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Saturday, 13th May, 2006, 02:11 AM #61
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
The next day, the Korranberg Chronicle's front-page article is about the Angels' expedition to Xen'drik. It goes into a fair amount of detail about the claims made at the presentation in Morgrave University, including the group's battles with the dragon and the daelkyr, as well as the destruction of the island. There is also a smaller linked article regarding the group's fight with the Children of Winter, the addition of Korm'akhan, his claim about helping dealing with the epidemic and its cause, and the corroboration from Cedric Galan. There is a passing mention of the Angels being taken to the Menthis Watch building by members of the Blackened Book, and says they are supposedly helping the Watch with some investigation. The article ends with a promise to keep the public posted about the Angels' future activities.
The Angels discuss the article while looking at the rest of the newspaper. They read about a sorcerous battle between a Riedran and an unknown spellcaster in the Lhazaar principalities in Regalport. There is another one about the supposed entrance by a dread beholder, reputedly from the Demon Wastes, and its minions into the Whisper Woods in Aundair, which presumably has something to do with the magical Whisper Rock. There is also one about a failed attempt by a band of Aereni elves to steal a Xen'drik artifact from Rekkenmark Academy in Karrnath. Rumor says that they were members of the Aereni Deathguard and the artifact - now moved to the Royal vaults in Korth - was stolen from Aerenal itself. The KC also includes an announcement by House Lyrandar of major plans to increase their fleet, followed by comments from some of the other Houses that the plans are not feasible and are badly designed.
As for Sharn news, the KC mentions the impending Skysedge gala, a big social party that is to occur at Skysedge Park on 25 Barrakas. There is also a short reference to a cultural exhibition of shifter artifacts at Morgrave University. The exhibition title, "Artifacts of a Primitive Culture", draws a disgusted snort from Luna.
In the early evening, Luna heads down to the Citadel in bird shape to await Ras. He emerges in his normal form and then wanders into a nearby shop, where he slips behind a set of shelves and emerges in the scarred human shape he seems to commonly wear. Ras then walks down to the tavern district of Olladra's Kitchen, where he enters a small restaurant called Ellfate's Eatery and settles down to an early dinner.
Luna changes into a dog and slips in the restaurant. Once inside, she hears Ras talking to a few people who look like merchants. The others refer to him as Tars and seem to be blustering about wanting the monarchy to be overthrown and replaced by a consortium of merchant princes. Unfortunately, she is very quickly shooed out of the restaurant and cannot hear any more.
Ras has a leisurely meal and then heads across to the Dragoneyes district and the casino Chance. The rest of the Angels have already made it there by the time he arrives. On the way, they find that Dragoneyes is a red light district, full of establishments and people catering to the more carnal of pleasures. The eastern section is louder and rougher, catering to teamsters and Cog workers, whereas the western part is clearly designed with the more wealthy in mind, providing more sophisticated pleasures.
Chance is such an establishment, an evidently very popular casino, both larger and better appointed than the Lucky Nines. Besides the regular gaming tables, a large section is devoted to covering sporting events around the city. Ras, when he enters, heads straight for the former. Luna enters a little later, to inform the others about what she saw. Once she has arrived, the adventurers split up into two smaller groups, so that they can keep an eye on Ras more easily and less obviously.
While moving around, they learn a little more about Chance from the people around them. The casino takes its name from the eponymous owner, a changeling who is well known for never wearing the same appearance two days in a row. He - or she - is only recognizable by a distinctive amulet that he wears, which bears the symbol of the Traveler. When hearing about this, the reference to the Traveler reminds Nameless of their erstwhile foe Desro and he asks some people whether they ever saw someone fitting his description. A couple of people do mention seeing such a man at Chance about a month ago, which would place it during the time the Angels were in Xen'drik. Nobody mentions seeing him any time recently.
The Angels also hear that one of the well-known, but less overtly advertised, specialities of Chance is the casino's willingness to arrange and cover a bet on literally anything, including unusual things like an adventurer's chance of seducing the Valenar ambassador in 24 hours or a fugitive's chances of evading a Tharashk inquisitive for a week.
While picking up these bits of information, the Angels keep a careful eye on Ras. He is chatting with people he knows as much as actually gambling, and has clearly been here often. He is also using the same name as at Ellfate's, since people refer to him as Tars.
Interestingly, the bearded, blue-eyed man is here too, already present in the casino before Ras arrives. He ends up gambling at the same table right next to Ras, but never actually talking to him. With neither doing anything suspicious, Nameless gets the idea that they might be communicating in some way through their bets. He spends some time studying the numbers and amounts they bet, trying to see a pattern. What he quickly discovers is that they are placing bets that, though seemingly different, are such as to ensure that the amount one bets is regularly the amount the other one wins. And the chips one gets are often placed close enough to the others that they are being exchanged in the shuffle.
The bearded man cashes in and leaves half an hour after Ras enters, with Luna heading out after him a few seconds later. When she enters the foyer, she almost bumps into him as he returns to the main floor area, patting his pockets as if he lost something. Not wanting to get his attention, she continues past him and into the street outside, where she heads down an alley and changes form into an eagle and flies to a shadowy perch. The others see the man re-enter the floor area, look around and then exit again. Once he emerges into the street, Luna follows him again.
Ras continues to gamble for half and hour before leaving too, followed at a distance by the Angels. He walks up to Middle Tavickĺs and the Deathsgate district, stopping at a tavern called Redbladeĺs. The place probably caters to adventurers, considering the number of well-armed individuals drinking within, none of whom have any Watch or military uniforms on. Six uses his hat of disguise and enters too, getting an ale and settling down in a corner.
He sees that Ras is talking across the counter to a middle-aged half-orc, who bears a very impressive collection of scars and some impressive muscles, though he is running a little to fat. Ras, still being called Tars, refers to the other as Rraac and seems to know him quite well. Rraac is presumably the owner, since he makes no motion to serve anyone, letting the other two bartenders handle the work.
The tavern is too busy and loud for Six to work out the details of what Ras is saying, but he gathers that Rraac and he are simply exchanging gossip and pleasantries. Six times it to get out of the door a short while before Ras and has rejoined the others when he emerges. They follow Ras to a skycoach dock and back to Ambassador Towers. There, he goes straight back to the Citadel, only ducking into some shadows on the way to switch to half-orc form.
