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  1. #11
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    ø Ignore Noodle

    Fear! Fire! Foes! (Feb 2012 recap)

    We found our heroes safely once more at Mayor MacBannin’s manor at the end of their flight down Cauldron Hill. A squad of Royal Marines had turned out under the command of Lt. Dale. With the mayor’s help, you were able to convince him that you had been authorized to be on the mountain, and weren’t up to evil things. He wanted to take his squad up the hill and look for the mysterious sunrod-throwing figure, but you convinced him to watch the path down instead. You also convinced him to detail one member of his squad, Pvt. Jackson, to assist you in checking out your vision of Sechim’s Alkahest Factory.

    Mayor MacBannin spent about 10 minutes on each of you cleansing you of any dark energies remaining from your time on the Hill. Ash went first, and then left with Pvt. Jackson to head in to RHC HQ to report and ask for further backup. She checked in with the overnight duty officer (it was about 2:45AM on the morning of the 3rd) and was able to requisition/commandeer the help of two Central District PD officers who were on patrol nearby.

    The now-cleansed Team Six met up with Ash & her three companions at the end of Lakeshore Row in Parity Lake, where Sechim’s factory was located. As the team advanced on the factory, Slate and Sam peeled off to try to request help from the off-duty police officers guarding the firedust factory next door. They looked by turns skeptical and nervous as the Constables explained the visions you had received on top off Cauldron Hill. But when Ash, who had walked a bit further on, suddenly shouted at someone in the alley, “Halt! By order of the RHC!” – the erstwhile guards decided they had someplace else they’d much rather be, and took off down the road.

    Team Six and their allies made short work of the humans setting firegems around the factory. Unfortunately, you were unable to stop a dragonborn mage (who you later learned was named Valando) from engulfing their wagon of supplies in flame, catching Ash in the conflagration. Singed and enraged, Ash shifted form and clambered quickly to the roof of the firedust factory. Sam barreled through the flames after her to encourage her. Meanwhile, Ben and Pvt. Jackson tried to circle around the alkahest factory to catch the retreating Eberardo (Ash, being from Ber herself, and understanding Draconic, had caught the brothers’ shouted conversation). Pieter and one of the CDPD officers ran for the front door of the alkahest factory to warn Heward, while Slate (in the company of the other CDPD officer) busied himself shooting the locks from the chains of the firedust factory in order to free the workers trapped inside.

    Ash got knocked down a couple of times by Valando, but Sam was right there to get her on her feet again. Pieter burts through one of the upstairs windows to join them on the roof. Valando was more concerned with escaping before the full might of Team Six could be brought to bear on him and his brother – he teleported to the ladder and quickly slid down. Eberardo knocked out Bendaren in the alleyway, and Valando covered their escape with more bursts of flame.

    After the brothers’ escape, Sam, Ash, Pieter, and a CDPD officer worked together to topple the water tank on the roof of the alkahest factory, putting out the flames before disaster could strike.

    Exhausted, the Constables returned to HQ about 4:30 in the morning to get some sleep in their office. Assistant Inspector Delft woke the team at 10:30 to get a report. While Sam reported the encounter with the dragonborn arsonists and the visions on Cauldron Hill that had led to their thwarting, Ash stepped out and brought the team brunch from her favorite Berian tapas restaurant down the street.

    By 1 PM, the Constables had finished filling out their paperwork and headed towards the Cloudwood to see how Nevard was getting on. On the way, a bright yellow canary flittered about them, and suddenly the voice of Gale spoke to you from the air. You agreed to meet her at once, and the canary led them deeper into the Cloudwood, stopping at the Bridal Veil. After verifying that you came alone, and did not make any threatening moves, Gale flew across the river to meet you. She thanked you for investigating Nilasa’s death, and warned you of dark happenings in the Bleak Gate. She gave you a ritual book containing the Detect Planar Energy ritual, and a messenger wind to allow you to contact her or each other across large distances. Finally, Gale asked Team Six to keep an eye on Nevard, who had scheduled a rally in Dawn Square for the afternoon of the 5th, and gone into hiding for protection until then.

