smashed at the far entrance to the alley, “Well we better get moving mo chara, we have a lot to do” Nost barrelled past the well tailored beast and shot out of the alley, he was almost struck by an old Pontiac, as he made his way onto the street, and he had to weave in and out between the impending chrome grills of a Packard and a large finned Chevrolet Bel Air before he made his way safely across the street, he looked around for the familiar to get his bearings, of course he was in Boston, he had lived in the city for several years,... was it years? He was Irish, but from where exactly he was not sure, he had been hurt, his head still throbbed and every step brought a new complaint from his body. He had been in a fight, his clothes were torn,a mugging?, he could not remember. That must be it, the booze, and getting hit in the head. He had imagined the man in the alley, it was just stress. He stood outside the window of a news stand and saw a paper, he read the title through the frosty glass The Boston Herald, october 31st, 1959.”Piedmont Airlines Flight 349 Crashes En Route to Washington DC!”. It was coming back now, he had just had a bad turn, that was all, a quick drink to steady himself and he would be fine. “Was it something I said?”, he looked up to see the figure casually standing beside him, also looking at the paper stand, lighting a curled wooden pipe of some strange design. He ran down the street almost knocking over several people, late evening shoppers and early night revellers going about their business. He saw a couple of men in painter’s overalls, one holding a long ladder and the other climbing it, bucket in hand to touch up a sign above an up-market department store as it closed for the night. A portly well dressed man, presumably the manager supervising the activity, with the air of one unforgiving of anything less than perfection. Nost careened head first into the man, knocking him asplay, brought himself up short just before running under the ladder, and pivoted around it almost knocking the man holding it. Angry yells followed him as he continued down the street. At the end of the block, on the corner of 13th street he saw the flickering pink neon tubes of a sign,”The Black Cat Club”. A drink sounded pretty good to Nost right now, and taking one brief glance over his shoulder to make sure he had not been followed and quickly ducked into the entrance. The Black Cat smelled of years of stale alcohol, smoke and sweat, but it was warm and dry, and more importantly it had what Nost felt he needed most right now. He sidled up to the counter, which at this moment was tended by a large gentleman who looked like a heavyweight boxer that had waited one fight too long before hanging up his gloves, the large man was wearing pristine white shirt and black bow tie, giving the impression of a croupier on loan from a casino, his name was Mac and tonight he seemed to be the sole occupant of the bar. Nost ordered a large whisky, and observed the large man’s cauliflower ears and enlarged knuckles, bearing the sign of joints calcified from use too hard and too often. It occurred to Nost that he probably didn’t have any money, he felt his pockets and with an embarrassed smile Nost pushed the drink back across the bar, explaining “Sorry I was just mugged,... I don’t have any money..”, Mac looked him up and down, as if only now taking account of his tattered appearance. “Happy Halloween” he said with blank stare and slid the drink back over the bar to Nost, walking away to continue polishing glasses in the narratively appropriate aesthetic of barmen the world over. Grateful for this somber display of kindness, Nost breathed a deep sigh of relief, and for the first time since waking up in the alley he felt the tension start to ease out of him. He didn’t not yet understand what had caused the strange experience, but he thought it might have something to do with the lump on his head….and possible his drinking. Taking a salt shaker from the bar top he threw a handful of salt over his left shoulder and made himself and almost entirely sincere promise that starting tomorrow he would quit drinking. So doing, and with both hands to steady his nerves he raised the glass to his lips, “You took long enough.” Nost froze, he closed his eyes and refused to open them as he heard the sound of a coin rattle into a jukebox behind him,and momentarily the exotic melody of Santo and Johnny’s “Sleep Walk” drifted out from the speakers and filled the bar. Nost opened his eyes and in the old faded mirror which lined the back wall of the bar, Nost could see the strange Goat/Man creature slowly dancing to the music, his fine tailored coat swaying as hid did, the brim of his hat angled low over his eyes. The Goat had in his hand a ridiculously large glass filled with a bizarre cocktail of pink and yellow tropical colours, with straws and umbrellas and all manner of sliced fruit perched on the salted rim. He sipped from one of these straws, as the hand not holding the drink waived a hand about in the air as if casually conducting an unseen orchestra. Nost glanced at the hulking barman, who didn’t seem to have noticed a thing. Whispering to himself almost inaudibly Nost asked “What are you?”