After seeing him head in, the Angels head up to Carosten Park, where they find Luna waiting for them. She says that it was a very similar experience to last time's. The bearded man proceeded into the eastern section of Dragoneyes, with Luna shadowing him. He ignored propositions from a few of the prostitutes and once again slipped into a dark and empty alley. This time, Luna didn't wait but followed quickly, but by the time she was inside the alley, he was gone again.
This time, she says, she's quite sure he did not enter any buildings. She also used a detect magic at the spot and picked up no lingering magic. Nameless points out that if he used minor enough magic, the auras would only linger for a few seconds. What that means, he theorizes, is that either the person hid himself from Luna using mundane methods or used magic to conceal himself and move away, though evidently without using teleportation magic like a dimension door, since that would leave an aura that would linger for a few minutes. Luna is quite positive that she would have detected the man if he was just hiding, especially since she would have smelt him out.
The Angels discuss a couple of the things they discovered and then split up as usual. Nameless and Six travel back to Deathsgate and head toward Trillia's. People still surround them even though it is after 9 pm, the area's nature as an adventurer's district tending to create later and more traffic than in some other sections of Sharn.
As they are walking across a skybridge and talking about the day's experiences, Six sees a blur of motion as the person walking behind Nameless (a nondescript-looking human) swings a fist at the back of his head. With a startled cry, he shoves Nameless sideways, causing the unexpected blow to miss*.
Even as Nameless whirls around and Six grabs at his spiked chain, more attackers appear from the crowd nearby. A tall mustachioed man in banded mail armor hurls a tanglefoot bag at Six at point-blank range, but the adroit warforged spins away**. A stout dwarven woman with a series of braids in her beard hurls a similar bag at Nameless, which hits his chest and explodes into a mass of sticky goo, hampering his movements.
As the crowd around them shouts in panic and runs, a fourth assailant is revealed. This one, a slender man wearing a chain shirt, doesn't actually move to attack but simply yells a series of commands to the others. "Bracket them! Focus on the mage! Don't let him cast a spell!"
Unfortunately for Nameless and Six, the three other attackers follow the instructions to the letter. Even as Nameless tries to both dodge away and cast a spell, with the sticky goo making it difficult to move fluidly, the first attacker strikes again. He smashes a balled fist into the alienist's side, causing Nameless to see stars and momentarily be unable to act. The armored man, having quickly produced a two-handed flail, smashes the spiked ball into Nameless' head, sending him to his knees in agony. The dwarf steps in, putting all her strength behind a punch with the spiked gauntlet on her right hand***. It smashes into Nameless' jaw, knocking him down and out.
Even as he collapses, the apparent leader yells, "Careful - we're not supposed to kill them!" Turning towards Six he casts a spell, causing a layer of grease to coat the spiked chain. Six manages to hold onto it and manages to roll out of his position between the assailants, but he slips on the goo that still coats the ground**** and takes a nasty punch from the dwarf.
Recovering his balance, Six lashes out at the armored man and trips him, but the target rolls away from the follow-up blow*****. That momentary success is the last for him, as the other two rush him, the dwarf focusing on roundhouse swings while her companion, an unarmored human, unleashes a series of punches and kicks at the warforged. The armored man quickly climbs back to his feet and wades in too.
Even as Six wards of the first couple of blows and takes a hit or two, the leader casts another spell. This one attacks Six's mind and he feels a wave of unusual mirth overtake him******. Laughing maniacally, he collapses to the ground and is promptly beaten into unconsciousness.
A little later, Nameless opens his eyes to see a few concerned faces looking down at him, one of which he recognizes as Glauster, Trillia's steward. "Master Nameless," he says worriedly - and inanely, "Are you all right?"
"Do I look all right?" growls Nameless weakly, feeling the blood running down his face. As they move him to an upright position, he sees a recumbent Six a few steps away. Glauster keeps speaking - "I was returning home when I heard a commotion. I came over to see what happened and saw you and Six and some people run off. The Watch should be coming soon and ..."
A gesture from Nameless cuts him off. "Get me to Six," he says, and the men holding him up gingerly do so. Despite the pain in his head, Nameless manages to cast a spell to repair Six's wounds. The big warforged opens his eyes and then sits up with a muffled groan.
As Six levers himself to his feet, Nameless reaches around to his bag of holding for a potion, only to find it missing. With all of its contents. Including the Key.
"Six?" he says, drawing the warforged's attention, who has already discovered that his own handy haversack is missing too. Nameless simply says, "They stole my bag. With everything in it."
* Also known as a 2 on the attack roll
** Another 2! Both 2's were rolled by Gareth's player, who was evidently on his allies' side.
*** This is when I got to say, "She's 4th lvl, so she only has a +18 to hit right now!" Pity I didn't have a camera for some of the expressions on the players' faces.
**** Natural 1 on the tumble check
***** Natural 1 on the attack
****** Another natural 1. Six would have gone down soon enough, but he made it really easy by rolling five 1's in six rolls, including 4 in a row! I've never seen that happen before.
Saturday, 13th May, 2006, 02:13 AM #62
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
The pair are interrupted by a couple of Watch guards who hurry up. They quickly explain that they hear the commotion and hurried over. Some people pointed out the direction the attackers went but they couldn't find them. They begin to question the two adventurers, asking if they know the attackers, if they live in the area, if they are members of the Deathsgate Adventurers Guild, etc.
Nameless, now slightly past the verge of collapse due to having drunk a healing potion, quickly explains that they do not know the assailants but they were clearly very skilled . He adds that they will visit the Watch house to make a report when they feel up to it. Now that it is clear that nobody was killed, the watchmen seem to have no problems with letting the pair leave and settle for asking the gathered crowd some questions.
As the pair head away with Glauster, he hands Six back his hat of disguise, saying, "Some of the folks who saw the fight said that as soon as you two went down those people grabbed your packs and ran. One took this hat but then dropped it as they fled."
"Why would they leave it?" wonders Six aloud, as he puts it back on. The question is answered immediately as he feels something inside and removes it to extract a folded piece of paper stuck inside.