    Pieter took the book back to HQ to spend the necessary time to master the ritual. He stopped off at Pardwright to check in with Prof. Kindleton. She related that she had received another letter from Dr. von Recklinghausen and had passed the Team’s letter back with the runner. Dr. von R asked Prof Kindleton to get with Dr. Camp and arrange transport for him out of Risur, preferably to Ber.

    While Pieter was studying, the rest of the Team went back to Sechim’s to see if daylight revealed anything further. Heward came out and thanked you profusely for saving his factory. The owner of the firegem factory came out and complained bitterly that you had freed his workforce. “There’s more simpletons where the last lot came from, but you’ve cost me a day’s production! Lady Saxby will hear of this!” You shrugged him off and starting poking around the remains of the arsonists’ wagon. A search turned up a singed, waterlogged scrap of paper which read simply:
    SECHIM’S ALKAHEST AND ETCHINGS
    Lakeshore Row, Parity Lake
    -CC

    Stymied for the nonce, the Team decided to go back through the clues you’d uncovered so far. Going back over your notes, you remembered the copy of the deed to the canal barge you found in the alleyway outside the Danoran Consulate. You decided to try to track down the barge, which likely runs on Stanfield Canal. Several hours of searching later, Slate spotted it making a run towards Parity Lake. He also noticed something odd – several of the crates on the barge seemed almost transparent. You watched as the barge went under the fourth bridge along the canal – the crates seemed even thinner. Sam called out for the barge to pull over, but was greeted by a rude gesture from the pilot. The team ran ahead to the fifth bridge, and jumped from the upstream side onto the barge. Sam once again ordered the pilot to pull to shore. Instead, the pilot stopped the barge in the middle of the stream. He claimed diplomatic immunity from a search of the vessel, since it was owned by the Danoran Consulate. There was a standoff as the pilot refused to move and refused to answer questions. After about 10 minutes, the crates snapped back to full solidity. Ben noticed that each of them was marked with the same sigil. He tried to shift one and found it was heavy. When threatened with arrest for impeding canal traffic, the pilot started moving again, sailing under the 6th & final bridge and coming to rest a couple of feet from the shore of Parity Lake. The team noticed a ring of rusted iron on the underside of the bridge as you passed under it. The pilot invited you to leave and to come back with both a warrant and signed permission from the Consular if you actually want to search his vessel.

    Leaving the barge, you secured passage on another boat heading back towards the bay. Now that you knew what to look for, it was easy to pick out similar rings of rusted iron on the undersides of each bridge over the canal. Ben also noticed sigils, similar to those he saw on the crates on the barge, carved into the edges of the rings.

    Team Six headed back to HQ to check on Pieter’s progress and also consult with an RHC mage about your findings. You learned that rusted iron was traditionally used in plane-shifting magic – that a rusted iron portal ring could potentially send travelers to the Bleak Gate. You also made another report to Assistant Inspector Delft. Somehow, you managed to leave out that you had met Gale, and you claimed in your report that the ritual book had come from Nevard.

    About 11:30 in the evening, Pieter at last emerged from his studies. The team decided to try searching for Bleak Gate energies in various places connected with their investigation. You turned up a hit on the bridges, a slight trace on the paper from ‘CC’, but nothing fresh anywhere else you looked – the Consulate, Sechim’s Factory, the University, or Pine Island. Once more, the team got to bed quite late.

    At 11AM the next morning (Summer 4), the team reassembled at HQ. The plan at first was to take RHCS Tardis out to Pine Island to scout the location of the smuggler meetup scheduled for that night. On your way to the docks, however, you were accosted by an associate of Lorcan Kell. He asks you to meet him at 1PM on Broad St. in east Parity Lake, and from there he will guide you to where the Doctor is being held.

