ZEITGEIST: The Gears of Revolution [Zeitgeist] Chronicles of Unit 42 - Page 3





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  1. #21
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    Going to have another week off, because I'll be down in Austin for a wedding. I'm a bit bummed about taking off two weeks in a row, and I'm very excited about playing through Skyseer. Hopefully next week gets here soon and goes off without a hitch.

    It looks like she is definitely playing the Hengeyokai Rogue, and I definitely think I"ll be using the Unseen Court a bit to see if she's interested in them at all. Maybe have a mysterious elf show up and offer her a job, and hand her the note for Gale. See how she reacts to it. She will have had no previous interaction with them, unlike the rest of the group, so it would make the most sense for her to be the one offered that job. I'll have to think about it a bit. Hmm.
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    So, after two weeks off (both my fault...), my group is finally getting back together to play the first session of Skyseer! I'm so excited you, you guys. I've got a little pinboard with Nilasa's picture pinned to the middle, Wire-style, so they can keep track of different threads of investigation. I've got notecards written up with information on all the important NPCs. I've read through this module like three times, just to make sure I'm as prepared as I can be.

    Two weeks makes me a very un-lazy DM, apparently.

    We play on Sunday, so I'll probably post about it on Monday and let you all know how it went!
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  • #24
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    So. Wow.

    OK, we started Skyseer yesterday. I was more prepared for it than I thought going in, which was good. Still, they did so much in one session, it's a bit overwhelming to think about afterward. I typed up this recap, and it came in at over 2100 words! So, I apologize in advance for the length, but I wanted to make sure I covered everything.

    ===

    On the first day of Summer in the year 501 A.O.V., Unit 42 found themselves at RHC headquarters, introducing themselves to Raynard, their new teammate, when Assistant Chief Inspector Stover Delft abruptly interrupted and began telling them of a new case.

    He told them that apparently a young woman jumped from the top floor of the Danoran Consulate and impaled herself on the wrought iron fence nearly forty feet from the building. Since half of her is in their jurisdiction, they get to get to the bottom of it.

    So, they hopped in a carriage and made the hour long journey to North Shore.

    They met officer Ballistair outside the gates and he quickly briefed them on what they knew - girl fell and bled out, but not before someone came along and took something off her body. They needed to see Julian LeBrix to get the rest of the story.

    First, however, the constables decided to do a bit of investigating outside the embassy. They went around, asking some people on the street if they had seen anything, and learned about the man with the goatee running down an alleyway, holding a blood-covered bundle of some kind. They learned that there were two gunshots after the girl fell from the window and that there was a man with no face standing in the window. They learned that three men were spotted outside the embassy shouting at each other before taking down the body - one man who was described as tall and muscular (LeBrix) one who was well-dressed, and might have been a nobleman (the consular), and one who's face they could not quite remember (Creed).

    Next, they went to check on the alley way where the man with the goatee fled. They did a pretty thorough search and found the deed to the Danoran barge, and the necromantically-infused blood. After stumbling for a few minutes, they were approached by a carriage driver, Jack Byron, who told them about the doctor, and his emergency surgery, and how he took him back to his hostel, but was never paid for his services. The unit got the name of the hostel - the House of Blue Birds - and debated whether they should go there first or talk to the Danorans. Eventually, the decided they wanted to see the body, so they went on in to the Consulate.

    They met LeBrix, who matched the description of one of the shouting men, and investigated the fence and ground surrounding it while he briefed them from his end. They immediately noticed a hole in his story - he claimed to have shot her before she jumped, and all the witnesses said the shots came after she fell. They decided to check out more evidence before accusing him of anything.

    The two things they requested from LeBrix were to see the top floor, where she jumped (something he seemed reluctant to show them) and to talk to the Consular (which he seemed very reluctant to do for them). However, when they hinted at the inconsistencies in his story, he softened up a bit and showed the top floor, but that he did not have the power to introduce them to the consular, and he apologized for that.

    As they searched Reginald Battersea talked with LeBrix, to keep his guard down, and the rest of the unit began doing their thing. They located the blood splatter under the rug, from a slashing weapon - not a gunshot - and decided it was time to really lay into poor LeBrix. They showed him how the stories didn't add up, and that they knew he was covering something up. He looked shaken and asked them to please get the body and go. They could talk to Braden, and some of the staff downstairs if they wanted, but it was time for them to leave the consulate.

    So, they went downstairs and talked with Braden for a few minutes. They felt truly bad for him, and took it easy. They learned about the chocolates, and her fascination with Gale. They also learned that she lived with Heward Sechim at his factory, and that she spent a lot of time at the Thinking Man's Tavern.

    They thanked him for being so forthcoming, and dismissed him so they could investigate the body.

    They found the obvious wounds - the bullet holes and the fence punctures. After looking a bit deeper they found the wound on the scalp and the healed facial injury, as well as the vial in her top. Here, they were also able to confirm that the gunshots came after she was already impaled, and that she had no inherent magical abilities, so she could not have flown on her own.

