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Saturday, 2nd June, 2012, 07:24 AM #101
Waghalter (Lvl 7)
Session 35 - Kaja Stewart
- Following the Incident, the unit reported back to Stover Delft, who told them to investigate the summoned creatures
- They got their first look at Viscount Nigel Price-Hill, in the company of Lady Margaret Saxby
- Battalion eldritch expert Colonel Sebastian Harlock requested that Leon put the corpses of the summoned creatures on ice and ship them to the training school
- Both Rumdoom and Korrigan were able to shrug off an affliction that bore a close resemblance to that spoken of by Krazy Krauss: Distant Madness
- Concerned to get more info about distant madness, the unit recruited Karl Krauss once again. Krauss was concerned when he heard reports of the strange tentacled creatures the staff had unleashed. Such beings had haunted his dreams lately, and he had begun to think the Deep Ones greatly feared them. (Matunaaga, too, had seen similar beings - demons - worked in stone frescoes in the temples of his homeland.)
- Following up the theft of the Macbannin amulet, the unit learned that it had been stolen from a man in distinctive clothing. (Gold bow tie, checked trousers, purple velvet jacket.)
- In tracking down the vendor of the staff, the unit learned that Simon Langfield's friend (who had arranged the sale) dressed in this way.
- They tracked this Isaac Randall fellow down. He had been a lab assistant in Macbannin's Witchoil Laboratory and now made a living selling everything he had purloined as he fled.
- The terrified Randall freely gave up the name of the woman he had dealt with - another ex assistant of Macbannin's named Kaja Stewart. She was now working as a fence, and it was she who had sold the Staff of the Ancients to Langfield. But Randall did not know how to track her down.
- Fortunately, someone else did. Malthusius finally had his meeting with Morgan Cippiano. The Family man traded the release of his nephew Bendick (and an agreement to turn a blind eye to his fey pepper shipments) for a month's supply of fey pepper, and details of how to track down 'a fence who is working with Lorcan Kell and has a construct powered by black oil' through the Trinket Stand at the arms fair.
- Using Cippiano's info, the unit arranged a meeting with Kaja at the Lanternwood Subrail Station
- Kaja was waiting for them in more ways than one. She feared a double-cross, and a fight broke out. Kaja had the ability to summon firearms from a pocket dimension. She cut the unit down with suppresive fire, while her automated minions - and two Kell Guild goons - waded into the fray alongside her bleak golem bodyguard.
- In the end, however, the unit won through and arrested Kaja. They found two more ancient artefacts (along with other contraband) in the chest compartment of the golem.
- Back at RHC HQ, Kaja was eventually brow-beaten into a confession: she was now working with Lorcan Kell to find out who Macbannin was working for.
- She stole the artifacts as she fled the lab. They were brought there by a tiefling. Beyond that, Kaja knew no more about them.
- She did remember that Macbannin was annoyed by the tiefling's presence, and described it as 'a breach of protocol'.
- They left Kaja to sweat in the cells.
- The following morning, a letter arrived from Lorcan Kell's lawyers, accusing the unit of harrassing both him and his 'business partner' Ms Stewart...
I improvised a link between Langfield and Randall for no real reason at all, on reflection. I didn't want Langfield to name Kaja (again, for some perverse reason - possibly to punish the players for not even trying to revive the poor sod).
Knowing, however, that Malthusius was due to meet with Cippiano, meant that I could allow all the other leads to wither frustratingly on the vine, only for Cippiano to come to the rescue (and further indebt the party). The fey pepper bribe was also gratefully received now that Uru is fully addicted. (In game terms he's lost a healng surge but can gain a surge's worth of THP once per day as long as he has access to the drug. If he runs out, he can gain no benefit and takes a -1 to all d20 rolls.)
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Saturday, 2nd June, 2012, 07:36 AM #102
Waghalter (Lvl 7)
- Malthusius received a request to assist the investigations of the new MacBannin unit (Carlao, Serena & Dima) who had discovered an unusual murder: The victim's his hands were bound with steel bars, and an intrictately made bronze golem had been rent asunder alongside him. (See Zeitgiest Interlude for full details.)