    At the appointed hour, you meet your contact (“Mr. Smith”) on Broad St. He starts to lead you through the warrens of Parity Lake, when a disturbance attracts your attention. A woman knelt over an apparently injured man, yelling, “Somebody stop them!”, and gesticulating at two youths wearing red scarves running down the street. Every instinct yelled “trap”, but you decided to play along for the moment, and followed the thieves into a darkened theater. Once on stage, the house lights came up, revealing Lorcan Kell surrounded by dozens of thugs aiming various weapons at you. Kell invited you up to his box and offered the doctor for the low, low price of 1000GP. Sam tried to bargain with him, but Kell stood firm at 1000. He further put on a “show” involving a docker Pieter recognized from his younger days, going so far as to have one of his minions cut off one of the docker’s fingers. At that you agreed to pay up, offering Sam’s crossbow as surety until you could return with the additional 600-odd gold needed. A quick trip back to your lockers at HQ later, you met “Mr. Smith” back at the Theater and handed over the money. At that, Smith sent a guide with you to take you to an abandoned church in the Nettles.

    There, you met Dr. von Recklinghausen and convinced him that you would help him on his way to Ber if only he would hand over the documents he’d taken. You also admired the canary pendant he was wearing .. he was just explaining how it turned black when danger approached when suddenly it darkened… and that’s where we’ll pick up next month.

    --

    Wow, that took me a while to write today. I'll try to get back on tonight and follow up with thoughts on how things are going.

 

  • #12
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    Comments on the last few sessions

    December -

    My players (especially Sam's) had fun with the tavern 'philosophers'. I'm not sure why, but when I started voicing him, Hennet Rinus came out as a Southern dandy. Sam's player grew up in South Carolina, so I'm sure he'd met examples of the type.

    The team is not shy about throwing sometimes large sums of money around to get on people's good side. I was a bit taken aback by the offer of 100GP by a level 2 character to gain information and passage from Renard. The team is only mentioning the fact of informants in their reports, not names or amounts disbursed. They also are not mentioning Gale (and in the Feb. session actively lie about the provenance of her gifts)

    The scene at Goodson Reformatory didn't go all that great.. the players didn't quite catch on to how to handle the chat with the prisoners. Not sure if I didn't play up the arson/disappearance angles enough or what, but they were pretty insistent on just interviewing the prisoners in their cells, and reluctant to get a pardon for Travis.

    This month saw the introduction of Team Six's ship, which they decided to name the TARDIS.

    January -
    This session largely consisted of the Waryeye encounter and the Cauldron Hill encounter. We started off with the Waryeyes. While the Team interviewed Danisca, Pieter brought up the possibility of her losing her business license for trading in illegal goods. She took that as a cue to bolt for the Dreaming Dust trap through the secret door behind the counter. Ash wanted to try to stop her. I decided to treat that as opposed initiative rolls - if Danisca rolled higher, she'd sneak through; if Ash rolled higher, she'd leap in the way. They tied - but then we remembered the Warlord bonus. Anyway, Danisca opened up (briefly) - but was just talking long enough for Blander and his badgers to make their way over. As soon as he showed up, she disappeared and the fight was on. The badgers were pretty ineffective. I like the concept of a potential two-hit minion, but the 5 damage threshold is just too low for 4e. About the only thing that's going to do less than 5 are some auto-hit wizard effects (like Magic Missile) or some AoE splash damage (sometimes).

    The Cauldron Hill experience was awesome. The spirits cavorting around set the mood, and Ash was *really* tempted to take off her amulet so she could hear the voices more clearly. I wussed out a bit on the encounter itself, though. Bendaren managed to get 3 shrouds on him and was already quite low on health (the party had neglected to stock up on healing potions beforehand). I warned his player that the next hit was likely to result in his outright death. I then took the flimsiest of excuses to go after another character instead. I really need to discuss with my players if they're comfortable with me killing them off or not.. (Actually, reading ahead, I'm really looking forward to (Adventure 3 spoiler)
    Spoiler:
    killing one or more of them in the Ziggurat of Apet and having the Voice of Rot play with them.. )
    On the other hand, it was partially my fault, since I missed the part about the aspect of death going for Nevard, which would have mitigated his damage output somewhat. The party ended up scaring off Creed, and at Nevard's suggestion, beating a hasty retreat down the mountain after defeating only two of the monsters. Death & the Crawler were still near full HP.