    Convinced that LeBrix was up to something, they decided to head to the House of Blue Birds and see if they could find anything on the man with the goatee. Next after that was the Thinking Man's Tavern. As they left, the secretary wished them a cheerful good day. They paused and noticed how happy everyone here seemed to be, and Gareth, the Yerasol War Veteran, said it looked to him like they were all under the influence of fey pepper. On a hunch, their newest member Raynard decided to look at the chocolates, and found them covered with the stuff, as well as stamped with the mark of the Thinking Man's Tavern.

    When they arrived at the House of Blue Birds, they asked the man at the front desk about a man with a goatee. He wasn't sure who they meant, so they said he may have been carrying something, perhaps a bundle of surgical tools. The man told them that there was a doctor staying, from Barrovia - were they looking for Dr. Von Recklinghausen? They decided that must be him, and asked if he was there. He was not, but the man offered to show them his room. He also asked if they had spoken with Officer Porter, who had already been by to see the doctor.

    The constables did not know Officer Porter, and asked if the man could describe him. The man thought about it and said that on second thought, he didn't really remember what he looked like. The constables were starting to put some things together.

    There was nothing noteworthy in his room, so they next decided to visit a police station and ask about Officer Porter. No one at the North Shore station knew of anyone by that name.

    They asked if someone there would be willing to take the chocolates and the empty elixir vial up to their headquarters for them to have them analyzed, and they agreed to do so. Next stop was the Thinking Man's Tavern.

    It was busy when they arrived, near dinner time. A small earthquake shook the building, and after a bit of panic, a loud voice from the back of the room calmed everyone with a clearly prepared speech about blizzards and the earth settling. They approached the bar, and asked if anyone there could help them, and they were on a case regarding Nilasa Hume. The bartender pointed them toward Barb.

    They were wary to tell anyone about her death, before they had more information, so they played things with Barb pretty close to the chest. They just asked if she was involved in anything they should know about or who else they could talk to. From her, they learned about Nilasa's relationship with Braden, and seemed to put it together that she was only dating him to get access to the consulate.

    She pointed them towards the Band and the Professors, and also suggested they talk to Heward, if they hadn't already.

    Reginald was willing to play along with Hennet's "assignment", which delighted the scholar. They were able to learn that Nilasa had been in correspondence with someone named Monsignor Morgan Cippiano, and needed the letters written in Crissyliri. Apparently there was some kind of deal going down, but Hennet did not have to many details about it, unfortunately.

    Jerred mentioned that Nilasa had begun getting him in contact with the Cloudwood Brigands, but the constables intimidated him away from that, and got him to admit to planning his own protest, which he said he would not do. Otherwise, he didn't have much for them at this point.

    They were now joined by their teammate Casimiro del Garra, who had picked up a dossier and criminal file on Nilasa, which gave them the names of Travis Starter and Ford Sorghum, as well as the address of Heward's factory, and that she was recently arrested and bailed out (they had found the bail slip in her pocket, but it didn't seem to register with them at the time).

    Finally, they asked the bartender about the chocolates, and if they were made there. He confirmed it, and said that Nilasa had come in that morning to get them. They thanked him, and decided it was time to head to Heward's factory.

    They got there amid the chaos of the factory protests, and noted that Heward's was the only factory not being actively protested. The guards at the door let them in, after Gareth flashed his badge, and they were able to locate Heward pretty quickly. Again, they decided not to tell him of Nilasa's death at this point, and asked some general questions about her, about how he knew her, and about her relationship with Starter and Sorghum, and the nature of her arrest. Heward seemed afraid for her safety, and mentioned how he feared his ranting about the other factories had led her to her admiration of Gale.

    At this point, the constables decided it was time they meet Gale in person, and asked if he knew a way to do that.

    He said he personally did not, but that his uncle probably could. Casimiro put it together that his uncle was the skyseer Nevard Sechim. Heward gave them directions through the Cloudwood to his uncle's camp, and they thanked him. Before they left, however, he told them of the threats he had received, and asked if they wouldn't mind keeping an ear to the ground, in case they learned anything else about that, because it had happened to a few other factories in the area. They said they would do so.

    They followed his directions - it was now getting rather late, but they decided to make the trip up to Cloudwood anyway - and made their way through the fog and the humidity. As they went up the mountain, they heard a scream and the sound of hooves running toward them. They ducked aside from the path and watched as a horse ran past, a horse that had clearly broken from a carriage.

    The ran ahead, and found a pair of men ducked behind a carriage, teetering on the edge of a cliff. A woman's scream emitted from the carriage and arrow fire rained down on it from rises on both sides of a switchback. The two men by the carriage saw the constables and screamed for help.

    Unsure of what to do, Unit 42 waded into the middle of the fight to try and talk and figure out what was going on. A man on the south rise, with red hair, kept screaming for someone named Morena, and would not stop firing until Raynard took fox form, ran up to him as fast as he could, and physically subdued him. The man called his men off, but the last of his men fired an arrow, killing the last pistoleer, as Gareth made it to the carriage in time to get the woman out from the back. The red-headed man, who introduced himself as Den, explained how these men had kidnapped Morena and they came to get her back. He thanked them for helping, and asked what he could do in return.