- Leon received a note requesting that he kill Rock Rackus at the behest of the Old Stag - leader of the Vekeshi Mystics in Flint. With Malthusius' help he was able to ascertain the personal seal of the man who sent the letter.
- Khoomrung came to Rumdoom to broker a peace between him and Khaled Valchek. He said that more dwarves had been found who were able to manifest the 'Icy End of the World'. Rumdoom went to meet with Valchek, who brought him in on a secret: Silas Fennac's journal had revealed that the Kum Ruk Nazar (or 'Stone of Not') was possessed by the Deep Ones. He desperately sought the return of both Fennac and the journal and wanted Rumdoom to help him - and his new enforcer, Azure Lord Blackthorn - to deal with Lorcan Kell.
- The unit's investigations into the artefacts of the Ancients led them to Professor Hans Weber, who claimed legal title to the items. He said they had come from an ill-fated archaeological dig led by Doctor Xambria Meredith.
- Xambria Meredith was a self-possessed but confused young women who had been badly affected by events early in Summer. She was the only survivor of an expedition to explore an ancient stone ziggurat in the High Bayou. Xambria was very keen for the group to investigate what had happened, and gave them the name of her tiefling benefactor who had disappeared following her return.
- This tiefling was a wealthy philanthropist called Caius Bergeron. Thanks to Korrigan's high society contacts, the unit was able to track him down to the luxury Silver Swan Inn in North Shore. Caius was very polite and cooperative but his story contradicted Xambria's.
- With no further leads, the unit decided to head for the dig.
- Uru was approached by the fey merchant Searkil Shortankard, and asked to obtain the eggs of a milk spider, deadly inhabitants of the high bayou.
- On the morning of their departure, Kaja Stewart was found hanging in her cell - an apparent suicide, though Malthusius suspected foul play.
- The train journey to Bole took 12 hours. The route was lined with trees adorned with red ribbons to distract and appease the fey.
- From the sleepy logging city of Bole, the unit set off on foot for the frontier town of Agate.
- Here, the townsfolk talked animatedly of the cityfolk who had perished in the bayou. Only 'a young red-haired girl' had survived. But they told of a better-equipped party who had arrived just two weeks ago and returned with something 'large, like a tabletop or a door' beneath a blanket, which was clearly much heavier than wood.
- Making a substantial sacrifice to the Voice of Rot (whose territory this was), the unit was able to pole their boats through the bayou unmolested (except by midges, mosquitoes, torrential rain and humidity).
- Though exhausted by their twelve-hour journey, they eventually found the ziggurat. The mere sight of it was enough to scramble their perceptions and some of the unit were left feeling very fraught and vulnerable.
- Mooring their boats, they approached the camp where bodies of some of Xambria's colleagues still lay. Malthusius saw a sudden image of them clutching at their heads before collapsing. From that moment on, the deva felt as if he was on the verge of experiencing a skyseer vision, but if he looked to the heavens, it seemed as if worms were crawling inside his head.
Great session of nothing but roleplay and exploration. The set pieces worked out very well. I was particualrly pleased by my portrayal of Xambria, channelling Katherine Hepburn. Weber was a full-on comedy German (who sounded like the air being slowly released from a very condescending balloon); Bergeron nasal and oleaginous (with 'stonewalling villain' written all over him).
The golden golem episode was brought to life by the fact that I sent a fictonal excerpt to the group describing what happened back in February. It was a challenge for them to roleplay what they didn't know, but it worked to prevent them from going too far off on a tangent (as they had been given the key to the mystery already).
I had to work hard to encourage the group to pursue the ziggurat lead once they'd decided to focus on Caius. Interestingly, they proposed having Kaja Stewart ID him as the tiefling who brought the artefacts to Macbannin (so when she died in the cells the following day it was all the more frustrating for them - heheheh...)
Saturday, 2nd June, 2012, 08:41 AM #103
Waghalter (Lvl 7)
Here's the prolix interlude I sent to my players some time ago.
Where possible, I like to give the party a glimpse of what is happening elsewhere in the world (if it can be done without giving too much away). I find it helps to immerse them more fully in the game, and to see it as work of collaborative fiction.
