A new day, a new luxurious ride. With new passengers! Most of whom the party just chose not to pay attention to because they were just exhausted and were more concerned with stowing away a corpse in a case.
During the safari, Goodwyne takes the time to bond with the Griento family and developed a respect for their role in finding a place in the ever changing society of Ber. Mikkel took to the safari and used it as opportunity to put the moves on Bree, much to her annoyance.
Orithea is where things get exciting. Mikkel and Dr Basch hit the town in search for hints and clues to where the nearest person who can Raise Dead is. Goodwyne and Dr Teko decide to follow Luc & Crew. Threm and Cysgod are certain that weird oily naked weirdo from Cherage is sure to be here too so set out a stakeout by the hotel for him.
How'd it go for the team who loves to separate as much as possible as often as possible? Let's divide it up.
Golem Stakeout: The ninja and swashbuckler find the highest vantage point, and start Batman-ing the enclave. After a scream and a chase, they follow the strange figure to Elanor's room.
I wasn't too sure what the actual type of character of Mr Mapple/Andrei was.... so I went with a big sweeping dramatic sort. The kind fueled by the concepts of love, romance, and all those lofty ambitions that give life meaning. As the pair of investigators watched Andrei taking his bath in the hotel room, he gave a speech about his crusade to save his love from the clutches of vile wickedness, "for what is life about... if not to overcome adversity with all the strength our passions provide, as long as we struggle for love... we empower the hearts that beat in our chest."
They took a very serious liking to Andrei, asked him to stop breaking into stuff and in return they'll help rescue Isobel however they can. By having him be just a little bit over the top, they'll get the feeling something is amiss when they find him acting differently in later seasons.
Follow that Carriage: The investigator and alchemist are somehow super crazy good at not being detected as they follow their quarries down to the lighthouse... where they inexplicably decide to split off, steal a rowboat, and try to scale the cliff up to better eavesdrop in on any conversations. A rather time consuming endeavor, and as neither is particularly athletic the climbing had them stuck halfway up to their area, they were in a difficult situation when the sea caught fire underneath them. Consuming many potions, they held in there and came out a little scalded but absolutely convinced that the conspiracy is developing a superweapon capable of massive fires.
Raise the Dead: After lots of bribes in the Night Market and a great deal of interrogations and intimidations, a lead indicated that a mysterious fallen priest named Father Nemo operating just outside of the city's safe limits who may do so, but no results are guaranteed. With that, Mikkel asked Dr. Basch for a 5000gp loan to get this done. In the middle of the night, they go out to the lonely tent where back alley miracles are sold, open the triceratops case... and pay the masked figure for their abilities.
So, magic acts weird here. I got thinking... my wife is pretty weird, and enjoys watching. I asked her to draft a list of 20 possible Raise Dead complications. Five must be positive for the players, but the rest can be whatever she wants.
"No refunds" cackles Nemo under his porcelain mask, extends hands and invokes the magic through some dead language. A green mist rises, covering the deceased Finona Duvall, and a thick energy fills the air.
Mikkel's player rolls the d20, my wife consults the table.
The mists dissipate, and Finona is now a potted ficus plant. The pot looks to have the same colouring as the clothes she wore.
Dr. Basch: "I walk the f*** out, slam the door behind me, I don't even want to look at Mikkel for the rest of the night. Its time to seriously drink."
The party reconvenes, update each other on what happened... and head back to the hotel for the night. Mikkel is dedicated to protecting this plant for the rest of the journey.
The group gathers once more upon the train, and discreetly meet somewhere after Mikkel offers generous monetary gifts to train staff to ensure the Ficus Duvall is taken highly care of.
"So the Obscurati are working on some kind of doomsday lantern explosive device" concludes Det. Goodwyne after what he saw. "They turned it on and all the water turned to fire, it has to be a weapon of war."
The others are shocked and start to wonder about what they can do to, and if they this job needs to become an assassination.
