ZEITGEIST The affirmative action racial recruitment team of the RHC

After a fairly combat heavy session last time this session was entirely talking speculation and some pointless attempts by NPC's to spot Manuel creeping around.
They started meeting with the Bruse where Nevla regaled him with slightly exagerated tales of their exploits while trying to leave out some of the more sensitive bits, and was mildly suprised to discover he seemed to know all the sensitive bits alreadt. They are more impressed with El Extrano , although El Kevin remains convinced that El Extrano is actually running Ber and just lets the Bruse take all the blame, EL Extrano thinks this would not be a bad idea and will consider it when the Bruse is replaced. The Bruse is particularly entertained by the previous encounter with Lya and driving a train off a cliff.
The team promised Ber one of the next Coaltongue class vessels to be built and to set up a branch of Flint university in Ber specialisign in Arcanotechnical integration, as they did not think Risur had any warships as impressive as the one Danor had given them immediatly available.
The Bruse announces the terms of his offer to access Tinker, when he explains the Cantalabrian railway challange Nevla petitions to work with the Griento's she explains that they are already freinds with Griento and that they fear that during a challange any legitimate problems Griento suffers could be used to attack his honour , as they are blamed on him throwing the contest to the team. Instead by working with him they will preserve the honour and integrity of this proud son of Ber. Lya argues against this but fails to come up with a convincing arguement and the Bruse shrugs and amends the challange.
Next he announces the challange along the Gold coast and the team are annoyed to learn that the Ob will have to try to arrange an attack on Risur but go along with it as they can't think of a way to change the Bruse's mind.

As the Bruse heads of stargazing they see if Padme can tag along using her expert knowledge as a Stargazer but she fails to interest the Bruse so they let him go. Merton and Rush come over to try and taunt the pc's and are suprised at El Kevin and Manuels enthusiasm for the T-Rexes and their enquiries if Merton has any more.
Lyr calls her minions away and they depart the court. Nevla seeks out the Vizier and the minister of Dragon affairs and talks to them. The Vizier is moderatly impressed by the clear preference of Nevla to settle this silly game as constructivly as possible and her commitment to avoid sabotage , but does not commit herself. Nevla rapidly realises that the Minister of Dragon affairs is bribable with a nice bribe for Ber and goes away to think what they can offer which is equivalant to 5 warships. Pemberton talks to Manuel and Ulvaar about Steam suits and improvements to his B.E.A.R

They then retire to their cottage to scheme, as soon as night falls Bat Manuel sets out to own the night and with a mediocre stealth roll of 46 undetectable spies on Lya and her minions. He notes her preference for none destructive railway obstacles and Rush's enthusiasm for destruction, and notes they should encourage Rush as his plans seem to have been bad before and catching him will help their cause, when discussion moves on to attacking Risur he thinks the plan to mindcontrol a sea captain is brilliant and hard to stop. However later when this is revealed to Nevla she realises this is the perfect opportunity remembering how badly Ber reacts to Mind control she decides that they must catch the Ob in mid plan at all costs and arranges for Glaucia and Brakken to accompany them to the area to provide independent confirmation of the plan when they are caught.
They are visited by Sokana who as the former aid to the Duchess has been providing some assistance to the Risur Charge De Affairs while a new ambassador is appointed. They don't hold her actions on the Coaltongue against her and get a breifing on the situation with Caballaro and the Gold Coast including the disease outbreak and the desire by the locals to make a treaty with the fey , they set in motion plans to make that possible. The Minister of Dragons visits and is bribed by cuts on import tariff's on Beran Wine and Meat she also tells them about the situation in the Gold coast which is confirmation but reveals one new fact that a Goblin tribe seems to have thrown off the Disease, everyone looks at where they think Manuel may be.

