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ZEITGEIST The affirmative action racial recruitment team of the RHC

Andrew Moreton

First session of Zeitgeist campaign completed
The team
Ulvaar Kamingaard-- Dwarf Aerokinetecist , elemental knight. Veteran of the 4th Yerasol war and who fought on Axis Island, wears heavy armour and wields a battleaxe made of lightning. A functional tank with a lightning weasel living in his head.

El Kevin. Kobold Gunslinger and immigrant from Ber , carries a step ladder. Probably planning on becoming a wizard later in his career , unknown to him he is a creche brother of El Extrano who will use his appearence to spy on events in Risur from time to time , much to the players confusion

Manuel the Bat goblin. Another Beran immigrant he is a Gunslinger/Alchemist mad scientist with a pet Dire Bat he can ride, tends to wear a hooded cowl and looks forward to buikding himself a steamsuit probably with big guns, has a feat to use human size guns.

Nevla, female eladrin a Vekeshi mystic rescued from imprisonment in a Danoran manor by troops loyal to the Duchess , she is a cleric of Ssraama although she does not know that , at the moment her prayers are answered by the energy of the Gyre so her projected energy produces revolving gears for reasons she does not understand(uses charisma to replace wisdom as casting stat). Also the reincarnated daughter of Kasavrina. The player gave me lots to work with in her background

Padme NPC half elf Skyseer unchained rogue with a nightingale familiar

They met Drelf at their briefing and are concerned that he may be right about the omnipresence of Mimics and Manuel is checking furniture himself.

Dealing with the crowd they carefully looked for suspicious people relying on their perception and the skyseers vision they rapidly located the first 3 dockers and Nevla talked them into giving themselves up after those 3 were escorted away from the area by the police and released they were approached by Thames Grimsly who talked to Nevla (the other 3 pcs all have a charisma of 8) she agreed to deliver a letter of complaint to Governor Stansfield and he pointed out the last of the trouble makers and he was persuaded to leave quietly.

Moving to the party at the Dock Manuel spent his time conversing with Geoff Masarde learning about the Coal tongue , the others circulated and became suspicious of Halflings bearing chocolates. While doing so all of them encountered El Kevin making mysterious announcements, including El Kevin. El Extrano was amusing himself while observing Pemberton , his divinations had also revealed these constables as being important but not why.

As the king arrived , Nevla was approached to secure somewhere for the duchess to rest but avoided catching up with her friend Sokana as she was busy on duty
On the ship they mainly circualted among the guests but Manual took the tour of the ship and became somewhat of an expert on the ship, as it turned out somewhat ironically.
Shortly before the kings speech they went below deck to fetch the Duchess, El Kevin was not allowed out on his own. Manual stayed on deck to keep an eye on things.
Sokana tried to stall and the players became suspicous they forced their way into the cabin seeing the duchess going overboard and glimpsing Beshela. Sokana tried to persuade Nevla to just get off the ship but failed and the constables moved to apprehend her, she teelported towards engineering, was shot by El Kevin and then 'Vanished' below decks , the goblin thief who had previously been disguised as a chocolate bearing halfling gave El Kevin a good stabbing before being bashed into unconsciousness by everyone. Padme's nightingale went up on deck to warn Manual who then warned Mininster Harkover .
Ulvar made it down into engineering and saw 2 fire sprites and then it was time to wrap things up for the day.

At the moment their is serious speculation that El Kevin has returned via time travel magic to do something important and Manual is trying to work out a way to indelibly mark him now so they can be certain.

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I have many "what?" and only one XP to give you for this. Please tell me that "lightning weasel" is literally a weasel made of lightning and not a paraphrase for a "spark of life"

Andrew Moreton

It is indeed a weasel made of lightning technically it is a familiar which when manifested takes the form of a weasel air elemental (or in this case a lightning elemental)

+1 for lightning weasel
+1 for kobolds and goblins with guns (how did I *not* include any kobolds or goblins with guns in this adventure path?)
+1 for Bat Manuel
+1 for Kasvarina relatives
+1 for Time Travel (I *did* put a smidgen of time travel in this adventure path)

Andrew Moreton

The Time travel is entirely the players , they think it is the 'simplest' explanation for a duplicate El Kevin, in fact all of those are down to my slightly weird players (except the Kasvarina relative , she just gave me the plot hook for that)

I would incorporate them somewhere in adventure one, and they'd have a big flag that says, "Buy Bitcoin and sell when it reaches 17k."

I'd probably just give Paco de los Loros in adventure 3 a pistol, to show that Ber's got technology too. And perhaps have a kobold with a sniper rifle appear out of f'ing nowhere in the finale of adventure 6 to provide covering fire for the party. Like, how did that kobold get into this volcano? Why is he helping us?

Andrew Moreton

Session 2
Starting after the defeat of the Goblin rogue.
The team rushes downstairs to the engine room , just in time to see Sokana throw a fire gem into the furnace. They also see 2 engineers messing around with things, El Kevin who has some knowledge of engineering is the last to enter and Manual who knows what he is doing is several rounds away with the chief engineer. 2 Fire sprites attack on the stairs and 2 more are in the magazine, . In a rush of action the 2 engineers are disabled , the fire sprites are either killed or reach their time limit. The engineers manage to rust the furnace door shut but don't do any more sabotage, Sokana tries to interfere but is badly injured and while under a vanish spell decides she can't finish the plan and escapes upstairs and through a port hole, Nevla tries very hard to catch her as she feels betrayed and wants to find out why the attempt to kill the king.
Ulvar and Padme easily force open the furnace door with a really high strength roll , the fire gem is removed with tongs and there is time to empty the furnace with the chief engineer and Ulvaar doing the work while Nevla uses a wand or cure light wounds to make sure no one falls over.

Sokana will return with the Duchess later.