. “You know what I am mo chara” the Goat answered, apparently hearing him perfectly.”I don’t...know anything, and I’m not your friend” Nost hissed. The Goat kept dancing to the eerie melody, “Come now, a man so well versed in the old ways?”. Nost did not know what he meant but his chest tightened and his pulse quickened.”Think Mr. Nostalgia, a man who has spent his entire life living in the past. A man raised on the old stories, you know what I am..especially in this night of all nights... Oiche Samhain.”. Nost suddenly felt a before darkened corner of his memory open up to him and just as clearly as he had not known, he now knew. “That’s it mo chara, .. say it”. Nost swallowed and looked at the horns, the Goat ears and the otherwise handsome but mischievous face. “...Puca” He closed his eyes and swallowed as much of the whiskey as he managed not to spill on himself by means of a hand now shaking like a leaf. He remembered the stories, a man who wandered alone into the forest, might meet a spirit that would take him on a journey into the spirit world, the house of Donn, the land of the dead. “Ahh…’ said the Goat ‘l knew that you had it in there somewhere, that is why I am here mo chara, to remind you” “I am not your friend!” shouted Nost “you are not real!” he stumbled back of his stool and hurled his glass at the image of the Goat in the mirrored glass of the bar smashing both with a jarring crash. Followed by silence and the tinkle of the smaller fragments skittering to the floor. The Goat put down his glass and said “I really wouldn’t have done that, seven years bad luck and all...looks like it’s about to start now.” The Goat nodded towards the large barman already striding purposely around the bar. Nost landed with a thump in the street outside a bar, for the second time that night and as he looked up he saw the Goat, straightening his hat looking up and down the street as if finding his bearings “Right, are you done?” he looked down at Nost, ”only we have a long walk mo chara, and we must get there by midnight or she’ll be more than a little upset with us, and you don’t want to get on her bad side, ...not tonight” The Goat stepped over Nost and began strolling down the street “Come on mo chara”. Nost slowly got to his feet, and looked around him, then looking after the tall horned figure receding down the dark end of the street he paused once more briefly, and slowly began to limp after him, if he was going to lose his mind he may as well lean into it.
DECEMBER 24th “I knew you were too cute to be a railbird.” He bites off his last word with a smile, canine glinting in the pink neon lights. When it doesn’t have the desired effect and the hand on his shoulder tightens instead, he lifts his hands from the table, two chips sliding down his left sleeve just as he flicks his fingers open. Something sparks. The cards on the table glitter a pale green, and then the eight of diamonds flickers back to the same number of clubs. The dealer eyes him up, and he casts a glance at her, almost apologetic. “Flush is better than a simple straight.” Seems to be his admission of guilt, his smile still plastered over his delicate features. Not that anything straight would be acceptable to the young man, but he worked with what he had. The dealer stares him straight in the eye, then breaks to nod at the man with his hand still on Arthur’s shoulder. The grip on his shoulder tightens further, and the smile morphs to a grimace. Alright, then. When the man behind him yanks him up from his seat, he comes willingly, falling against the security guard with an almost endearing stumble to his step. “You know she’s been stacking the deck for the past four rounds, right?” He mutters, right into the man’s ear, which doesn’t earn him the kudos he would expect for outing another cheater to the establishment. Rather, it earns him a solid punch to the gut, and nausea to boot. His grin slips from his face, then, and the nice dinner jacket flickers