The final visitor is Lya who unsuccesfully bids to have them cooperate. However the discussion is interesting they are not convinced about the Collossus as a weapon to protect against Risur , particularly as it was built in Risur however they accept her arguements that Flint has a unique set of resources and building it elsehere would have been very hard, also that is nothing had gone wrong it would have walked off in the Bleak gate to Danor without anyone noticing it. She says that fully operational is should be able to move between the Dreaming, real world and Bleak gate but obfuscates about fitting with with a lantern.
She reveals the Ob want to make a better world and have been experimenting with the lanterns to look at other planes. She expresses remorse about Sijhen's rampage and says truthfully that he was completely unexpected and that they have increased precautions since then, and that if the Ob's specialist team had been in place he probably would not be free. Xambria is not happy at being blamed. They discuss the Ob philosophy with her but the limits of Geases and common sense stops them getting much more. They decline the deal because their king would not approve and because they don't trust the Ob even is Lya is sincere about a better world and not hurting other nations they do not trust the Ob to implement their plan without bloodshed.
After Lya departs they speculate that the Ob may indeed want to change the planar balance of the world, and perhaps are responsible for breaking Avilona. Manuel and El Kevin think that the cigerrette smoking ghost may be an ancient or something left behind from that time with plans to improve on or change whatever the ancients did. Nevla with memories of Dala which seem to include the cigerette smoking man thinks he is younger than an Ancient, but after much specualtion they decide that they know too little to really speculate.

Finally Nevla , Manuel , Brakken and Glaucia teleport to the Gold coast via Slate as their briefing for Harkover is too complicated for sending spells. While they talk to Harkover Glaucia gets to inspect the RHC and see what she wants to learn from them.
Padme. El Kevin and Ulvaar teleport to the Rail head were they meet Pemberton trying to sell his steam crew , they are impressed by them and provide the budget for the Griento's to hire them as they seem useful and if they have them the Ob cannot , they also perusade Pemberton to hire his second steam crew available in afew days to the Griento's other railroad projects. Ulvaar while listening to Pemberton explain his steam crew to the Lightning Weasel and El Kevin as the local engineering experts realises that Pemberton is even smarter than he is pretending to be and that much of his personality is a mask. When he shares this information with others Manuel has his dragon breakthrough . Manuel has the B-Team start some surreptitous background checks into Pemberton being reluctant to confront Harkover. They discover that the Pemberton wealth and businesses have always been passed down through a single male heir, and they rose to prominence around the time the last Dragon tyrants vanished. While not conclusive Manuel, Nevla and Ulvaar are fairly convinced Pemberton is an ancient Dragon Tyrant
 
It amuses me that your group is, I think, the only one to try to counter bribe the Berans instead of being offended at the Bruse and Kenna asking for stuff.
 
I think they just thought it was par for the course, the Bruse is giving up a valuable national asset (TInker) and wants recompense. Also they considered the risk of a Danor/Ber alliance to Risur and so it was worth outbidding Lya to maintain Ber as a neutral or allied state.
They would have been much less impressed if they had been giving personal bribes to the Bruse and Kenna although I think they would have done so
 

Adslahnit

Explorer
It amuses me that your group is, I think, the only one to try to counter bribe the Berans instead of being offended at the Bruse and Kenna asking for stuff.
Our group effectively followed the sidebar on doing what is best for Ber rather than playing to Shantus's whims. We realized early on that Shantus was a bad leader, and the Panoply had a strong movement against him.

We decried and shamed Bruse Shantus in his own throne room for trying to instigate a violent international incident between Risur and Ber simply for his own amusement, and for turning the nationally-crucial construction project of the Selestala Railroad into a game more centered around back-and-forth sabotage than actually completing the railroad in an efficient manner. We effectively threw Shantus's game right then and there. We built up public support for ourselves by... effectively playing out the rest of the adventure regardless (helping out Cavallo, stopping the Jacale incident, wiping out the ghouls, assisting with railroad construction). We got most of the information and leads we needed through befriending people, spywork, and divinations.

Since we were helping both sides of the railroad, including Lya's side, we did not actually have to interact with the railroad minigame, much to the DM's relief.

By the end of it all, thanks to populist support from Melissa Amarie and the Panoply, we effectively shamed Bruse Shantus into handing over Tinker Oddcog and undertaking steps to eventually step down as Bruse in favor of a government more favorable to Ber's needs.
 
Interesting to see how different gm's handle things. The direct confrontation with an absolute ruler in his throne room would not have gone well for you in a game I was running. At a minimum the Bruse would have cancelled the competion , Declared you Persona non Grata , expelled you from Ber and given Oddcog to the Ob. At worst you die in the throneroom (or kill the Bruse probably worse for Risur) as he orders his guards to kill you.
I think my players agree with the sentiment and even the overall strategy (they have no plans to launch any sabotage), although they hope to catch the Ob in their schemes helped by Manuels monstrous stealth. I also think trying to force the Bruse out risks a nasty civil war breaking out just in time for Pembertons coup but depending how it is handled it could work.
 

