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Old 01-16-2019, 06:46 PM   #101
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Default Re: Guns. Lots of Guns (Quickly and obviously not for any nefarious purpose)

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
Which means that there are people who have some professional experience of firearms and who live in Dallas who might be discreetly asked for advice.
Soooooo.... might any of those fellows owe Mr. Kessler a solid for some reason?
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Old 01-16-2019, 07:19 PM   #102
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Default Re: Guns. Lots of Guns (Quickly and obviously not for any nefarious purpose)

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Originally Posted by Apollonian View Post
Soooooo.... might any of those fellows owe Mr. Kessler a solid for some reason?
Unlikely. Kessler's influence is vast, especially in Texas (not to mention on many Caribbean islands), but the PSC personnel of Katari Security Inc. are mostly ethnic Bolivians or Peruvians who emigrated in the last ten years. Many of them are former law enforcement or military from back home and spent some time in Iraq at some point between 2005 to 2011, with Triple Canopy or another PMC, guarding embassies, various facilities or US contractors involved in nation building.

I expect that there were also some US-born citizens involved from the start, if only to found Katari Security as a corporation with US ownership that can offer foreign professionals jobs in order to make it easier to get Green Cards and start the process of citizenship. None of these have any obvious connections to Kessler or his people. I mean, it's not as if any group of US military veterans is particularly likely to know a random guy who served at the same time, let alone a random Academi, Blackwater, DynCorp or Triple Canopy security guard. There were a whole lot of Peruvians in Iraq and any one of them is unlikely to have met someone in Kessler's employ, let alone formed any kind of relationship.

Kessler does know someone in Dallas who'll chase down the limited information the PCs have so far on an 'import-export company, South Americans, but I didn't see any drugs', as well as a street name without a number and a vague description of the office building. If the cops hadn't arrived when they did, the PCs would have been able to get the name Eldorado, which would clinch it, but even without that, the PCs ought to get an address and whatever information a private detective gets on a records check at... well, about the same chance the team of 'foreign clients' land in Dallas, give or take a couple of hours.

That information will likely turn up the fact that Eldorado has an exclusive contract with a local PSC, Katari Security Inc., and a little more digging will reveal that Katari Security only has a few clients. Confirming that these few clients are closely linked might take days of digging through offshore bank records, but good Law (Corporate) or Accounting skill checks would immediately suggest that possibility by revealing the same style on paperwork for the different firms. I guess Administration, Criminology or Intelligence Analysis might also be useful for deducing that the paperwork might not reflect multiple parties, but simply an attempt to conceal one organizational entity as multiple unrelated companies. Most likely several of the companies would have lawyers and accountants of record with the same firms.

Unfortunately for the PCs, they have no plausible reason to know the name Leonard Carillo or to look through any records for sales of firearms. Nor would any records necessarily be available in time, as they'll only be bought around the time the Dallas-based investigator is checking out Eldorado Commodities. I very much doubt even a law enforcement agency could get such records that fast, if the gun store clerk even records the sale in real time into a database as he hands the weapons over, as opposed to filing the paperwork some hours or even days later, when he gets around to it.

Odds are that the visiting clients will receive their weapons, a brief of local conditions and then rent four cars to drive to the Galveston / Houston area, following the guy who arrived before dawn driving a box truck and led to this whole mess by telling a story about his employers being arrested by the Galveston PD and a couple of heavily armed Sheriff's deputies accompanied by a hobo with a gnarled staff.

Edit: If you were asking in general terms if Kessler had access to people in Dallas who might be persuaded to do something more proactive about Eldorado Commodities than sift through documents of offhore holdings, the answer is 'even if he did, there wouldn't be enough data to justify such action'. Even if Kessler finds out that they are smuggling illegal gold and have some sort of relationship with a warlock and sorceress involved in nasty-bad summoning spells, Kessler can't go around smiting (or having smitten) every criminal with dealings with the occult.

