Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas

Episode Four, Part Two: Home Invasion
The group feels kind of bad about this one. Also there is an old guy.


Before kicking down the door, the group reconsiders and decides maybe to go in at night with night vision goggles and more equipment and maybe backup. Garth is totally willing to be a night vision knight. Harg gets called away by a dame, meanwhile. Garth and Christopher call the people hiring them to see if they should kick the door.

Garth calls Celia. She thinks that it sounds dangerous. Meanwhile asking, just to be sure, if either Garth or Christopher is Batman. Christopher says no, he just happens to have large sums of money and access to odd technology. Garth says he definitely isn’t, since he’s a poor college student. He might be Nightwing, though. Celia suggests Garth make a plan first.

Christopher calls their actual employers, the Vegas Resistance. Christopher gives them all the information they have—seven, possibly eight bad guys, human-shaped at the very least. Dispatch offers gear, support, whatever, but Christopher thinks they’ll be okay.

Garth calls Reggie and texts her the address. Reggie also says that her old friend Moses is in town and wants to come along. She thinks he’ll be good at this sort of thing, since he’s all about…resistance. Garth cautiously agrees, then calls Shep on his Tracfone. “I think there will be opportunities for cutting,” says Garth. “I’m not emo,” says Shep. “Not yourself, other people!” “Ah. I’ll be there.”

Reggie and Moses, an older, hermity nature man with ties to Greenpeace, arrive in her Smart car. Shep gets a ride from a friend in exchange in for pizza. So they drive up forty-five minutes later polishing off some Little Caesar’s. Christopher is personally offended by just how low-brow this is.

Garth suggests that Shep case the joint. But there are no windows or skylights or anything, just a door. So they kick it down, basically. Reggie attempts to cast a spell from a scroll, Burglar’s Buddy, but fails. She whips out her scroll of magic missile, hoping to make that one work. Garth kicks the door down and they go in. There doesn’t appear to be anyone around, just the truck and an office in the back. Shep sneaks toward the back, but doesn’t see anyone. Moses, with his very, very sharp old man eyes, doesn’t see anything either. He looks for signs of animals, meat, sees something gross dropped by the truck and some bugs. Garth sneaks to the door of the office, but it’s locked. The rest move up to him, but not very quietly.

Garth kicks the door down. There’s no one around. Shep is annoyed. “You guys, you made me waste my poi—my stuff I put my knives. Next time you call me, make sure there are dangerous people around. DANGEROUS people!” “I didn’t call you, I texted you!”

There’s nothing on the computer either. Reggie finds no magic door. Garth and Shep, working together, find a rug under the desk, and under that is a trap door. They retrieve flashlights and head down. Someone has dug a tunnel down into the rock beneath Las Vegas. Moses hears noises ahead, sounding like women and children, and there’s light ahead. They decide to just rush around the corner.

The tunnel opens into a room. Es occupado. It appears to be a big communal living space. There are beds and lots of children, human, gnome, halfling, and dwarf. Women are working in a kitchen area, giving lessons, playing with the kids. Moses, “Aw, they’re hiding because they aren’t accepted in regular society.” He’s a very tender-hearted terrorist.

Garth: “EVERYONE FREEZE!” They pretty much do. He’s holding his sword, asking for the leader of their group. Then he concedes the floor to Christopher.

Chris speaks very smoothly and convincingly with the women, who tell him that they just live here. He also orders Garth to sheathe his sword. The women and children all look comfortable, just living. The group looks around but does not find any of the purloined meat. Moses sniffs for rat and iguana and such but just finds regular grocery food. He also subtly smells the breath of the women and children, because he’s creepy like that. Reggie sees some scrolls and paperwork, which might also be spellwork. No lucky rabbit’s feet, no illusions, nothing that looks really dangerous or anything.

The group heads through a thick door, into another tunnel. It quickly opens into a large room. It’s partitioned, with a bedroom area and kitchen area, weapons rack (currently empty). There are eight soldierly goblins sitting inchairs around tables. One of them appears to be a commander of some sort, wearing scavenged patches and insignia. Jeff, the wee commander goblin, yells, “We don’t know ’em. Kill ’em! Get paid!”

Christopher moves into attack position and takes a full defensive action. A goblin swipes at him and misses. Shep attacks one with a knife. Moses shoots one, Garth cleaves one in half, and Reggie manages to shoot Jeff with a magic missile scroll. She is pleased to have finally struck a physical blow for the forces of good in Las Vegas. Jeff and another goblin attack. There’s more fighting. Shep kills a goblin. Garth kills one. More fighting, and Garth knocks out Jeff. The remainng goblin throws down his sword.

Garth questions the conscious goblin. Turns out they were hired by men to guard the tunnel. Sometimes they eat iguana and rat meat. The men who hired them keep their families down here and told the goblins never to bother the women and children.

The tunnel leads to a dead end. There’s a door masked by magic which Reggie helps Garth find. They go back and search Jeff for a key. He has one. Garth takes it. And back to the magic door. The key works. The next room is more carefully carved than the last one, with even walls.

There appears to be a bugbear. “Mmm, I have only heard of these in legend,” says Moses. “Me too,” says Garth. And he attacks. Through a doorway Garth sees that there’s another bugbear sitting on a computer playing Rollercoaster Tycoon. Also there is a noise like someone waking up.;

Shep poisons one. Moses shoots one in a bed. Reggie holds off on her spell because as far as she can tell, everything’s going all right. Christopher hits one with his fist and knocks it out. Garth does damage. Shep does a lot damage. There is more fighting. Moses shoots one down with non-lethal damage. Christopher takes some non-lethal damage. He slaps the last one down.

A search reveals a lot of beer, and some wild game and rat meat. Shep wants to drink a beer, having never tried it, but Christopher stops him, because it’s crappy beer. “Hey, if you want to go down that road, when we’re done here I will set you up.” On the floor in the bedroom are magical bugbear khakis with pockets. Christopher opens the pockets and things fall out. They are cargo pants of holding.

Garth, “So what are those?” Chris, “It’s a permanent spell that connects the pockets to a small extra-dimnesional space.” “… So what does that mean?” “May I borrow your sword?” Garth draws back suspiciously. “You’ll have it back in a moment, I promise.” The sword is handed over. Chris drops it in one of the pockets.


Garth has been wanting some way to carry his sword around wihtout drawing suspicion for quite some time. So now he has magic pants. Dance, magic pants. Dance.

Another door. More tunnels, this one with fancy carvings. With help from Christopher and Shep, Reggie is able to figure out the basic message of the carvings. They are a sort of mission statement, written in various Greyhawk languages. It repeats ideas like seeking knowledge, finding the way, returning. The word home is used a lot.

“They want to get back to Greyhawk, it seems to me,” Reggie says. Garth, “I’m both eager for them to leave and offended that they don’t want to stay.”

More decorations, these dwarfish-looking. Another room. More carvings on the walls, more of the same, gargoyles in the four corners. Garth thinks it’s a trap. Moses sees that two of the gargoyles are alive. Reggie, with arcane lore, knows that these creatures are particularly tough and that regular attacks won’t do as much damage as they usually do. Garth is unafraid. He moves after one of the gargoyles. Christopher moves in to taunt the other one. Reggie lends her magic dagger to Shep in hopes that it might do good. Shep drops his regular dagger and accepts, dipping it in his acid as he moves toward a gargoyle. He throws and misses. Christopher attempts to strike, and hits but does no damage, instead slightly bruising his hand. The gargoyle moves and hovers in front of him. The other gargoyle attacks Garth.