Unrolling it, he silently reads the message - 'Don't try to protect Tars. You can't.' He shows the note to Nameless, who carefully rolls it up and places it in a pocket for later consideration.
Once they are back at Trillia's, Nameless asks her to use a sending to inform Luna what has happened and ask her and Korm to come here, as well as sending someone for Gareth . Trillia, who is both surprised and worried about the attack, promptly does so. The reply from Luna says that she will fetch Gareth herself, while Korm goes directly to Trillia's.
Once Korm arrives, about fifteen minutes later, the three adventurers and Trillia discuss what is to be done. Six points out that it is nearly five hours since the Key was outside the bag and that they may be in trouble if six hours passes. Korm says that perhaps the attackers will open the bag and remove it, and if they do so even temporarily, it will "re-set" their six-hour time limit.
They also discuss the possible identity of the attackers, primarily wondering whether they are involved with Arrok's murder or with the Angels's current job for the Citadel. Without giving Trillia any other details, Nameless tells her that Tars is someone associated with the case. Korm says that maybe they were just trying to scare them off the case and the stealing of the items was an unfortunate coincidence. Nameless says that it's a fairly big coincidence. And coincidence or not, they need to get the Key back before anyone else realizes that it's gone.
Luna and Gareth arrive about an hour after Trillia's sending, along with Cedric Galan, whom Gareth has invited along. Cedric greets the others, having met them for the first time since they returned to Sharn, and Korm'akhan, whom he hasn't seen since shortly after their battle with the Children of Winter in the Cogs, and says that he'll be glad to help in any way.
After some discussion, they decide that Korm should head to the Citadel and get in touch with Talleon, letting him know about the attack and the note, and ask if he has any idea who the attackers might be. Six, who has been making sketches of the attackers, provides him with one. The others are heading to Clifftop to check with the Adventurers Guild there if they recognize any of the attackers and also to check with the Augury to see if any magical tracking can be done. Trillia, though able to cast scrying, has not prepared it this day and says she'll have one the next morning. She remains behind at her home, in case the Watch stop by or any other information is discovered.
Korm sprouts his wings and flies off towards the Citadel, while the rest head to Clifftop. There, Luna heads to the Adventurers Guild with another sketch from Six, while the remaining four go to the Augury. There they argue with a sleepy receptionist until he agrees to call Kestia. She emerges a little later to say that she hopes it is worth disturbing her at close to midnight. Nameless quickly explains that they were attacked and had a number of items stolen, and need her to scry on the thieves.
"So why does this have to be done immediately?" asks Kestia.
"Remember the tattoo that I showed you? All of us have one. One of the items stolen is linked to it and if we do not recover it soon, let's just say bad things will happen to us."
"Hmm. Is there anything you can tell me about the thieves besides a description?"
Nameless grins and produces the note. "Will this help?"
"Definitely. Now make yourselves comfortable. This will take a little over an hour."
Kestia leaves to prepare herself and the adventurers make themselves as comfortable as can be. Cedric, who has been listening with interest to Nameless' discussion with Kestia, asks Gareth, "What's this thing about the tattoo and this item? You never told me about it when you spoke about the trip."
"Oh," says Gareth, before going on to provide a few details about it, though he says as little about the Key as possible. "If it makes you feel a little better," he concludes, "I haven't even told the Archierophant about it."
Cedric chuckles and says, "You know, that does make me feel a little better."
A little while later, Luna walks in to say that she spoke to a few people at the Clifftop Guild. One of them recognized the dwarf and the martial artist and said that he thinks they're new members of the Deathsgate Guild. They'd started a brawl with a few members of the Clifftop Guild, as "those bastards at Deathsgate" have been known to do every once in a while.
Korm also arrives, nearly an hour later, with less positive information. He says that he made the mistake of flying directly up to the huge balcony at the Citadel, where he was almost shot by a couple of ballistae before he managed to identify himself. It took a long while before he was eventually able to meet Talleon, who apparently wasn't that pleased about the late-night (and ostentatious) visit.
Talleon did, however, say that he's pleased to get the information. Though he wasn't about to mobilize Citadel resources because of an attack on the Angels, he'd consider providing them some help if it turned out to be absolutely necessary. For the time being, he suggests simply trying to track down the attackers and finding out who hired them. He'll contact the group soon and check what they discovered.
Kestia makes another appearance some time after Korm arrives, to say that she has been successful in scrying the attackers and was undetected in doing so. She found the slim human and the one in banded mail sitting at a table with a number of items, presumably including the stolen ones strewn across it. From the surroundings and what they were speaking of, Kestia presumes that it was a derelict building or abandoned warehouse in Lower Dura. Among the interesting things that they spoke of was a plan to leave Sharn as soon as they have the rest of the money ("and screw the Deathsgate Guild", one said), which they are apparently to receive at a place called Redblade's. There was on reference to who had hired them, but the slimmer man did say that the others had come too close to killing the targets and also comments that they were "bloody easy to take."
"I'll show them bloody easy next time," says Nameless grimly, before thanking Kestia.
He hands over another 500 galifars to go with the original amount he had given Kestia and says that he'll provide more when needed. Kestia thanks Nameless and says that she'll contact him when she has something more on what he already asked her.
The group then heads back to Deathsgate and Trillia's home, discussing what they are to do next. Along the way, they stop near Redblade's and find that it is closed. Six changes form into that of a drunken human and goes and bashes on the door, yelling, "Open up!"
After some time, a light appears at a window above him and the same half-orc he saw before sticks his head out. "Dagger take you!" he shouts angrily, "It's the middle of the night!"
"So?" slurs Six, "When you open?!"
"At six in the morning. Now get away from here, you bum!"
Six stumbles away to rejoin the others. They then head back to Trillia's, who they find having a nap. After they tell her what they discovered, she suggests that she could visit the Deathsgate Guild and check on the people who attacked them. Cedric looks up from a bottle that he has somehow managed to locate during their traveling and suggests that he do so instead.
"Good idea," says Nameless. "You'll probably be better at that. The path of the alienist tends not to make us people persons."
"Hey!" says Trillia, sounding indignant but smiling. "That's true, but still - hey!"