Occasionally, a player might respond. I have also attached the description of the Garden of Sweetmeats provided by Uru's player.
Neither of us is a professional writer, and these pieces are not particularly well edited, but I include them to give a sense of how the players (and I) are responding to the campaign.
The Garden of Sweetmeats.docx
Last edited by gideonpepys; Sunday, 3rd June, 2012 at 07:41 AM.
Saturday, 2nd June, 2012, 04:50 PM #104
The Grand Druid (Lvl 20)
Man, what a bounty of updates. I love this stuff. I'm a little jealous of you for the creativity and investment of your players.
Saturday, 2nd June, 2012, 05:47 PM #105
Waghalter (Lvl 7)
Sunday, 8th July, 2012, 01:32 PM #106
Waghalter (Lvl 7)
- Rumdoom and Uru were overcome by the disorienting energies of the Ziggurat and remained behind with the boats.
- Matunaaga took up position halfway up the ziggurat while the others searched the campsite.
- The bodies had been interfered with and searched since death. All useful documentation had been stolen.
- The reserachers had been killed by psychic energy. Their bodies had decayed but had not been eaten or carried away - there was no sign of natural fauna in the area. The energy of the ziggurat repelled them.
- The unit headed inside the ziggurat and after a deep descent discovered they had only gone down about ten feet!
- There were more bodies in the entrance chamber - this time killed by claws/tentacles/necrotic energy.
- Three Ancient orc mummies stood in alcoves. They had clearly been divested of a staff, a sword, and an amulet.
- Offered a choice of left or right, the unit first investigated a dessicated corpse hanging on a spear trap to the right - a dead tomb robber providing evidence of the traps that lay ahead.
- Leon experienced a hallucination about his future at this point. His reattached arm had turned into a snake, and bitten his girlfriend, who died in his arms. He was them accused of a terrible crime and was herded through the streets of Flint, being jeered at and vilified. Finally, he found himself imprisoned in a cell made from gold.
- They went left, and came to a room containing many platforms over a deep, watery, spike-filled pit and an elaborate magical puzzle designed to cross it by lowering multicoloured magical walls and raising magical bridges, each colour keyed to a specific plane. It made it impossible for less than four people to make it through the room.
- Here, Malthusius also had a vision of a possible future. He was in battle with a rakshasa, only it wasn't clear if he was the rakshasa as the rakshasa's opponent didn't look like him at all. All he knew was that he was one of the combatants.
- Partway through solving the puzzle, they released two creatures that resembled - in origin if not in form - the same type of 'thoughtforms' released by the golden staff. These were glowing orbs, like spherical jellyfish with trailing tentacles. They attacked, along with many insidious implanters - crawling horrors with ovipositors that had climbed up from the pit.
- Once they had dealt with these monsters, and Krauss had succumbed to an even deeper form of the madness afflicting many of the unit by now, they managed to solve the puzzle and cross into an ancient maproom.
- (On opening the final door, Malthusius had a vision of the Ancient orcs preparing for battle with 'Warbeasts of Gidim' - their name for the thoughtform creatures. He also learned that one could 'think at' these creatures to weaken/affect them.)
- The map room was once a dead end, but could now be accessed by a tunnel freshly dug from the other side. (Clearly the archeologists could not be done with repeatedly solving the rainbow bridge puzzle over and over again.) At the other end of the tunnel was a room where a large indentation in the wall indicated the possible location of a table/door-sized golden seal (now removed).
- In the maproom an ancient contraption indicated the location of another ziggurat - in a place now occupied by the Cold Claw Sea. (The map there was so old it showed modern Risur and Danor linked by a land bridge: the now shattered Yersaol archipelago.)
- From the chamber of the missing seal, they entered a long corridor, which led to a dangerous fire trap. They could either continue straight ahead or take a passage behind the trap.
- They took the second passage and discovered a twisting gauntlet of spear and dart traps, followed by a crushing force trap and two more fire traps. Each of the traps (except for the spear traps) was presaged by an inscription on the walls or floor depicting the planetary system, with one specific planet/plane picked out (Avilona, Jiese, Urim). They made their way along, methodically dealing with each trap.
