ZEITGEIST The chronicles of Team Big-hearted And Determined (B.A.D.)

Echolocation

Explorer
This session ends with the party bumping into Delft at RHC HQ. The recap is written as Ella's report to Delft of that days event. As a result, it doubles up on some information from the previous session (emphasised by italics).

Session 6

We arrived at the consulate and rendezvoused with the police on-scene. The deceased's body had already been moved inside, but the consulate's security chief, Julian LeBrix, invited us in to inspect it and shared his version of events. We conducted a thorough examination of the body, interviewed the deceased's spirit, spoke to several staff members, and gathered intelligence from witnesses outside. We also followed a lead to a nearby hostel and spoke to the deceased's employer and adoptive father, Heward Sechim.

What everyone agrees on is that the deceased was Nilasa Hume: a 29 year old half-elf woman working at Sechim's Alchemicals and Alkahest. She was in a relationship with a consulate security guard and visited frequently. She was also - by all accounts - very personable, so no one thought it odd when she delivered breakfast to the consulate this morning. The food was laced with fey pepper, and while the staff were distracted Nilasa snuck upstairs and stole several items. She was caught in the act by the security chief and flew through the 4th floor window to escape, where she was shot out of the air and landed on the fence. While impaled, someone spoke to her and took several items from her body.

At this point the accounts diverge. Nilasa's spirit claimed she stole several documents from the Consular's office, hoping they would contain information useful to Gale. She’d apparently been visiting the consulate at Gale's behest for several months. Her claim of stealing documents was supported by an eyewitness outside, who saw the items on her body. Security Chief LeBrix however, claimed that he saw her stealing expensive cutlery and ornaments, not documents. We later discovered a document nearby with the seal of the consulate on it, so we’re fairly certain LeBrix was lying. The remnants of a powerful invisibility potion on Nilasa - and a receipt for over 2,000 gold worth of alchemical items - also suggest that this was a well-funded, pre-planned heist, not some petty theft.

Regardless, the security chief openly admitted to shooting Nilasa twice: once while she was running toward the window and once after she flew through it. We have no reason to disbelieve his report of her flying - certainly the distance she landed from the window supports it - but the timing and source of the gunshots is debatable.
The receptionist claimed she heard the glass shattering in between the shots, which corroborates LeBrix’s report, but a witness outside said the gunshots occurred after the window shattered - and that the second was fired while Nilasa was on the fence. The witness believed the second shot was what killed Nilasa - incidentally interrupting her conversation with someone. But the witness was uncertain where the second shot came from. The path of the bullet through Nilasa's shoulder and lung doesn’t seem to match a trajectory originating on the 4th floor, but we can’t confirm this as the body was moved and the bullets removed before we arrived.

In any case, the man speaking to Nilasa was identified as Dr. Wolfgang Von Recklinhausen, who took a necklace and several documents from Nilasa’s body before running into an alley. The doctor had been in the consulate this morning applying for a visa to Ber, and he spoke to Nilasa beforehand. He left the consulate seconds before she fell. The close timing suggests possible collusion in the theft, but we have no evidence tying him to Gale or Nilasa, other than his interactions with her today. We followed the doctor’s trail into an alley where we found signs of a scuffle, along with a deed bearing the seal of the Danoran consulate, and drops of unusually viscous blood infused with necromantic energy.

Traces of necromantic energy were also found on a wound on Nilasa's forehead, along with signs of post-mortem healing. Von Recklinhausen’s file lists him as a surgeon with training in spellcraft, so it’s possible he’s responsible for the wound and/or the healing magic. We interviewed a driver who took Von Recklinhausen to a nearby hostel, who said the doctor’s hands were covered in blood and he was carrying a large file. The traces of blood left in the carriage didn’t match the blood from the alley, and we have no idea if it belonged to Nilasa, Von Recklinhausen, or whatever Von Recklinhausen scuffled with in the alley.

Regardless, when we arrived at the hostel, Von Recklinhausen had already been and gone, - and so had an 'Officer Porter' from the North Shore police department. This 'Officer' showed the staff a badge and ransacked Von Recklinhausen’s room, leaving behind a rag stained with an unusual substance. I believe it has magical properties but it needs further analysis. The cleaning staff noted that Porter appeared injured but the bandage around his chest was stained black rather than red. Both the Officer and the rag he left behind smelled oddly of 'scorched engine grease'.