    February - the Factory Aflame encounter went OK, but there wasn't a lot to it - the minions went down quick to the allies' auto-hit, and the dragonborn beat a hasty retreat. I intend to have Ash's _Execudoras dola Libertad_ control order her to try to track them down and kill them since they're wanted in Ber for arson and murder (which will be a change from the exclusively non-lethal combat they've dealt with to this point .. at least when it comes to criminals vs. undead spooks).

    Team Six is very sympathetic to Gale, and has not reported any of their contacts with her.

    By the letter of the rules in PHB1 (unless there's been an errata we missed), rituals in a book (as opposed to a scroll) take 8 hours to master, so Pieter dutifully went off to study up on the ritual Gale had given him. The rest of the team needed something to do, and they decided to go back through all the clues they'd found so far. First they wanted to go back to the factory and search it in the daylight. I had them find Creed's order to the brothers for the burning of the factory. This drove my players bonkers since they haven't even met anyone with the initials CC, so rather than feeling closer to solving the case, they are feeling further away than ever. Looking back through their notebooks, they saw that they'd found a copy of a canal barge deed in the alley outside the Danoran consulate. I improvised the scene with the barge pilot, who I decided hasn't been told much other than his job to pilot the crates for the Ob up the canal and that the project is vital to Danoran security.

    The team was a bit frustrated at not finding any Bleak Gate energy yet (other than on the bridges) but I reasoned that at least on the 3rd-4th, Creed was sticking around the mansion, where he's shielded by the Hill.

    On the Kell encounter -- the party was well aware something wasn't right, but they decide to 'play along' anyway. Don't think they were entirely happy with how that turned out.

    I'm looking forward to the introduction of Leone Quital next month and how the party deals with that.

  • #13
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    ø Ignore RangerWickett
    My communities:

    Great details. Seriously, I love seeing how different groups handle the adventures, and this has been one of the most specific accounts so far. And I liked the barge scene, though as I was reading it I kept trying to figure out if it would cause problems for anything we have planned in adventure 5.

    I actually wasn't aware that rituals take 8 hours to master. I figured if you had the book, you could perform them.

    So they're going to be doing Leone and the smugglers on the same day? Man they're running all over the place.
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  • #14
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    ø Ignore Noodle
    Quote Originally Posted by RangerWickett View Post
    Great details. Seriously, I love seeing how different groups handle the adventures, and this has been one of the most specific accounts so far. And I liked the barge scene, though as I was reading it I kept trying to figure out if it would cause problems for anything we have planned in adventure 5.

    I actually wasn't aware that rituals take 8 hours to master. I figured if you had the book, you could perform them.

    So they're going to be doing Leone and the smugglers on the same day? Man they're running all over the place.
    Thanks, RW. Let me know if you think I need to head a different direction with the barge (of course, given all they have to do in the next couple of days, they may be done with it).

    I wanted them to hit both the church & the smugglers before Nevard's rally.. which I already pushed out from the 4th to the 5th. (Having the party follow the 'Gale' thread first really put a crimp on the timeline. )

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    WotBSZEITGEISTENniesI Defended The Walls!

    ø Ignore Falkus
    Great details. Seriously, I love seeing how different groups handle the adventures, and this has been one of the most specific accounts so far. And I liked the barge scene, though as I was reading it I kept trying to figure out if it would cause problems for anything we have planned in adventure 5.
    My party figured out there was something up the barges as well; though they did that through use of the planar energy ritual rather than following the barge from the deed they had. They detected the planar energy when they were scouring the city; and figured out it was centered on each of the bridges; and I think they've managed to tie that to the reports of items vanishing from the barges.

    Since it wasn't elaborated on in the adventure; my decision was that the rings used were actually built into the construction of the bridges and not visible from the outside.