In the aftermath the group are praised , meet the king who they salute a lot and generally try to be good constables. They attend the Dockers party and get on well with them, Rock Rackhus provides some entertainment and they are impressed with his skill while not believing his songs at all. Nevla also sings and is quite good at it, Manuel is really bad at it but does a chorus line with his simulacrums and gets a lot of applause.

A week of paperwork passes quickly and they are called into a meeting with Lya Jierre and Asst Inspector Drelft. They are puzzled about the purpose of the logic puzzle with towers but solve it really quickly mildly impressing Lya. They listen to the explanation of the situation and everyone except Nevla seems to approve of Lya and attempts to avoid war and make peace with Danor. Nevla does not like Tieflings or Danoran's but seems willing to put aside her history in terms of making peace. Manuel likes her chain-rapier and starts plans to fit one to his future Steam Suit , alongside a cannon or 2.

The party boards the Impossible and sails to Axis island onboard they meet with the inflitrators and eat with the captain. They discuss the philosophy of William Millar the basics of which are described as people living together in a peaceful , cooperative and well behaved manner. Manual asks if this involved forcing people to behave properly and is told that no he thought that with a properly set up community and positive reinforcement people would rise to the occasion, they thought this a good diea which would not work.
Before arriving Tanya of the inflitrators helped Manual train Rodger his Dire Bat to fly to the entrance of the mine and meet with them.
The infiltration team sets off and are largely killed by a rock fall, the pc's investigate find the injured goblin and move the rock pinning him by tying a rope to it and taking the rope back to the impossible where a team of sailors pull it off with a capstan.
They procede inwards and while busy donning armour and taking off swim flippers they spot the air elemental and Manual shoots at it, then the earth elemental and shadow attack the earth elemental takes a crit from a musket and explodes the shadow does some strength drain before going down to ghost blanch bullets and elemental damage. Menawhile Nevla talks down the mining engineer.
While looking around the iron spikes in the walls puzzle the pc's as do the signs of ancient iconography. The Icons are taken greatfully particularly the Icon of Avilona which boosts Ulvaar's aerokinetecist abilities .

The session ends with them heading for the mine exit

Andrew Moreton

Nevla's backstory
The rear third of the manor house stood on wood and stone stilts on the edge of the bayou, one of the few permanent structures in the area due to the scarcity of good building land.
The crafty trackers silently paddled their shallow boats through the myriad weed-choked channels that acted as a soft yet confusing perimeter to the enemy base, the company druid taking care to befriend (or at least not disturb) the local wildlife.
The lead boat's captain - second-in-command of the mission and commanding her own boat and two others - guided her own vessel to the water-entrance under the back veranda and gestured for her subordinates to follow and "do their thing" with the large metal portcullis that blocked their ingress to the bowels of the compound.
The engineers were careful to make the smallest amount of noise; the going on the gate was slow but sure, and five minutes later a roar went up from her commanding officer's team, who had made it to her position near a side entrance and begun the attack.

At the signal, the engineers dropped all caution and kicked through the rough circle carved through the portcullis bars and the lead boat sculled through the tight gap. The engineers leapt out and raised the portcullis properly to let the other boats past, then jammed the mechanism permanently open in case a hasty exit was needed later.
Captain Niko Teras stepped out onto the underground jetty and led her troops down a winding passage carved out of what was probably the only rocky hill in the bayou. Her keen ears picked out screaming and shouting ahead that didn't sound like the other prong of the attack, shouting that sounded like several words over and over; the words themselves were indistinguishable as the phrase echoed sibilantly around their heads, and terrified screaming from more than one mouth that struck a chill above the dampness of the tunnel...

A lone figure came running towards them. It was a Danoran tiefling: one of the enemy, and she dispatched the horned male quickly... only afterwards registering the terror on his face came from whatever he had been running from, not toward...
Ahead seemed quieter now: the screams had subsided and Teras could pick out one word from the jumble that hissed through the air, decreasing in volume as it continued: "Srasama.... Srasama......"

They reached an open door that led to a wide underground room, the right-hand wall was floor-to-ceiling with shelving for wine, but there were few bottles left; a staircase led upwards from a gap half-way along the wine racks.
In the far left corner of the cellar however, stood a bare-footed adolescent female elf, (possibly an eladrin?), with blood-matted silver-grey hair, and faintly glowing electric-blue eyes with tired dark circles under them; she wore a once-white semi-transparent shift that had seen better days and an ornate gold choker around her neck. Cuts, welts and bruises showed through the thin fabric, and a recent wound dripped blood from a duck-egg lump above her right temple. A sturdy gold-plated ring tightly pinned her waist to the wall behind her, and her hands and feet were chained with a set of golden shackles, connected to the waist-hoop at four separate points. Eladrin then: given the paranoid security measures...
She had sagged from fatigue against the wall; the ring preventing her escape also restricted any vertical movement so she could not sit or lie down... and yet she had somehow acquired a cumbersome blade, held more like a club or rod with both hands. Almost in a trance, she presented the weapon at each repetition for Srasama to aid her. Aid that had manifested with deadly force...
About her feet and to some ill-defined radius to around ten yards or so, the remains of maybe several Danoran nobles, a bodyguard, and a seedy-looking human that may have been a slaver once, judging by the belt with a whip and several restraining devices dangling from it.
They all appeared to have been slowly ground into a pulp; in fact, the air between the girl and the rough perimeter of dead bodies had the odd effect of shadowy cogs that seemed to phase in and out of existence.

An inquisitive soldier reached forward to touch a darkly glimmering cog and pulled his hand away immediately with a grunt of pain.
"Stand back, soldiers," the captain warned, as the medic saw to the wounded soldier's hand, "let whatever is happening run its course." She called to the girl: "We're here to rescue you," in the Common tongue; the supplication to the dead Goddess softened to a whisper and the shadowy gears seemed to slow a little but not wholly disappear.