Granted, Kessler does plan to have his private investigator turn up enough to convince someone friendly at Dallas PD or another law enforcement agency with jurisdiction to take a look at anyone involved with the warlock calling himself 'Janus Eremus' and his associate, the Girl With the Kaleidoscope Eyes. But before any such thing can be found, the PCs will encounter a smooth, polished Latin fellow who wants to make Lucien Lacoste (the only one who could be quickly ID-ed) an offer he can't refuse.
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Old 01-17-2019, 02:45 AM   #103
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Default Re: Guns. Lots of Guns (Quickly and obviously not for any nefarious purpose)

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At the store level it will make cash buying slightly less suspicious, but is more likely to get noticed by the ATF on the background check. A bunch of sales to the same ID, as opposes to a single large one will likely look more suspicious. Have sufficiently good fake IDs, and, based on your other statements, a soon to be dead Leonard Carillo, making several small purchases may work better. Another thought, some people will stock pile arms now thinking that they will become illegal later. Stockpiling the same model for part swapping will make sense.
Yes, I believe that the executives acting as handlers for Mr. Carillo were more concerned about raising a red flag by having his name show up at multiple gun stores in one day than in one anomalous purchase that he would not be in a position to answer questions about.

They are at least hoping that the fact that Mr. Carillo neither has any police record nor any public connection to their firm, beyond having done business with them (as many others have) will insulate them. Ideally, they'd want Carillo's purchase to be regarded as unremarkable, as if the police do not recover the actual firearms, it is not necessarily a given that an unsolved shooting in Houston or Galveston should automatically be linked to Dallas.

Of course, if said 'shooting' actually is a firefight involving maybe ten people or so, then that will become an investigation so sprawling that probably all gun purchases within five hundred miles and at least the last month will be at least checked out briefly. But in the absence of any evidence linking the shooting to Dallas, let alone to Eldorado or to Mr. Carillo (who really has no connection beyond the existence of his debt to Eldorado), it may well be that many other transactions are much more suspicious and warrant more investigator hours. Or so the Eldorado executives are hoping.

If Carillo can contrive to die in a way that does not call for an extensive homicide investigation and will not cause anyone to suspect foul play, the odds of this go way up. Which is why a man who will ask the PCs to call him Raul will be calling in a marker to arrange for Carillo's exit, stage right, without undue fanfare. After all, Carillo is demonstrably depressed, in the process of separating from his wife, drinking heavily and has expressed suicidal thoughts to more than one acquaintance and friend.

It is strange that he should purchase many firearms before committing suicide (as all the evidence will show conclusively, no matter how much suspicion there is), rather than just the one gun he used, but without him around to answer questions, perhaps that mystery will never be solved.

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Firearms owners that stray into the "gun nut-survivalist-militia types" can be very odd about using credit cards or checks. IF the store has a large clientele of the right sub-type, they might not look twice if you paid in gold or silver bars. They are also more likely to be the "no questions asked type".
Well, Eldorado Commodities would very much prefer to pay in gold, as they always have a surplus they haven't been able to procure proper origin paperwork for yet and selling it to legitimate customers would therefore be complicated and might lead to questions.

Essentially, gold they've obtained entirely illegally, especially if this illegality involves connections to organisations likely to subject to federal forfeiture, RICO investigations and/or the freezing of accounts related to enforcement of FIAA or designation as a terrorist organisation or a DTO made the target of an international investigation, is worth far less to them than the market value of gold by weight, because selling it without leading to an investigation of their purchase methods and possible connections to the aforesaid criminal enterprises requires either forged paperwork or using straw sellers, more or less a variation of money laundering as it applies to gold as a currency.

But while paying in gold might save them money, one does wonder whether saving maybe 20-30% of the cost of the weapons is worth the extra scrutiny that paying in gold at a gun store would probably invite after the events are over and police start investigating. Of course, if none of the Eldorado executives who were awakened just before dawn and had to arrange for the purchase of the weapons that very morning had $30,000 in cash on them (or accessible immediately and without leaving a paper trail), they might have had no choice.

Eldorado Commodities absolutely does do illegal business in cash, sometimes, but presumably they avoid having more unreported cash around than they need for standard operations, as they are generally more concerned with not having anything around that might be used by police or financial regulatory authorities to open legal proceedings, if they should obtain a search warrant of the offices or homes of executives, than they are with street level criminal enterprises.