The fighting continues. Eventually Garth kills one of the gargoyles. They all surround the other one. Shep throws Reggie’s dagger, and Christopher picks it up and uses it to good effect. Moses punches it, and the gargoyle is impressed, all like, “That old dude just punched me!” They continue to smack at it. Garth finally kills it.

On the far side of the room is an ornately carved, important looking door. Moses listens at it, hears murmuring. Sounds like chanting. Reggie senses magical energy and possibly magical creatures beyond the door. The group doesn’t really want to kill these guys, but they do need to confront them.

The door is unlocked, and Garth opens it. The room is carved with magical motifs, a magical circle in the middle of the room. Garth and Christopher recognize the humans as being the thugs and the men who went ino the warehouse. There are also gnome, dwarves and halflings. There are about twenty of them. Some of them wear ceremonial garb. Reggie and Christopher can tell that there is no magical energy coming from the circle. They’re trying to do a portal spell, and they’re creating magical energy, but it’s not working.

Chris steps forward to interrupt them. They stop chanting and turn toward the group, startled. Christopher tells them that they’re interfering with the business of innocent people connected to a certain…family. They are in hiding, thinking that something or someone is after them. Christopher vaguely threatens them with mob-like allusions. They’re very frightened. Christopher negotiates a way to let the group make it up to Celia and Trina and get employment somewhere with the Vegas Resistance.

They had an inside man, the butcher, who tagged the trucks for them. Garth apologizes for killing the gargoyles and a bunch of the goblins. One of them to Garth, “You smell…a little like Bugbear. Did you wrestle with one of them? And your pants are kinda…dirty.” “I’d…rather not talk about it.” “Oh, oh, of course, I’m sorry for prying, your business is your own…”

Garth is horrified. “I’m not attracted to bugbears!” Moses: “Well, I did find these bugbear nudie mags in his pockets…” “WHAT? NO!” It goes on like that.

Another threat has been vanquished in Fabulous Las Vegas. Hurrah for our heroes.

Episode Four: That's Good Eatin'
Mmm, meat.

Harg and Garth talk about DragonAge. Reggie uses the Xbox mostly for music games. (AC/DC, baby.) The group wants to meet at a steakhouse with peanut shells on the floor. Garth and Harg chose this only to force Christopher to walk through the shells. But they meet at Harg’s instead. Garth tries to order a pizza with free-range pepperoni, fails, and gets regular. Reggie keeps fixings for her strawberry-bean sprout salads in Harg’s fridge. Shep is not present—he has classes.

The group gets a call from one of the operatives of The Vegas Resistance. There’s a grocery store in the Vegas area which is run by a pair of half-elves. Ocarina’s Organic Grocery. Reggie knows it. They sell foods for people with unique dietary needs, ie, from Greyhawk. Some specialized food supplies have been stolen from shipments by people using guns and wearing masks. Celia and Trina, the owners, are pretty well-known in the community, and it’s known that they would help someone who was hungry, so these foods aren’t being stolen from desperation.

They go to the store. It’s very bright and well-lit, lots of fliers for community events like feminist book club and a poetry jam at The Grindhouse. Garth asks the butcher about the odd-shaped and opaquely-wrapped packages in the meat market. The butcher, Mike, says that they’re ethnic items that make some Americans uncomfortable, which is why they’re wrapped that way. Hearts, internal organs, animals that aren’t usually eaten here, so on. Garth then asks after Celia or Trina, and Mike calls the office to talk to them, then sends them to the office.

Christopher greets Celia and Trina with a traditional elven greeting. They are very impressed. A few months ago they started having a little more trouble with shoplifting. It wasn’t all specialty items, so they’re not sure it’s connected, but it’s suspicious, and then the deliveries started getting held up. Five thefts. The deliveries included rat, iguana, game meats like rabbit and venison. The game is from a farm in Montana. The iguana are from Arizona. The rat meat is from California. Trucks are disappearing en route, on the highway but not far from Vegas. They have records of the routes. They pay in advance. The truckers are a third party they hire, a company made of a group of people that they know. The drivers were dragged out of the truck and knocked out and the entire truck stolen. The original truck was owned by Celia and Trina, then they borrowed a friend’s, and the third time they rented one. The trucks would later turn up abandoned somewhere. Another delivery next week, from Arizona.

Garth wants to hang out in the back of the truck, then jump out and attack when the truck is stolen .Christopher wants to just RFID it all again. So they’re driving to Arizona to RFID iguana meat, in Christopher’s Cadilac CTSV.

At the Nasafar Ranch, they meet Rancher Joe, the Iguana Rancher. Christopher plans to take Joe on a walk and distract him while Garth, Harg, and Reggie place the trackers. Garth is kind of weird about it, as usual, insisting on being over the top in pretending to inspect the meat and using a pen to push it around, but they manage to escape suspicion. Christopher asks Joe about any threats, competition, etc.

They watch to make sure that the meat they tagged makes it onto the truck. Christopher is suspicious of the truck drivers as well as the rancher. They’ll give the truck a few minutes, then hop on the road and keep it in range of the tracker. The two dudes who drive the trucks load up the iguana meat. Neither looks particularly shady. Reggie notices nothing magical about the truck or the drivers. Harg and Garth notice that they’re carrying guns. One has a handgun in a shoulder holster and there’s a .22 gopher-shooting rifle in the truck. Rancher Joe exhorts them to be extra careful.

So they begin a meandering tour of the American Southwest. The drivers’ plan to avoid being hijacked appears to be to defy all logic. They pay with cash at gas stations and park far away from buildings and keep their stops short. About ten hours in they finally start heading more in the direction of Las Vegas. Christopher drinks five-hour energy to keep up. Reggie is severely disgusted. The others are pulling their usual antics of discussing/arguing about everything under the sun.

The truck eventually stops in the middle of the road. The troubleshooters, three miles back, don’t know what’s going on, but it certainly seems like another hijacking. They let the hijacking continue and then plan to follow the trackers, Quarter mile away, Christopher slows down below thirty miles per hour so the car is nearly silent. They approach to a point where they can see what’s going on—the truck is stopped in the middle of the road, with two human-shaped lumps on the ground off to the side of the road. Another car is parked in front of the truck, figures moving between truck to car. Two jackers take the truck and two other take the car, going in different directions. Christopher follows the truck, first slowing long enough to toss a first aid kit and some food at the guys, telling them they’ll be back.

Eventually the jackers park the truck in the outskirts of a town. On approach, the group finds a building that looks mostly unused. About twenty minutes later a different truck pulls out with our locators in it. So they follow the second truck as it wanders through Las Vegas. Eventually they come to an industrial section where the truck stops. They approach, find a warehouse-sized building with truck doors. Sign says TN Distributors and there are other trucks parked in front of the building. Garth and Reggie look up TN Distributors on the web but don’t find a site. They find a phone number in the yellow pages but that’s about it. Assume it’s a shell company.

They split up. Harg watches warehouse. Reggie takes a taxi, paid for by Christopher, to go pick up the truck drivers. The taxi driver is uncomfortable about driving into the desert in the middle of the night, but they pick up the guys, and one of them manages to sweet talk the driver. They get back to Trina and Celia’s. The guy who got hit on the head is convinced that Reggie is Barbara Gordon and that black car that threw first aid at them was Batman’s car.