Teras switched to Primordial, then Elven, even Sylvan, to see if that would register. "It's ok: I'm a friend. Friend."
The Elven language seemed to have the most effect: the girl looked confused and brandished the heavy sword at anyone who looked as if they might move towards her. Not wanting to trigger the girl's fear into reinvigorating whatever had happened the captain tried another tack: "I won't hurt you... look," and she carefully removed her helmet, revealing her features: short dark hair in a mannish cut (in fact it was hard to tell the captain was female with the lengths she took to disguise the fact), but the most noticeable features were her pointed ears and (slightly larger than average) green irises.
The reaction to that was more profound; the shackled adolescent's face snapped up and looked Teras directly in the eye - bright blue to deep green - for several moments. The captain held calm and steady, and saw the blue eyes widen with surprise and wonder. The girl gasped and dropped her weapon, the chains clinking as her slim, bruised wrists rose slightly in a silent plea. The strange effects around her ground to a halt and disappeared, and the girl's eyes, while still bright, ceased to glow.
"Leyne", Teras signalled to one of her troops, "Remove your helmet and see if you can't do something about these restraints. The rest of you, go help upstairs."
There was a collective: "Aye sir!"
The singled out soldier followed his captain's example, revealing a young Elven male who she hoped would not be seen as a threat. He approached cautiously, and slowly held out a set of lockpicks. "Um, I'm using one of these picks, miss, if that's ok?"
The girl switched her attention to the other elf, and changed the angle of her wrist to point at a spot on the floor. The soldier tried not to think about the mangled hand of the noble and pried an abraded key from its stiff fingers. Since he was at that level already, he tried the key on the girl's leg-cuffs first and sighed in relief as it worked; he moved to the wrists next, and finally the waist. Once the girl was free, what little strength remained in her slight form appeared to desert her, and the captain – who had guessed that could happen, and had been edging slowly closer the whole time – managed to catch her as she collapsed.
"It's ok, you're safe now."
"Captain?" Leyne began, avoiding looking around the room by fixing on his commanding officer, but sweeping his hand around to indicate what his eyes didn't want to see, "D'you think she did all... this?"
"It would be sort of... poetic... if she did, wouldn't it?" Teras smiled one of her rare smiles. "A slip of a girl fighting back against a roomful of her captors? I don't know, Leyne," she concluded. "Maybe we all have that spark to survive in the most desperate of moments, like a baby mongoose seeing off a cobra in the nest..."