Basically, their partners in California are the ones who operate within criminal subcultures, compete with cartels and employ gang members. Eldorado merely buys gold and other commodities mined or otherwise obtained without the requisite paperwork and permits, mostly from various more-or-less criminal sources in Bolivia and Peru, and changes the origin of record so that it is easier to sell without running afoul of various financial regulations and anti money laundering agreements between nation states.

Some of the commodities they deal in, primarily shipments with all paperwork in order, come through Houston, from ports in Colombia and, until a few years ago, from Venezuela. Other shipments come through California and are transported by land to Phoenix, Arizona*, and Dallas, Texas. From there, they travel to buyers in the US, after any paperwork that is required is cleaned up.

Until now, the California partners' connection with Eldorado has been exclusively in the realm of providing security and logistics for shipments of gold and other commodities transported by ship from Peru or Chile and perhaps in some cases reported on cargo manifests in a discreet manner designed to avoid embarrassing anyone with public attention. For which they have been compensated by a share in such shipments and several companies registered in California, Chile or Peru have also received fiduciary considerations.

The California partners operate more classically as a franchise of the traditional criminal interests for the Andean partners which are the source for most of the gold and other commodities, but the executives at Eldorado deal only with those back in South America concerned with the financial side, not the operational one.

The clients coming in at noon to handle Eldorado's unforeseen problem are those who handle tough negotiations with distributors for personal entertainment consumables that come from the Andes, as well as disputes over business share with other interests in the same field, such as Mexican or Colombian firms. They also handle community outreach among immigrant communities from back home and the collection of entirely voluntary contributions for mutual support and security.

*Where Eldorado Commodities has a subsidiary office and warehouses.

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Originally Posted by adm View Post
Depends on how the nervousness comes across, make the right statements about liberal gun control at a store that caters to the above mention "gun nut-survivalist-militia types", and they may not tell the cops what they know even after a spree shooting.
Somewhat ironically, Leonard Carillo is a lifelong Democrat and has views on gun control and gun registration that are probably viewed as liberal by many Texans, though perhaps less so in large cities than in rural areas.*

On the other hand, he has rather higher Fast-Talk than he does Finance skill**, so he evidently was able to sell some variation of his cover story, even though his nervousness caused him to leave rather more clues, in the form of truth mixed with his lies, than the executives at Eldorado would prefer.

*Though he is most likely within the median range for the US as a whole.
**Along with the Overconfidence he has bought off (and exchanged for Debt, lower Wealth and a side of Chronic Depression and Guilt Complex), probably the source of some of his current problems. He's still Impulsive, evidenced by his spectacularly unwise decision to agree to this scheme.
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Old 01-17-2019, 12:42 PM   #104
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Default Re: [MH] Caribbean by Night

The point of using silver bars, like these https://www.apmex.com/product/72281/...ne-mintmark-si is that they are untraceable.
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Old 01-17-2019, 04:54 PM   #105
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Default Re: [MH] Caribbean by Night

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The point of using silver bars, like these https://www.apmex.com/product/72281/...ne-mintmark-si is that they are untraceable.
Does that remain true for large enough sums?

Anything that people can remember can be traced.

To take an example, gold is fungible and both Swiss and US firms are often accused of buying illegally mined gold, but that doesn't mean that exchanging 125 kg of gold for goods or services is not likely to be remarked and remembered.

And yes, the PCs were really offered 125 kg in tonight's session. Actually, one PC was offered that, 25 kg for the trivial service of returning some stones that he had no title or claim to and 100 kg in gold for his aid in seeing that a certain Gwen Delvano found her way to her friends, unharmed.

They haven't weighed Gwen, but guess that the offered price is perhaps a shade less than twice her weight in gold.
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Old 01-17-2019, 07:04 PM   #106
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Default Re: [MH] Caribbean by Night

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Does that remain true for large enough sums?
Depends on how "Sovereign Citizen"* the group is, just because they know something does not mean that they will tell ANYONE connected to a Government. Do not under estimate how opposed some of these groups are to Governmental Authority. I will note that roughly $35,000 in gold is less than a kilogram.