- Krauss was the first to dash through all of these traps, and found himself on the threshold of a large chamber, where lurked several 'warbeasts of gidim': hideous floating monsters covered in eyes, and spidery crawling spikers. A fight broke out in which the unit had to avoid both these monsters and another trap - a terrifying bottomless pit. A wounded Matunaaga was forced to withdraw at this point.
- Leon realised that the pit was an illusion. They defeated the warbeasts and crossed the room, and, after another twisting passage and two more spear traps, found themselves on the other end of the long corridor they had reached on the far side of the maproom. Only one more chamber remained unexplored:
- Here, a secret door had been wedged open by the archaeologists. Someone had placed an ironic 'welcome' mat in the doorway! Beyond, lay seven corpses, two feathered serpent pillars, and a huge golden seal - but a very poor seal, as it leaked waves of disorienting Apet-flavoured energy.
- Here, Korrigan had a hallucination too. He was holding his newborn son and cycling through strange environments that represented the planets/planes.
- Matunaaga had a vision of an earthquake levelling the temples of his homeland. He braced himself to take aim at a distant star through an intervening haze of pollution, which turned out smoke emanating from the star - not a star at all, in fact, but the pulsing ember of a cigarette!
- The unit prepared to explore this final room.
Rumdoom and Uru's players were away this week. I've been having a lot of fun lately screwing with characters whose players don't show up. Unless there's some major real-life reason for them not to be there. In this case I began thinking how having the party split for the deadly final trap could make for an even more memorable encounter. The report for session 38 details how this worked out in practice.
When you read a dungeon as a DM, it's only natural to try to predict what will happen depending on what route the players take. They could easily miss a huge chunk of the dungeon simply by taking a different route. To my surprise, having negotiated the rainbow bridges, my players headed back south down the spear/dart-trapped corridor, and then back up to the secret seal chamber via the bottomless pit trap. They managed to set off every trap in the dungeon in a beautiful 'figure of eight'!
Krauss has now got a mind scar, which is perfect for his character. He has become obsessed with Matunaaga (which gives him a good excuse to use warweavers tether).
The hallucinations were also great fun. My players have given up trying to read too much into these things, and so I could put quite a lot of hints in the visions without worrying that they would spoil the plot.
NB: I had the monsters in the puzzle room emerge once the players were partway through the room. This idea came about after reading another thread.
Sunday, 8th July, 2012, 01:41 PM #107
Waghalter (Lvl 7)
- Outside the Ziggurat, Uru and Rumdoom had begin to overcome their nausea when a droning sound presaged the arrival of three flying things which must have previously escaped into the swamp. Outnumbered, the pair made a beeline to rejoin the rest of the unit.
- In the seal chamber, Malthusius and Krauss moved to inspect the seal. Leon kept back out of harm's way, while Korrigan headed down the corridor towards the map room. He heard the sound of running water.
- Moving ahead, he found a toxic flood - part of a final trap which now caused all of the dead in the ziggurat to animate - including several spear-wielding mummies that had previously been hidden in alcove behind each 'spear trap'. Korrigan shouted a warning to the others.
- Matunaaga heard the shouts of Uru and Rumdoom and moved to take on the flying things.
- Korrigan waded through the flood before it became too deep and made for the rainbow bridge room.
- Malthusius and Krauss removed the seal (which was clearly fake) and found a portal to nothing where the faceless body of an archaeologist floated.
- At that moment the corpses in the seal chamber animated.
- Uru, Rumdoom and Matunaaga found themselves fighting animated corpses in the entrance chamber too.
- Uru and Rumdoom headed for the rainbow bridge room, while Matunaaga drew the corpses and flying things into the fire burst traps.
- Leon and Krauss had fought their way through the mummies and dashed through the illusory pit trap, but Malthusius was finding it more difficult and got stuck in there.
- Leon went back for him, while Krauss hooked up with Matunaaga. Meanwhile, Korrigan had activated all the coloured bridges and moved to join Uru and Rumdoom, who were holding the door against several monsters.
- The toxic flood trap closed on all parties, and things began to look a little desperate.