We later encountered a similar description when speaking to Heward Sechim, Nilasa’s employer. He said that men smelling of 'burnt engine grease' had recently approached him about discreetly acquiring universal solvent. They threatened arson after he refused to sell, but the only connection we have between these thugs and Porter is the smell. Our other leads include a number of contacts for Nilasa and Von Recklinhausen, the names of several witnesses from outside the consulate, and a note from Nilasa’s pocket mentioning a wharf. Heward Sechim also volunteered his uncle, skyseer Nevard, as a possible source of information on Gale.

I’m not... certain if the following has any bearing on our investigation but... the consulate receptionist said that the Consular had a secret meeting with a Risuri man this morning. It’s... unlikely to be related to Nilasa’s death but... worth knowing.

With regards to our investigation of Gale, we don’t have much new information. According to Nilasa’s spirit, Gale approached her, which suggests she has some way of identifying people who may be sympathetic to her cause. Perhaps she simply frequents places where like-minded people gather, or sends her agents there - in which case speaking to Nilasa’s contacts may be our best lead. We also suspect - although we have no way of verifying it - that the necklace Von Recklinhausen took from Nilasa was what allowed her to fly. Certainly nothing we found nothing on her body had such power, and it would explain how Gale grants her allies flight.

Our current priorities are interviewing Nevard Sechim, Nilasa’s criminal and social contacts, and Von Recklinhausen’s contacts. Finding Gale is still our main goal but identifying the exact cause of Nilasa’s death and finding Von Recklinhausen are also important. If we find Von Recklinhausen then we should find the missing documents. And they may be able to explain Gale’s interest in the consulate - and why the consulate refuses to admit that they exist. That’s the current state of our investigation.

Post-session description

I've noticed that as the recaps are written by the players, they will tend on consolidating the current state of knowledge, rather than recap the actual events of the session. So I'll try to provide some highlights here:
  • The party enjoyed speaking to the brothers Rob, Bob, and Cob, who manage a family business in window installment. So much so that they hand-delivered an exuberant quote for the broken window (and all other windows) to the consulate themselves.
  • Angharad lead the discussion with Heward by simply stating "Nilasa is dead". His Uncle's prophecy helped warn him of the news, but not how it would be broken...
The players loved the window brothers, Heward, and Wolfgang's name. I've had to spend a substantial amount of time thinking and practicing an accent that could stand up to the brilliance of "Wolfgang Von Recklinhausen".

The session ended with the party bumping into the Chrysilli gentleman Maxwell (RHC secretary) and the gun-hording goblin, Uncle Ivan (RHC ex-secretary, now quartermaster) arguing over paperwork. After the party is handed two documents: one by Alfred Bellastair documenting a list of witnesses, and the other is a Person of Interest Information Request (handout) ordered by Delft. I had the latter appear because I was worried the party would miss the entire smuggling thread. I was concerned the party wouldn't visit The Thinking Man's Tavern or retrieve the Information Request themselves. This would leave Kell's courier (who watches RHC HQ) the only link to the entire smuggling thread.

This fear was unfounded for several reasons. Firstly, I thought Kell's courier would simply watch RHC HQ for the afternoon in the 2nd of Summer, and my party met in the morning not afternoon. Clearly the courier would watch the HQ for longer than an afternoon though....When the party arrives at the HQ on the 3rd, they could have been called to meet Kell, and dragged into the operation. Secondly, my party was incredibly interested in visiting the Thinking Man's Tavern....but I only found this out in the next session. In retrospect, I would have chose to not simply hand over the Person of Interest Information Request. However, in the scheme of things, it's not a big deal.

I've attached a document handed to the party by Tia early in today's session. I've also added the Trello board following the session. Currently the party is debating whether there were two shooters (one being LeBrix), or maybe one shooter, with LeBrix not being involved at all..
 

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Echolocation

Explorer
Session 7

This week's recap is written by Lissandra's player. A few comments are required for proper context. Avvakir's player had been absent in previous weeks, but managed to attend this session. I explained this in-game as Avvakir being suspended by Saxby after obtaining fraudulent warrants to help factory workers escape.

Additionally, Ella's contacts were of use this session. Bee, an alchemist who owns Flint's only ice-cream parlor, allowed Ella and Angharad to use her lab to chemically profile Officer Porter's rag. Conrad Keppler, a noble who sponsors the disadvantaged to attend Pardwight University, witnessed the events of the consulate. Wanting to avoid headlines and a consequently furious wife, he rushed home and contacted Ella in private.

Recap

Last time in the adventures of team B.A.D.… the task remains to uncover the terrorist Gale and their investigation continues with the case of Nilasa Hume’s death.