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Anything that people can remember can be traced.
Yes and no. Thirty seconds with a Dremel, and any serial number on the bar is gone. The subset of people who only want to trade in silver or gold will not care about that, and after it it is put in a safe with other bars, they lose individuality. Even if the shop owners are willing to play ball with law enforcement, without serial numbers, they can only point to the guy who gave them to him.





*https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sovere...tizen_movement
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Old 01-18-2019, 02:36 AM   #107
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Default Portentous Birth Dates

I told the players to pick birth dates for their characters with occult significance, something related to their particular character concepts. None have yet done so, probably because none of my players believe in astrology, numerology or any other -ogy which would allow them to know whether or not a particular date is auspicious, momentous, portentous or any other kind of -ous.

In case any forumite is familiar with such things, can they suggest birth dates that would be suitable for Alice Talbot (b. 1994), Edward Alvin Smith (b. 1957), Lucien Lacoste (b. 1980) and 'Nonc' Morel (b. 1949)?

Alice Talbot has twice been the attempted sacrifice for a demonic ritual and the other PCs are really wondering why an apparently mild-mannered, mousy assistant librarian and anthropology PhD student should be catnip for cults. While not actively ugly, she's definitely not the type they'd imagine was kidnapped for her sex appeal and they're currently working on the theory that she was born under some influence that matters to the cults.

Well, Lucien Lacoste has been proclaiming that it's probably because she's a virgin, as 'lesbian sex doesn't count', but Ms. Talbot, after refusing to answer questions about her sex life, becoming offended and being furiously uncomfortable, stated that 'it was 2018, she was 24 and that she had a boyfriend in college'. Further statements that her college life had been exciting and 'full of friends and lots and lots of sex and parties' were found to substantially weaken her position, as being manifest untruths, vide exhibit A, the person of Ms. Talbot.

Lacoste might have been born at some date related to spirits or the dead.

Edward Alvin Smith might have been born at some date with connotations for the veil between worlds and/or at a date connected to a legendary craftsman or a deity connected to smithing.

'Nonc' Morel is a druid, so... nature stuff. He's Cajun, lives in wet swampland and is particularly associated with the mangrove tree, fruit and gardening, as well as various herbs of mind-expanding properties.
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Old 01-18-2019, 03:57 AM   #108
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Default Re: [MH] Caribbean by Night

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Depends on how "Sovereign Citizen"* the group is, just because they know something does not mean that they will tell ANYONE connected to a Government. Do not under estimate how opposed some of these groups are to Governmental Authority. I will note that roughly $35,000 in gold is less than a kilogram.

*https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sovere...tizen_movement
Francois Morel St. Patin (PC), known to all and sundry as 'Nonc' Morel, is not a Sovereign Citizen, in so much that he knows well that their legal arguments are probably so much hogwash ('Nonc' Morel doesn't know much about the law, but he's a keen judge of hogwash).

He is, however, very sympathetic to their views as regards the unnecessary interference by government officials and 'revenooers' into the affairs of peaceful folk who keep to themselves and don't bother anyone.

Mr. St. Patin is so dedicated to his policy of mutual non-interference with the US Government that he has thoughtfully avoided appearing on any official document since the end of his military service. In the Vietnam War.

He lives in a shack on swamp land that probably belongs to him by inheritance, if it were valuable enough for anyone to have done any checking, and hasn't been reporting missing or anything, but as far as the federal government is concerned, they have no idea where he is and what he might be doing (and no interest in finding out). The local sheriff of his parish would know, if anyone asked, but he knows well enough that the St. Patins live out there and while odd, are decent people, with no more than the ordinary share of wild young 'uns and damn fools, and 'Nonc' Morel is a nice old fool, though crazy as a coot.