Cedric laughs and takes his leave. He returns half an hour later to say that he did manage to find something about the attackers. The slim human is called Jayson and his companions are Selgo (man in banded mail), Phiros (martial artist) and Orda (dwarven priestess). They are a group of adventurers from northern Breland who recently came to Sharn and joined the Deathsgate Guild. They have also recently been expelled from the Guild because of fighting other members.
Cedric comments, "From what I've heard of the Deathsgate Guild, you have to do some serious to get chucked out. But, on the bright side, nobody's going to care if you end up fighting and killing these guys."
"Oh, no," says Nameless with deadly seriousness, "We're definitely not killing them. If you kill somebody, it makes the pain stop."
Saturday, 13th May, 2006, 02:16 AM #63
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
That gets things to the way they were before the boards crashed. We've had one session since, so I'll start posting a section every two-three days, as I had been doing.
Sunday, 14th May, 2006, 01:34 AM #64
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
With a number of hours to go before the tavern opens, the Angels decide to get a good night's sleep, or rather a partial night's sleep, considering that it is already about 2 am. Before they do so, Nameless asks Six to return to Redblade and pick a place near the tavern from which he can keep an eye on it. Nameless also asks Cedric if he's willing to give Six some company, so that he's not out there alone.
"Oh, great!" says Cedric with a grimace. "So you lazy buggers settle down here while I'm up all night?" Before Nameless can respond, he quickly adds, "Yeah, yeah, I'm just kidding - I'll go along. I'll need to grab my forty winks there too, but at least I'll be there if somebody tries to jump us."
After Six and Cedric depart, Trillia finds everyone a place to sleep. Though some quarters are quite cramped, with all of their exertions and traveling of the previous day, the adventurers are soon asleep.
Their sleep is interrupted after only three hours, when they all come awake, with their tattoos warm and throbbing and a strong sense that they should get close to the Key. Evidently the muggers must have replaced the Key in an extradimensional space six hours ago. Luckily, the sensation of desire for the Key's presence fades in half a minute. Each of the Angels also feels an internal certainty that it is because they are seeking to recover the Key that there are no untoward effects of their separation from it. The throbbing fades along with the desire, but the tattoos remain warm, though not uncomfortably so.
With no options at this point, the adventurers go back to sleep. This one, however, is just as short-lived, since they are woken an hour later by Trillia. She tells them that Dala is waiting to meet them.
The group quickly convenes in Trillia's sitting room. Dala, having had no knowledge of the Key's loss, had been woken an hour earlier by the throbbing sensation. Wondering what was going on, she headed to Trillia's to meet the Angels. They explain what has happened, which understandably worries her a lot.
"Do you think this attack has something to do with Arrok's murder?" she asks.
"No," says Nameless. "While these ones were efficient, they weren't anywhere near as powerful as the person who killed him is supposed to have been. And we've got some information - which I can't share right now - that indicates it has more to do with one of our other jobs. I can tell you that we had Kestia, from the Augury, scry on the attackers and they said something about being hired to do this. We're hoping to catch them where their payoff is supposed to occur."
As the conversation continues, a slightly tired-looking Cedric returns to say that the tavern has just opened. A couple of people already went in, but they seem to be part of the staff there. The adventurers immediately move out, leaving Dala with Trillia.
They find Six in a reasonably concealed position from which he can keep an eye on both the tavern and the skybridge (which is the only entrance and exit) leading to it. Shortly after they arrive, a couple of armed and armored people head into the tavern, presumably members of the Deathsgate guild that the tavern is supposed to cater to.
Nameless suggests that Six and Cedric enter the tavern separately and grab seats in there, so they can keep a closer eye on the clientele. The two of them do so, taking seats on opposite sides of the door.
Over the next hour and a bit, a dozen or so more people enter the tavern, a much higher number than one would expect at most taverns this early in the day. Most seem to be adventurers, from the amount of weapons and armor carried. Most are also clearly regular customers, from the way they greet the eponymous half-orc proprietor Redblade. A few of them are taken into the back rooms of the tavern for fifteen minutes or so at a time.
Around 8 o'clock, Nameless notices something unusual about a pair of people who are just stepping onto the skybridge. While he examines them carefully, as he has everyone heading into the tavern, Nameless notices tiny and telltale flickers, which indicate that they are wearing some form of magical disguise.
Not wanting to risk being heard casting a spell, Nameless elbows Gareth in the ribs and hisses, "Detect evil on this end of the skybridge. Quick!" A startled Gareth does so, almost immediately saying, "I do detect evil in the area." After a few more seconds of concentration, he adds, "There are a couple of lingering auras." Then he adds, pointing at a rotund merchant setting up a street stall, "And that guy's faintly evil."
Nameless throws another look at the two people who are halfway down the skybridge and says, "That's enough for me." He motions the others to follow and, as they go, explains what he saw. Stopping at a relatively secluded area, he casts a couple of preparatory spells, as do the others. That being done, the group turns and heads back to the skybridge and across it into the tavern.
As they enter, Nameless sees the two men who caught his attention sitting at a table against the wall. One looks up at the entrance of the Angels, and without a word of warning, Nameless casts a dispel magic, targeting it on the man whose magical disguise he had detected.
Not only does Nameless ' action take his target and his allies off-guard, but it surprises the dozen or so armed people in the room. Cries of "Hey!" and "What the hell?!" ring out, and hands drop to weapons or dart towards spell component pouches as Nameless incantates his spell.
Before anyone can interfere, the magic takes effect, stripping away the target's disguise and revealing him to be the nondescript-looking martial artist who had begun the attack the previous night. Evidently some of the people in the room recognize him, since a couple of cries of "Phiros?" also ring out.
Quickly realizing what the reaction from the room might be, Nameless promptly shouts, "So you were screwing with the Deathsgate Guild, eh?"
The man sitting across from Phiros comes quickly to his feet, pulling out a scroll he was apparently holding under the table. "Get them!" he shouts, "The bastards are from the Clifftop guild!" As he speaks he steps back to the wall, and then he raises the scroll and shouts a string of arcane syllables.
Luna, who's already in the middle of a spell, feels a mental tug but ignores it, as do the rest of her companions. Other than Six, who leaps to his feet and begins to babble and sway back and forth.