Before they can though, there's a train robbery and oh my word the party is just way too excited for this. At long last of all this undercover nonsense, they decide to just let loose.
Mikkel is up on the roof of the train with a rifle in each hand burning as much grit as possible to shoot at the Screaming Malice and draw its attention away from the passengers.
Cysgod and Threm go full ninja, and smokebombs and swashbuckling abounds and they are more than a match for any person or spawn that stands up to them. The daring pair laugh aloud at their victories all the while.
Det. Goodwyne starts using some odd alchemies to mutate his body a bit and help him fight off some bandits.
Dr. Basch and Dr. Teko both head to the locomotive to get the train going again. Dr. Teko decides to drink some of his alchemies as well, but as they were made during a pocket of wild magic earlier in the trip... its another wild magic table roll courtesy of my wife, and his clothes go sentient, and after a few moments of recognizing their own consciousness his garments begin arguing against each other whether the Great Wearer is deserving of worship because he brought life to them, or is he a false god because he depends more on them for protection only to cast them away when they are too unclean for his liking.
Dr Teko decides that between the archaeologist in the brain and this religious schism in his clothes, this is just too many voices for him and sits down rocking back and forth for the remainder of the encounter.
The train slowly rolls into Trekholm, and the party convenes once again in private.
"That felt good and all... but, that wasn't good for our cover identities, right?" asked Threm.
Cysgod reassured him, "Its fine, it was all kind of crazy. No one could have paid attention to all that. Our identities are secure just fine."
The train limps into Trekholm, and boy does everyone plans. None of which involves the Obscurati at all.
Det. Goodwyne aka Hank Prospane is approached by Damata Griento, who asks him to attend a speaking of Vlendam Heid. Afterwards, explains of his troubles with The Family but surely a man of such bold character can help out. Anyone that stood up to malice beasts and bandits can help him in a scrape, and will be surely rewarded? Moved by his touching story, Goodwyne agrees that even if he can't get the others to aid him... he will be there.
Cysgod and Threm were so captivated by Andrei's impassioned speeches about saving love from the grips of tragedy that they exert all their efforts on following Elanor and Isobel. Through careful eavesdropping and clever impromptu disguises, the pair just barely manage to catch her communications regarding an upcoming auction. They swear themselves to Andrei that they'll rescue her! Because love is what's important. Governments rise and fall, but what hasn't changed is the indomitable spirit of greater emotions.
In getting off the train, Dr. Basch decides to do some random mind-reading and successfully gets into Cardiff's head. Finding out about his secret rendezvous to sell government secrets... he works up Mikkel and Dr. Teko into a frenzy that he needs to be stopped for this nefarious transaction can take place. Due to poor stealth rolls, a massive shootout begins. The party manages to escape with an unconscious Cardiff Hengehill through copious use of the Confusion spell, diving into Dr. Teko's Top Hat of Holding (bag of holding, except occupies a head slot usually reserved for his alchemy tables) and the tiefling flying off awkwardly on his new wings (Alchemists are weird anytime they level up). Hiding away for a while, Dr. Teko and Mikkel grow alarmed by the crazy mind control powers that Dr. Basch exerted and how it caused half their pursuers to turn on each other... or themselves.
The trio make their way to the docks knowing that there's a supply ship ready for them. Only instead of resupplying ,they decide to drop off the turncoat spy to one of their superior contacts. Giving them an update as to what happened, they ask for advice on what to do further now that their main plan went terribly.
"How new to you are this? Always have a plan C. Plans A and B never work. Did you actually take this mission with no regard for contingencies?"
Heads are lowered in shame.
The party returns to the train by morning feeling pretty triumphant... until they remember that they were supposed to keep an eye on the Obscurati agents, who may as well have been doing whatever they wanted. Then there's a bit of facepalming. Then they justify it to themselves.
"Well... we're supposed to follow them to the end of the line, right? Which means no matter what they do, they'll be back on this train where we can keep an eye on them. So we have lots of time to investigate them still."
I simply didn't have the mean spirit to convince them otherwise.