back into his actual shirt, putting his lower arms on display. Even the shoes he’s wearing aren’t real, the warm brown leather of his oxfords melting back into his canvas slip-ons the moment that the guard’s fist connects to his midriff. “Right.” He coughs, already physically being dragged through a mass of playing, dancing, laughing people. He’d quite like to be one of them at this moment, and not the person he is right now (that is, a gambler who was straight up caught cheating in a casino), but, regrettably, he is himself and he’s currently being hauled away from his dearly beloved poker table. Squirming, it seems, has no effect on this fellow. Normally, he’d be out of someone’s grip within a minute, but he’s already in the grand entrance hall and with the amount of pressure being put on his shoulder and collarbone approaching breaking capacity, he’s slowly losing hope on anything like that happening. “Listen, I get that it’s wrong and all, but she was cheating too, and I was just trying to fix a broken system, no need to get hands with-“ For someone as out of breath as him, having just gotten his smart smile knocked off of his face with a fist to the stomach, he’s still pretty wordy. “I know it’s pretty contrarian and all but I really wasn’t looking for trouble, just for some profit, I pinky-swear it won’t happen-“ “I ought to break that pinky of yours, along with the rest of your delicate little fingers.” The man’s low grumble shuts Arthur up, and earns him another up-and-down. He doesn’t look old enough for that deep a voice, nor does he really look strong enough to keep this hold on the boy. “I hear a but.” It’s risky, but it’s left his lips before he can think about not being snarky for once in his short life. “You’re half-deaf, then. I ought to break your fingers, but I’ll settle for your kicking you out. You’re lucky it ain’t first quarter yet, godspawn.” “Wait, no, I’ll take the fingers, just don’t-“ What is he saying? The strong hand on his shoulders pushes and pulls, and then he’s bodily thrown out of the casino, and he really doesn’t want to be, but he’s briefly too concerned with wanting to break his hands rather than leave the building to struggle. Why, in the name of Hades himself, would he want that? He needs his hands. They’re the most important part of him, two conduits for magic, the quick parts that steal wallets and know how to tie at least seventeen different knots. Why the hell would he- Wait. Another sequence of questions begins to form in the back of his mind, with the most important one being why is Santa out in february which is followed by what’s with the christmas music and then a sudden, verbal, loud - “What day is it?” Nobody answers him, but, glaring down at him from the sky is a moon nearly in its full quarter, and the impossibility of that hits him like a ton of bricks. It had been first quarter when he entered the casino. It can’t have been more than a few days. It can’t be a new cycle yet. But the moon is there, and so is Santa, and the realisation that it hasn’t been a new cycle, it’s been ten months, hits him like a freight train, giving him no time to recover from the bricks in any way. Barely breathing, he already knows what he’ll find spelled out in the neon sign flickering behind him. He looks anyway. Tackily, in gold and pink, LOTUS CASINO is spelled out for all the world to see. Arthur curses. Somewhere far from there, his name is spoken. The Vegas Strip is loud, and he has no way of hearing that voice from that far away, but he does. And he shouldn’t, because it’s impossible, because the magic long since ran out, because he can’t do those things, but even demigods sometimes have miracles, and his spell holds. Far away from where he is, someone is calling Arthur’s name, and he can hear him. “Fiyero.” The mage-boy whispers, clenching sooty fingers to sparking fists, the name of the son of night barely leaving his lips before the hope sparks, too. Maybe, if he calls out his name, then maybe - Then maybe all that is lost is Arthur, and maybe, if he finds the way, he can return. He can. He will. And if he has to lie and cheat and steal his way back to the east coast, then so it shall be. DECEMBER 29th. LATE EVENING. Once upon a time, he had washed up on the shore, spit out by the sea itself. He is, again, dripping with water when he reappears. Thick white snowflakes hang in the crow-feather crown of hair on his head, slowly melting down into the dark, muddy textiles of his clothes. Arthur stands at 5’6, these days, still short but taller than he once was, long-limbed and quick-fingered. Like the