Trina lets them in and listens to the fanboy, Nathan, tell her his idea of what happened. She gets him to make some coffee and has the drivers sit down and relax. Reggie tells her everything that happened, and Trina asks if she needs a ride somewhere, since she came in cab. Reggie calls Garth to see what’s going on.

Meanwhile, Harg took first watch. Christopher slept while Garth walked who knows how far for coffee and donuts. Eventually, a few hours later, the employees for the parking lot where they are staking out start showing up and are confused by the fancy car in their lot. A while later, workers show up at the place they’re watching. Seven enter the warehouse. They never saw anyone leave, so there are probably nine people in there, and there might be assault rifles. Garth tells Reggie not to come. Reggie has Trina take her back to the detetective office, where her car is parked.

The boys plan to just kick the door down, as per usual. Maybe they’ll call Shep.

Episode Three: Short People Got No Reason to Live in Vegas
Man, those short people. They kinda suck.

Investigation into lucky rabbit feet deaths is done—the deaths should be over now. Annie pays Harg with item. Quarrel and his group are now wary of our troubleshooting band. Harg and Co. are too scary now. Quarrel knows of another group who’s a little more militant and might accept our heroes’ services. They’ll appreciate troubleshooters with a dangerous reputation. The Vegas Resistance. Quarrel sets up a meeting with one of their agents at Rainbow Park. The Crown Prince of Las Vegas, Mortimer. Some call him crazy, most call him homeless, but he calls himself the Crown Prince, and thus he is known.

Coincidentally, two other folks are looking for Mortimer at the same time as Reggie, Harg, and Garth. Mortimer is well known around Vegas and the strip. He’s not a sad sort of homeless person, more entertaining and interesting than that. They recognize him fairly easily. Mortimer is keeping an eye out for a guy named Christopher. Mortimer explains that Vegas, being Vegas, happens to atttract a significant amount of supernatural trouble. The sheer amount of luck spells that have been cast in the city has caused some sort of effect. Not that the city necessarily has GOOD luck, so to speak. Christopher has come specifically to join this organization. Harg, Garth and Reggie need some sort of protection and somewhere to belong while they figure out what to do about the magical side of the world. A fifth person, Shep, is just looking for trouble, basically. He’s obsessed with his weapons and poisons and wants a “healthy” outlet. So there’s that.

Mortimer tells them that there’s been an increase in pickpocketing along the Strip. The police are very good at preventing this crime, yet there has still been a pattern for several months of increasing crime. There has also been an increase in unattended children around the Strip who do not seem frightened or lost. The police hasn’t really made a connection between this two patterns. Zero witnesses of pickpocketing.

Shep is pale with long blond hair, long jacket, kind of emo, very short, less than three feet, though most people don’t notice just how short he is. Christopher wears a very nice suit, obviously tailored. Very handsome, black hair, light skin, clean shaven, has a stylized eye of Horus on his lapel. Has soft hands and a nice vehicle. Very smooth character. Shep short, Christopher fancy. Garth suggests going to the Strip and hanging out looking for unattended kids and waiting to get pickpocketed.

Reggie asks Christopher about his eye of Horus. He says its a symbol used in his family’s organization. “Ah, charitable work?” Garth asks. “Of a sort.” Reggie asks Shep about his heritage, but he’s cagey and unfriendly. Reggie is not particularly assured about these new members of their group. Garth suggests that Christopher act as the pickpocket bait, since he’s obviously the wealthiest of the group, while Harg tails him and the other three look around for the strange kids. Reggie agrees, figuring that she’ll be able to figure out if there’s anything unusual about these kids. She also has realized that Shep is a halfling.

In a Starbucks in the lobby of one of the hotels along the strip, Shep notices another halfling. The other halfling is sitting drinking coffee and working with a laptop. An antenna sticks out of his pocket. Reggie sees a kid run by following after a group of tourists, and he has a walkie talkie. He looks like just a kid, so she doesn’t think anything of it. Garth is a little oblivious. He’s watchign for dragons, pixies, and people wearing witches’ hats. Shep points out the halfling, and Reggie mentions the kid, and the antenna that looked the same. Shep wants to steal the walkie talkie, but says he’s no good at talking for distraction. Reggie and Garth volunteer to make a scene. They’re excellent at making people uncomfortable and being memorable—that guy will only remember them, not Shep.

Reggie and Garth go into the coffee shop. Garth gets a drink and says “Thanks a latte” when the barista brings it. Reggie gets nothing, but argues with Garth about capitalism and “Do you even know where those coffee beans come from? These are not free range coffee beans!” Garth: “What about that poor barista just trying to make a living! Don’t you have any compassion for people, for your sista barista?” “I have compassion for humans, but also for coffee beans. And chickens.” “Chickens! What does chickens have to do with it?” “Kept in farms, not free range, not compassionate and right…” “People gotta eat!” Reggie sputters, then, “Chocolate, do you even KNOW where chocolate comes from?” “Brown cows—” “CHILD LABOR.”

They continue in this vein, and Shep sneaks in, orders a coffee but doesn’t intend to pick it up. When he walks by the halfling, Shep sees that he’s playing Farmville, steals the walkie talkie, and then later sees a google doc “June” (current) with a list. Top is Olivia, 3 450, 2W CA I, Keep I CA 150, Five casinos (any random five). Meanwhile, Garth and Reggie’s argument has gotten more ridiculous, because there was a mention of cows and now Reggie is telling him what they do to calves to make veal, amputees, without hooves living in their own feces. Garth: “Hey, just roll that baby cow down to me and I will eat it.” The halfling finally notices Shep, and he says “Nice radishes” and heads out.

Meanwhile, Christopher is busy being bait. Harg notices a little girl with a novelty backpack and a Disney princess t-shirt, going down into a little quieter space off the sidewalk and sits down on the ground, where she pulls a walkie talkie out of her backpack. Harg sends a warning text to Christopher to get his attention, then nods toward the girl to indicate that he’s going to check it out. She stands up and bumps into him. Christopher walks over, too, not missing any wallets or anything. The girl runs down the street, and they follow her. She’s looking around, as if looking for her parents. She runs into a building a little further down, Ripley’s Believe It or Not. The guys find a cafe where they can eat and keep an eye out.

Back at the hotel, Shep has gone into the lobby and turned on the walkie talkie. The halfling leaves the coffee shop, pats down his pockets, realizing the walkie talkie is gone and goes back to look for it. He doesn’t see Shep in the lobby though. Reggie and Garth find a leaving off point in their argument (it’s an ongoing thing anyway) and head out. Garth makes a point of leaving another tip for the barista, staring at Reggie the whole time in a dorkily challenging way, but she just shrugs and rolls her eyes. Money going to individuals doesn’t bother her, just corporations. They avoid Shep, but Garth sends him his phone number on Shep’s pager. Shep goes to the hotel desk to use their phone and is rude to the clerk and kind of douche, as per usual with him. Garth tells him to meet them in an hour at a Wendy’s off the Strip. The beeper thing is annoying him. So is Shep.

Reggie and Garth continue gently bickering and follow the halfling, who is looking for someone, occasionally jumping up on benches to look around. Eventually he stops at a restaurant and pulls his laptop again, just kind of chilling, sitting in a place where he can watch the street. Reggie and Garth feel safe enough to hang out for a little bit and watch him, since there’s a number of people around, but leave soon enough not to be noticed. Afterward, they wander, watching for kids again. As they’re about to leave, Reggie stops Garth, having noticed a scruffy-ish kid. He runs by the front of the restaurant, stops and waves, then keeps going. They agree that that halfling and those kids are in cahoots.