"Nevla…?" The girl repeated the animal's name in mumbled Elven, then fainted from exhaustion in the captain's arms.
After the war, Nevla (the nickname having stuck) was settled with an Elven family in Risur (Captain Teras came back for welcome visits when time and duties allowed). It took a long time for her to adjust to normal life, fill in the mental and social gaps that her brain seemed to have misplaced; initially she was wild, and would not let others (apart from the captain and several others) touch her at all, but eventually came to regard Flint(?) as her home. For 35 years, all seemed to be going well; outwardly, Nevla was growing into an accomplished young woman, interested in outdoor pursuits, nature, fencing, and just about to finish a well-rounded education that complemented her intelligence and innate charm.
But inwardly, Nevla always felt that core of distrust of herself; that somehow things weren't completely... right... she didn't know if she had any living relatives, and any attempt to remember anything before coming to Flint - her parents, her life, met with a painful dark hole that she was scared to jump into...
And that translated to a tendency to not commit to anything too deeply, to trust anyone that much, from an unconscious fear it could all be taken away again.
That was, until relatively recently (roughly seven years ago): Nevla did not remember the events leading up to her rescue, or anything at all before that; her adoptive parents never told her the full details, the captain always hedged around it, at least admitting she thought it would be best to cover themes that happened at the end of the third Yerasol war with an older wiser Nevla.
Her (cousin/friend) Sokana however, when they were in their late thirties did divulge some of the conditions that she herself had to deal with; but – having not met the girl prior to being rescued in the same campaign – she didn't know much about Nevla's fate apart from what was whispered by some of the soldiers afterwards about "that incident in the cellar".
It was supposed that she had somehow suppressed these memories in reaction to the trauma, and people Nevla knew believed it to be kinder at the time to not dredge up old hurts, to let her experience a normal life, and the strange destructive power she had somehow tapped into had not resurfaced since, so people wrote it off as "just one of those things that happen under extreme circumstances...".
Then the visions began.
She started to remember things about that night, which was bad enough; being dragged into the cellar, the chains, the Danorans treating her as just a commodity and laughing at her when she tried to scratch and bite ineffectually and get punished as a result, the desperation and despair, a plea to a name she had only heard in... where had she heard that name before... and letting something in…
Letting it take her over, making them pay...
She didn't want to worry her parents (or the captain, who had not visited for some time as she was away in yet another war), so initially she said nothing and suffered in silence.
Then came glimpses of an earlier time, that appeared to be not many moons before; foraging in the woods because she was starving, getting lost, running from something bad... being beaten, healed, running away, beaten, healed, pinching hands, made to wear a collar, sold, leering faces, bought, whipped, the events repeating over and over in her head... and still nothing prior to that: no parents, no friends; a blank hole where early childhood should have been.
She usually woke from the nightmares with a gulping gasp as if breaking the surface of deep water and a pounding heart; Nevla began to retreat from her life and all the things she enjoyed, pushing others away rather than tell anyone what was happening to her. Sometimes she tried to stop the nightmares by waiting as long as possible before (or going without a whole night of) sleep, but it just made the next evening where she could no longer keep her eyes open even worse, as it was harder to wake up from the endless torment next time. One time she acquired several bottles of strong liquor and drank herself to sleep; that ended up being even worse (plus there was the blinding headache and hangover the next morning), so she vowed to never do that again...
She still couldn’t tell her parents, but that last attempt to fix the problem weighed heavily, and finally she sent a terse letter to Teras, now a Major :
I have nightmares of the cellar.
How did I do that? Why? And getting more from just before that too.
I can’t stop the nightmares. I tried various things. It just made them worse.
Why didn’t anyone else tell me? You were going to but you got called up again so I’m not blaming you, it’s just...
I’m so tired. I don’t know what to do.
Then one night Nevla had a dream where the same happened over and over, but instead of waking in a cold sweat as usual, on the last loop round, the captain strode into view from the tunnel. The nightmare had never reached this point before and she realised, that she was dreaming. She cried out in Srasama’s name for everything to STOP!
And it did.
Everyone was frozen like some macabre tableau: the captain, along with several soldiers, mid-stride and just reacting to the scene; the horned men and the man with the whip caught in their final agonising death-throes. She tried to drop the heavy sword but it was stuck to her hands...
Then suddenly the chains were gone; both the dead and the living melted away like snow, and all that was left was the room, the girl, and the sword. And a flight of wooden stairs leading upwards. Still holding the weapon like a club, her feet started to walk by themselves to the narrow staircase.
There was a door at the top: it was a strange door, and not one that fit with the rest of her surroundings. In fact, she could only call it a door as she had no other words to describe it... she touched the surface of the portal and it widened from the centre as the dark centre of an iris in the gloom.
Beyond the door there was only complete darkness, but she was compelled again, as if by some external notion to step through. The instant she did so the door shrunk behind her as it had opened, taking the only source of light with it, and she felt back for it to pry open and step back through. It was too late: the door had disappeared and there was nothing there... save for an unidentifiable noise behind/before her that struck a chill in her heart.
Her fear reawakened and she ran from this into what could only be described as an even deeper dark; it was almost tangible, as if it were some kind of barrier stopping her seeing what lay beyond.
There! Somewhere above/ahead of her in the darkness was a tiny glow that grew brighter, then darker, then brighter again; Nevla felt drawn toward this light and changed direction slightly to intercept.
It was strange: the pulsing glow grew closer, but not as quickly as she hoped as the lack of other landmarks made judging the distance to it impossible; she was tiring, and whatever passed for the ground in this place gradually began to slope upwards. The angle of the light changed as she drew nearer, her head increasingly tilted upwards to keep it in her sight, so-
At the top of the hill she had run right into an old stone wall; she had to feel her way round as the light, although directly over her head now, didn’t reach this far down.
And the noise still followed.
Another door.
She flung it open and found old stone steps which spiraled round a central column, her feet automatically climbing them. Round and upwards, panting and dizzy, she fled up the stairs, not daring to stop and turn around. Occasionally she passed windows where strange things seemed to be happening outside, but she had no time to stop and stare.
The noise still followed.
She pushed as hard as she could to outrun the horrible sound that was drawing closer and somehow terrified her, even though she couldn't place where (or even if) she had heard it before... and charged through another door into a terrible light that shone through and revealed every part of her, as if she were made of glass, or clear ice.
She screamed and brought the sword up to shield herself from the sense she was melting away...
And finally awoke.
Something was different; she felt different somehow, but couldn’t put her finger on what. She hoped now that by facing her nightmare that it would stop, and she could sleep again.
But the dreams didn't stop, they merely changed: there were glimpses of other things, older things; impossible things.
Craving food she'd never eaten but somehow remembered the taste, and then somehow making the food she was eating taste more like that after the first bite...
Having to hide from her foster-parents that her hair had changed colour, again...
Idly humming songs that no-one she knew had ever heard, or only remembered dimly from their own distant childhood...
Sharing space with others like her that she knew, and yet didn’t know, as they appeared to interact like family...
Standing with others, dressed in strange clothing and somewhere outside; the noise of something rumbled in the background, out of eyeshot...
Another world; another life...
She felt lost in a sea of alien memories, invaded by them more and more as she slept (and more recently whilst awake, or triggered by a smell, a sound, or even just looking at a painting or other object from certain angles), and thought she was going mad...
In the end, it was too much.
Nevla was so tired, and wasn't really paying attention, just aimlessly wandering through the house; she found herself out on an upstairs balcony, wearily observing the sun disappear over the western hills. The oncoming dusk heralded that time she so needed but dreaded.
Her parents wouldn't understand. Dreams weren't supposed to be anything people should be scared of, but she wasn't other people. She was different, had to hide what she was: she knew that much.
But she was so, so tired. Tired of being treated with kid gloves, tired of waking up to another day of no answers, tired of feeling helpless; tired of feeling there was something very wrong baked into her...
She idly wondered whether if the dreams would stop, if it would all stop if she... if anyone would miss her if she just... climbed over...
"Nevla!" That shout: she recognised that voice; it was a beacon in the dark, and it jolted her back to reality. She looked about herself then, and realised with horror she actually had stepped over the railing and onto the edge of the roof. She looked down to the front door, and there was a familiar silhouette; she tried to wave and reverse her steps, but tripped, stumbled, and gave a short scream as she fell.
There was a sharp jolt, and her shoulder felt as though it was tearing apart; she looked up and saw the sleeve of her blouse had snagged on a jutting branch of the recently-pruned wisteria that ran up the side of the house. Then she looked down - a long way down - and screamed again.
"Stay calm, Nevla!" Major Teras rushed to where she thought Nevla was likely to fall, and braced herself, "can you get your other hand on that branch there?"
Nevla tried to twist her body round so her free arm could reach over to where the major was pointing, but it hurt too much to stretch that far; there was another sudden jerk and her thin sleeve ripped half the stitches where the cuff joined at the wrist; she yelped as another sharp slice of agony spread like fire from the joint, and shook her head whimpering.
"Then you'll have to drop; I'll be here to catch you. Do you trust me?"
The major didn't have to ask: before Nevla could decide one way or the other the fabric unravelled the rest of the way and she plummeted to the ground. Thankfully, the drop wasn't as far from the branch that had delayed her fall, so the captain was able to catch her (albeit with the result that they ended in an undignified heap on the grass).