    The constables explained they were looking for the skyseer Nevard Sechim, and Den told them he would take them there right away.

    So, they climbed the rest of the way to the camp, where Nevard was already sitting outside with some of his followers, trying to read the stars through the clouds and the fog. They introduced themselves, and explained they were trying to get in touch with Gale, so they could get information for their case. He told them he could make it happen, but he needed their help first.

    He explained that he needed one last vision before he died, and how the only place left in Flint he could do so was Cauldron Hill. He asked if they would bond themselves to him, go with him to Reed Macbannin's to get permission to go up the hill, and protect him from the spirits of the area while he had his visions, and in exchange he would gladly arrange a meeting with Gale.

    They agreed to set out the following afternoon, and asked if they could stay at his place for the night.

    ===

    A few thoughts.

    1) They took almost an hour and a half before they even got inside the consulate. Some of that was joking around and eating, but mostly it was them stalling. They wanted as much information as possible before they went in, and it paid off. They were able to see through LeBrix's lies almost immediately. I almost felt bad for him, since he's only lying out of duty, and they're sure he's covering up something (which he is), and they are very motivated to out him for it. It was interesting.

    2) Our new player decided to name their character, a fox hengeyokai rogue, Raynard. So, I changed Renard Woodsman's name to Den. Easy to remember, and similar enough. Just a weird coincidence. Especially, because I used Renard in the interim game a few weeks ago. Oh well.

    3) They covered a ton of ground it felt like. It's only been one day in game, and it feels like they're getting a lot done. Which is fine. But since some things cannot be done yet (Smuggler's Night for example), I'm hoping they will have enough to do between now and then. Next session is (depending on how much else they get done) Cauldron Hill, which directly leads to the arsonists. But, I guess they still have just barely touched on the Family and Von Recklinghausen threads. OK. I have talked myself down. There's a lot left to do.

    4) The biggest reactions I got from them were when I described how Nilasa had impaled herself, and when they first met Braden. They really felt terrible for him, so I'm wondering how I can use that later in the adventure. I don't really want him to just disappear.

    I had a great time running this session. I'll have to spend a few hours reflecting on how things are going in other parts of the city while they're with Nevard, though.
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  • #25
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    They also had a positive reaction to the Fog of War encounter. Coming into something like that, and not knowing who were the "good" guys and "bad" guys was interesting to them. They stalled for a few rounds, but eventually, they started to put it together, just not in time to stop Renard's (er... Den's) men from killing Kell's men. That's a well designed encounter.

    Though, I dropped the ball and forgot about the actual fog.... it was still interesting enough with the terrain and the actual conflict, that I don't think the fog was necessary, but I still wish I would have remembered it.
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    Played for a few more hours yesterday. We didn't get as much investigating done, because the fight with the Waryeyes took up most of the evening. It was still a lot of fun, and the players appreciated a good, old fashioned set-piece battle.

    ===

    Unit 42 woke up at Nevard's Henge on the morning of the 2nd day of Summer in the year 501 A.O.V. with a few solid leads for their case. They had the names of two of Nilasa's accomplices (Travis Starter and Ford Sorghum). They had sent the vials of fey pepper and the used elixir of invisibility to the arcane lab back at RHC headquarters. And they had a promise from Nevard to connect them with Gale if they got permission from Reed Macbannin, mayor of the Nettles, to let them up on Cauldron Hill for a night of skyseeing. They were ready for another productive day.

    They met up with their boss, Assistant Chief Inspector Stover Delft, and ran him through the leads they had followed and what they intended for that day. He nodded in satisfaction, and agreed to help make an appointment for them to meet Macbannin that afternoon. He also gave them the results of the tests they had run on the elixir and the fey pepper, which pointed towards Pine Island. With another day the lab could pinpoint the exact shop. They also got a location on Starter and Sorghum, at the Goodson Estuarial Reformatory, which also happened to be in Pine Island. They decided to kill two birds with one stone, and head that direction.

    They arrived at the floating prison at about 11 o'clock and arranged with Derek Goodson to see the two men, in separate rooms, so they could get their information and corroborate it immediately. They thought about using a good-cop-bad-cop strategy, but Reynard was the only member of the unit who was trained in interrogation, so they decided he would play both parts, and just shift into his hybrid fox form for the bad-cop parts.

    It was pretty unnecessary. He cracked Sorghum almost immediately, and even agreed to see about letting in some of this lady friends in exchange for the information. On a sheet of parchment, Sorghum wrote down what he knew - Nilasa had bragged about a job for some family from Crissilyr, and had mentioned an accomplice for the job named the "House Elf". He didn't know much more than that.

    Starter wasn't as easy to crack, but he was more willing to work with the constables when they agreed to see about letting his son visit. He also described the job Nilasa bragged about, and added that it was for a cache of wands stolen from an eldritch repository, and the exchange would take place on the evening of the 4th.

    Armed with this new information, the constables decided to scout the streets for their drug dealer, and then maybe look up this "House Elf" afterwards, if they had time before their meeting with Macbannin. An hour later, they had a name: Danisca Waryeye.