They ask someone to take a picture of them standing in front of the restaurant in order to get a picture of the halfling. A passerby agrees and takes two pictures. One is blurry and the other cuts the halfling’s head in half, but at least they have something.

Harg and Christopher follow the girl in to the Ripley’s. There’s a dead alligator. They see a girl in a Disney princess shirt, but it’s not the right one. The girl they were following seems to have disappeared. Harg goes to the ticket seller. “Hello, sir. Would you like to see something that you won’t believe?” Harg asks the guy about the little girl, claiming that she’s his niece. The clerk says he hasn’t sold any child a ticket. “Well, thanks for your help.” “Of course, sir. Have a nice day, believe it or not!”

Harg goes out a different door, to a side street. Back a ways, he sees a block in a wall that looks loose. He’s able to pull it out and find a small space inside. He finds an iPhone, a couple of wallets, and a digital camera. He pockets the loot.

Meanwhile, Shep hears a feminine voice on the walkie talkie say, “This is Step, using Ripley’s cache, lost target, spotted by big guy in fedora and trench coat. Everybody watch out. Step out.” A little while later he hears, “This is Weaver, Fagian spotted, no walkie, get back to base.”

They meet at the Wendy’s. Harg shows up with a bag from Subway. They share information. While they share this, Harg plays Angry Birds on the iPhone he found in the cache. Then it rings, playing “Let’s Get It On” very loudly. Harg extends it to Garth, “You’re good with this stuff—silence it!” Garth wants to answer it, but at Harg’s insistence he turns it off. Christopher points out that the iPhone has GPS and someone is going to track it down. Harg reluctantly decides to drop it off in a lost and found somewhere. After he gets a high score on this level. Reggie suggests that the Fagian name might be a code, as in Fagan from Oliver Twist, and she and Garth agree that it’s a halfling-run ring of pickpocketers. Garth likes the classiness of the literary reference. They contact Mortimer through an intermediary. Ten minutes later the phone rings. Mortimer: “Had to find the last pay phone in Vegas.”

Mortimer asks if they can shut down this operation. Reggie points out that they’re not sure how big the operation is—it’s a halfling and at least three kids. Christopher doesn’t think anything about this scheme is really that important, but Mortimer points out that it’s a supernatural entity, at least one, taking advantage of mundanes through unfair means, and this is important. It’s all part of the test to see if they can join his organization.

But the thing is, it wasn’t that long ago that Harg and Garth’s faces were on the news. They want to keep this on the down low. Some time spent discussing plans. Tagging the stuff with RFID and putting it back in the cache is agreed upon, hooked up to google maps on an iPad. So they watch, and the stuff gets taken and they follow. It leads them to a somewhat lower income residential area. They arrive at a two-story addition with outside stairs. Shep approaches to scout it out. It appears that there are several people there. He makes faux military gestures to the others. Garth reminds Harg not to shoot anyone, or punch any children. Reggie says that he’s free to punch the halfling, because he’s a douche.

They kick the door in. Harg wields a gun, Garth a dagger. Fagian is sitting in an armchair. “Is that a dagger I see before me?” He says that they can take him in, but the kids needs to go back to their parents. Our heroes are suspicious, and the kids seem weirdly calm. Christopher takes over, trying to have a conversation to figure out who these kids are and where they belong. The kids refuse to reveal a physical address, and our heroes get increasingly frustrated. Reggie, through searching the room and arcane lore, figures out that the kids are actually gnomes. Harg knocks them all unconscious, because that’s how he do.

Shep calls dispatch on his new Tracfone which Garth bought for him out of frustration with the beeper thing. “Hey, this is my first call on this phone. Be honored.” They give him an address, and Garth and Christopher start hauling the seven dwarfs out to the car. Harg and Reggie sort through their stuff. Harg gets to keep an Xbox 360. There’s nothing particularly magical for Reggie to take. She does convince Harg to set up the 360 at his shop, where she keeps her magic stuff, so they can both play with it. They get Fagian’s laptop, has records and a lot of Facebook friends for Farmville. Christopher gets the names of his fences.

They drop the captives off at the Resistance’s office, meet a few people. Before they leave Fagian behind, Garth gives him his phone number. “I think you have some class, and even though we busted you, if you ever see the light you can give me a call. I think we’ll get along.” Then he gives Fagian a creepy smile. If the halfling could have backed away, he would have.

Mortimer asks if they’re willing to work together again. Shep is indignant because of some remarks earlier in the day that made him think Garth saw all short people alike, but eventually agrees to stay together for one more mission.

Episode Two, Part Three: Lucky Little Dragon Death Danger Strikes Back
Shit just got real.

(I did not keep notes, because I was busy GMing. Therefore this summary will be much less complete and awesome than Laura’s.)

First off, Reggie calls everyone and lets them know that she’s terribly, terribly ill and cannot possibly come mystery solving with them today. Important things happen and it is discovered that the “luck bones” the witches will need to complete their ritual are the left thumbs of the five people who bought the rabbit’s feet. Presumably they already have the four from the dead folks, which leaves John Quincy Adams Jones in harms way yet again.

Our heroes determine that the best possible way to deal with this is to have a stakeout, but first they have to find him. They cruise the Strip, hoping to see him wandering around, and are successful, but only after learning that Alan collects the fliers given out to advertise prostitutes. Harg leads the team in proper stakeout procedure, which seems to involve piling into the Crown Victoria, arguing about proper music and food, and, in the case of Garth and Slater, writing awesome white, nerdy, folk rap. Alan declines the offer of stakeout fun and instead visits Anya for a little proof of magic (That’s what the kids are calling it these days.) and then heads home to the bunker.

On the morning of day five, they follow Mr. Jones to his office (a ten story building) and park outside, hoping to notice the resonance with the witches stuff that they’re holding if either of them approach the building. After a couple of hours, a man approaches the building and Harg notices that he does resonate with the magical equipment in their possession. He, Garth and Slater rush into the building just in time to see the man enter the elevator.

They are stopped by a receptionist who does not intend to allow them access to Mr. Jones’ office as he is currently in a meeting with a client. Slater once again attempts to tell the truth very, very convincingly and is not quite convincing enough. “Mr. Jones’ life may be in danger!” “Are you threatening Mr. Jones’ life?!” She then triggers a silent alarm which Harg notices.

At this point things get a little crazy as Harg knocks the receptionist out cold and tells Slater and Garth he’s headed for the elevator. The two of them are a little more reluctant and think maybe they should leave before they’re arrested instead, but they are also very concerned with saving Mr. Jones. They start the elevator and notice that the resonance gets stronger as they go up, so they exit into Mr. Jones’ office on the tenth floor. Slater starts to call Alan, but hangs up once he enters the office and sees what has happened.

Unfortunately, Mr. Jones is dead and the office is empty. They do notice that his left thumb is missing. Now they’ve forced their way into an office with the dead body of someone they’ll be suspected of threatening. They know the police are coming and they do not have much of an escape route.

The three of them run for the roof and Harg blows his way through the door. Once they are outside, they can hear the police surrounding the building and they realize that their only means of escape may be over the rooftops. They quickly plot out the route to a nearby fire escape and begin jumping. Slater has some trouble with the first jump, so Garth and Harg were keeping an eye out he prepared for his second leap.