Gareth quickly raises a hand and shouts to the room in general, "Do not worry! We're only here to apprehend those criminals!" Cedric, who has smoothly kicked back his chair and risen to his feet, longsword sliding into one hand (the other being busy keeping his drink from spilling), adds his voice.
Their attempts at diplomacy are quickly drowned out as Luna completes her spell. To the horror of her allies and the evident alarm of the customers, a column of fire blasts down on Phiros and his ally as Luna uses a flame strike as persuasion. Phiros adroitly leaps out of the way, but his companion only has time to scream once before he collapses in a smoking heap.
Nameless' aggrieved, "Son of a bitch! Luna - I want to take them alive!" is drowned out by Redblade's even more aggrieved growl, "The bastards are burning my place! Get them!"
Immediately, a number of the Deathsgate members leap into action, a couple sending arrows flying at the Angels, while others charge them with weapons drawn. One near the rear of the room clasps a holy symbol and brings down a sound burst that momentarily rocks Luna, Korm and Nameless with concussive force.
The adventurers keep their composure and do not respond in kind, trying to persuade the customers and the irate Redblade that they mean no harm to anyone other than the two muggers. Nameless, ignoring a halfling that has just caught him a wicked blow to the knee, pulls out a bag of money and yells, "I'll pay for the damage," while Korm settles for drawing his sword and threatening, "Don't force me to kick all of your asses!"
Gareth, meanwhile, rushes up to Phiros and smashes the flat of Kizmet's blade against his head. Phiros staggers backwards and uses his momentum to tumble backwards and out of the nearest open window. The sight provides a bit of a distraction and aids in the cessation of hostilities, as does Luna's response of rushing out the door, transforming into an eagle and diving off the skybridge. The confused Six unintentionally helps as well, suddenly swinging wildly and catching an unprepared Korm a crack on the side of his head.
As the big orc yells and steps backwards, Nameless shouts again, "He's confused. Let me dispel the enchantment. I promise we mean you no harm."
Redblade, who's just produced a large studded wooden club from behind the bar, growls, "HE'S confused?!" Then he looks around and says, "Okay, guys, hold on for a moment. Don't kill them - yet!"
There are a few grumbles of discontent, but the Deathsgate members do comply, though they all keep a very careful eye on the Angels. Nameless quickly dispels Six's confusion and then, with help from Cedric and Gareth, explains that they had been mugged (some of the clientele say they'd heard of a mugging in the area) and were just trying to apprehend the attackers.
Luna, meanwhile, quickly finds Phiros a few hundred feet beneath her and dropping. She folds her wings and dives like a stone after him. Her unfortunate target, not having noticed her, activates a brooch of feather fall and begins to float down to a skybridge below him. He has barely landed when a feathered bolt alights on his head with claws extended, sending him to the ground in an unconscious and bleeding heap.
The surprised witnesses stare aghast as the eagle claws and pecks the unconscious man a little more to ensure that he stays down and then turns into a shifter. Luna looks around, waves nonchalantly and announces loudly, "Don't be scared. I am one of the Angels. We're cleaning up Sharn!" She then turns into a bat the size of a horse, seizes the unconscious man and flies upwards carrying him, leaving a crowd of onlookers animatedly discussing the event.
Up at Redblade's, her companions have bound their prisoner (who turns out to be Jayson, supposedly the leader of the four muggers) and his wounds, divested him of equipment (which included Six's handy haversack but not any of Nameless' equipment or the Key), explained the situation a couple more times, and Nameless has handed over fifty galifars for damage to the tavern and bought the room a round (which makes them - and Cedric - very happy).
That's when someone near the window says, "I think your friend's back. Or Phiros got mugged by a giant bat."
With Luna's return, the Angels and Cedric take a hurried leave. Before they go, Redblade tells them, "Thanks for the money. And here's some advice - if you ever come into my tavern again, you'll be leaving feet first. Now get out."
Once back at Trillia's, the Angels find Surr'kal waiting for them as well. Having only heard (when Korm and Luna left him the previous night) that the Key was lost, he had shown up to find out what the situation was. Nameless explains that though the two prisoners don't have the Key on them, they should have some information soon enough.
The Angels head down to a secure room in Trillia's basement with the two bound prisoners. There, Nameless says, "Let's question them one at a time. Leave Phiros tied up. And somebody nail Jayson to something heavy."
Korm asks puzzledly, "Nail?"
Nameless grins mirthlessly and says, "Yeah. His hands."
Cedric says calmly but firmly, "I know you're upset about being mugged and the stuff you lost, but there's no need for that." Gareth quickly adds, "We aren't torturing these people. Period."
Nameless argues, "This isn't torture," but, after one look at their expressions, gives up. "Fine. Then hold on for a moment." He summons a pseudonatural large spider, which is about the size of a cow, and orders it to perch above Jayson and assume its alternate form. The creature does so, turning into a disgusting mass of writhing tentacles.
The Angels then revive Jayson, who promptly screams and apparently wets himself at the sight perched a foot above his face. Once he has calmed down and is certain that he's not about to be killed immediately, the questioning commences. Unsurprisingly, considering the circumstances, Jayson is very eager to share as much as he possibly can with them, only asking in return that he not be killed. Nameless grimly says, "No, you will not be killed."
Jayson reveals that he and his three companions had been thrown out of the Deathsgate guild and were trying to make some money before leaving Sharn. They were at Redblade's two days ago when a half-elf offered them a job. Though none of them knew him, he apparently knew them and their circumstances, since he approached them. They were told that they would get a confirmation on the night of the 16th, which they did, less than an hour before the actual mugging.
As for the targets, they were told that these were a pair of adventurers belonging to the Clifftop guild. They were explicitly not supposed to kill them but were to beat them up, drop a note and run. Jayson admits that the taking of some of their equipment was due to simple greed on the part of him and his companions. The payment was supposed to be 4000 galifars in total, with an advance of 2000 and some equipment to help. The rest was to be provided this morning. "Decent amount of money," comments Gareth.
When asked about the rest of the equipment, he says that it's with his allies, Selgo and Orda, in their temporary lair, an abandoned building in the Fallen district. They'd figured that there'd be no chance of running into someone they knew there. Nameless makes him provide detailed directions to the place and warns him that if any of the information is wrong, he will regret it. Jayson says that he's told them everything he knows. "For your sake, I hope so," says Nameless, as the group departs, knocking out Jayson before they go and leaving Phiros and him tied up and gagged.
