I know some people like group work, but sitting at any one of those open tables made it impossible to study.
I will tell you right now there are days where we get a total of jack and shit done.
Before we were in our office on the 3rd floor, most of the guys sat in one room and I was in another room with the other leads and PMs. And as I'm the one who 'oversees' the building at night, I'd be in that room alone. I was so much more productive. My productivity stats have taken a massive nosedive and I assure you it is entirely because I am right next to and facing my entire team.
It's impossible to focus.
Whoever convinced corporate America that open floor plans would increase productivity was insane.
And now we're off-topic, but yeah. It ties into it... I've had to fight past so much of my social awkwardness. My team accepts me and it was really hard at first. I mentioned it in the RL Things I Love. These guys are happy to see me and I'm happy to see them. We all get along great! But damn if we don't have terrible output some days.
Late add: to be a bit more topical, I'll note that I am not a late night player (EST and I tend to crash around midnight or so), but was up last night and bouncing off the walls a bit IRL due to too much caffeine during the day. I hadn't RPed since midnight though.
You could also consult with your local chapter of the NCJW to see if they might have any resources. They'd probably be especially keen if you had an interest in the Women of the Wall or feminism in Israel or the work of the Hand in Hand school.
Granny Favors: Protagonists happen upon a nice old lady while she was “gardening”. She was actually doing something nefarious and needs to get rid of the protagonists in a way that doesn’t lead back to her. So she sends them on a series of increasingly tasks, hoping they’ll die by misadventure.
Originally mage-y these could be edited for other splats:
Jennassa's Worm: This strange parasite is named for the first victim. An Arrow mage by the name of Jennassa. She was an Obrimos and a sentinel of the Consilium of Zurich. She was sent on assignment to investigate an anomaly in Bern. There were reports of people acting strangely and seeing strange creatures when they went into the Aare. There she found a strange create that had floated down the Aare. She found in the crate a bunch of robin's egg sized green rocks. She took them back to the Arrow's headquarters in Bern to try and run some tests on them. While she was experimenting one of them hatched into a medium-sized snake like creature. The creature then bite her and crawled inside of her body. From there it drove her paranoid and insane. She eventually killed herself, but not before killing a sleepwalker that was assisting her. The entire compound was sanitized by the Guardians after an outbreak of the worms caused three more deaths. You can't find anymore recorded incidents of Jennassa's Worms.
Black Motes: You also find a report of an incident where some spirits called the "black motes" were encountered. These motes had the ability to attach themselves to the Amygdala of a person, and force them into a constant state of panic and fear. Once attached to the victims the only way to cure it was said to be death. However, a Master of Mind found that she could alleviate the fear response. The motes were eventually killed via subjecting them to bright lights, and the affects faded with their death.
Azkhahics: Abyssal creatures that live in the dark places. These creatures are said to have dominion over fear. With one touch they can cause someone to die of fear alone. Their powers range from causing hallucinations, mass paranoia, and lifelong mental scaring. They can be banished by facing them with by exemplifying everything they are not. Courage, healthy mind, light, etc.
The Lurking Terrors: Lastly. There is a creature referred to as 'The Lurking Terror'. You can't find if it is Abyssal or Spiritual, but it seems likely to be Abyssal. The creature seems bound to the laws of terror (whatever those are). It has the ability to spread fear like a disease and cause people to hallucinate.
The Laws of Terror: As previously mentioned. The laws of terror are a modern-day notion- according to the Libertines. And a primordial things according to the Mystagoguges. However, you come across a bit of research that is tangentially connected to them. About how the Abyss is spawning new monsters off of what Humanity is bringing into the world. And that the Laws of Terror are connected to several new creatures.
Fear As A Disease: As I mentioned previously. You come across notes and studies. A libertine has published a small essay on fear as a disease. Detailing his experience with a group of sleepers. How one of them gets afraid of something, tells about that fear, and then the fear spreads among them. Becoming stronger and harder to combat. something that could cure Durandal's child in Deus Solum.
Anguish's Tear: This is a legendary artifact said to be able to breathe life into even dust, so long as the dust once held the spark of a soul. It dates back to bcc. It was said to have been kept in an area of the world that is now somewhere part of Africa. It was said to have been formed from the anguished cries of a Life Archmaster whose child was killed by an abyssal intruder. Unfortunately this legend has never been confirmed, and the only images you can find of Anguish's Tears are sketches that are at least a hundred years old. The last mysterium expedition that went looking for it never returned. The one before that about two hundred years ago only one party member came back- a Mastigos master of space, who teleported back to his home base -and he came back wrong. He had signs of abyssal taint and was raving about living shadows.