Tragically, they weren’t able to catch him and Slater fell to his death. Garth and Harg quickly clambered down the fire escape and split up, intending to meet at the Tattered Cover later that day. On the bus, Garth calls Alan, but Alan has been watching the news and realizes that the dead guys is his new drinking buddy and that his acquaintances are probably wanted for murder. He decides that cutting his losses is his best possible plan here and doesn’t answer the phone. In fact, he quickly deletes everyone’s numbers and hunkers down, hoping to avoid the cops.

When they arrive at the Tattered Cover, Quarrel is a bit disturbed by what’s happened and he doesn’t have a lot of options to offer them. He knows some people who could probably get them some fake IDs and the magic necessary to alter their appearance somewhat. Quarrel could also smuggle them out of the country to Europe with a group of refugees from Greyhawk who are heading that way. Once they reach their destination, everyone will need ID and a new name, so Garth and Harg would be no extra trouble.

Harg decides to stick around Vegas and meet these acquaintances of Quarrel’s, but Garth is seriously considering leaving the country. They’re both also a little curious about what Reggie will think of all this and if she’ll decide to disown them as well. Regardless of their decision, Quarrel informs them that he and the Magical Better Business Bureau will no longer be able to work with them. They have a certain reputation of legitimacy and peacefulness to maintain, and continuing to hire Harg and Garth would cast some doubt on that reputation.

A few days later, it turns out that the gentleman they saw entering the office was none other than the Escobar Salvine who owned the house in Ivins where they located the witches’ belongings. The cameras also saw him and, as Mr. Salvine has quite a history of being a suspect for various crimes, it was determined that he was the murderer and the heat was somewhat taken off of Harg and Garth. However, one police detective was unwilling to believe that they were entirely uninvolved and Detective Keith Townshend will no doubt be making life difficult for Harg, Garth and any of their known associates in the future.

Also, Annie Duke did contact Harg, mostly to figure out what was going on. As he did discover who was responsible and as the World Poker Tour should be safe from these witches in the future, she agreed to pay him a slightly reduced rate. The GM owes Harg a reasonable item to be discussed and chosen, and also owes details on certain scrolls to whoever retains custody of the witches’ stuff.

Episode Two, Part Two: The Lucky Little Dragon Death Danger Intensifies
So... shapeshifting witches, huh?

Episode Two, Part Two

At The Tattered Cover, Garth drinks his Vitamin Water. Reggie lectures him about sugar and bacteria and artifical color and flavor. Before going home, Reggie asks Quarrel about some way to neturalize a cursed object. There isn’t really one. She asks Quarrel if there’s a way to discover if this is cursed. It doesn’t have any markings or auras, but he can’t tell for sure. Reggie plans to go to Walmart and buy a lockbox and put the rabbit’s foot in it and lock it in the back of her car. The next day she wants to see her grandmother, maybe.

Day Three, morning. Tattered Cover. Quarrel tells Slater about the true nature of the universe. Harg, Slater, and Garth hang out in the back office while Reggie peruses the stacks for more information about cursed objects. Reggie and Harg hear a commotion. Really tiny, sort of clawed things start crawling all over Reggie’s car, which is parked outside. A lot of them. Swarming. More importantly, a rocky gentlemen is right outside the door.

Quarrel, behind the counter, looks very shocked, and Reggie yells and drops the books she’s holding. Harg leaves the back office to see what’s going on. Reggies runs to the back of the store to duck and cover. Slater and Harg shoot at the thing made of rock, and Garth prepares himself for battle. Alan moves behind the counter with Quarrel and fires a pistol, then crouches. Reggie knows it’s an earth elemental, but doesn’t know anything useful to tell her companions. Bullets seems to be working, though.

Quarrel, watching out the window, calls, “They’ve got the trunk open!” and Garth sees the gremlin-things flying away with the lockbox. They disappear down the street. Slater distracts the earth elemental with gun tricks. Garth sees that the gremlins are already a hundred feet away and moving fast. Harg bull rushes the monster and defeats it. Garth and Alan run after the small creatures. Garth catches up and tries to scare them at Alan’s suggestion. “Boogedy Boo!” Reggie runs to her car to follow, and Slater has the keys to Alan’s car so he can follow, too.

Some of the creatures attack Garth, wounding him, and the rest vanish down a sewer grate. Harg gets in the car with Reggie. Garth kills one of the creatures with his sword, leaving eight on the street. Alan strategizes about how to get down into the sewer. Reggie drives down the street, hits three creatures and kills them. Harg kills another with his door as he exits the car. Slater careens down the street in the Hummer. There are no more gremlins at street level. Garth tries to open a grate with his hands, but is ineffective. Reggie sees the bodies, knows that the creatures are jinxes, which the legends of gremlins are based on. They hate humans and humans’ machines and can be loosely controlled by someone or something.

Slater gets a crowbar from the Hummer to work on the grate. Alan considers just driving away, points out that they won’t be able to catch up and should get away from the area where civilians would have heard shots fired and people fighting on the street. So they disperse and meet later at IHOP.

Garth checks his messages and sees that the Remington sisters called back. Half an hour later Quarrel calls everyone and tells them that there’s no investigation—he dealt with the bodies, and his store is soundproofed and all the guns were fired inside, so it’s okay. Garth calls the Remingtons again and gets hold of Pam, who is apparently in the middle of a fight or something. He tells them about the people dying and jinxes and stuff. Pam says they were hunting jinxes when they shot the rabbits. (In a cemetery on a new moon.) They were in Ivins, Utah.

Garth relays the information. Harg wants to punch him in the face. “Why?” asks Garth. “Because you called them when I wanted to call them.” “Well, I got the phone number.” “You might have gotten the phone number, but you weren’t the right one to get the phone number. So. Punch in the face.”

Ivins, Utah is a couple of hours away. “We could just drive out there and see what’s going on,” says Garth. “Why?” asks Harg. “Because the rabbit’s feet is the only lead we have.” “Utah is nice,” says Slater. “Why are you even here?” asks Harg. “Day off.”

“So there were five rabbits wandering around a cemetery on the new moon together,” says Reggie. “That’s weird. MAYBE THEY WERE SHAPESHIFTED WITCHES.” “We’re gonna feel stupid when we get there and there’s a lettuce garden on the other side of the fence,” says Alan. “ONLY LEAD WE HAVE,” says Garth.

Slater, Reggie, and Garth are up for a trip, but Garth wants other people to be up for it so he doesn’t have to ride in Reggie’s car. Reggie finds the address and pictures of the cemetery on google. Alan and Harg come, but there’s some argument about who drives in what. On the way, Pam calls Garth back and tries to be a little more helpful. She says that once they killed a bunch of jinxes in Utah, they left for a much worse case in Connecticut, so they might have missed something. The jinxes seemed to be protecting something, which is unusual. They attacked anyone who went down a certain road that only had a house that was empty as far as people knew. “Anything that can summon is not something you want to mess with.” “Anything who can what?” “Summon. Anyone who can summon anything, jinxes or anything, is really dangerous.” The jinxes were protecting something near 450 North. Reggie asks if they think the rabbits might have been shapshifted witches. Pam thinks it’s possible.

Garth asks Pam if the sisters have ever fought a dragon. No, but they probably exist. Pam tells him that the clawed feet marks were from the jinxes and they’re probably safe in Vegas. Garth still thinks his dragon casino idea is a good one.

They arrive in Ivins and go to the cemetery. Their searches don’t really turn anything up. Garth doesn’t find any rabbit burrows or tracks, which is perhaps an indication that the rabbits here earlier were unnatural.