    They tromped up to her shop and found it, and another small shop, situated off from the main row of buildings. Out of curiosity, they checked to see what the other shop was. As luck would have it, the sign outside read "The House Elf". Startled by this good fortune, they decided to pay Danisca a visit.

    Inside the shop, after speaking with the guard outside briefly (also where Casimiro del Garra's owlbear had to stay, because he was too big to fit inside the shop), they found a variety of healing potions, as well as more commercial "Love Potions" and "Elixirs of Luck". After looking about for a bit, Danisca emerged and asked what she could do for the RHC. After a few pleasantries, and asking about Danisca's relationship with Nilasa, the unit leaned on her pretty hard, saying they knew she supplied the fey pepper and the elixir she used that got her killed at the consulate.

    When they refused the water she offered, she began casting a spell, and combat ensued!

    They were able to get the drop on her and took her down pretty quickly. As she fell, she screamed for her husband Blander. The guard outside the door slowly backed away and left the scene, not wanting to get into trouble with the RHC.

    Casimiro went down the hallway to investigate, and triggered the dreaming dust trap as he opened the door to the lab, but quickly shook off the effects. Almost immediately, another gnome burst through the back door, led by a pair of large, angry badgers, and immediately knocked Casimiro back into the hallway where the animals were able to pounce on him.

    There was a brief tussle with the badgers, just long enough for Blander to realize he was outmatched, and he ran for the door again, narrowly avoiding a sneak attack from Reynard, and sprinted into his own workshop.

    Victor Bays, Gareth Carter, and Reginald Battersea chased after him while Casimiro stayed behind to restrain Danisca and Reynard decided to run around to the other side of the building. Inside the magician's workshop, the other three quickly climbed the catwalks to get a better view. Gareth nearly fell victim to one of the drowning tanks, but all were able to avoid the trapped floor of the workshop. When they couldn't find the gnome inside the workshop, they decided to cut their losses and head back to get Danisca.

    That was when they ran into Blander outside the theater, running for his wife. They surrounded him and Casimiro's spiritual companion knocked him unconscious.

    They deposited the gnomes' bodies at the local police station, and asked if they would mind taking them to RHC headquarters so they could question them later. The police agreed, and Unit 42 headed toward the Nettles.

    They arrived around 2 in the afternoon, and made their way through the slums, and up to the extravagant mansion of Reed Macbannin. As they arrived, Macbannin's butler approached and told them it would only be a few minutes before Macbannin was ready for them, and offered refreshments if they wanted them. Gareth Carter recognized that the butler had a soldier's posture.

    They agreed to wait. A few minutes later a messenger came out and lit a cigarette, which they immediately identified by smell as leaf of Nicodemus, and gave a short rhetorical speech about the suffering of the people in the Nettles, and how he'd give anything to help them from it. They agreed, shook hands, and the messenger rode off as the butler came back out to take them to their meeting.

    As they described to Macbannin what they needed, he frowned. But, after a bit of consideration, he grinned and agreed to let them take the skyseer up Cauldron Hill, and began going through all the precautions they would need to take (rusted iron amulets, goats blood, fire for warmth, etc.), and said the only condition was they had to come back through his manor on the way home for cleansing. They agreed, and went off to pick up Nevard from his camp.

    ===

    A few notes.

    I was a bit worried about the fight, after they took out Danisca in the first round. I roll everything in front of the players, and don't particularly like to fudge things like damage and initiative. I did beef up her defenses a bit, but left her HP total alone. Four of the five PCs beat her in initiative, and the apothecary guard (there was only one, because I made the badgers more powerful), rolled lowest out of everyone.

    So, it seemed like it would be a super quick and easy victory for them. I'm glad I was wrong.

    Blander mostly stayed behind cover while the two badgers charged and attacked in melee. I gave them an ability similar to the one the halfling had on the Coaltongue, where they could knock someone prone and then stand on top of them. Also, I made them brutes instead of minions...

    After dispatching those, however, Blander ran, and the PCs spent another 7 rounds or so chasing him through the alley ways and his workshop before finally taking him down. It was almost more fun for me, as the DM, to run this kind of combat, because it meant we got to use a lot of board space and had a combat that ranged all over, instead of in a tight area, like a lot of combats tend to go.

    The other thing about this time that was strange: last session, they were very careful to not reveal anything about Nilasa's fate to the people they were interrogating. They were almost too careful with some of the people they needed information from. This time, while talking to Starter, Sorghum and Danisca, they were very heavy-handed and almost aggressive. I think they were ready for a fight today.

    It was a fun session, and it looks like next time will be starting with their ascent up Cauldron Hill. Very excited for that!
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    My group is getting back together again this week, where we will probably get Cauldron Hill and the arsonists done today. That's exciting, because my players do love fun, challenging combats, but it also means we won't be getting much of the actual mystery done today. I'm OK with that, I suppose, just kind of interesting how those things kind of line up like that.

    Also, they're on day two at the moment, about to start day three on top of Cauldron Hill. They haven't yet approached Camp or Kindleton, nor have they had an encounter with Lorcan Kell. Those will both probably take place next time we get together, during day three. Then, there's a good chance they'll also speak to Gale.