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Yes and no. Thirty seconds with a Dremel, and any serial number on the bar is gone. The subset of people who only want to trade in silver or gold will not care about that, and after it it is put in a safe with other bars, they lose individuality. Even if the shop owners are willing to play ball with law enforcement, without serial numbers, they can only point to the guy who gave them to him.
To be sure, but paying in precious metals would be a pretty good way to get police to look Eldorado Commodities Inc., the precious metals investment firm that Leonard Carillo had some business dealings with.

If he pays cash, it's suspicious, but it might be suspicious in connection to any of a dozen shady transactions in Mr. Carillo's past. Giving the police a clear indicator that precious metals were involved would be... sub-optimal from an operational security perspective.

Of course, under significant stress, with extremely tight time constraints and easier access to unregistered stores of gold than suitcases of cash*, it's entirely possible that an Eldorado Commodities executive might have made an error in judgment.

As for silver, I hadn't considered it, but obviously, that's something they might buy and sell as well. Their South American connections are mostly concentrated near the Andean Mountains, in Chile, Bolivia and Peru, and so far, I had only considered the illegal gold mining they had interests in, but it's not as if Eldorado Commodities would avoid buying silver, either.

Due to the lower price, compared to gold, however, I'm guessing that the dollar value of any reserves they have in gold is substantially greater than any hypothetical silver reserve. As in, they obviously have enough silver at hand to pay $35,000, but in gold, they have more than a hundred times that amount.

*They can get both and should, obviously, have an emergency store of cash. But gold that hasn't been creatively accounted for yet is an unavoidable side-effect of their day-to-day business and, so, probably the first untraceable currency they think of.
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Old 01-18-2019, 05:35 AM   #109
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Default Re: [MH] Caribbean by Night

The same places that sell AR-15s, MREs, and other survivalist gear, often sell precious metals as well. Survivalist groups that avoid "useless"* paper money*** move enough precious metals now that your purchase may not stand out, given your history of higher murder rates, and that people disappearing is more common, you will likely see more of this economy.



* The collapse IS COMING, all Franklins will be good for is toilet paper and starting fires!**

**Not my personal views.

***Plenty of these businesses are taking advantage of this situation to make all the paper money they can, either to buy even more stuff for their own compounds, or from simple cynicism, money spends regardless of where it comes from.
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Old 01-18-2019, 05:53 AM   #110
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Default Re: [MH] Caribbean by Night

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The same places that sell AR-15s, MREs, and other survivalist gear, often sell precious metals as well. Survivalist groups that avoid "useless"* paper money*** move enough precious metals now that your purchase may not stand out, given your history of higher murder rates, and that people disappearing is more common, you will likely see more of this economy.

* The collapse IS COMING, all Franklins will be good for is toilet paper and starting fires!**

**Not my personal views.

***Plenty of these businesses are taking advantage of this situation to make all the paper money they can, either to buy even more stuff for their own compounds, or from simple cynicism, money spends regardless of where it comes from.
Those are very good points.

Ok, I'm convinced, Mr. Carillo paid for his not-at-all-suspicious purchase of tactical weaponry for approximately a squad with 1 kg of gold. That leaves a healthy balance, of course, but we'll throw in a long-range rifle as well, ideally one in .50 BMG. Can't hurt, really.*

What is the preferred configuration for gold used as currency by survivalists and preppers?

*The PCs have noticed some people watching their yacht from slightly less than a mile away, concealed in a prepared hide in the Moody Gardens. They wouldn't have spotted them with the naked eye, but Lucien Lacoste got some news from friendy spirits. Unfortunately, the spirits can't tell him whether they are watching them through binocolars, long-range spotting scopes, a camera with an extended lens or.. well, a long-range rifle with a powerful scope. Simple spirits just said 'watching through a contraption' and aren't smart enough or knowledgeable enough about mortal technology to tell the difference.

There is also a group of men concealed in a warehouse closer to their yacht, apparently providing security for 'RŠul', the calm and collected man who stood around smoking some 300 yds from the Penemue until two PCs walked over and had a chat, in which RŠul offered the 125 kg of gold for the safe return of 'Gwen Delvano' and the 34 stones. As the PCs didn't give an answer and the deadline he gave is up, they are somewhat concerned about events in the material world for the duration of their Dream-Quest at the Mountains of Madness.
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