They have the address for the apparently abandoned house on 450 North. But they choose to go to the town hall in Ivins to do research on the address and any supernatural activity in the area. There was an increase in accidents on 450 North. People reported seeing strange things. The house is listed in the classified of every week’s newspaper for sale by owner, going back at least this year. Garth asks the town clerk who owns the house. Slater gathers information. Escobar Salvine own the house. Slater learns that everyone knew about the accidents and the kind of crazy women who came, but people stopped having accidents, so that was good, but the crazy women weren’t actually with the DoT like they claimed. Slater tries to call Escobar Salvine, but the number is disconnected. Garth thinks he is dead. They decide to go to the house.

There are no particular signs of anyone being there. No one answers the knock. Reggie wants to unlock the door, but Harg just shoots it. “That was unnecessarily violent,” Reggie complains. “But it worked.” “But unnecessarily!” The place is empty and dusty. Reggie sees footprints leading upstairs and to the kitchen. Harg goes upstairs and the other go to the kitchen.

Harg finds signs of someone living here, as well as sigils and smelly herbs and scrolls and various magical things. In the kitchen, the others find stairs to the basement. Garth was smart and brought a flashlight that he can hook to his shirt. They find a camp-style kitchen. There are also smelly herbs and vials and such. Reggie recognizes it as a magic user’s workroom, possibly more than one. Garth sees different piles and different handwriting styles. Reggie sees signs of potion making. There is a gun rack with no guns. Lots of notes on the paperwork, some of them spell notes. On top are notes which seems to pertain to some large ritual. Looks like someone is trying to alter a ritual that already existed for seven, now trying to remake it for two. Note: ALY, steps of ritual, CEL. Again, listed things, then five names written in margins, Maia, Electra, Taygete, Asterope, Merope. Checkmarks over all of those except for Electra. Reggie thinks that they are trying to raise the dead witches.

The ritual doesn’t look necromantic to Reggie, though. It’s something that needs seven living people to do. She supposes that the two left are trying to raise the others to complete the ritual. “Or maybe they just need the essences for the magic,” says Garth. “NOW YOU’RE THINKING!” Reggie exults, happy that Garth seems to be done denying the weirdness. “I’ve read my fair share of fantasy novels.”

Another distinct ritual is set off to one side, same symbols as are written on the margins of the large one. Seems to have something to do with shapeshifting. They ransack the house and take it all out to the Hummer. Reggie’s gonna need space for her magical work room. She doesn’t feel bad at all about stealing from these people, who have killed four people in Las Vegas, caused lots of accidents, and probably done plenty of other nefarious things.

Reggie also finds notations about the phases of the moon. Slater wants to warn Escobar Salvine about all this that’s been going on, but Reggie thinks it might have been a cover name used by the witches, or he could be dead the way Garth thought all along. They google him, but can’t find another phone number. There’s a physical address in Salt Lake City. No one has lived in the house for fifty years, so no one in town knows Salvine. Garth suggests snail mail.

Back to Vegas. A bunch of the scrolls are various summoning rituals. Tending toward certain types of creatures, then you pick the one you want. A lot for creatures good for grunt work, fighting and defending, elementals. None of them hugely powerful. One ritual very specificly for directing things that have been summoned. With Quarrel’s help, they find that the big ritual is for a sort of power sharing thing, since transformation is very difficult unless you have a natural ability. Someone did some excellent design work—Quarrel is impressed. Another someone was attempting to modify it for two people, but it’s more for a one-shot deal. The original was continuous, to renew connections already made. Two person one also meant for channeling power from something else.

Garth concludes that they’re trying to channel energy from the rabbit’s feet, and now they have all five of them and our heroes will have to find and stop them. Quarrel agrees with that conclusion. Symbols for luck bones in there, kind of doubling. The witches need something else, some other kind of bone. “Like a dragon bone,” Garth says darkly.

The original ritual maker was excellent, and the one doing the modifications is not as good. Quarrel can tell that much. Quarrel and Garth have another conversation about the difference fictional magic and the stuff that actually works in this world. They probably have a summoner to deal with, and another one with their own skill.

Slater, “What’s the best way to track witches?” Quarrel says they might resonate with their stuff if they’re within a couple of miles. Quarrel tries to sense them, but doesn’t find anything. They’ll probably come after our heroes, though, since they have all their stuff. They also find a couple of healing potions among the stuff. Garth takes one, Slater another. Another is a disillusionment spell. Doesn’t make someone invisible, but lets them blend into the background. A powder, Reggie takes it.

The rest of the items are also Reggie’s to use in her new pursuit of magic. Harg offers his office for Reggie to set up her new magical stuff. It’s a satisfyiing solution—she’d been thinking she might have to move back in with her parents, since her apartment isn’t big enough and there’s no room to set it up at The Tattered Cover.

Now if only they could figure out what to do about the witches.

The Lucky Little Dragon Death Danger
John QA Jones has a strange encounter with some very sincere but unconvincing people.

Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas
Episode Two: The Lucky Little Dragon Death Danger

Chillin’ like heroes. Phone call from a lady, Annie Duke. Poker player. Noticed suspicious things in World Poker Tour. Four deaths called accidental, she thinks otherwise, wants to hire investigator who knows about strange side of life. Called Harg Bullock. Offering reasonable pay.

Day 1 – Harg calls everyone to meet at the bookstore. Middle of the afternoon. Harg throws print outs of victims’ dossiers on nearby table. “We have work to do, and it’s on our side,” he says to Reggie. Annie discovered the true nature of the world when helping out some gnomes, and she got a good luck charm from them. The team talks about going down to the casino and just looking around. Evening of Day One, down to Gordon’s (casino, site of one “accidental” death) for poker time.

Harg asks around for anyone who knew the victim, Eve Mason. Gordon’s is open but hasn’t had grand opening yet. Already there’s a rumor about a curse, about the Money Tree casino and now no other casino being able to be built there or anything. Employees know about Mason but aren’t supposed to talk about it, especially in front of customers. They can’t really tell him anything more, so he goes to the police station to talk to old friends. Eve Mason didn’t really have anyone who would benefit from her death. Her parents and boyfriend seemed appropriately upset. Had a rabbit’s foot keychain, business cards.

Meanwhile Reggie and Garth go to the site of the house fire to see what they can see. He brings a Haste the Day CD along to listen to in her Smart car. Except that Alan came too so they went in the Hummer and listened to old southern rock. Not burned to the ground, but part of the roof caved into the second story. Marketa Jasper was the only one who lived there. With her knowledge of arcane lore, Reggie doesn’t notice any sigils or anything obviously magical. Garth decides to go inside and investigate further. Front looks sturdier than the back. Front door has been broken open by rescue personnel, taped with caution tape. Garth takes the rest of the evening to search for Marketa’s good luck charms. Finds key chain, looks like something was pulled off it, possibly while still on fire. Looks like there was fur or something stuck in it. While he’s doing that Reggie searches the yard, finds lots of footprints. Around a basement window, she finds some small footprints that look a little strange, kind of animalistic, hard to tell and they’ve been tracked over. Clawed foot marks. Garth: “Maybe it was a dragon that burnt the house down, and went in and stole the rabbit’s foot, which is actually magical!” He’s slightly hysterical by now. “We should ask Harg if he found out anything about a rabbit’s foot on the woman he was investigating,” Reggie says.