Dunvegan's Jewel: This legend appears starting about six hundred years ago. Rumors are that deep in the bowels of Castle Dunvegan in Scotland there is a necklace made of perfected gold and perfected diamonds, that while it is worn the wearer cannot die and is afflicted by no disease. You do manage to find what is supposedly a photograph of it, but it is blurry and the glare obnoxious. The quality is so poor you're not certain you would even be able to properly describe it for sympathetic connections.
Janessa's Herb: The last lead you find is an herb created by life/matter Archmage that is said to cure any disease, even those that cannot normally be cured by life magic. The herb only grows in the ruins of her workshop, deep underground in the antarctic. There is a map of the antarctic listed and a couple of places where the mysterium /thinks/ her lab is... but they are not certain. No one has ever gone and come back from Janessa's lab. People tend to disappear when they go to the suspected areas in the antarctic.
The following is a quick-start character creation guide for beginners making a normal human character, but everyone should read it. Humans with psychic abilities, Aliens, Timelords, Robots and Cyborgs all have Special Traits, which are covered in the sections below this one.
Making a normal human character should take you less than five minutes, provided you have an idea for a normal human you'd like to play. Here's everything you need to do once you've created a character bit at the login screen:
First you need a background, and by background all we mean is a very brief bit on who your character is. Seriously, a good sentence is fine for human characters. You can write more later if you want, fleshing things out for yourself or others, but to get approved short and simple is best. We really don't want to read screens of text. See +help background for details on setting longer backgrounds. After the command is covered, we'll give an example using a made-up character named Alice.
Alice is going to be a college student and gamer who spends far too much time going down rabbit holes on the internet. Her player types +bg 1=Alice is a college student and gamer who spends far too much time going down rabbit holes on the internet. She's 20, lives in the dorms, and has a roommate. Yes. That's really all you need!
+race <race> - Your character's race. Human, Timelord, Robot, and Alien are the choices.
Alice is a regular old human, so she types +race Human
We do not use stats, but to help staff and others (especially people running stories!) get a quick idea of your character we have you set a few traits that describe them. These are one-word or short phrase descriptors, good and bad. You only need one good and bad for each, but feel free to use more! You set them with the commands below.
+phy <physical traits> - Everything physical about your character. Examples might be Strong, Athletic, or Ugly.
Alice is your average geek girl, so her player types: +phy Cute, Clumsy, Nimble-Fingers
+men <mental traits> - Everything mental about your character. Examples might be Observant, Knowledgeable, or Bad Memory.
Alice is good in school, has a great memory, but a short attention span, so her player types: +men Smart, Photographic Memory, Easily Distracted
+soc <social traits> - Everything social about your character. Examples might be Outgoing, Confident, or Arrogant
Alice is awkward and quiet, but really loosens up when she knows a person. She's also a good listener, so her player types: +soc Shy, Excitable, Empathetic
If Alice had, say, psychic abilities, or unusual abilities or powers as an Alien or something, she'd use +spe <special traits>, but we're making a normal human, so she leaves that part blank. Maybe Alice will develop some over the course play!
To check your traits, simply type +traits. You can also see what other players have put by typing +traits <name>.
The only other thing you need is a description. That's it! When you've finished, page any connected/active staffer listed as a Casting Director, or @mail 13 to let her know you'd like to be approved.
You'll notice this never covered things like money, skills, natural talents and the like, other than the brief mention in Alice's background that she's in college, is a gamer, and has read a bunch of random internet sites. That's really all we need. Mention if you're a soldier, a musician, a professor, a nurse, etc., but you don't really need to tell us everything your character knows or can do. Likewise tell us if they're wealthy - Alice was a college student, so she's clearly not! - and if they have anyone close to them like Alice's roommate who might notice if they randomly disappear and reappear from time travelling. Again, we don't need your entire family history or your live-in boyfriend's favorite color, just the broad strokes.
Do note, on Rhost, changing the timeout only applies when the individual characters next connect -- the timeout is set on the connection itself so updating it doesn't update that value. This has confused the hell out of me in the past.