    I suppose during day four they'll go look for Wolfgang. And then spend most of the afternoon under the crumbled chapel - hopefully they can get out in time for Smuggler's Night. I don't really know yet how it will all play out...

    More tomorrow probably, when I wrap up today's session.
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    After their meeting with Mayor Reed Macbannin, the constables of Unit 42 headed back to Nevard Sechim's henge, to pick him up and take him to Cauldron Hill. The journey from Cloudwood to the Nettles was uneventful, though they only returned to the mayor's manor about an hour and a half before sundown.

    They climbed the slopes of the mountain until they made their way to the top, where they scouted for a good location for the skyseer to do his thing. They found a ring of stones, which would be easy to fortify, and began to prepare. They circled the camp with the goat blood. They set up snares around the perimeter of the camp. Gareth Carter did some nearby scouting to get the lay of the land, and found a small, cracked cauldron half buried in the ground.

    Soon, night was about to fall, and the skyseer recommended they hunker down, and do their best to keep warm.

    A blistering chill fell upon the group as the wind from the ocean blew gales of icy daggers at them. The chill nearly took Casimiro del Garra, but the shifter was able to barely hang on. Then the monsters came.

    Hundreds of writhing, wailing, slithering, creeping monsters approached the camp, and as they located the blood, began forming a huge tornado of nightmare around the Unit. The otherworldly wailing began to erode their sanity, and each member did what they could to keep the awful sounds out of their heads. Del Garra stuffed dirt and rocks in his ears, Carter tried to remember the Yerasol Wars and rely on his own physical resolve, Victor Bays began chanting prayers to any god that would listen, Raynard sang softly to herself, and Reginald Battersea wrote a thesis paper in his head titled "The Implications of Technology for Field Officers of the Royal Homeland Constabulary."

    It was the most miserable night any of them would ever experience.

    Just after midnight, an apparition formed in front of the unit. A red curtain floated above them, and from behind the curtain stepped the form of Nilasa Hume. Gareth Carter tried to say something to her, but she shushed him, and warned them that her killer was coming.

    Then an instant later they were transported down the mountain and across the harbor to a burning factory, attacked by a pair of fiery dragons. As they factory burned, a sign reading "Sechim's Alkahest and Etchings" fell from a wall and began to turn to ash.

    The unit returned to the mountain, and Nevard pointed toward Jiese, burning bright red in the night sky. Before he could speak, however, a bright light erupted from the other peak on the mountain, and the constables could see a shadowy figure as it launched the newly cracked sunrod toward their camp. The monsters surrounding their camp immediately went on the offensive, and attacked the constables.

    Raynard and del Garra immediately dove for the brush nearby. Bays launched the sunrod away with his mage hand, sending several of the creatures with it. Battersea and Carter prepared for a fight.

    It was quick, and bloody. Bays spent most of the combat dominated by a spectral hag, who latched on to his back and directed his actions, occasionally rewarding him with a kiss from her worm-filled lips. Battersea was harassed by a cackling, legless torso that tried to clamber up his body, preventing him from using his firearms effectively. Carter was followed by a floating apparition of death, which dropped shroud after shroud on him until he was finally knocked unconscious by a vicious swipe from a shadowy scythe. Raynard and del Garra spent the encounter running from a ghostly lion with a mane made of thousands of tiny snakes, which would all bite at once if the lion got too close.

    And poor Nevard was surrounded by dozens of creatures, but saved when the hag used one of Bays' abilities that wiped the mountain clear of most of the weaker spooks. By the end of the combat, the constables were bloody and exhausted, but alive. Nevard calmly suggested they head back down to Macbannin's, and that the constables might go check on his nephew's factory, if they had the time to do so.

    They stopped at the mayor's long enough to get purified from the magic on the mountain and explain what happened up on the mountain to a group of excited night watchmen. With Macbannin's help they diffused the situation, and got in a carriage and headed to Heward Sechim's as quickly as they could.

    When they arrived, they found a pair of dragonborn directing some men to place firegems around the edge of the factory, clearly about to commit arson. Reynard and del Garra sneaked up to the criminals to get a better look, and signaled to the rest of the group to follow, but Gareth Carter is not as sneaky as some of his partners, and gave away their presence. As he slowly approached the dragonborn, apologizing for being late for the job, the rest of the unit prepared to get the drop on the arsonists.

    ===

    We got a late start yesterday, so we didn't have as much time to play as usual. The two encounters on Cauldron Hill pretty much took up the whole session, except for a bit of interaction with the dragonborn brothers at the end.

    I have to say, though. My group both loved and hated Cauldron Hill. And, I mean that in the best way possible.

    I did my very best to play up the creep factor of everything that was going on, and they really felt a sense of danger and unease with all the spooks circling them. When I described the visions they had, they were really engaged in that, and when the shadow-man threw the sunrod toward them, and I told them the monsters attacked, all five of them were audibly shocked.

    The minions were a bigger threat than I expected, but they were wiped out pretty quick. Before they were gone, the group was nearly in a panic, because they thought they were in way over their heads. And, it was neat having bigger creatures to send after each of the PCs, that all had unique (and terrifying) abilities of their own. Particularly, the snakes all biting at the same time creeped them out.