- Each group suffered setbacks before making a break for the entrance, which was now blocked by the three orcish mummies which had stood in the alcoves. By now all of the thoughforms and zombies had been felled, but this was a very hard fight.
- At the last minute, the unit dropped the final ancient orc and dashed outside...
- To be confronted by the gigantic form of the Voice of Rot - fey titan and lord of the high bayou.
- The great titan demanded they pursue a sentient intruder that had escaped from the Ziggurat.
With a larger group, now split between three positions (most of the pllayers in the final seal chamber; Matunaaga resting up near the first fireburst trap; Uru and Rumdoom outside) I added three flying things to the final encounter to provide more of a challenge.
The group got a headstart when Korrigan (for reasons best known to himself) decided to move back down the corridor to the false seal chamber while Malthusius and Krauss were inspecting the portal. So he heard the flood trap several rounds before he might ordinarily have done, shouted a warning to the others and then ran through the trap to the rainbow puzzle room (which meant the party was now in four seperate groups).
This was our first session using a new house-rule which limits each player's turn to 30 seconds (unless using an action point). This helped to keep the pace and the tension of the encounter very high.
My advice to other DMs: make this encounter as tough/deadly as you can - there's a great get-out clause at the end to deal with any character deaths and so I was quite disappointed not to take anyone out.
The encounter with the Voice of Rot was phenomenal. Another great example of the campaign throwing curve-balls that surprise the party.
Sunday, 8th July, 2012, 02:04 PM #108
Waghalter (Lvl 7)
One of those roleplay heavy sessions where so much happens it's hard to fit it all into a report. I've included the text from a couple of emails sent between me and Korrigan's player. He was away this week, so I took the opportunity to have him arrested (thanks to the incriminating evidence planted by Kell). I arrested Leon's player too, but that was designed to get him close to Rackus.
- Using the Detect Planar Energy ritual, the unit began to track two primary trails of Apet energy: a single strong source of energy, and a weaker group.
- On their return journey through the bayou Korrigan received a sending which caused him to darken in mood.
- In Agate, Leon and Malthusius sensed energy in a boat that had been rented by a group of two humans, two dwarves and a female tiefling. They head something wrapped and heavy with them.
- Matunaaga encountered two caji (whom the others had seen in Bole, and who had followed the group south on likewise hearing of another maustin caji). Their names were Tosin and Roshna and they requested that Matunaaga accompany them home. He respectfully declined.
- In Bole, Korrigan headed straight for RHC HQ, asking Leon to take over and continue hunting for Apet energy. They found some associated with a train car, again linked to the group with the heavy object.
- On their arrival at King's Station in Flint, the unit was met by RHC officers led by Carlao, Dima and Serena. Korrigan was arrested and taken to RHC headquarters. He instructed the others to proceed with the investigation and seemed to have expected his arrest
Extract from earlier emails re. Korrigan:
You are taken to RHC HQ by carriage. On the way, Carlao is much more vocal than usual (where he seems merely dutiful at best; morose at worst). He mentions that Lady Saxby predicted your downfall in this fashion: your ache for publicity was revealing of impatience and ambition. He also mentions Malthusius' attempt to have himself installed as Mayor of the Nettles; Rumdoom's campaign to place himself at the centre of the Eschatologist philosophy (at which Dima nods ruefully); and Leon's attempts to curry favour at the Battalion. He also remarks that you even have a maustin caji serving you now, just like a true king of Risur!
(These are clearly Saxby's words. It his hard to make out Carlao's motivations. He seems almost angry with you.)
At the HQ, you learn that Leon has also been arrested (after you had departed, by a different unit) and taken to the Central Court prison.
The charges are that documents pertaining to your attempt to take over Kaja Stewart's smuggling operation were found at your home following a tip-off, along with a substantial payment (200gp...) and instructions from Lorcan Kell to seal the deal by bumping off Isaac Randall (the guy who led you to Kaja).
The same information led to a search of Lilly's brothel in the bayou (Leon's home), where Randall's badly burned body was found chained below the waterline to the jetty.