  • #16
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    ø Ignore Cheezmo Miner
    I didn't find anything that contradicts it, so I just have the Kell-Guild hide the Bleak Gate bound crates on a municipal garbage scow. The boat goes up and down the river and shore, collecting everybody's trash before dumping it all out in the Avery Sea. The crates are simply tossed out with a bunch of regular refuse.

    I got the idea from this wikipedia entry.

  • #17
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    Between the Devil & the Deep Blue Sea (March recap)

    Again, just a cut 'n paste from what I send to my players as a pre-session recap.

    ---

    Sorry I didn’t have time to do a full recap this month. Between work, church & kids’ activities, I’ve been tapped out.

    Ask a quick reminder of what went down: you started off in the abandoned church, after having collected Dr. von Recklinghausen & the documents from the Danoran consulate. You came under attack from a shadowy foe & his accomplices. The accomplices extinguished your lights (in an explosive manner), and the shadow creature headed for the doctor and tried to inject him with something from a syringe. Y’all opened up one can of whoop-ass, extra-large, and killed the shadow – you were TRYING to subdue him, but his spirit slipped away. His body briefly took the form of MacBannin’s butler, before ending as a horribly scarred & disfigured man. Before making its journey to the Bleak Gate, Ash commanded its attention, and asked it 3 questions.

    (Note: This conversation actually happened in a post-session email thread, summarized below: )
    Spoiler:

    While Sam starts his ascent up the chimney – Ash moves her hands over the dark figure’s body. “Who are the other people in Flint who are involved in the Black Gate project?”

    A chill voice comes from the air above. “That is privileged information, on a need-to-know basis. I’m sorry, but you don’t have the need to know.”

    “Hah!” pipes up Ben.

    The spirit’s attention seems to shift. “I’m quite serious. You are a patriot. Already once you have defended our kingdom against enemies within its borders. Know that if you continue this investigation, you will damage our national security. I cannot tell you more, but if you can convince your companions & superiors to abandon this investigation, soon you will understand. I have taken no joy in conspiring to thwart you, so I give you this last warning.”

    Ash commands the spirit’s attention again. “What is the purpose of the construction at the Bleak Gate?”

    The spirit sounds uneasy. “You already know more than you should. Again, for the security of the realm, I cannot tell you more. Just know that the project that is underway has been approved at the very highest levels of our government. It is a great secret, and most in government do not know of its existence. Until the project is complete, that is the way it must remain. I urge you once again to drop your investigation. You have found the girl’s killer – well done. I appear to be beyond justice at the moment, however. Consider the case closed.”

    Ash: "What or who does Risur fear so much that it is doing this?"

    The spirit laughs. “There are always enemies.. without and within. Maybe even closer than you realize.” He laughs evilly once more, and fades away.

    Ben: “Well, I’m not sure what to make of that. He seems convincing in his claim that he’s operating for the benefit of Risur. Yet with a laugh like that, I don’t know how I can trust him.”

    Slate: “It seems our pungent ‘friend’ was convinced he had inside information and was operating in Risur’s favor. But even if true, that does not mean that
    he truly did, or was. What I mean to say is, his information may not have
    come from where he thought it did. Or even if it came from the king
    himself, what the king believes is best for Risur may not necessarily be
    what is best. Such speech might border on treason if taken out of context,
    but that is not at all what I intend. After all, the Duchess believed her
    terrorism was to the benefit of Risur as well…”

    Sam: “Yeah. Trouble is, when someone’s talking about ‘the good of the kingdom’, oftentimes they’re talking about the good of the nobles, or the bureaucracy, or the factory owners. That’s not Risur. Not even a big part of it. The dockers, the factory workers, the militia, and their families — that’s Risur.”

    His eyes narrow. “And you can be damned sure that some big-ass metal boat from the Bleak Gate isn’t going to protect them from anything. It’s designed to make things blow up, which means that once it comes out of the Gate, it’s going to be a big fat target to get blown up — it, and everything near it. No, this smells like an arms race, and if I learned anything from Yerasol, it’s that arms races just mean more people dying quicker.” He mutters something under his breath that sounds like “idiots”.