mages of myth, he cannot contain himself within himself, and it’s painfully obvious that his body has tried to accommodate the energy pulsing through his veins too quickly, very poorly. Knowing him (if anyone really knows him, it’s a subject of debate all in itself), the six extra inches might be an illusion if it weren’t such a steady height, and if it weren’t such an unimpressive stature. He’s nineteen now, and no boy his age would be that short by choice. The tips of his fingers are covered in soot and slowly scale into the greyish undertone of one with divine and, decidedly, mixed heritage. That same soot-black nestles under his skin, not just on top of it, a thousand-and-one little lines of ink scrawled on his arms and shoulders, up the back of his neck, in suns and moons and stars, in prayers and curse-formulas. Those are new, too, and while some flicker sea-green with mist-magic, others are all too real. Seems that he’s brought with him ink and soot and calloused knuckles, if nothing else of value. Pale green eyes drag themselves over the landscapes, judging it unkindly. Distance is written over his face, distance from this, from the changes that pulled through the landscape when he was absent from it. He does not seem to like it, going by the way his mouth pulls into a knife-drawn line. He wears a heavy midnight crown, haphazardly sat atop curls just as dark, shifting when he tilts his head, as if expecting the landscape to change with the movement. It doesn’t. The world has changed, and it does not change with a tilt of his head. He has changed, and that does not change with his tilted head either. Those facts are similar, but unconnected. The world has not changed because he has - the world does not care for things as small as him - and he has not changed because the world has - the world is far too big for him to have noticed changes until after they’ve occurred. The world has changed, and he has too, and those entirely unrelated facts have somehow gotten themselves gordianically knotted up into problems. Problems that most certainly aren’t solved by his head tilting to the side, but that may yet be solved by other actions he might take. It’s about time, Arthur reckons, with his mist-magic and all the wisdom gathered in two decades of life, that he starts solving. And so he does, stalking off decidedly towards cabin 21. queer wizard, at your service. i reckon this counts as a re-[introduction]. if you find things need explaining, follow the links! they (should) explain said things.
I am most definitely a suicide survivor, and I couldn’t have done it without Logic, literally?
I met Logic back on October 8th, 2010 in Chicago and on the streets. I have a few questions I need answered. I got inspired to write this message to Reddit because I need the gods to answer back at this point because it is driving me crazy. I would have attempted to meet Logic again, last night, at his Detroit-stop along the tour like I did last year. However, my wife is very pregnant and is due to pop at about any time now. So, I couldn’t leave her last night for some wild goose-chase I was attempting. I have shared this story with reddit, 4chan, “Weird Al” Yankovic, and DJ Premier thus far that I can remember. If this gets any sort of wind, I have a chance of knowing some unanswered questions I have from the night Logic and I met, and what was bound to follow. I am woohoopoopoo on most social media, and have an outdated .com website. I have my webcomic, Mr. Face, on my .com and Facebook platforms. I made these woohoopoopoo’s after meeting Logic, and would like to know if he was partially responsible for my inspiration. First, let’s get the “crazy” shit out of the way. I just got out of the mental hospital two days ago because of personal issues that I do not wish to discuss here, for now. I need to tell you all that I suffer from schizophrenia, bipolar, Tourette’s syndrome, PTSD, severe depression, and, at times, anxiety. These conditions did not arise on their own, nor do they define any ingrained sympathy. Pobody’s nerfect. I've got my problems, and so does each and every person. I had a way-fucked-up childhood, but that’s not the point in tonight’s discussion. My first major schizophrenic episode had begun in the late summer of 2010. I was suicidal at the time. I was hospitalized twice, and was told by a social worker at Port Huron Hospital (the hospital in which I was born) that I could do anything I want and that I should avoid my family as much as possible due to their minimizing denial and toxic tendencies. I moved to Chicago where two of my closest