Adslahnit

Explorer
Before even setting off to the Summer Court, we took a moment to ingratiate ourselves to Melissa and the Panoply in Seobriga. We also did very well in the court case, thereby strengthening our friendship with Brakken. We befriended Glaucia too, helped by sharing some skyseer predictions. We also managed to prevent Rush Munchausen from escaping to the Bleak Gate, and we had Glaucia sentence Rush Munchausen in the court as well. We traveled to the Summer Court with Melissa, Glaucia, Brakken, and a freshly-sentenced Rush all in tow.

That meant that one of Lya's own aides was now a sentenced criminal in Ber, thus weakening her position in front of Shantus. Melissa, Glaucia, and Brakken could all testify to Merton Goncala likewise stirring up trouble with local megafauna, and endangering the lives of Beran officials as part of the vineyard attack.

We were also growing reasonably popular in Ber. We had preexisting, well-liked figures backing us up: Melissa, Glaucia, and Brakken. Between these factors, and the protests going on in Seobriga, Bruse Shantus was in a very weak position.

Sure, he could have booted us out, but that would have condemned him in the eyes of the public, particularly with Melissa publishing news reports on his lunatic demands on the imminent international incident and the sanctioned railroad sabotage. The Beran Rites of Rulership (he has those in the 4e version) would have waned significantly for Shantus. Ber is a nation with a low tolerance for tyrants, and Shantus could not afford to paint himself as one; once the Beran Rites of Rulership waned, not even his throne room guards would support him by that point.
 
Well explained but I suspect not enough that a direct confrontation would have gone well for me, but part of the fun of reading other peoples accounts of a campaign is seeing how the gm and the players handle different situations. I suspect I see Ber as less democratic and have a lower opinion of people in general which leads me to think foreigners will have a great deal of trouble gaining quick popular support in a nation combined with the importance of 'Tribal/Racial' loyalties. Combined this lets the Bruse get away with more, possibly with long term consequences for him.
Further given I am a historical cynic I expect the results of destabilizing the government of Ber would result in the same sort of situation you got in Yugoslavia only with actually clear and visible racial lines as people vented their anger by turning on those damn trogs/cows/snakes/etc and a viscous civil war developing ending up with a largish mainly Orc nation and smaller nations of the other major races and lots of dead people (although still no one would see the Kobolds). Although given Pembertons presence and plans he may end up in charge after any chaos and in any event most of the trouble would be cut short by the Age of Reason which may actually give more legitimacy to the Ob in the eyes of many
 
This session we only had 2 players, normally would have called this off but fortunatly they had split the party the session before and the players dealing with Cavallo were the 2 present, I also thought that activity would wrap up faster in Citadel Cavallo allowing everyone to be involved along the railroad next session.

Nevla and Manuel were cound for Citadel Cavallo arriving around mid morning after their trip via Risur to report in. They left Braken to watch the teleport circle and check for an arriving Ob enchantment specialist, while Glaucia wondered off to check on the local Escuadores. Manuel and Nevla went to the citedal gate and were insuled by Cavallo, Nevla responded by insulting him , but the brewing conflict was cut short by Alonso the Half Giant advisor to Cavallo suggesting that murdering the foreign represntatives was not very hospitable and so they were admitted and shown to their quarters, Alonso impressed Manuel by being as big as his steamsuit.

Once in their quarters they examined the Beran navy and concluded it was a bit backward but could still cause a lot of problems with raiding along the Risuri coast before more modern Risuri armoured ships could catch its wooden sailing ship. This was slightly derailed by my enthusiasm for armed boats , I concluded that the Beran Navy was equipped to about 1850's status with impressive reinforced sailing warships but not acuiliary steam engines on most, with a few Monitor Type ironclads
The Risuri navy with the exception of the sophisticated Coal tongue were wooden ships with axuiliary steam engines or the new mainstay of their fleets being ships simialar to HMS Warrior
and the more modern ships like

The Danoran (and Drakan) navies had a mixture of those and more modern ships like
HMS Royal Sovereign (1857) - Wikipedia and HMS Captain (1869) - Wikipedia

With everyone being fully rigged unless they plan on only short range deployments due to the limits of engine efficiency and lack of coaling stations

One of the Beran Sea Commodores who was a Druid came to talk to them and belittled Manuel as one of those who expect to replace magic with cannon and was completly derailed when he launched into his enthusiasm for magically enhanced guns and technology and the use of flying mammals for arial reconaisance , they had an interesting conversation and took notes on the Berans enthusiasm for Squids and similar. Manuel may want a steamsquid at some point.