    “So!” He looks around at his teammates, grinning gleefully. “Who’s up for saving Risur from itself? It’s going to involve subterfuge, and if the wrong people find out what we know, we’ll probably get framed and either have our names dragged through the mud or get executed as traitors. Can’t think of anything that sounds more fun, personally!”

    Ben: “Whoa there, Sam! I agree we shouldn’t let this guy deter us from continuing to investigate what’s going on, but we just don’t have enough information yet to be making any decisions about sabotaging something.”

    Sam: “Now, now, Short Round — I said ‘subterfuge’, not ‘sabotage’. I’m not saying we blow anything up until we find out more about what’s going on. I am saying that we need to do more investigating around this Bleak Gate project, and we need to keep it out of our reports. Speaking of which — Ash, you didn’t speak with this man’s spirit, and no one hear heard him say anything, before or after he died. Right?” Ash nods inscrutably, and Sam looks to the rest of the team for confirmation.



    After the fight, you found the entrance blocked by steel bars that had been implanted into the rock. You had an encounter with Signore Leone Quital, who amused himself while chatting with you by suspending a goblet of fine wine and a plate of bromago cheese in the air. He demanded you hand over the doctor & the documents, and gave you one hour to comply. You withdrew into the church & climbed out the chimney. An hour later, you heard an explosion in the distance.

    You couldn’t go back to investigate, as it was getting late and close to the appointed hour of the meeting with the Family smugglers. You took the Doctor to HQ, Ash picked up dinner from the taps place. Sam and Ash went to the meet, while Pieter, Slate, and Ben manned the TARDIS. Sam & Ash convinced Deorn Feldman that Gale had sent them as replacements for Nilasa & the Waryeyes. They sailed on the SILVO out to meet LI GRIFONI GRINYANDE. TARDIS followed at a distance.

    The meetup with the smugglers happened, crates & money were exchanged, and the GRIFONI departed. SILVO headed back towards the wharf, pursued by TARDIS. TARDIS tried to move in for a pickup, but Captain Feldman noticed the ship approaching. The two ships tore across the harbor in chase. Sam & Ash tried to distract the SILVO’s crew while Slate expertly piloted the TARDIS in close. Just before the ships reached the wharf, they were close enough for Ben to consume a Water Walking potion and charge across the sea between them. As Ben got close, Sam & Ash dropped their pretense. Feldman & crew were taken completely by surprise, and were subdued quickly & taken into custody. The unfortunate sailor who tried a wand and found himself transported to the open sea was not recovered, though.

    You brought Feldman & company in, and made your report (leaving out anything having to do with speaking with the shadow’s spirit) and got a good night’s rest. Before going to your separate houses, Ash quietly lets you know that the doctor’s request (to get to Ber) will be dealt with.

    The morning brings a surprise…

  • #18
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    Golem SMASH! (April recap)

    In the morning, you met back at HQ. Your boss, Assistant Chief Inspector Delft, was stamping around furiously, poking things with his cane, and spitting. “He’s gone!” he snarled. “You doctor friend – we had him in protective custody overnight. This morning, the cell was empty! Lady Saxby is incensed! Did you lot have anything to do with this?”

    No one said anything, but he read enough in your sidelong glances at each other.

    He pounds the floor with his cane. “Don’t lie to me, goddamit! I can’t cover you politically if I don’t know what you’re doing! I understand you sometimes need to protect witnesses, but there are CHANNELS to go through! At the very least, I need to be aware of your plans.”

    More silence.

    “Fine. At least those Crisillyiri are still in their cell.. Mail call for you all this morning.” He pointed his cane disgustedly in the direction of the mailboxes. In each, you found a fine envelope waiting. Each was addressed in fancy script with your name, and each had an arcane lock on it so it could only be opened by you personally. “I’ll leave you to look at those. Don’t forget the skyseer’s rally at noon today.” Delft stumped off.