    We ended right before the factory fight, so I'll have the week to plan for that.
    Last edited by d2OKC; Monday, 22nd October, 2012 at 02:36 PM.
    My Obsidian Portal Sites: Heroes of Westfall; Zeitgeist Chronicles

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    We played again yesterday for a few hours. This is getting really good.

    As a reminder, my party consists of:

    Reginald Battersea, human male artificer. A crack-shot and a proper gentleman.
    Victor Bays, human male wizard. Thinks his meerkat familiar is his dead wife.
    Gareth Carter, human male swordmage. A true patriot, proud to be an RHC constable.
    Casimiro del Garra, longtooth shifter monk/shaman. An ex-pat from the Malice lands, with a walking menagerie.
    Reynard, fox hengeyokai rogue. Curious above all, with a bit of a mean streak during interrogations.

    ===

    After their harrowing night on Cauldron Hill, the constables of Unit 42 raced to Heward Sechim's factory, at the behest of his uncle, to find a pair of dragonborn and their minions setting up firegems around the perimeter, prepared to set them on fire. They ran up to stop them, and found themselves in the middle of an inferno almost immediately.

    The dragonborn down below (they would later learn his name was Eberardo) stood toe to toe with Gareth Carter while the dragonborn above (Valando) dropped a wall of flame on top of their cart, igniting it and the surrounding buildings in explosive flame. The rest of the fight was quick and the constables eventually chose to let the dragonborn run away while they knocked over a nearby water tower to stop the fires rather than risk their own deaths.

    Reynard, Victor Bays, and Carter had all gone down at one point or another during the fight, it was early in the morning, and the constables were exhausted. They decided to get some sleep now and return to the office and see what leads they had left to follow.

    That morning, the 3rd of Summer, Assistant Chief Inspector Stover Delft told them how the fires had only gotten worse over night. The riots in Parity Lake were increasing in number and violence, but commended them for the work they had put in.

    They first decided to interrogate the gnomes from the day before, and with little bargaining, they got everything they needed from them, in exchange for letting them leave the city and never returning. They learned the location of a ship called the Sylvio and the name of the captain, Deorn Feldman. They had until tomorrow night after sundown to go stop that.

    Next, they decided to finally follow up with the contacts Dr. Von Recklinghausen left at the House of Blue Birds. First on the list was Dr. Barnaby Camp.

    They met up with Dr. Camp at his surgical theater. He was a bit reluctant at first, but when the constables asked about Officer Porter, he calmed down a bit and showed them a letter he had received that very morning from Dr. Von Recklinghausen. It was still rather vague, just asking for help getting to Ber, but validated the unit's next move of talking to Dr. Kindleton. Camp agreed to pass along any new information he received.

    So, they headed to Pardwight University, where they met Dr. Lynn Kindleton as she was dismissing a class. They asked if she had heard from Dr. Von Recklinghausen, and it was very clear that she did not want to talk about it. She was a terrible liar, and the constables told her very firmly that the doctor was in trouble, and they needed to find him as soon as possible. She still seemed reluctant, so Reynard threatened Dr. Kindleton. She finally gave in, and explained the parcel system they had been using to pass goods to him in the Nettles.

    The party decided to set a sting operation, where they would wait until a new child picked up the package, and follow them back to where they delivered it. It took almost an hour and a half, but their wait finally paid off, and they set out after the wandering youngster - Reynard and Casimiro del Garra close behind him to remain stealthy and Carter and Reginald Battersea farther back to remain undetected.

    About fifteen minutes in to their tail, a strong gust of wind blew through Battersea and Carter. Gale delivered a message, letting them know she wants to meet, and for them to speak a time to set that up. They said five o'clock in the afternoon, and a small yellow canary stayed behind to follow them.

    Ahead, del Garra and Reynard continued on. However, a few minutes after that, they were approached by a man bouncing a leather football, asking if they had a few minutes to talk. They were hesitant, and did not want to lose their lead, but they agreed, if he would walk with them. He explained that he was a representative of Lorcan Kell, and that his boss had information on the whereabouts of the northern doctor, if they wanted to listen to what he had to say. They asked if they could do so later, and the man agreed to meet them at the Thinking Man's Tavern, but that he, and his boss, would not wait long.

    They followed the child to the Nettles, where he dropped the package off with a carriage driver in return for a small pouch of something. They decided to follow the carriage driver, and it made a stop at a tenement building where two men in dark suits got out an went inside. Reynard stealthily made his way to the window to listen in, and heard three men inside rummaging through the package, talking about Lorcan Kell, and how they didn't want to be caught stealing this stuff, but that their meeting was in a hour, and they were very hungry.

    The group had a decision. Wait here for an hour, and miss the meeting with Kell's man, or go and meet him. They chose to head back to the Thinking Man.

    When they arrived, Thames Grimsley was deeply involved rousing some other men in the bar, shouting about the fires in the factories and workers' rights, but the docker never saw the constables and they immediately made their way to their contact, who was sitting in the corner by himself.