Tuesday, 16th May, 2006, 04:15 PM #65
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
Ravers (or "What the hell? These guys are just weird!")
Fallen, a district in Lower Dura, is in many ways the most deplorable section of Sharn that the Angels have seen. At first glance it looks like a ruin, with huge chunks of stone scattered around the outer streets. Statues of the gods are common here, but almost all have shattered features and broken limbs. Many of the buildings and almost all of the few bridges in the area have collapsed in whole or part, and most of the surviving buildings show some amount of damage. The population here is less than in any other district they have seen, consisting almost purely of the poor and indigent, who stare at the heavily armed and well-dressed adventurers and scuttle out of their path.
As the group proceeds deeper into the area, the buildings are in progressively worse shape, and soon segments of what must have been a huge structure are visible, jutting from crushed buildings.
"The Glass Tower," says Nameless, recalling the history of the War even though he has no idea where that knowledge comes from. "It was a floating citadel that was brought down in 918, almost certainly by magic. It fell apart and took out this district, which never recovered. Biggest act of sabotage in Sharn during the War."
"Yes," says Cedric. "I've heard of it. They still commemorate - or mourn - the date here in Sharn, sometime in Olarune."
The building that Jayson said his companions are in is deep within Fallen, close to the epicentre of the Glass Tower's fall. It was originally a larger structure, but now has only the ground floor standing, with the shattered remnants of the floor above, and rubble surrounding it.
After some discussion, the adventurers decide that most of them will stay hidden as close as possible, while the two druids fly to the building from above and enter. Korm calls upon his Gatekeeper training and large feathery wings grow from his shoulders. He then picks Luna up and flies upwards, coming in from above and hoping not to be spotted.
Luna and he land amidst the remnants of the floor above and locate a partly shattered staircase leading down. Proceeding downstairs into a dusty and rubble-strewn room, they find no immediate sign of habitation, though there are clear tracks in the dust. While Luna takes advantage of the increased space to take on her habitual form of a large brown bear, Korm shoves open a nearby door.
As he does, the first thing the pair see is an armored man with a two-handed flail, evidently awaiting their arrival. He stands inside a large and much cleaner room. His companion appears too, emerging from her invisible position next to an open door in the far wall as she brings down a sound burst on the two druids.
The cacophony of sound stuns Korm, causing him to drop his sword, but Luna ignores it and rushes forward, squeezing through the doorway. The waiting warrior, surprised by the appearance of a large bear, shouts and swings wildly, the flail bouncing off her magically-enchanted hide. Before he can recover, a large paw lays his neck open and pulls him into her grasp.
The dwarf shouts and rushes forward, her spiked gauntlet glowing with a dark radiance as she swings it with brutal force into the bear's side. Luna stoically ignores the blow and proceeds to squeeze the breath out of her target, interspersing it with bites and more clawing.
With Korm picking up his sword and entering the battle with a swing that would have taken the dwarf's head from her shoulders if she hadn't ducked, she decides that this is a lost cause and rushes for the rear door. Her ally screams, "Orda - you bitch! Don't leave me!", but to no avail. A desperate lunge pulls him out of the bear's grasp and he manages to land a heavy blow with the flail before Luna rips off part of his face, sending him staggering into a slash from Korm that drops him in a heap.
Luna promptly rushes after the dwarf. Squeezing through the door, she finds herself in what was presumably the rear of the house, which has now fallen apart and become one with the remnants of the fallen citadel. Large segments of the Glass Tower remain intact, with smaller pieces littering the area and creating a maze of masonry and rubble. Orda is hurrying through it as fast as she can, but she is barely fifty feet from the door when Luna catches up to her and she is forced to turn and fight.
Cedric and the rest of the Angels, who headed for the building as soon as they heard the sounds of conflict, burst into the room to see a dead man on the floor and Luna facing the dwarf some distance outside the rear door.
Korm, having figured that Luna can handle Orda, is looking through a table nearby. As the others enter, he lifts a bag and the Key and says, "Found it!"
"Is my necklace in there?" calls Nameless, even as he takes a few steps towards the door to the rear. As Six, Gareth and Cedric rush past Nameless and out the door, Korm checks inside the bag of holding and produces the necklace.
Outside, Luna has just seized Orda when she notices movement through the ruins around them. Patches of shadow seem to be moving through the rubble towards them. As she tries to drag the struggling dwarf back towards the others, a dozen individuals step out of the ruins.
Most of them are human (with a couple from other races), but they are bestial in appearance, with matted hair and twisted features. They are all wearing ragged robes and where skin is visible it is usually covered with sores, some scabbed over and others openly bleeding. What is perhaps strangest is that they all have shards of glass attached to their robes like some strange jewelry. Or perhaps not the strangest, considering that two of them stand in the middle of patches of shadow that moves with them.
"Do you know who, or what, they are?" asks Gareth.
"No idea," says Cedric, as he takes a ready stance beside Gareth, just in case. Nameless, seeing these new arrivals, quickly summons a pair of his patented bison, commanding them to wait until they realize exactly what these people are.
Orda seems to have some idea, as she shouts, "Ravers!" She struggles even harder in Luna's grasp and then punches Luna with another glowing fist. Irritated, Luna growls and bites into her shoulder.
Half of the ravers pull off small shards of glass from their clothing and hurl them at the adventurers. To the relief of their targets, none of the shards hit. The relief is momentary. As the shards hit the ground and shatter, a couple of the Angels feel a sharp pain as if slashed by a weapon, and shallow cuts appear on their bodies.
The other six ravers rip larger shards of glass from their clothing and each walk up to one of the adventurers, lifting the shard to show it to the chosen person (or, in two cases, bison). Then they crack the shards in half and drop them, ignoring the blood that drips from their cut hands. And as each shard breaks, the person (or bovine) reflected in it feels a wound as deep as if inflicted by a weapon swung by a powerful enemy.
Cries of pain, surprise and general unease ring out and the adventurers quickly fall to defending themselves. To their relief, the enemies are not as durable as they are strange, even though their skin is evidently as hard as bark.