The accusation is that you had Leon murder Randall at Lorcan's behest, with the intention of adding his criminal network to your growing list of influential allies.
- Leon's arrest was much less dignified. He was placed in mage cuffs and blindfolded.
- At Central Court prison a large crowd was demanding the release of Rock Rackus.
- Leon was roughed up until a more friendly guard (whose family had been spared the full horrors of the witchoil disaster by the actions of the unit) took a shine to him, and offered to mention him to Rock.
- Krauss and Rumdoom learned that shadowy figures had been watching their homes.
- Krauss discovered that some of his political pamphlets (published under the pseudonym of 'the Grumbler') had become popular with a group of political thinkers loosely aligned with the Beran Panoply. Earnest member Karl Kanincher issued an inbite for Krauss to speak at one of their meetings (held, as coincidence would have it, in The Rolling Potato).
- Uru discovered that milk spider eggs he purchased for Searkil Shortankard were fakes.
- Rumdoom was invited by Khoomrung to another meeting with Valchek. The latter was keen to make moves against the Kell Guild, as his messengers had been violently rebuffed.
- Coincidentally, Malthusius was also approached by Morgan Cippiano with a view to helping the unit deal with Lorcan Kell, who was cealry trying to incriminate the group. They came up with the idea of putting the Family and Black Star Mining in touch with one another...
- Following the planar trails, and using educated guesswork, the unit found Apet energy in Gun Alley (at the Arms Fair), in the Museum of Antiquities (associated with the Staff of the Ancients, needles to say), and at the homes of both Xandria Meredith and Caius Bergeron:
- The energy in Gun Alley was associated with both the stage area (props and set belonging to Rock Rackus) and a couple of badgers belonging to Fildi and Dilfi that had mutated and grown tentacles thanks to the release of Apet energies.
- The unit went to see Rackus and found him sharing a drink and a chat with Leon!
- Rock Rackus turned out to be a self-centred, amoral but well-meaning buffoon who had no idea what to do with his newfound influence over the Docker movement. He told the team all about his wild adventures and seemed to be genuine enough. The Apet energy emanated from a sacrificial dagger he found 'in one o' them Ziggy-yat thangs'. (It helped with teleportation rituals which Rock was a dab hand at.) He also told them that he had done business with Caius Bergeron, and had visited the 'ziggy-yat of Jiese'. In return for help getting him released (which the unit knew was soon going to happen anyway) he offered to take them treasure hunting using a scroll he had found (but had currently misplaced).
- Leon and Malthusius spent some time trying to convince Rackus to use his popularity and influence to good ends. Rackus asked them what he should say to the people.
- At this point, Krauss used arcane mutterings to imbed some key phrases from his survivalist philosophy into Rackus' head...
- From the jail, the unit checked out Xambria Meredith's apartment, which emanated waves of Apet energy. It was empty, but showed signs of a violent struggle. Xambria's travelling gear was gone. The unit discovered she had bought passage on a ship called the Dagger bound for eastern Ber. Likewise, a group matching the description of 'a female tiefling, two unarmed humans and two female dwarves' had hired a huge mercenary ship called Il Dracon de Mer and gone in the same direction.
- Caius Bergeron's apartment was undisturbed, but Bergeron was dead! He lay in bed with a dislocated jaw, his brain having been removed through a hole in his soft palate. A map on his table indicated the location of the submerged ziggurat.
Extracted from previous emails re. Korrigan:
You spend a couple of nights in RHC cells, alongside a number of villains and ne'erdowells. As Randall connects to Macbannin (as does Lorcan Kell), your case was being dealt with by Carlao, Serena and Dima.
It is clear that Carlao is very loyal to Lady Margaret Saxby, and that she has convinced him that you are a power-hungry rival whose ambitions have led you to this predicament. Carlao's apparent anger is a mystery to you until, when he steps out of the interrogation room, Dima explains how much Carlao had looked up to you. He feels you have betrayed the RHC, and all of the junior officers who shared his admiration of the veteran Marshal.
Serena keeps her distance. She often stand with arms folded in the corner of the room, with her tinted glasses hiding her eyes. Once only she speaks to enquire after Matunaaga. "That maustin caji you run with," she says, "is he really that good?"