    He asked them to follow him. He led them past the burning factories and the riots into the winding heart of Parity Lake. They almost immediately saw through Kell's ruse in the alleyway, and his men good-naturedly apologized for the trick, but warned them not to take their meeting with the boss lightly.

    After a quick inventory of their things, they let the constables inside the theater, where they were ushered to the single box seat where Lorcan Kell was waiting.

    He greeted them and began to talk at them. He knew they were looking for the doctor. He had him in hiding and was waiting for the right opportunity to make some money from this arrangement. The constables could have him for one thousand gold pieces. Kell made it quite clear that this was not a negotiation, it was the only offer they were going to get. They hesitated, and he told them to watch a show with him while they thought about it. He asked his man, Rufus was his name, to put on a comedy.

    The constables were appalled by what they saw. But, knowing they were outmanned, they could do nothing. Kell told them, his men knew they had several thousand gold worth of items on them, and all he needed was one thousand of them. He would let them walk, with specific directions to where the doctor was. With no other choice, and extremely angry, Unit 42 agreed, handed over the amount, and left.

    The directions they received were to a small abandoned church in the Nettles. They would just have time to go get the doctor and make their meeting with Gale...

    ===

    So, unless my group is very lucky, it looks like they are going to be stuck underground during their meeting with Gale. Also, they don't know about it yet, but Nevard's speech and Smuggler's Night will be taking place only hours apart, so it will be interesting to see how they handle that.

    Two of my group (the ones playing Gareth Carter and Reginald Battersea) are currently playing in another campaign right now as well, where the DM is pretty ruthless. As a result they are very, very reluctant to split up, but they may be forced to for the events of Night 4, which will be interesting to see how they handle that. I may use this opportunity to introduce Selena, Dima, and Carlao.

    The silence that followed my description of Kell's "comedy" was one of my very favorite moments ever as a DM. They are so angry at Kell right now, and are already talking about rounding up a posse to bring him to justice.
    My Obsidian Portal Sites: Heroes of Westfall; Zeitgeist Chronicles

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    Played for a few more hours yesterday. We finally got to the reveal of the conspiracy, and I think it was really validating for the players. The last few sessions they kind of felt like they were spinning their wheels and not really learning much, but when they checked out the barge, and then met with Gale, it all kind of clicked, and they felt like they had really started to get somewhere, which is good.

    ===

    After a frustrating meeting with crime boss Lorcan Kell, the constables of Unit 42 had the location of Dr. Wolfgang Von Recklinghausen and only a few hours before their meeting with Gale was scheduled to take place. Anticipating a delay if they went straight to the Nettles, they instead decided to spend their extra time investigating the barge owned by the Danoran Consulate, the deed to which they found in the mud where the doctor dropped it in his escape.

    The barge was located in the Bosum Strand, near the mouth of the Stanfield Canal, and watched by two Danoran guards. Though Reginald Battersea warned of the danger of sneaking aboard a sovereign nation's vessel, the unit decided to investigate up close, and Gareth Carter distracted the guards while Reynard, in fox form, sneaked aboard to check it out. He found no cargo or crew aboard, but did find a log detailing some shipments made up the canal, including mechanical parts and other goods that seemed to have been manufactured in some of the factories in Parity Lake.

    With new information, but a bit stumped with what to do with it, the constables headed towards the Danoran Consulate to get lunch, in case they decided to drop by and speak with someone there about whatever they are working on. Instead, the canary left by Gale began to chirp and sing and lead them along the streets of the city. They followed it up to a beautiful waterfall, which most of them recognized as the bridal veil, where they only had to wait a moment before Gale made herself known.

    She told them of a trip she recently made to the Bleak Gate where she learned of something being built. She couldn't get close, but she suspected the Danorans had something to do with it, and so she sent Nilasa to investigate. Whatever she found at the consulate got her killed, and Gale was ready to get revenge, but instead, she let Nevard talk her into giving the RHC a chance to break the case first. She gave them a ritual to track the energies of the Bleak Gate, and a messenger wind so they could contact her if they need to.

    Also, when asked about Dr. Von Recklinghausen, Gale admitted she did not know him, but if he had taken something off of Nilasa before her death, then they needed to track him down before the conspirators did. They thanked her for the information, and told her they would keep her up to date, and left, to go to find the doctor in the Nettles.
    They arrived to find the church guarded by a man in a dark suit, similar to other men they had seen in Lorcan Kell's employ. They told him they had been sent by Kell, and he gestured inside the church and let them pass. They entered to find it in total disarray. The floor had been flooded, and after a brief tremor shook the hill they now found themselves under, they concluded the earthquakes must have caused the damage done inside.

    They asked aloud for Dr. Von Recklinghausen, and a suspicious sounding voice called back, asking what they wanted from the doctor. Carter explained they had bought him from Kell, and came to get him and take him into protective custody. The doctor peeked around a corner, and asked who they were and why they wanted him. They explained they were investigating the murder of Nilasa Hume, and needed the documents he had taken. He hesitated, but agreed, and at that point the light in the tiny room went completely out, leaving them in the dark.