friends lived after my second hospitalization. During my first week in Chicago, I spent a few days with my bff (and my own best man), while we were getting situated with living arrangements. I was having hard problems falling asleep at times. Sometimes, I would stay up three days in a row unintentionally and while not abusing or taking any drugs. I had only been diagnosed with Tourette’s, PTSD, severe depression, and anxiety at the time. I began to have a schizophrenic episode due to the high anxiety of meeting Tucker Max at an “Assholes Finish First” book signing at a Borders on what should have been Friday, October 8th, 2010 in Chicago. Tucker Max, I learned, doesn’t share his beer and is an asshole, himself. That’s cool and all because that’s his shtick. After meeting Tucker Max, and sharing my story with Tucker Max fans while in line for several hours, I had ended up signing autographs for fans of Tucker Max. His fans are the “fan type,” regardless. Which is cool and everything because, shit, I’m a fan of lots of people. I was standing in line like the rest of them. Some people in line assumed my drawings would be worth money some day in the future, and some became friendly with me while waiting in line optimistically believing that my art may break. After meeting Tucker Max, I was upset by the whole ordeal, and very thirsty. I was bored and wanted to do something outrageous and fun to break away from my deepening depression. I spontaneously bought a domino mask (a.k.a. Zorro mask) from a CVS, and decided to wear it while out in public. I drank an orange juice that I also bought at a CVS and thought that life was some big joke, alright. It doesn’t matter if you’re famous at all. Famous people can be assholes too, including Tucker Max. :P I walked back into the CVS while wearing the mask. People were frightened by my edginess, but that was the least of my concerns. I was ready to pull the gun out of the officer’s holster that was standing next to me in line, and blow my brains out while the CVS worker was reaching for topshelf booze on the expensive bottles’ top shelf. When I took my mask off for the CVS employee to visually ID me as old enough to legally buy alcohol, everyone in the pharmacy relaxed a lot. I regret ever causing fear in others, that was never my focus. The officer told me to be safe, and I was friendly and can’t quite remember what I said back. The officer seemed to have reported my bizarre actions to other officers via radio while still standing at the CVS line as I was exiting the store from my alcohol purchase. I know I am schizophrenic, but these sort of actions make sense to report within reason. I was still suicidal at the time, and decided it was best to leave the world with a bang that weekend after my several thousand-dollar lifesavings was depleted from my savings and checking accounts from mowing eight lawns every week and working as a waiter. I may have been a chemist at the time, but the recession resulted in no chemistry gigs. My dad always helped me mow lawns when he could, but it was intense work. I had heart-to-hearts with several people on the streets of Chicago that weekend. Homeless people were revealing their hearts to me, while I shared with them the topshelf booze I had bought for them. There were Trojan condoms on sale at CVS I had noticed during my first visit, and decided to visit another CVS across the street from an elaborate, neon-lit McDonald’s. I bought many condoms and more booze there, and walked back to the CVS parking lot. I was giving either a fifth of Absolut or Grey Goose vodka to a homeless man in that McDonald’s parking lot while he was eating a meal to-go from a local diner nearby. The homeless man told me about his life, his thoughts on God’s absence in this realm of reality, and that that McDonald’s had the money for neon lights, an escalator, an elevator, and Ronald McDonald-esque statues in the front because the owner was allowing and encouraging the workers to sell crack through the drive-thru windows. The American Dream, indeed. I spent the rest of that night removing the condoms from their respective boxes, and throwing the individuals into a double-layered plastic bag. All while laughing hysterically and wearing my domino mask. I double-bagged the condoms with two plastic bags, just to be safe and ensure nothing would leak out. Ha ha. ;) Sexual pun in which doesn't actually work that way, heading your way! Zing! One of the best parts of that night was when the newly-wed married couple happily bought their happy meals. I had screamed out “WAIT!,” all while wearing my