"Matunaaga is an exceptionally capable warrior," Korrigan replies. "Which is why I chose him."
Your case does not get past the first 48 hours of investigation when it is revealed as a clumsy set-up. Randall's body is examined, and his burns are found to be inconsistent with anything Leon could inflict. But even more importantly, as part of their 'audit', some of the officers who came to Flint with Viscount Nigel Price Hill have been watching you and your team: One such officer was watching your house when a pair of shady types broke in. He subsequently followed them and their laden cart to Lilly's brothel in the bayou, and from there to Kell Guild territory. You are released from the cells and brought before both Stover Delft and the Viscount, who apologises for not having stepped in sooner.
To make amends for this, he invites you and Elizabeth to a grand ball at the Governor' mansion. Stover Delft looks jealous.
You spend the next few days with Elizabeth, leaving your team to handle the Planar Trail. If things go according to plan word will probably reach you that the unit needs to set sail for the seas east of Ber, to investigate a second Ziggurat.
Elizabeth is doting, far less distant than she has been, and says she is feeling much better. She goes on to say how much she respects your sense of duty and hopes you will not take any of her actions or words to mean that she wishes you would give up your role. Bernard has done much to convince her of Risur's need for men such as you (he in turn was convinced of this by Nevard Sechim, it seems).
At the Governor's ball, the formal affair begins in stately fashion, but takes the hard-partying turn that such events always do in tropical countries. Elizabeth looks radiant, and seems to be having a very good time. Malthusius is invited too but you witness a strange event early in the evening, when Governor Stanfield loudly berates him for his 'clumsy attempt' to enter the political arena and sneers at his choice of running mate for the post of Mayor of the Nettles: "a known sexual deviant with questionable ethics". He asks an underling to escort Malthusius from the premises!
Later, while Elizabeth is dancing with Cezar, Viscount Price-Hill approaches and draws you out onto the balcony. He gives you a cigar, and asks if you really do have higher ambitions - whether in politics, the RHC, the army or the navy.
Korrigan's response: "As for the question about political ambitions, the answer is that the main and only ambition is to serve and protect Risur and its people. Any position - political or otherwise - is simply the means to be able to do more in that regard and if the circumstances arise where he is called to do more, he will be prepared."
The Viscount is suitably impressed. If you wish, he can arrange for the Impossible, and Captain Rutger Smith, to be placed at your disposal. Although the Impossible is some days out of Flint, being as it is the fastest ship in the navy, it can reach Flint and get you to eastern Ber in the same amount of time as it would take a regular ship to get there even if you set out that very night.
The Impossible is not armed, but it has a large crew and a detachment of marines, and Captain Smith is itching to shake off his reputation as the longest serving naval captain (albeit also the youngest) who has not yet led his ship into a direct engagement.
- And so the unit began to plan for its latest excursion off the coast of Ber.
- Leon was released in to deliver a speech to the Battalion on the topic of ethics and total war - a scathing critique of the methods employed by General Dax Corbeau.
- Malthusius' dismay at his treatment by Governor Stanfield was shortlived: a lackey whispered discreetly as he was escorted to the boat - "The Governor apologises, Malthusius. Your talent for dancing will be wasted if your feet are nailed to the floor."
Korrigan's player dealt with Viscount Nigel Price Hill so well that I decided to have the Viscount call in the level 6 favour for the Impossible on his behalf.
The party was totally bowled over by the death of Bergeron (who they assumed would be the BBEG for the adventure).
Despite his ridiculous nature, the unit is also besotted with Rock Rackus. They absolutely love him, and want to ask him to join the party. (Of course, all of this nonsense happens when Korrigan is out of the picture.)
I'm very grateful to other posters for several of the elements of this session: Malthusius' ill-fated attempt to install himself as Mayor of the Nettles; Korrigan's ongoing issues with his pregnant wife; the idea od taking out Lorcan Kell ahead of adventure #5 . All have been inspired by other posters on these boards.