    The doctor screamed in pain, and when Carter was able to light a sunrod, they saw a bloody-black gash across the doctor's face, and found themselves surrounded by several dark cloaked attackers. As they fought them off, they learned that the shadowy man, who they had guessed was also posing as Officer Porter, was also in the room, but was able to blend with his enemy's shadows, where they couldn't harm him. He spent the first part of the combat attacking the doctor, but after the unit very quickly dispatched of his backup, he began to detach and start to run from them.

    Victor Bays was in the best spot to chase after him, and made it all the way to the entrance to the church before he realized it was blocked by several iron bars preventing Bays from getting outside. He could see from inside that the shadow man had taken the look of Officer Porter again, and was speaking with another man. There were three carriages outside, and almost ten more armed men. Bays teleported his meerkat familiar Daisy underneath one of the carriages to listen in on the conversation.

    After a minute, the other man dispatched two of the carriages and Officer Porter. He telekinetically lifted a metal folding chair and a tray of cheese and wine from the carriage, and sat in front of the door to the church and announced to the unit inside that he needed the doctor and the documentation he was carrying, and that they had one hour to produce both.

    At this point, Von Recklinghausen explained what had happened the night of the murder. He had been there to secure a travel visa, and when he was on his way out, the girl flew from the window and impaled herself. He had rushed over to tend to her wounds, but instead she gave him the bundle and her pendant, and told him to "get these to Nevard". He didn't know who Nevard was, but he said he would give the documents to the constables if they could get him to safety. They agreed, and he recovered the bundle from a hole in the ceiling, and Battersea began scouring them to learn whatever he could.

    He learned that Julian LeBrix had begun an investigation into some inconsistencies in the Danoran accounts and factory inventories. He had made a detailed list of what these missing items were and where they were going - to some sort of large construction project. This list seemed to match up relatively well with the list the Reynard found in the barge's log.

    The documents also mentioned that when LeBrix had done an inspection of the factories, he had found small vials of a mysterious black substance, which Dr. Von Recklinghausen confirmed to be witchoil, that could be used as an energy source, but required to souls of recently deceased persons to work. Finally starting to grasp the scope of the conspiracy, the constables decided they needed to get these documents, and the doctor, to headquarters, and started searching for an alternative exit from the church.

    They found a small tunnel underneath the latrine which led to the street outside the church, where they could see the man outside. They waited for a minute, trying to decide what to do when one of the carriages returned. A blindfolded man was dragged out and pushed to the ground in front of the man, who now introduced himself as one Leone Quital. The blindfolded man was Braden, Nilasa's boyfriend from the consulate, and Quital told them he would kill the kid if they did not hand over the doctor and his documents.

    They could not give in. They had made their decision, and they were determined to stick with it. Quital killed Braden.

    They sent Reynard, in fox form, with the documents to RHC Headquarters. She was easily able to slip past Quital and his men by herself, but the rest of the unit would have a more difficult time doing so. They decided to one-by-one try and slip out around the corner, staring with Casimiro del Garra, then Carter, Bays, Battersea, and finally the doctor. Before they left, the doctor handed Carter his rapier, as a thank you for their effort in keeping him alive.

    Del Garra easily made it around the corner, but, as they expected, Carter was unable to slip through quietly enough, and Quital's men spotted him almost immediately. They sprinted away, and Quital sent three of his men chasing after them through the Nettles.

    Battersea shot an awning down on top of one of them, knocking him out of the chase. When the doctor stumbled, Carter grabbed him and pulled him along with them while Battersea and del Garra found a small alleyway to duck down. The two pursuers, confused, had to split up, and only one of them chose the correct direction to go. The last was taken down by a group of Nettles children, who saw the doctor running for his life, and the group was free.

    They quickly took the doctor to RHC Headquarters, where Assistant Chief Inspector Stover Delft let them know he had already submitted the documents to be analyzed. He then informed them of Nevard's Rally the next day at Dawn Square, and suggested it would be in everyone's best interest if they were there to keep the skyseer safe.

    Now, they only had to figure out how to be there, and at the smuggler's meeting they had learned about though the Waryeyes, at the same time.

    ===

    I was pretty glad they found the secret exit from the church. The fight against Creed and his men wasn't much of a challenge for them, so I was ready for them to just move on from that area, but it was good that they were able to feel like they "had one up" on the bad guy this time, instead of how they had their hand forced when they talked with Kell. When they learned they had been double-crossed by the crime lord, they got very upset. Kell is such a good villain.

    They had a pretty long debate, in character, about whether or not they should align themselves with Gale. The hengeyokai is all for working with her, but the artificer wants nothing to do with her. I was glad to see them getting in to the world like that.

    I used Braden as the hostage, because they had been so empathetic toward him earlier, but it didn't work as well as I had hoped. It was a pretty easy decision for them to let the kid die.

    The best part so far is that they don't suspect who the real villain is at all. So far, all they want is to get back at Kell, and find Officer Porter. The big reveal will be so much fun when they get to that part.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails nettles.jpg  
    My Obsidian Portal Sites: Heroes of Westfall; Zeitgeist Chronicles

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