"Nevla." The young woman looked up at Teras blearily through her tears, "I have to put your shoulder back in. I won't lie; it's going to hurt." A slight, yet serious nod. "On three then: one, two-" And then she snapped the joint back in place before Nevla could brace for it.
The young woman screamed once more, then passed out.
It was morning: somehow Nevla had slept and not dreamt a thing; did she dream what happened yesterday evening? No, she winced: her shoulder was still sore, and there was a protective sling that trussed her arm to her breast. She sat up and could hear her parents arguing with Major Teras downstairs, so, being careful with her arm, she snuck down to hear the conversation.
"...Nevla needs to know more about her heritage, more than the basic stuff that everyone knows."
"She has a tutor: we-"
"It's not enough. Whatever is happening is eating her up inside: she doesn't know how to deal with this. We thought we were protecting her, and now whatever she buried - that we buried - has come back full force."
"Should we call a healer, or maybe a Skyseer?"
"It could help, a little... but I think it may have gone beyond that. I might know someone who could talk to her."
"Not... but they're-"
"They're not that bad; well, not the one I know. She needs to have a focus on something other than her past; if she doesn't have any hope for the future in her current state, then something like this will happen again, and I might not be around to help next time."
"But we're here: we've always been here; all she needed to do was ask..."
"And yet she didn't come to you. Young adults don't heed their parents at the best of times, for various reasons. Nevla has better reasons than most."
They don't know... they think I tried to... did I try to...?
And she stepped out into the room where they were discussing her fate, and looked at the major with the same look as all those years ago.
"Help me: please..."

Nevla was quick and studious; she took to her new lessons with a drive she had not felt in a long time. She still had visions, less like nightmares now because she faced them rather than denying that part of herself. And there were some parts that she began to test the veracity of: this other life was real, somewhere, somewhen… that somehow, Srasama, although dead, was answering her prayers... but again, she kept most of those revelations to herself.
Not so the powers that remanifested: she couldn’t really keep secret the wide circle of destruction that followed her when she learnt to wield one of the eladrin ancestral weapons. The same type of sword as in her visions, she taught herself to exclude her fellow aspirants from the entropy she generated, and they in turn encouraged her to hone her skill for combat and show interest in a less abridged version of history.
Major Teras was right: she needed this, needed to know how her fractured core fit in a place like Flint, in a world where she had to survive, to adapt... or lose herself again…

Andrew Moreton

Episode 3

The constables exit the mine and rendezvous with Roger the Dire Bat. They look at the 2 routes to the Fortress and decide that going over the ridgeline may involve climbing rolls and they all are bad at that so the road it is.

Moving along the road they come across a headless Iron golem, the team are careful to stay well away from it but note that Iron Golems are unnusual, Risur does not make them and the Danoran's are not know for magical constructs, they also notice the leaking oil determine it has necromantic energies and take a sample for later study.

Further down the road the come to an abandoned village with a cart of weapons outside it, they notice that the crash is staged but Manual cannot overcome the lure of free guns and gets trapped by an ice shackle. They take several of the guns hoping to have an hour or so to unsabotage them but never get the time.
In the village they find a factory producing adamantium form rare gems, unfortunatly there are not enough of either left to take and the factory is run by magic. They notice this is unnusual and take quick notes on the factory and hope to be able to do more with them when they have time.

They move on and are struck by a planar incursion which puts them under a blue sun with yellow frogs in a marsh around them. Manuel tries to grab a frog but everything returns to normal before he can, El Kevin takes a leaf and soil sample for later study. I think this may prove interesting if they think to use Gales spell for detecting planar energies at a later date, I will think about this plane before them.

After this they reach the fortress, their plan is Roger will carry El Kevin and Manuel into the fortress where they being budding pyromaniacs will light big fires to draw off the garrison while Nevla, Ulvaar and Padme dress as soldiers and talk their way in(they had zero chance to use a pass wall scroll)
This all works as Nevla is a decent bluffer and Ulvaar is a veteran they are easily able to talk their way through to the docks.
El Kevin and Manual split up to lay their incendiaries and scout around, as they do so Manual encounters 'future El Kevin' who shows him a factory manufacturing very pure golden cogs purified using alchemists fire which they appropriate, as 'Future El Kevin ' said Manual is very impressed. Later he meets El Kevin and they realise what has happened, the fires burn well and draw a lot of attention .Our 2 arsonists then fly to meet at the lighthouse.
Meanwhile the other team uses a water breathing scroll to sneak up on the lighthouse and in a quick assault take the lighthouse and open the sea gate, before the defenders can react the arsonists arrive, 2 attacks are repulsed by deadly gunfire and some channelled destructive energies. A powerful battle wizard forms up for the 3rd attack and is shot by a sniper from the other tower, 'future El Kevin' gets the credit. Then reinforcments lead by Nevla's foster father Major Teras arrives and secure the sea wall.

As they recuperate they see Asraby arrive initially they worry he may be with the Duchess and then realise he was hiding on the ship and decide he is their on Unseen court business and not on either side, as several of them still have water breathing they help rescue sailors from the water.

Then they are told about the Danoran prisoners and go to check for Luc, then give to the Danoran officer weapons as it seems reasonable to them and are told about the sewers , they decide they should go through them although they all hate sewers. Fortunatly they witness Asraby's assault and as soon as the immurement is activated they realise he has brought the dreaming into reality, their skill checks confirm this and they rush in after him picking up the pretty globe as they go.