    Inside each envelope was a fine, cream-colored parchment, with a letter written in a clear, looping hand, inviting you to breakfast or lunch at a coffee shop in Stray River, at the corner of Yearling St. and Healer’s St. They are signed, Signore Morgan Cippiano. He said he will await your convenience any time in the next three days, and that he wished to discuss the legal case against his family members and that he may be able to help you in your investigation.

    As you were reading, there came a polite, but heavy, knock on the door. Pieter was surprised to see his father Stanislav there.

    “Pieter, I wanted to tell you. I got an early start this morning and was helping to set up for Skyseer Nevard’s rally at Dawn Square. There’s a lot of excitement about what he’s going to tell us. I know you hold to a different faith now, but remember he’s important to the rest of us. Anyway, there’s something very odd in the air over there. I can feel it. The very air itself smells like .. burnt engine grease.”

    Groans and muttered curses escaped your lips. You promised to look into it right away. You stocked up on provisions while Pieter cast the Detect Planar Energy ritual. You headed for Bosum Strand. Sam noticed slicks of witchoil in the area, while Pieter’s ritual led the party straight to a nondescript munitions warehouse.

    You snuck around back and slipped in through a rear door. Inside were eight lab techs, cleaning up from a recent procedure. With them was a motionless metal golem. They were distracted and didn’t notice you come in.. not until Sam knocked on the gate of the fence surrounding them and introduced himself, and inquired what manner of thing they might be doing. (Slate had quietly moved into position on an overhead catwalk.)

    “Shit! It’s that RHC squad that Creed said killed him! Kari, help me burn the notes. The rest of you, out of here!” Team Six sprang into action. Ash moved like a blur, knocking out half of the lab techs before they could do anything. Ben tried to leap up on the desk to prevent the notes’ destruction, but the 3-foot obstacle proved too high for his stubby little legs. Slate dropped a few of the techs from his lofty perch. One of the techs called out for the golem to defend them as he stepped into the portal circle. The golem’s runes turned red as it started to move, and briefly flashed brighter as the tech disappeared from view. The remaining tech drew a flask of alchemist’s fire out of his coat pocket and threw it on the desk. Notes burst into flame.

    The golem turned towards Pieter, and barreled through the fence to get at him, knocking Sam out of the way. A brief fight ensued. The golem’s bleak aura didn’t come into play much – Slate was the one who bloodied it, and he was safely up on a catwalk, away from the rest of the Team. The team had thoughtfully stocked up on Resistance Potions (necrotic) as well. The golem never got a chance to clamber around after you knocked off it’s armor – good use of focus fire brought it down the rest of the way in less than one round.

    Once revived (and before fading from the plane entirely), the technicians claimed to be working on a Risuri military project under the supervision of Mayor MacBannin. You saved documents from the fire, some apparently written in MacBannin’s own hand, that described the use of witchoil to animate dead jaguars – and how to control them. They also mentioned something about a ‘reservoir’ at the manor. The technicians said that the jaguars they had just finished creating would last no more than a few hours.

    Forewarned with this information, most of the team headed off to Dawn Square while Ash headed back to HQ to pick up some gold thread. You chatted up Thames Grimsley, who was trying to organize a march on the Governor’s Mansion after the rally; also a police sergeant who promised some head-cracking should such an event occur. Sam and Pieter tried to calm the troubled waters without much effect. Using the Messenger Wind orb, you also sent a message to Gale asking for her assistance. The orb sped off toward the Cloudwood .. you could only hope it would reach her in time.

    Looking around the square, you found an old fountain near the stage with a rusted band of iron running around its edge. Upon Ash’s return, you looped the fountain with gold thread.

    Near the appointed noon hour, people started drifting from the taverns & drink vendors towards the stage. A couple of wagons were pushed into place near the stage by some robed figures wearing druidic masks. Their hands and features were completely obscured by the robes & masks. Suspicious, Sam approached them and hailed them, but they said nothing in reply. In fact, they withdrew into their wagons. Sam followed one in – and saw half of a rusted iron ring on the floor. A commotion outside heralded Nevard’s arrival to the Square. At this, the figures rose, and Sam spied a skeletal hand in one sleeve. “Right! You are under arrest for not being alive!” he exclaimed.