mask and joyfully skipping to the groom carrying his new wife back to the back of the limo. I handed the bride an immense amount of new, unused, and unwrapped condoms, and cooly said, “Play safe…” We were all laughing. I couldn’t help it though, I was crying a lot alone that weekend too. I wanted to die, but didn’t. It wasn’t until I asked the Mexican worker for two apple pies and a small fry that the police began to gather at that McDonald’s at around, I’d say, 4 a.m. on that Saturday morning. I told the workers that they should all get-up and go because none of which had adequate, livable wages or health insurance. I sat on a parking lot curb as the dawn’s sun was rising and I was filling up the double bag to the rim with new, individual condoms. There had to be at least a dozen cop cars parked in front of that McDonald’s parking lot. Either they all thought I was about to pull some bullshit, or that especially corrupt McDonald’s was a cop-stop haven; a meat, fat, sugar, and high sodium “heaven” on Earth. Fuck crack. I ended up meeting these two underground rappers that evening prior as well named Logic and Xavier. Logic was especially talented. I can remember Xavier also being named Bobby, and Logic telling me that his trunk was chuck-full of lyrics on notepads. But, mostly, I remember Logic being in shock after he freestyled under a streetlight with a growing crowd around him. I remember Logic saying that he knew why rappers called it “spitting” for the first time in his life. That’s because Xavier and I were wooing Logic on in his freestyle, and Logic gained the confidence in himself to do what is his nature. I had also talked with Logic about MF DOOM because that was the first thing that we talked about. Logic asked why I was wearing mask as I first approached him and Xavier, and I told him I was honoring my favorite rapper. I am quite white, alright. Ha ha ha ha. I didn’t even know what the term “underground” really meant being from a Trump-thumping town and everything being so rural. So, Logic, in a sense popped his cherry in rapping (I say and proclaim). And, in the meanwhile, he opened my eyes to new horizons. I remember talking a lot about God that weekend with everyone. I remember Logic telling me his thoughts of God and reincarnation and what-have-you’s then and there, just as he had the skits on his newest album with Neil DeGrasse Tyson. The story is not done, either. This story relates to an MF DOOM possession, but Logic may have been responsible for these possessions. That’s why I am posting on this subreddit, and would like to know... The only freestyle lines I remember Logic spitting were about being tired of eating stale mac and cheese all the time. That’s because he was rapping so fast and it’s been awhile since the whole ordeal has happened. I could tell, shortly after, he wanted to keep his distance from me after that first hour or so because I was a bit deranged at the time. Honestly, I can’t blame anyone for avoiding me at that vulnerable state. I was up to something that I didn't even know. I was as edgy as a squeegee swiping a razor. I made signs that were satirical on the neglect caused by capitalism and inhumane humanity. I paid homeless people $20 a pop to hold signs saying things like “Welcome to Chicago,” or “Tourist Kiosk; inquire within.” I shared my booze with them, and even my condoms. I did not drink with them, and I did not get freaky with strangers either. I slept that night either by homeless people or in front of mattress stores with all of my belongings out to steal. I could not stress enough how little I gave a fuck, yet all my fucks were given and definitely spent. I aimlessly walked around that weekend a lot more. I randomly met with my friend after he was done with his shift at Bank of America while I was schizophrenically/manically walking the streets. I told him all of my outrageous encounters and plans. I told him about Logic and Xavier. My friend brought me to his apartment, let me take a shower, and lent me some clothes. I remember being handed a Super Man shirt with the chest having that “S” logo on it. This friend brought me to the Brown Line on the Chicago’s transit and explained how I could get home to my other friend’s in South Chicago, which was a few blocks away from Barack Obama’s house. I was too manic. I sat on the Loop’s Brown Line and cried. I told people coming on and off my life story. It was very Forrest Gumpy-like. I described how I was a failed chemist and a living artist. I needed to calm down, and my feet were really hurting because I must have walked at least 20+ miles