They bypass the hedge maze with Nevla convincing the fey they want the duchess alive and need to get there fast. Entering the tower they are impressed by Asraby's bodycount, they come across Sokana rendered unconcious and left carefully against the wall and realise that Asraby is reluctant to kill Eladrin women. They listen outside the room until it sounds like Asraby is about to kill Luc and then burst in. There is a standoff as they try to talk Asraby into turning over the prisoners to them and he tries to get them to to let him take them. Finally Nevla thinks he is about to kill Luc and casts a true strike spell, initiative starts.
Padme tries to stab Asraby but has no chance against his AC.
Manuel points a gun at Nevla and threatens to shoot her unless Asraby surrenders (he is bluffing) everyone else is suprised.
El Kevin shoots Asraby dropping him to 4 hp, Asraby then drops Manual with 2 quick blows leaving him close to death, he then drops El Kevin to low hp with one attack.
Nevla lunges in and her true strike hits and drops Asraby to negatives, Ulvaar is too slow to strike.

They quickly take everyone prisoner and start to interrogate people , realsing they are short on time after Luc's request for political asylum they agree and get all the prisoners off on a ship before Lya arrives and do a quick search taking the disected frog for study and noting the astronomical observations. They turn the island over to Lya who is upset her cousin is not there and puzzled by his apparent defection.

The session ends here. As we are wrapping up their is some discussion that Future El kevin may be a transformed dragon, after I point out all the dragons were killed 200 years ago several of them are of the opinion that at least some dragons must have polymorphed themselves into humanoids and still be around

Andrew Moreton

I'll try and improve the formatting. Presentation is always on the list of things I need to improve on my annual reviews at work as well.
So far they have no suspicions about who maybe dragons except maybe 'Future El Kevin'. The Murder investigation may be interesting as Manuel thinks that the Butler did it . Based on his research in popular dime novel fiction, this may drive other characters particulary those he recently pointed guns at crazy

Andrew Moreton

The session started with the pc's returning to Risur after axis island they had the opportunity to interview Duchess Ethelyn, Nathan Jierre and Sokana. Manual, El Kevin and Ulvaar decided that they did not want to talk to the Duchess as the players feared high level sorcerors being diplomancers (in the previous campaign the pc sorceress had truly ungodly bluff and diplomacy skills she used to arrange the deaths of numerous opponents including a dragon). Nevla did talk to the Duchess trying to understand why she had rebelled, she listened to the Duchess explain about the vision but despite her sympathy for the cause could not accept the Duchess's methods were correct. Talking to Nathan was more productive they learned he had been trying to avoid a war, they also learned that the Danorans were involved in Arcane experiments involving planes and how weird the island was none of this helped them much. Nevla was also puzzled as to what Kasavarina was doing on the island from her knowledge of Eladrin history she had placed her a a powerful matriarch from just after the great malice and an enemy of the clergy and tieflings , what she was doing helping Danor was a mystery.

On getting back to Risur the prisoners were taken off their hands. The Duchess was stripped of her powers and held prisoner in Slate, Nathan is under house arrest in Flint. Sokana and senior officers of the rebels were imprisoned for a few months before being released under some degree of supervision, the King wanted to minimise martyrs, the rest of the troops were split up and dispersed into loyal units (sacking large cadres of trained soldiers and officers is a great way to create insurgent groups).
El Kevin and Manuel spent some time trying to find a way to distinguish El Kevin from future El Kevin, I missed some of this conversation but he has ended up with really bad false ears stuck to his head.

Their sample of Witch oil was taken to be studied by a professor of arcane studies at the university along with the leaf and dissected frog from another plane in a display of incompetence the Professor failed to recognise the oil but was able to determine the frog and leaf came from no known plane .

They then rested until 1st of Summer and the start of book 2.
Discussing events El Kevin was intrigued by the idea of Gale being able to fly and really wants to talk to her, he will be dissapointed when he realizes she does not know how she does it, he has gone as far as to try to put up posters requesting a meeting, although the others try and stop him. They also suspect that Gales deeds may be being inflated they find the fires and violence attributed to her not to match the other actions so they think various factory owners may be acting against each other and blaming gale. They were interested in the Family moving in but as yet have no opinion except criminals bad.

On hearing of the murder at the consulate they rushed down there. Manual was distracted by the Jeeves Excellent Domestic Talent Bureau which had many butlers hanging around outside it. They spoke to the police and crowd first , dismissing the police . They got pretty much everything from the crowd particularly as Ulvaar met a Dwarf butler and former veteran who had seem most of what happened (natural 20 on his diplomacy check), then they checked the ally and found the scene of the fight as well as the taxi driver, they paid the missed fair for the taxi driver and asked him to hang around in case they had more questions and because they thought they may want a taxi.
Going into the Consulate they spoke to Le Brix and decided that he was not being honest, they understood they could not speak to the consul (I could not find anywhere if she was a tiefling or not I decided she was as the players thought it may be important, I also decided there were 2 other tieflings on staff). Again they found pretty much all the clues although without a sprit medium they could not talk to Nilasa, they have put in a request for one and he will turn up next day, I may use the halfling medium Rock uses later.
They currently think there was some sort of undead or maybe a magic using tiefling involved to create the claw wounds on Nilasa, they know that LeBrix lied to them but in the best Agathe Christie tradition don't intend to confront him until they can do a big reveal.

Then they split up Manuel and Padme went to follow up the alchemist leads firstly by going back to the office and his lab to analyse the potion. In the meantime the rest went to the house of Blue Birds talked to the people and found out everything, they are certain Officer Porter is dodgy but still have not found if he is a real police officer (I assume that he is but that Creed was disguised as him, no doubt my players will go talk to him once they find him). Then they followed up Heward Sechim.