    The skeletons charged out of the wagons, spilling over Sam at the entrance of one, and Pieter at the other. They revealed that the iron ring halves were hinged – and each folded out to a complete ring. They snapped them open and set them on the ground. Immediately, a pair of flayed jaguars appeared. From up on stage, Slate noticed that the gold thread around the fountain shimmered, as if it had just blocked a teleport.

    Grimsley and his men moved to protect Nevard, who doggedly pressed on towards the stage. Pieter was mauled by one of the jaguars, but Ash was a flurry, kicking & punching out skeletons left and right. She was able to get to one of the rings and snap it closed, leaving only one active portal. One more jaguar came through while Ben attempted to save Pieter from being completely torn to pieces. Sam shouted at the team to go for the chest plates. Sam and Ben each managed to rip a plate off, allowing Slate to pick off the jaguars from his perch. The team was just facing the final jaguar, when it started spinning and rising through the air – and then flew through the air before being dumped unceremoniously into Parity Lake. Gale gave a wave from the top of the fountain, and then flew off.

    Nevard gave his speech (see wiki). Grimsley decided to organize his dockers, rather than in a protest at the Governor’s Mansion, instead to help their neighbors move away from Cauldron Hill.

    You headed to Mayor MacBannin’s manor, with the thought of sneaking in to gather more evidence. However, the amount of actvity around the manor, and the number of guards milling about made you reconsider. You headed back to HQ instead. You decided to have a chat with Signore Cippiano before doing anything about MacBannin.

    In the morning, you headed to the indicated coffee shop. Cippiano greeted you all effusively, particularly Pieter, to whom he reffered as ‘Father’ and kissed his ring. [As a reminder, you now have Prestige 2 with the Family.] You and he agreed that you would release Deorn in exchange for his help in catching the two dragonborn who attempted to burn down Heward’s factory. He would set up a sting and ask them to burn down the House Elf’s magic shop, where you would be lying in wait. Ash was very much in favor. He also suggested that you talk to Security Chief LeBrix back at the Danoran Consulate about the dragonborn.

    After parting on good terms with Signore Cippiano, the team headed to the Consulate, where Chief LeBrix was just headed out for lunch.

    Over lunch, LeBrix told you of how he had found out from Cippiano that the dragonborn brothers had been hired to kill him, but the hit was canceled after his investigation into the witchoil and industrial smuggling operation was called off. He provided Slate with two Vendetta Bullets – one marked ‘Eberardo’ and one ‘Valando’. He said he would be in the team’s debt if the brothers could be ‘taken care of’.

    ---

    Notes:
    * These combats ended up being really easy, but that was due to good prep work by the players (using the ritual, good stealth rolls on entry to the warehouse; finding the fountain and surrounding it with gold thread; asking Gale for help). One of my players noted that he really appreciated that their prior actions had so much impact on the combats themselves.

    * My players are REALLY paranoid about the government. They don't want to go to Delft with anything. They're not real sure yet how they're going to tackle MacBannin.

    * The Warehouse & Dawn Square encounters were really cool, and even though it ended up being a walkover, it kinda felt like an end-boss fight.
    One of my players even thought the adventure was over after it.
    * Schedule conflicts are preventing a session this month.. next one not until June 16th.

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    The Grand Druid (Lvl 20)

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    My communities:

    Cool stuff. I like players who outwit encounters.

    Not being alive is a crime? *grin*
    Ryan "RangerWickett" Nock
    Director of the ZEITGEIST campaign saga.


    The most cinematic adventure path for 4th Edition and Pathfinder.

    Now available - Admiral o' the High Seas, and ZEITGEIST adventure eight, Diaspora! For Pathfinder and D&D 4e.

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    Oh, Ranger, I should also note that when Stanislav said the area around Dawn Square smelt of "burnt engine grease", all my players simultaneously let out a groaned "Ohh s#!t.." Well done, sir.

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