at this point. So, I began rubbing my feet with lotion cream that was also naturally antibiotic. People mostly left me alone at that subway-car’s corner, but were all talking amongst themselves about how fucked life is in general. I began becoming more hopeful when I heard the humanity surrounding me. There was an undeniable aura in the air. The sacredness we each have for every breath we take, which is too often taken for granted. A guy proposed to his girlfriend right then and there on the train, and everybody clapped. The time and place was meaningful. I didn’t make it back to Pete’s in South Chicago, unfortunately, because I had no fucking clue how the Loop was set up at that time. I rode the Brown Line until it stopped. I got off, talked with more people whether they were regular citizens or homeless (like that matters). I walked around the hoods of Chicago and gated communities. I must have walked about 50+ miles total that weekend. I had to have had a heart attack at one point because I remember falling to the ground, and barely being able to breathe. A lady almost called 911 right then and there. I kept tossing condoms randomly throughout the streets. There was an officer giving parking tickets, while I gleefully tossed condoms onto or near cars that she was giving tickets to. The officer stared at me, and I was skipping and being all manic, I kept singing and repeating the words aloud, “Civil-civil disobedience. Civil-civil disobedience…” When she caught me, she did nothing. She only stared, dumbfounded, pissed, and a look like I-don’t-got-enough-time-nor-pay-to-deal-with-this-kinda-shit. I purposefully would place about a dozen condoms at the entrance of what must have been Chicago’s oldest Catholic church. When I would walk back about a half an hour later, the condoms would be gone. I repeated this about two or three more times. I stopped after a nun or deranged, fellow lunatic plopped a huge, wet, and gnarly bloody tampon where the condoms had been. Ha. All I can do is laugh about that now. Kinda a terrifying and beautiful sight to see, but so is a lot of nature. I haven’t seen a birth yet! Lol. I kept walking. At some point, I almost spontaneously jumped off a bridge. The temperature that weekend was unusually high and in the mid 80s. I yelled asking a bunch of people kayaking below how warm the water was, and proceeded to hop up the edge of the bridge to jump off. I saw a stranger’s shocked face, and immediately got back down, probably started crying again, and kept walking. All I was doing was walking. I was mad at the world, but I was especially mad at Donald Trump. He said some racist shit on Hispanics earlier that week, and there was a new building of his being built in Chicago. This is now Saturday night, and I am writing as lengthy of a letter to Donald Trump as perhaps this letter is. I do not remember. I do remember beating the absolute shit out of that red Moleskine which contained the open-letter to Donald Trump. It was still readable, but like a centaurian: it was creased to hell. In my letter I explained that Trump needs to start helping people more than just helping himself with money and ego. I told him to stop building casinos, and start building community-oriented buildings. I told him Mexicans, Cubans, and Hispanics are good people like anybody else. I said there should be beautiful windmills near Chicago’s Navy Pier as a tourist destination and a monument of clean energy and humane human progress. I told Trump, in that letter, that there probably would be a statue of him. I told him that artists will make a statue of Trump either out of respect or commission. One statue is full of love, while the other would be neglected and hollow. I sat and knelt before Trump’s new Chicago building, and meditated for a minute. I chucked my Moleskine letter to the building and folded up my sweaty clothes by the door’s main entrance. I had folded up my borrowed SuperMan shirt, and had even left behind my shoes and socks. I meditated for a few minutes, and then yelled louder than I ever had before out of anguish and my appointed anger at the world. I walked around the streets of Chicago more that night without shoes or socks or a shirt. I only had a black pair of nylon-like gym shorts on. I was very thirsty. I would rush into 7-11’s, grab a cup, and proceed to fill the cup with ice because there was no time for water as I was being kicked out. I even walked into the restroom at a Dick’s Last Resort restaurant/bar to clean myself and drink water from the tap. I was quickly escorted out to be somebody else’s problem there