With regards to the latter I'm setting things up for an interested 'buffer episode' where the Family and Black Star Mining try to take out Lorcan Kell (with the players taking the role of assassins, including the long-awaited return of Azure Lord Blackthorn). Who knows how that will turn out, but I plan to have Kell be a lot tougher than he looks!
Sunday, 8th July, 2012, 05:06 PM #109
Waghalter (Lvl 7)
- Having spent the three-day wait for the Impossible engaged in a variety of useful activities (from shadowing the Attorney General of Flint to putting Black Star Mining in touch with the Family), the unit finally boarded and set sail for the east coast of Ber.
- Krauss was late and boarded in a foul mood. He did not attend the dinner thrown for the unit by Captain Rutger Smith.
- As usual, Smith engaged the group on the subject of philosophy. A keen proponent of the writings of William Miller, he held forth in the iniquities of the clergy and organised religion in general.
- Late on the first night, in a case of mistaken identity, Krauss attacked and badly wounded Silky, the ships merfey mascot, mistaking it for an assailant that was about to attack Matunaaga. An irate Smith confined him to the brig (as much for his own protection as anything else).
- On their arrival, they found three ships circling the dig site: Crisillyiri warship Il Dracon de Mer; Dagger - a tiny Risuri cutter; and a small unarmed Beran vessel, La Inspiracion.
- Doctor Xambria Meredith was on board Dagger - a ship she chartered having learned of Bergeron's intention to send a second team there. She was relieved to see the unit and admitted she was out of her depth. She told the unit she was attacked in her chambers by a tentacled horror which she managed to fend off. She radiated Apet energy thanks to a Golden Icon of Apet around her neck. She warned the team that the dig site was guarded by a half-orc druid and his pet sharks and octopi.
- On La Inspiracion was a goblin archaeologist, Paco de Los Loros, who was furious: he had spent months painstakingly excavating the underwater site, having been hired by Bergeron to do so. No sooner had he reported the discovery of a golden seal, than Bergeron warned him to wait and sent a second specialist team. The specalists arrived on an armed ship and forced Paco and his team away. Paco - and the orcish Captain, Diego Dolorosa - were keen to join forces and take on the interlopers, and Paco had all sorts of grim punishments in mind for any survivors. The drunken, loutish skipper of Dagger was none too keen to risk his neck, however.
- Realising they could not approach the dig site without first dealing with the Crisillyiri clipper, the unit concocted a plan: Waiting until night time, and using La Inspiracion as a distraction, they sent Uru and Leon (water-walking and insubstantial) to disable the rudder of Il Dracon de Mer before approaching at top speed and conducting a very successful boarding action.
- The Captain of the clipper was killed and the rest of his crew subdued.
- In a berth used by Bergeron's specialists the team found a map of the dig site, a book of useful rituals, and a letter from Caius flirtatiously commending the team leader Finona Duvall and inter alia inviting her to join him on an important business meeting in Vendricci.
- Job done, the team prepared to dive...
Interesting session this. Krauss' player was ill, so Krauss got himself confined to the brig (for overzealously protecting Matunaaga from an imagined Sea Devil attack). But the real point of interest was the Boarding Action.
Initially, I felt that I had failed in some way because the encounter was a cake-walk for the players. Then I realised that here was a classic example of 'combat as war' rather than 'combat as sport': Unlike so many 4th edition encounters, here was one where clever tactics and plans laid before the encounter swung the balance firmly in the PC's favour.
I was still irked that my lovingly drawn rendition of Il Dracon de Mer did not see much more than ten minute's use, but consoled myself with the knowledge that it will fill in for the Impossible during the Snatchers in the Night encounter.
One word of warning for DMs: I'm not sure if my players have taken any real notice of the 'PS' appended to Bergeron's letter to Finona. Right now they are more concerned with finding out with immediate dangers (and thwarting the alien invasion they are now certain underpins the entire campaign...). I'm sure this doesn't really matter, and there will be plenty of opportunities to reinforce this message later (in conversation with Finona, or when Delft examines all the evidence). It will probably also be of greater interest when they finally get wind of the conspiracy. But it's funny because I thought they would jump on it straight away.
Tuesday, 10th July, 2012, 05:31 PM #110
Enchanter (Lvl 12)
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