Meanwhile Manuel had deduced the potion most likely was made in Pine Lake and headed off by boat with Padme, sadly Padme could not ride on Roger so Roger had to ride on the boat. Manuel plans to learn reduce person so all these big people can ride Roger, Roger lives in a Dire bat colony at the Beran embassy when Manuel does not need him to fight crime, probably in a bat cave.

El Kevin went to the Parity lake police station to try and find records on officer Porter he also picked up a copy of Nilasa's criminal record. Manuel also had a copy at RHC HQ. Ulvaar and El Kevin when to Hewards factory,Nevla had to be talked out of arresting several of the guards holding workers in the factories, Ulvaar only stopped her because he realised that the rich factory owners had enough pull to get their thugs off and Nevla in trouble so it would do no good, if they get a chance several factory owners are going to jail, this may be unfortunate for the factory owners later as one of Nevla or Ulvaar is likely to become their monarch.
They were much more impressed by Hewards factory and what they had heard of him from Nilassa's girlfreind, they had been let into the factory and were having tea while they broke the news to Heward when the session ended.

Overall they are doing well, they know that something is up at the consulate and just want to find out what it is, they also realise Nilassa must be working with someone else to be able to afford the potions and they think it may be Gale because of the flight. The team talking to Heward think he may be involved with the alchemical supplies as he is an alchemist , Manuel knows better but has not had a chance to tell them.

Andrew Moreton

It will be particularly amusing when they discover Creed is Macbennins butler as well as assassin so really the butler did kill Nilassa , Manual will be loudly enthusiastic about being right. Other players may strangle him

Andrew Moreton

The session started late due to the GM and one of the players arriving late.

The group started with Neval and Ulvaar interviewing Heward and looking around his factory , he told them about Nilasa , and mentioned his father may be able to arrange a meeting with Gale. They looked around the factory but as the two pc's with alchemical training were elsewhere could only tell that the workers seemed happy. They were very interested in the passing comment about people threatening him smelling of burned engine grease and said they would look into it, they asked him to send a runner if they turned up again and the constables would respond immediatly.
Meanwhile El Kevin was at the local police station getting a copy of Nilasa's file as their team had not seen one yet, he also tried to track down officer Porter and discovered he had been off work today, he got the home address and asked that Officer Porter come over to the RHC HQ in the morning when he came on shift.
Also at the same time Manual and Padme were going through the district trying to track down the alchemists shop from the receipt , they located it but decided that a visit should have the full team in case the shop owner overreacted and also because Manual thought that a Gnome may react badly to a Goblin,(also the player feared the alchemist shop would explode because it had a gnome in it and I have a violent aversion to gnomes).

Eventually all returned to the HQ after a brief visit to Officer Porters home and discovering he had taken the kids to the beach, they were near certain officer Porter at the house of blue birds had been a fake. They finally had manual analyse the stuff from the blue bird and discovered a mix of Death Oil (their term for the as yet unidentified witch oil) and blood. They are speculating what kind of undead he could be but have not found one which fits.

Finally for the 1st of Summer they went to the thinking man tavern. Manual got into an arguement about Earthquakes with the scholars and was well recieved , he did ask about Nilasa and found about her writing to the Family and got the name of the Don, they looked him up at HQ later and confirmed he was a big fish but one with no trace of evidence against him. The others spoke to Thames Grimsley and got on well with him, particulalry as they agreed the factory owners were acting illegally and regretted being unnable to arrest them, they asked if he had heard anything about the extortion and arson threats and asked if any of his union members would report odd situations like that particularly if anyone making the threats smelled of burnt engine grease. By this point Thames thinks they are either trying to infiltrate the union which makes little sense as they are in uniform or are actually sympathetic people who could be useful in the future.

They then turned in for the night.

In the morning they headed off to talk to the Gnome alchemist , most of them refused her hospitality but Manual had tea and she had a potion of glibness. He talked to her about the ingredients and the potions but could not get her to admit selling invisibility potions however she did talk about Nilasa as a customer and they left certain that she was dealing in invisibility potions and probably other dubious ones , but either that was all she was up to or she was a master liar.
On the way back to HQ they realised that Nilasa's criminal associates were locked up on prison barges right next to them so went there as it would save time going backwards and forwards. Both prisoners hinted that they knew Nilasa had a big deal going down , and the constables arranged parole after checking they were in for petty larceny and not violent crimes , they also suggested they talk to Heward sechim about jobs and wrote a letter to him. The criminals told them that Nilasa was paying a fortune for imported wands from the family and was dealing with someone called the House Elf immediatly they realised the alchemist had been a good liar. However they decided to wait and trail them to the meeting on the 4th, they considered this may not be their case but eventually decided that importing magical wands for suspected terrorists , even thought they thought that Gale was getting the blame for at least some other crimes , still she should not get access to the wands.

Finally about lunchtime they got back to HQ and found officer Porter lounging around having a lazy morning of tea and donuts in the RHC reception room. They rapidly determined her was neither injured or necromantic and had been at the beach all day yesterday and sent him away , they also sent a request out that all officers should report any sign of people pretending to be other officers as they thought the man may pretend to be a different police officer at other times.

Then they set off to meet the dying skyseer, although they detoured Manual, Ulvaar and El Kevin checked out the Barge mentioned in the paperwork found in the alley. They found nothing, and could find nothing unusual in its activities, they did not manage to find about cargo going missing in transit. At the same time Padme and Nevla spoke to both of Wolfagangs contacts , neither told them anything but both mentioned a visit by 'Officer Proctor', the lady Professor showed a degree of distrust which made them think she knew more than she said and they warned her that her life may be in danger and suggested she report to the RHC HQ at her earliest convenience , they sent a letter to let Drelft know in case they were out so he could handle her .

Finally they headed into the cloudwoods where Roger and Manual scouted until they got to close to the Cloudbase for Roger them to be able to see much, it turned out Roger liked the taste of Hummingbird, while Manual worried this was the sort of place which housed elves who shoot at innocent goblins. We finished as they heard the fight ahead and had a carriage horse charge past.