In the very late evening, Harg goes to break into Eve Mason’s apartment. He calls Reggie to find out what they’ve learned. They agree that the rabbit’s foot might have something to do with it—there was nothing on Eve Mason’s keyring, either, but one was logged in her personal effects. Garth, Alan and Reggie plan to go back to the Tattered Cover to do some research. Harg is excited about his new B & E. It might be his favorite part of this job. He manages to pick the lock and gets inside. Many subtle symbols of good luck, faded patches on the wall of things that have been packed up. A store bag for a store called Bell, Book and Candle.

The next day they meet at the Tattered Cover. Reggie wants to find out if the other two victims also had rabbit’s feet. Harg just wants to go straight to Bell, Book and Candle. Garth asks Quarrel if rabbit’s feet can be actually lucky. Quarrel says that they can. “Are Lucky Charms cereal actually lucky?” Garth asks. “Only if you like the taste of those stale little marshmallows.” Garth is satisfied with that.

They go to Bell, Book and Candle. The shopkeeper has hair that almost seems to shimmer and change color magically. Very attractive and very blond. Asks very forcefully if they’ve come to spend money. Alan asks her out on a date and Garth is disappointed that he didn’t get there first. She wants to see Alan’s bank book. It’s healthy, and she’s impressed. (Hello, Anya.) She asks what they want to purchase, and Harg says, “Information.” Shows her a picture of Eve Mason, “Do you know this girl?” “Yes, of course. She buys things. Lots of things. Why do you want to know?” “Well, she was in an accident, and she seemed to come here.” “Well, yes, of course. People come here, and people have accidents. It’s unfortunate, but it happens. But if you think that we’re involved, I think you will find that you are wrong.” He shows her pictures of the others, too. She recognizes them all. “That one talked a lot.” (Captain Morgan.) Eve came in the most and bought a lot of charms.

Harg asks to look at their rabbit’s feet. They don’t have any desert rabbit’s feet (the kind the victims bought) left, but they have others. Some are cheap and touristy, some are dyed funny colors, some appear to have been chopped from actual poor suffering rabbits. “Yes, it’s sad, but that’s capitalism,” says Anya. Anya goes in the back and gets a leatherbound book with records. All four of the victims bought those rabbit’s feet. The last one was bought by a man named John Jones. Harg asks for contact information for her suppliers. Her suppliers are Pam and Jean Remington. Garth leaves a message on their voice mail.

Reggie tries to convince Anya to give her John Jones’ information so they can look him up and protect him from possible danger. “What kind of danger?” “DEATH DANGER.” She is unconvinced. Reggie argues that since the other victims bought the rabbit’s feet about three months ago and died starting about seven weeks ago and have all died since then, Jones is in danger. John Jones bought his two weeks ago, so they need to find him soon. Anya thinks they might be crazy, thinks it might all be a coincidence. She finally gives them a physical description and says he wanders around. So the four are gonna go play blackjack.

They wander to a downtown casino, Little Italy. There a floor manager asks them if they’re visiting, why they’ve come. Harg describes John Jones, says they’re looking for him. Says he’s Harg’s grandfather and Harg is worried about him. The floor manager, Slater Fox, senses something off. John Jones is a chatty old guy and he knows he has no grandchildren. Garth is shocked by the lie. Slater: “Look, I don’t understand why you would come in here lying about our patrons…” “Why would you think it’s a lie?” “Well, A, I talk to a lot of people and I can tell when someone is lying, and B, it seems that I know more about this man than you do.” Reggie and Garth tell him that John Jones is actually in death danger. They’re sincere, but Slater is not quite ready to be on their side. He does tell them that John Jones is a corporate lawyer, a chatty, very nice older man who is well known for walking around the strip and talking to people.

They find his small ad in the phone book. Annie knew enough to know that he was extremely superstitious. So they argue about whether the truth or a cover story would be more believable. Reggie is elected to make the call. A lady for a screening service answers. Reggie tries very hard to convince her that she has very important information that John Jones needs to know immediately, but the lady is unconvinced and hangs up. His address is not on Google. Alan says they should go back to the floor manager and get the name of a current patron of Jones, then call the number again and say, “so and so referred me.” Unfortunately, Harg calls Slater “futsy nuts,” since that’s what Alan called him. That causes some distraction for bit, because “futsy” is not a nice word.

It’s the end of Slater’s shift. He calls over a dealer who knows John Jones. The dealer, Jenny, can’t really give them any more information. But Slater has nothing else to do and is willing to hang out with them for a bit. Reggie suggests that he call the screening service and try to get Mr. Jones to listen to what they have to say. Slater tells the lady that he knows Mr. Jones and is calling in regards to some winnings he left. She writes a note and thanks him.

Fortunately, John Jones then shows up at the casino. Slater says hello and introduces them. They try to convince him that he’s in death danger. He’s very skeptical. Slater, though not totally on board himself, eventually steps in. Still, Reggie comes on too strong. Meanwhile, Alan sneaks away to the magic shop and looks for a rabbit’s foot near identical to the one Jones bought. The rest try to stall for time. Slater by now has become fascinated and wants to know what’s actually going on, and Jones is similarly interested despite himself, especially as Garth becomes more and more hysterical about dragons and swooping and fire and so on. Jones asks if this is one of those things where people film a prank and put it up on “the youtube.”

This train is basically being driven straight into a cliff.

Alan eventually returns. He grabs a salt shaker and a manila envelope from among his gun stuff. Dumps the salt in the envelope. He approaches and enters the madness. He says that this about terrorism. He tells Jones that there are toxic versions of the rabbit’s feet being passed around. He says he has a chemical in the pouch and if he sprinkles it on the rabbit’s foot it will turn red to show that it’s dangerous. Jones hands him his rabbit’s foot, and Alan uses sleight of hand to switch it with the one he just bought. He tells him that it’s white so it’s okay, and he hustles the group away. He hands the rabbit’s foot to Garth, who immediately gives it to Reggie.

It’s a left hind foot. Reggie and Garth go back to the Tattered Cover to do research. Alan buys Slater a drink and talks about weird stuff in the world. Through research, they find that the left hind foot of a rabbit (and a black cat bone) is a common protective item, particularly to scare away nasty magics like necromancy, voodoo, bogeyman. Both can be substituted for a human bone in a certain ritual. In other lore, the rabbit’s foot can be only lucky if it’s left hind foot from a rabbit shot in a cemetery that’s actually a shapeshifted witch (the rabbit, not the cemetery). Other lore says it has to be a full moon, or a new moon, a Friday, rainy Friday, Friday the thirteenth, shot with a silver bullet, cut off while the rabbit’s still alive…

Garth is still a little hysterical and trying to deny things. “Maybe they were just accidents and this was a waste of time and we chased a red herring.” Reggie: “Well, then, we’ll know we’ve chased it until it’s dead. A dead red herring.” “Maybe we didn’t fight kobolds or pixies. And maybe you’re just a person with a pointy ears and maybe he’s just…” nodding to Harg “…big.” “We did fight kobolds and pixies. How did you get that burn on your arm?” “I’m…clumsy.” Quarrel hands him a cup of tea, which Garth drinks while he talks. It turns pink.

So three of them research, two of them get drunk, and three have fun while they’re doing it, and they learn a lot about rabbit’s feet.

Episode One: Tiny Nuisances
Four very different people stand up when they probably should have sat down.

At a fast food restaurant, Port of Subs, on a late evening in early spring in Fabulous Las Vegas, four strangers sat by themselves eating food, drinking coffee, or just taking advantage of the wifi from next door. They weren’t alone—other patrons shared the restaurant, including a family with noisy kids, and the counter was manned by a coterie of surprisingly short-statured staff. But it is these four strangers who will figure broadly in this story, little as they may have wished it.