Eventually they moved on to lunch with Cavallo, to be continued in part 2
 
Part 2
Lunch with Cavallo started with them greeting Lya in a display of politeness. They witnessed Cavallo's grandson being sent away and the sharp eyed Manual spotted the nature of the treatment to his leg confirming their intelligence about his infection. Cavallo told them he knew about Shantus's game and so did not believe all of Lya's stories and asked how they were going to bribe him. Their first offer was to provide druids to help Cavallo and his people make a deal with the sea fey , which pleased him, and they offerred assistance to help him set up a shipyard so he would not be dependent on the one the Bruse was building with Tinkers help. All of this pleased him and he mentioned that if they could deal with the annoying goblins without him having to send his own sailors to do the job he would be more greatful but so far none of this was worth him ending his feud with Shantus but they could stay and try and come up with something else.

Manuel flew out on Roger to investigate the goblins while Nevla stayed close to Cavello in case of them discovering this enchanter. From the air the Goblin tribe was easy to spot , the large number of giant insects gave Manuel some caution but he decided they probably could not smell him so he could sneak in. He was vastly more stealthy than the goblin guards could cope with and soon located their shaman and to his suprise Dr Von Recklinghausen. He crept in and talked with the doctor discovering it was he who had worked out a cure for the dragonworm and told how to cure it, he then agreed to try and get the good doctor out of there and went to speak with the shamen. His good credentials being confirmed by a large gift of fireworks to the tribe they got down to talking. This was the meeting of 2 reat diplomats one with a skill of -1 and 1 with a skill of -2. They blundered around for a while but in the end they reached an agreement
1) Manuel would persuade Cavallo to ket them have their old home back
2)Some of their stolen treasure would be repaid (Risur would give them 10000 gp of shiny stuff)
3) They would be paid by Griento railways to use thier Ankhegs to dig rail tunnels
4) Manuel would arrange for some city goblins to come and teach them about guns and fireworks and help them fit on better
5) They would stop raiding
6) They would release the doctor

The doctor set of for the Citedal and Manuel flew back arriving just before Brakken noticed a suspicous enchantress arriving. Manuel tailed her to the dockyard and spied on her meeting with Thrag, then after she and Thrag had gone their seperate ways he stole the letter of introduction . Meanwhile Glaucia came to the naval base with Brakken and just walked in everyone assumed she was there to look for corruption. She met with Manuel and using detect magic determined the letter was enchanted this was enough to arrest the enchantress but she agreed with the constables to catch her in the act. She went to Thrags first officer and told him that the next day this enchantress was going to try something on their sailing trip but she would stop it , he agreed to hide her on the boat as she explained that catching this criminal assaulting Thrags freedom would demonstrate his integrity and expose an enemy of Ber. Manuel also hid on the boat and spied on the enchantress. As soon as she fed a magical elixir to Thrag Manual gave the signal and Glaucia and a bunch of burly sailors burst in, immediatly the enchantress tried to teleport out but Manuel shot her with a none lethal Nock gun blast stopping that idea. Glaucia dispelled the effect on Thrag and explained the situation , he wanted to feed the enchantress to the sharks but was persuaded to at least delay this until she had been interrogated. Glaucia interrogated her using her truth power and discovered the entire plot but there was no direct link to Lya she having been recruited by a third party. Manuel and Glaucia returned t the citedal on a boat, with Thrag staying at sea so it looked like the plan was working to Lya.

Meanwhile Nevla had gone to Cavallo's daughter with the cure and healed her son, they discussed setting up a public health plan to clean the cities water and Cavallo's daughter agreed to coordinate local druids and clerics alongside Doctor Von Reckinghausen to clear out the disease. Something that would boost her public profile. Nevla also briefed the doctor when he arrived on Andrei's fate and the dangers of the Ob.

Nevla and Glaucia explained what had happened to Cavallo along with the report of Manuel having heard Lya plot this . He was furious and to spite the Danorans agreed to fund the railroad , he did not however agree to a public reconcilation with Shantus. The constables figured this was as good as they cou;d get and better than anything Lya would get here. Realising that Lya would soon realise that the constables had heard or otherwise learnt of their plans they decided that before the attack on Risur should occure they would teleport back to the rail line and organise a pre-emptive stike on the undead lizardmen before they became a problem.
 

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