Earlier they had a discussion on old age as they had been told that Heward Sechims uncle was an ancient man in his 80's. Ulvaar pointed out he was nearly that old, Nevla was only in her late 50's but largely immortal while Manual and El Kevin thought that was very old, although El Kevin pointed out that he intends to become a dragon and live for ever anyway.

Andrew Moreton

Tonight one of my players commented after meeting Nicodemus for the first time and thinking him just an odd and observant Courier , that he was the 'Cigarette smoking man" and wondering when Mulder and Scully would turn up. It had never occurred to me , but is Nicodemus with his distinctive habit a pop culture call out to the x-files?

Session write up to follow later.

Actually, my own father - William Nock - was in the Air Force. They apparently had a rule where you'd have to stand 'at ease' (which isn't really that comfortable) for long stretches, but you could smoke if you wanted to. So just to have something to do with his hands, my dad started smoking. He got the nickname "Nicotine Nock." Hence "Nicodemus the Gnostic."

(And my dad's original surname was Miller, but grandpa Miller turned out not to actually be my real grandfather. My dad found out his real father was a guy with the last name Nock whom I never met. My dad switched his name, even though he wasn't raised by the guy.)

Yes, my father is the main villain of ZEITGEIST.

Andrew Moreton

Thanks that was interesting. However the link to X-Files has made my players suspect that the courier was something more than he was pretending to be, they are certain there is an international connspiracy out there. In fact one of them wants to follow up by going back to Nathan Jierre and talking to him about the Crissilyr man who was seen on Axis island with Kasavarina I am trying to decide if he will mention him smoking.
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Andrew Moreton

The session started with a quick retcon as we realised that the last week we forgot to run the spirit medium talking to Nilasa.
They brought in a halfling spirit medium the same one who will later be used by Rock Rackus to communicate, but as he was in a trance one of the pc's (Nevla ) talked to the spirit of Nilasa. They had a long discussion about what their 3 questions would be which sidetracked into the nature of the divine in this world and were the dead go. Eventually they settled on first asking her about the events leading to her death the account they got matched their theories but the description of the shadow man who attacked her worried them , the only thing the players could think of was a shadow demon and that scares them.
The second question was about why she was there they heard an explanation that Gale was looking for evidence of a conspiracy involving the Danoran's and industrialists, that made them really want to talk to Gale , I very much doubt they are going to arrest her.
The third question was about how to contact Gale and it turned out that Nilasa's methods were either slow or involved messages on the wind so of no use to them.

We then cut back to were we left them at the end of the last session about to get into a fight with the cloudwood bandits. Initially Manuel challanged the bandits to surrender but after Renard fired an arrow at him (Renard failed to hit with a single attack for the entire fight due to bad dice rolls).
Padme, and El Kevin chipped away at Renard and another bandit, Ulvaar used the Icon of Avilona to fly up to the druid and another bandit and hacked away at them. Manual shot at swarms, the druid and Renard doing massive damage with his alchemical musket shots. Nevla rushed to the turned carriage to protect the people there and took a pistol shot to the face but then proceded to take out both the pistoleers. In the end after a bit of damage they knocked out the Druid, 4 bandits and the 2 pistoleers , Renard ran off into the woods and they could not catch up with the ranger in the undergrowth.
They secured their prisoners and sent Manual back on Roger to bring up some police to escort their prisoners back to town and he ran into a ranger patrol who took their prisoners off their hands and escorted them back to the RHC. This allowed the constables to press on and meet the dying skyseer.
At this point I showed them the front cover of module 2 and they were impressed with the artwork but slightly dissapointed that he was not holding any planets when they met him. They talked to him about Gale making it clear that they wanted to talk to her rather than arrest her and he agreed to set up a meeting if they did him the favor of climbing the mountain with him to see the sky. They agreed but Manual after realising he was talking to a man old enough to have outlived at least 4 generations of goblins asked to get a letter to introduce them to Gale in case he died in the next day or so. In fact they were so concerned that he could die soon they decided to make a rush job and talk to the mayor the next morning to set up a visit in the evening, because on the 4th they would be busy dealing with smugglers at night.

The next morning Nevla went to talk to mayor macbennin while the others went to HQ and filed paperwork on the huge bunch of bandits they had caught , the B team was brought in to help process them as the pc's case was more urgent and they would have to rush off.

Nevla was somewhat suspicous at the Mayor's but dismissed the Butler as just a Butler, if only they had taken Manual with his natural suspicion of Butlers he may have identified the assassin. She then chatted with the 'courier' she did notice he was a bit suprised to see her (because she looks just like Kasavarina's daughter) , he made his speech about the difficulty of one man changing the tide of chaos and the need for order, she disagreed she said that the chaos was what people wanted and that she believed one person or 'pebble' could make a difference as he would see, he wished her well and agreed they would see who was right and then moved on. Apparently his philosophy , reaction to her and his smoking has made the player think he is far more than a courier, I think they are well primed to start seeing signs of Nicodemus everywhere. The talk to the mayor went smoothly , she thought that he was what she expected in the mayor charged with containing dark magic and he thought this was a great opportunity to get her and the team dead.

At the RHC Office the rest of the team were there when professor campbell arrived to see if the officers who visited her were real. They handed off talking to her to Asst Inspector Dreflt as he was much better than any of the team at the office at handling people, and he persuaded her to reveal she was in contact with wolfgang , they had missed the message transfer for the 3rd of summer but planned to follow the one tommorrow morning after they came down the mountain.

They liked the complicated maps , for the fight with the bandits but we got a bit confused as we were working off pc screens, one of them has a decent A3 printer and will print some maps out for me in the future.

Awfully Cheerful Engine!

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