Garth Baldursson was a tall, gawky grad student on his way home from a meeting of The Society for Creative Anachronisms. He had stopped at Port of Subs because he was hungry, and the food there was cheap. With him he carried a long, thin case that might have been mistaken for a musical instrument such as a keytar, but instead held something that was unlikely to make much music, except perhaps the singing of metal against metal in the crossing of blades. Yes, it was a sword.

Harg Bullock was a hulking private investigator who sat alone in a corner booth with his back to the wall and his eyes on the door. He had come here for a cup of fifty-cent black coffee, so much cheaper than the frou-frou stuff sold at the Starbucks next door. He was tired of chasing cheating spouses, tired of being broke, and tired of stupidity. Unfortunately, he wasn’t likely to get a break from that last one any time soon.

Alan Stanford was an ordinary-looking man dressed in neutral colors. He sat with his arms spread on the table, eating his meal. He, too, had his back to the wall and kept a wary eye on the room. A man of many secrets, he was soon to learn even more.

Reggie Hallow was a slight, absent young woman who sat with her laptop, using the Starbucks wifi while sitting in an environment more suited to her people-watching proclivities. She wore a hand-knit shawl of fluffy pink yarn with a hanging fringe that dangled from her arms and pooled in her lap, and her hair was tied with many glittering crystals and tiny braids. Her theoretical, academic lifestyle was about to become significantly more practical and immediate.

Suddenly, the door burst open, and in swaggered of group of very short gangstas. They waved pipes, chains, baseball bats. Among the six, one seemed to be the most aggressive, waving a sharp knife. “Longtooth!” he yelled. “You cheated last night, but we’ll fight fair now. I’ve come for you, Longtooth! Face me!”

Reggie’s eyes widened, immediately recognizing Kobolds from her studies of the other world. With her eyes opened, she now recognized that each of the workers in this restaurant was a Kobold, too. One of the them had moved to the back, and the lights switched off, though the emergency lights flickered on soon after.

“I’ll fight in the dark!” the tiny gangsta shouted. “Come and fight me, Longtooth! I’ll kill all the pinkies in here if you don’t!” He grabbed a nearby woman, a helpless civilian, and held the knife against her.

As the Kobolds moved out to attack anyone nearby, Reggie slid down under her table. Alan, on the other hand, pulled out his concealed XDM snub nose gun and began shooting. Harg knocked the closest Kobold unconscious with a single punch. Garth, seeing an opportunity for creative anachronisms, retrieved his sword from its case.

The staff also moved, helping the other patrons escape through the door, beginning with the family with children. Longtooth still refused to approach, and the knife-wielding Kobold, chattering with rage, stabbed the woman he held. She slumped to the floor.

Reggie could not hide with that going on. She climbed from under the table, her hands open and empty, and told him that she only wanted to help the injured woman. Without waiting for an answer, she approached and knelt down to apply pressure to the woman’s wounds, all but daring the Kobold to try to hurt her. It wasn’t the smartest thing she’d ever done, but she didn’t care.

Another Kobold hit her with a baseball bat, but it was a glancing blow. Meanwhile, Alan shot a Kobold who rushed his table with such skill that its head just disintegrated. And Garth, wielding his sword with lethal intent for the first time in his life, sliced it through the aggressive Kobold, killing him where he stood. Longtooth knocked out the Kobold who had struck Reggie with the baseball bat, and as quickly as it had begun, the fight was over. One Kobold tried to escape, but Harg chased him down and defeated him easily.

In the aftermath, Longtooth introduced himself to the four who had intervened in the fight. Reggie was excited to meet a real live Kobold and wanted to know if it was clan dispute. He explained that they had simply been testing their strength with things like fights in the parking lot.

She nodded wisely. “Ah, many cultures do things like that. It makes sense that this is one of them. Maybe I can write a paper!”

Garth stared at her with wide, disbelieving eyes. “Many…cultures?”

Harg, meanwhile, had been going through the wallets of the fallen Kobolds. He found seven dollars and was very happy with that haul.

Longtooth said that he didn’t really have time to explain, but he needed them to leave and let them deal with the bodies, the police, and so on. He gave them all business cards with the name “Quarrel” and a phone number. On the front of each was the name of a used bookstore in a nice part of town, The Tattered Cover. “Quarrel will explain everything you need to know, but for now, you must leave.”

Outside, moving toward the parking lot, Reggie and Garth began to talk. He was all for just getting on the bus and going home, but she had to ask, “Well, aren’t you curious? I’m very curious. And if I were you, and didn’t know about any of this to begin with, I’d be even more curious. How can you know that something like this exists and not be curious?”

Garth felt a little sick. He had just a killed living thing. And though that thing apparently wasn’t a human, it still bothered him a great deal. With his eyes opened to the strangeness in the world, the glamours no longer worked on him. He was now aware that there was something odd about Harg’s teeth. And Reggie’s ears. Deeply unsettled as he was, his home and bed sounded more appealing than ever. “I should catch the bus and go home.”

“Well, I suppose you could do that,” Reggie said. “Or you could come with me. I’m going to The Tattered Cover right away. Now that you know that strange things exist in the world, will you really be able to rest until you know the truth?”

After a little more persuasion, Garth admitted that she was right. He agreed to ride with her in her tiny Smart car, though it was a rather cramped and uncomfortable experience. Especially since she insisted on listening to AC/DC with the tinny speakers cranked as high as they would go. Garth hated AC/DC.

The Tattered Cover was a nice store with many books, though the history and science sections were a tad thin, while the mythology and occult shelves were full to bursting. Quarrel worked among the stacks, a black human in an eccentric outfit that included an open robe and parachute pants. On his belt, he wore a few tools that Reggie recognized from her grandmother’s collection of arcane artifacts. She went directly to him and introduced herself, followed by the other three.

Speaking with a smooth Caribbean accent, Quarrel invited them all back to his office. He explained about the alternate dimensions, how there was a world next to theirs, to the left, that had no magic, and another world, to the right, that was full of magic, and this world was in the middle, with some magic and many doors. Garth and Alan didn’t know what to make of it, while Harg and Reggie simply nodded along, Reggie occasionally offering a clarifying fact like the annoying know-it-all she was.

The crux of it was that Quarrel was member of a group that called themselves The Magical Better Business Bureau (though they did laugh at their own name, of course). Members of the MBBB were citizens who had come from the other world and now were doing their best to make their lives in this one. While the knife-wielding Kobold, Krristu, and his clan were less civilized, Longtooth and those like him were good members of the community who had legal jobs and paid taxes. Unfortunately, they sometimes had problems that could not be solved by the usual routes. And so Quarrel kept his eyes open for those who might be willing to help.

Like them, the four soon learned. If they were willing, Quarrel might now and then have a mission for them to do. There would be pay, though not always in cash. Reggie was happy simply with the offer of unlimited access to the bookstore, which she had somehow never found before in all her searches for the strange and arcane. (“Well, we don’t exactly advertise,” Quarrel demurred.) Harg was all gung-ho as soon as he heard the word “pay.” Alan, as a concerned citizen, felt that he should learn more about these possibly dangerous illegal immigrants. And Garth, as Reggie had guessed, simply couldn’t contain his curiosity now that he knew such things existed.

It so happened that Quarrel knew of someone who needed their help right away.


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