too. Ha. This the part of the story that relates to MF DOOM. Throughout those past two days, I was littering the streets with suggestive notes. The notes suggested how the infrastructure of Chicago could be improved. Also, those notes had listed my favorite musicians on them. I wrote down artists and bands like Feist, Grizzly Bear, Beck, Gorillaz, and MF DOOM. Lots more happened. I lied next to mattress stores to be an asshole or by homeless people. But, what you need to know now is that when I was lying by a homeless man with all my possessions out and able to steal, a brother and his lady friend approached me. The lady could not stop laughing! HA HA HA! She laughed and laughed. The guy didn’t say a word, but waved me over to follow him. I followed him for at least two blocks, while he kept a half-block distance away from me probably for their own safety. The guy pointed at some stuff. There were two pink lemonades, and one had been opened. I drank the one that was sealed and poured out the other pink lemonade because I did not know who these people were, and the shit could’ve been laced for all I knew. I saw that there was a 32-inch pair of khakis and a Pelle Pelle shirt showing people fighting against authority. There were also two busted and black pair of Lugz boots without shoelaces. I put the stuff on because there was little other choice at this point. It wasn’t until the morning after that I saw people that I had met throughout that weekend at the Chicago Marathon. I didn’t even know the Chicago Marathon was going on this weekend, or what it meant. All I knew was that there were cups of water sitting out for runners to drink, and I drank exactly 11 cups because I was so, so thirsty. I stacked the 11 cups as I was chugging them down. There was a guy on his bullhorn shouting at the runners as a pep-talk to get through the marathon. There were at least a few hundred or thousands of people, bracing to run. Some of them must have saw me desperately absorb the water down my gullet. After I drank the 11 cups, I chucked them as hard as I could on the ground and yelled a loud, beast-mode roar. I saw the physically handicap begin racing on their wheelchairs. Later, it was the runners. People began to chant my names: “Byron!” and “Bryan!” and mostly “Tebeau!” I think people were chanting “Tebeau” the most because they thought Tim Tebow was there. Latinoes came specifically to me and told me Viva Mexico or Viva Cuba. I said nothing anymore because I was in a daze from the excessive exercising and the 15-second notoriety. People were also shouting “Logic!” too. I had gone through a long, spiritual journey from this weekend’s very, very long walk. Like I said, I have left out a lot of the story. But, what matters most is what I saw on one of my Lugz boots when I had come to break and catch my breath and could see everything in early sun's daylight. On the Lugz boot was a Pirate-Captain winking. There was another iron seam that read “MF DOOM” on this same boot. That had blown my mind like never before and has not since. I ended up going to mental hospitals 4 or 5 more times until April 2011. And, again, I just got out of the mental hospital again for some serious personal issues, which I do not wish to discuss at this moment. I’ve behaved enough since to not be placed in another madhouse. There are plenty of more stories. But, I began to make a webcomic called “Mr. Face,” which was named after MF DOOM with my bff. I had enough comics made, and my bff and another-other friend helped me launch the comic at 12:01 a.m. on the Mayan DOOMsday (December 21st, 2012). ...What is also weird about this whole thing, is that I think I met the star of the 1-800 music video. On October 9th, 2010 to 10-10-10, there was a slender black man attempting to perform felatio on me outside of a club near an alley. I wouldn’t let him go on with the deed because I loved the stranger so much, and I’m not homosexual. I rose the brother up from the ground, gave him as many hugs as I could, and he went running away after I yelled “I LOVE YOU!” as many times as I could within his hearing range. So, I guess, my questions are: Was Logic responsible in any way for getting me that MF DOOM boot and nasty clothes? And, was the slender brother I met the person inspired for that video? TL:DR: I met Logic back in 2010 while being very suicidal. Tons of crazy shit happened, and I don’t know if he was responsible for giving me MF DOOM-inspired clothes. Also, I don’t know if I met the slender black man from the 1-800 suicide music video...
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