Gareth smites one to the ground and shouts, "They're evil!"
"Do you really think I give a damn?" responds Nameless, splitting a volley of magic missiles to drop the two that his bison have just gored.
Cedric, diving adroitly past one to flank it between Korm and himself and send it staggering back from a sword-blow, grins and says, "Nameless has a point!"
Luna, finally having dropped Orda, drags her corpse closer to the door. As she does so, she sees more figures emerging from the ruins in the distance and moving closer. Unable to speak, she growls and waves a paw in that direction, indicating it to the others.
The ravers continue to attack in their strange fashion, some displaying even more strange abilities. Two hurl shards near Six that explode into puffs of dust, which expand into clouds that resemble large arms reaching up to clasp the big warforged. Six, just having had his spiked chain pulled from his grasp by a burly raver, smashes one arm into dust with a punch but the other wraps around him. Others among the Angels find that as they suffer more wounds, strange feelings of despair assault their minds, though they manage to fight them off.
Luna, having squeezed her way back into the room, drops Orda's corpse and summons a dinosaur to support the one remaining bison. This buys her allies more time and they make a fighting retreat, Cedric, Gareth and Six (who manages to fight his way out of the grasping arm of dust) dropping a couple more ravers, while Korm blasts two to the ground with an arc of lightning.
As soon as everyone else is in the room, Korm shuts the door and bars it. Outside, there is the momentary sound of the bison and dinosaur fighting the ravers and then silence. Nobody approaches the door, as far as anyone inside can make out.
Luna changes back into her normal form and asks, "What the bloody hell were those things?"
"I don't want to know," says Six, feeling dents and cracks in his plating, as he produces a wand to repair them. "As long as we don't need to deal with them again." The sentiment is clearly shared by the others.
While they heal themselves, the adventurers search and strip the two bodies, taking everything valuable off them. Nameless carefully places the Key back in his bag of holding and hangs it on his belt.
As they leave, Cedric looks back at the corpses as they leave the building but doesn't say anything about them. On the way back, he says, "Would you guys mind if I took two hundred galifars from what you found?"
Surprised, Nameless says, "You get a full share, just as each of us does."
Cedric smiles and waves a hand. "Thanks, but that's all right. Two hundred will do."
Surr'kal and Dala are still waiting when the group returns to Trillia's, and Nameless provides them a fairly detailed coverage of what happened, with the others inserting comments as needed. When they refer to the strange people they fought, Dala exclaims, "You fought ravers?"
"You know them?"
"Only by reputation. I've heard that they're a strange group that dwell in the central ruins, among the remnants of the Glass Tower. Some people think they're a cult and others think they're something released from the Depths when the tower fell. There are rumors that they have strange powers - which your encounter confirms - and that they sometimes carry off people from Fallen, but nobody really knows for sure."
"Whatever they are," says Nameless, "There's a dozen less of them now."
The conversation then turns to the Key and what is to be done with it after its recovery. Gareth and Nameless embark on one of their patented arguments about how to keep it safe and especially whether to involve the Church of the Silver Flame.
"The Key just isn't safe on you," argues Gareth. "If four muggers can get it off Six and you, then whoever killed Arrok shouldn't have a hard time at all."
"Be that as it may," responds Nameless, "I am not going to hand it over to the Church."
Gareth argues that he should at least be allowed to speak to the Archierophant about it, suggesting that he broach the topic without giving her any details, and if she promises not to mention it to her superiors, then they can tell her about it and see if she can help.
Cedric, who knows the least about the Key of anyone in the room but is gradually learning more, speaks up from his seat in the corner. "You guys know I don't see eye to eye with Ythana Morr, but I'll admit that she's about as influential as any members of the Church in Breland, so I don't think you'll have to worry about her having to answer to anyone about that Key. On the other hand, she takes her responsibilities damn seriously and if she figures the Key isn't safe with you, she may try to pull rank on Gareth to have it handed over to her for safekeeping. Anyway, it's your call."
The comment doesn't really help much, with the argument continuing and branching off onto the question of what one is to do with the Key after all. Nameless is momentarily stumped when Gareth asks what his eventual plans for the Key is, but then replies, "To either bury it in a place where nobody will ever find it, or hand it over to the Gatekeepers."
"Okay, but what about the damn tattoos?" asks Luna. "As long as they're around, we've got to stay close to the bloody thing, and I do NOT like that situation. Why don't you try to remove ours again?"
"Did you see what happened last time?" says Nameless. "We almost killed Corven and Korm." Korm doesn't say anything, simply scratching reflexively at the tattoo on his chest.
Surr'kal adds, "I'm hoping that Gurr'khan will be here soon. He should leave as soon as he gets the message, which should be within a week's time. Once he's here and we let him know what the situation is, he can contact people in the Shadow Marches and the Eldeen Reaches. He's the only one of our people in Breland powerful enough to do so."
"All right - but what do we do for that week?" asks Gareth.
"Wait and travel in larger groups," says Nameless.
"That we should, but I don't want to wait that long," responds Gareth.
Surr'kal persists, "You might be able to learn more from one of our loremasters, but they are only found in the Marches and the Reaches. Would you consider traveling there, if needed?"
"Get out of this city? Hell yeah!" says Luna. Beside her, Korm nods and adds, "I know much of the Marches and some areas in the Reaches. I'd be happy to guide you there, if needed."
The discussion continues for a while, with the eventual decision that long-term decisions will be made after Gurr'khan's arrival. In the short term, Gareth (who remains obdurate about the Key not being safe with them) will speak to the Archierophant that evening and arrange a meeting with the entire group the next morning. They also decide that from now on, Korm, Luna and Six will accompany Nameless to and from Trillia's whenever he travels in the city.
Dala, Surr'kal and Cedric all take their leave, asking the Angels to keep them posted on events. Gareth asks Cedric if he wishes to come along the next day when they speak to the Archierophant, but he declines. He also reminds the group before he goes that they have two prisoners to dispose of.
Nameless says, "Well, I was thinking of cutting off that Jayson guy's tongue..."
Cedric lifts an eyebrow. "That's a little drastic."
"Well," says Nameless, "It seems singularly fitting for one of the bardic persuasion."
"You want to turn him into a mime? Now that's just evil!"
Nameless chuckles and says, "Well, we could remove tongue and limbs, in which case..."
"Not a good idea. I know they pissed you off - a lot, but always remember, you're better than them. So play nice."
Not necessarily, thinks Nameless, but he doesn't argue. Once Cedric leaves, he asks Trillia if she is willing to keep the prisoners there for a day or two until he can decide what to do with them. Trillia points at the living room, now much dirtier than before the large group of people occupied it. "Sure - why not? It's not like it'll be any extra trouble."
"Speaking of which," says Nameless, turning to address Luna, Korm and Gareth, "Would you be interested in accompanying Trillia, Six and me to explore a Dhakaani ruin and fight aberrations?"
"Like I said before," replies Luna, "If it's outside the city I'm in. As long as I can flame strike things without people complaining." Korm says, "Yes, I would. I wish to see Yarkuun Draal too." Gareth agrees too.
Nameless turns back to Trillia and says, "Consider that thanks for all the trouble."
His mentor grins and says, "And here I thought you were coming along because you wanted to wrestle another daelkyr. Deal."
"There's a daelkyr there?" asks Gareth.
"Not necessarily, but with the number of aberrations we saw the last time I was there, one either has a lair nearby or some of its minions creating more."
"Wait a minute - I thought the daelkyr were bound away, like the one we encountered."
Trillia then proceeds to give Gareth and the others (other than Nameless, who already knows this) a quick coverage of the situation with the daelkyr. She explains that unlike the rakshasa rajahs - the progenitors of the Lords of Dust - bound away at the end of the Age of Demons, who are imprisoned within huge Khyber dragonshards, the daelkyr that remained in Khorvaire are not so constrained. They are bound within Khyber, unable to breach the surface of the world even if a physical opening is made to them, as long as the dimensional seals and binding of the Gatekeepers remains in effect. But within Khyber they are free to move around and are believed to have carved lairs and domains for themselves there. The one that the Angels encountered in Xen'drik is quite anomalous in actually being bound within a dimensional seal, which may also explain why it was significantly weakened when they encountered it.
After she is done, Korm and Luna leave for Carosten Park, while Gareth leaves to visit the Cathedral. There he obtains an interview with Ythana Morr, and asks her for a meeting the next day with his entire group. When she agrees and asks what they wish to speak to her about, he says that he cannot tell her anything right now, since it is a particularly discreet matter. Ythana looks curious but simply says that she'll look forward to meeting them then, and Gareth departs.
Meanwhile, in Coldflame Keep...
Mazin Tana looks up as Cedric walks in. "What happened? You look like something the cat refused to drag in."
Cedric chuckles. "Yes, Mazin - you look pretty too." Then he stretches and yawns, "I'm just tired. It's been a bloody long night - and day."
"Something to do with Gareth? He was in a great hurry when you left last night."
"Yes. Can't discuss most of it with you, I'm afraid, because it's private to him and his friends. Let's just say they've been getting into trouble, and from what I've heard, are liable to get into some more." Cedric beckons for Mazin to follow him. "For example..."
A curious Mazin follows him out into one of the emptier chambers, where he finds four husky-looking men standing around a large cart covered by a cloth. Cedric walks up to it and lifts the cover, to reveal over a dozen corpses. Most of them are twisted and malformed, except for two, of a dwarven woman and a human male. All of them seem to have been slain violently.
"By the Flame!"
"Don't worry," reassures Cedric. "They earned it - unfortunately. Still, we need to give them a proper cremation."
"Yes, yes, of course," says a still shocked Mazin. "Did he ... they ... I mean, did Gareth and his companions ..."
"And I," says Cedric quietly. "There was little choice in the matter. I'll tell you about it later. I'd have been back earlier, but Gareth and the others weren't really interested in disposing of them once they were done, so I had to go back down to Fallen and get the bodies."
"So they killed some people and just left the corpses lying there?" asks Mazin, a tinge of surprise in his tone.
"Adventurers," says Cedric succinctly.
"But Gareth?" persists Mazin, "He should know better."
"Yeah. And I should be sober. What are you gonna do?" Cedric takes a look at Mazin's face and adds, more reassuringly, "Don't worry. He's got potential. He'll learn." And if he doesn't, well ... he won't be the first.
Mazin doesn't reply, and after a few seconds Cedric says, "Um, Mazin? You know ... arrangements?"
"Yes, yes," says the elderly priest. "I'll go take care of it." As he heads for the door, a call of "Hold on," stops him and he awkwardly catches the jingling bag tossed in his direction. "What is this?"
"A hundred and ninety-nine galifars. Use what you need for the cremation and use the rest for this place."
"Oh! Thank you, Cedric." Mazin's brow contracts. "One hundred and ninety-nine?"
Cedric grins and opens his backpack to show a couple of bottles inside. "Let's just say the cost of good hooch in this place is criminal!"
Mazin smiles and leaves, still looking faintly concerned. Once he's gone, Cedric kneels beside the cart and begins to pray for the departed souls of the slain.
Tuesday, 16th May, 2006, 05:28 PM #66
Waghalter (Lvl 7)
- Join Date
- Jul 2005
- Beautiful Bonn in Germany.
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° Block Gold Roger
Love your version of the ravers.
Did you use flavored descriptions of spellcasting on that one or something more funky. If the first, what class did you use (Personaly I love alternate flavor on the spellcasting of sorcerers and clerics and use it whenever possible).
Tuesday, 16th May, 2006, 06:48 PM #67
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
Originally Posted by Gold Roger
I was thinking about them lairing in the remnants of the Glass Tower and figured I'd depict their abilities as glass-focused. If I hadn't changed the flavor, it would have been just another random encounter. Instead, the PCs and the players (who are all more experienced than me) were significantly confused and on tenterhooks, since they weren't sure what they were dealing with, even when they worked out that the enemies weren't too tough.
Color me a happy DM
Tuesday, 16th May, 2006, 07:01 PM #68
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
Originally Posted by shilsen
Tuesday, 16th May, 2006, 08:36 PM #69
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
Originally Posted by shilsen
Tuesday, 16th May, 2006, 08:48 PM #70
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
Originally Posted by AviLazar
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