Despite a little hungover from the Solstice revelry, the group meet in their office at RHC bright and early where they deliver a report to Inspector Delft on yesterday's progress and begin to put together a plan for the day ahead. Ella took leave to get Maxwell to contact North Shore police to screen for this apparent ‘Officer Porter’, and to arrange a meeting should he actually exist. During Ella’s absence, Lisandra was called on by Inspectress Saxby, by way of escort from Carlao, the resident RHC kiss-arse, arriving at their office like a tin-can polished purely with self-importance. Despite the over-the-top display, the invitation was simply to answer a question about their local time at the consulate: Did you do anything illegal? Taken aback, Lisandra denied as much, and was promptly sent on her way. A little confused, and unsure of if the Inspectress was referring specifically to her, or her team as a whole, Lisandra wandered back to the office to rejoin her team.
Avvakir takes a moment to apologize for his absence lately, informing his fellows that he was on a suspension for using his position to keep some of the factories in Parity Lake open without the proper authority. His team mates sympathized with his intent, but Lisandra gently criticised his execution, and cautioned him to perhaps ask for help in future, with such delicate matters. The were a team, afterall.

The group decided to split their efforts, with Angharad and Ella heading out to Stray River to enlist the facilities of her contact Bea, to conduct a thorough analysis on the black-stained rag (after Angharad tried to induce brain freeze on children at the ice-creamery/lab via intimidation tactics), while Lisandra and Avvakir got a firsthand taste of how the Parity Lake’s police staff show their hospitality to the RHC. After an hour of waiting, rather patiently too, it should be said, for the files she had requested Lisandra’s fuse had caught. Avvakir joined her in indignation, as the pair found out the staff were stalling, and said papers were practically within arms reach the entire time. The pair set off to meet Ella and Angharad back at the office to compare notes. Once tempers had simmered, and insights shared the group decided to spend the next portion of the day in North Shore, gathering further information on Dr. Von Recklinhauser and to meet a trusted contact of Ella’s, who recently stepped forward as a witness to Nilasa’s death and had some research to share with them.

This contact, Conrad Keppler turned out to be Ella’s patron at University and an incredibly sharp mind for mathematics and physics as he lead the team through a detailed account of the events. He confirmed that she passed on a hefty folder of papers to a man who spoke to her briefly that matched the description of von Recklinhausen, and when a shot came from a figure in an upper floor window shot Nilasa in the leg, the man tore a pendant from her neck and fled, leaving her to squirm on the fence posts when the second shot, thanks to her frantic movements, managed to catch her in the shoulder and end her life. Feeling more confident with Keppler’s data to corroborate the events, the constables set off to seek out associates of von Recklinhausen, the first of which was Dr. Barnaby Camp, who they eventually found at his place of business. They questioned the surgeon, post-lecture, on his relationship with Recklinhausen and his interest in the arcane. They confirmed that ‘Office Porter’ had paid Camp a rude visit demanding information on Recklinhausen and refused treatment for his apparent chest wound before leaving, as well as confirming more of the timeline of events involving Porter, and gaining insight into the general demeanour and personal life of Recklinhausen himself. Angharad also gleaned insight that Recklinhausen believed resurrection a theoretical possibility when discussing potential religious leanings of their person of interest with Camp. Content in their findings, the team moved on to the Strand to pass by the Thinking Man’s Tavern on their way through to the Central District. Unfortunately, the establishment would not be open until that evening, so the constables left orders for that evening's meals and promised to be back after opening.

In the Central District, they tracked Recklinhausen’s other contact, Prof. Lynn Kindelton, to her home above a butchery and were greeted by a very paranoid, borderline-obstructive woman who required them to jump through every hoop to get her to talk, after they escorted her back to RHC headquarters to cement their legitimacy. She finally confessed to knowing Recklinhausen, as Angharad had already confirmed from rifling through her deck and finding a letter. She had heard via courier that he was in trouble, currently hiding out in the Nettles, and planning to send back supplies to aid him. The constables explained they wished the doctor no harm, but needed to ask him questions in relation to a case and asked if she could explain as such in her response, and try to facilitate a meeting with Recklinhausen, offering potential protection from this ‘Porter’ who seemed to be hunting him down with a vengeance. The interrogation over, Maxwell organizes a guard to escort Lyn back to her home. He also confirmed that Officer Porter is indeed not a registered member of the police force, and passed along a list of stolen inventory from the Consulate, which only served to insinuate the secretary may be seeking revenge for her frequently stolen lunches by skimming stationary from the Consulate stores.

As the day came to a close, the team began to organize themselves for an evening at the Thinking Man’s Tavern. Wanting a more subtle approach, Lisandra made the not-so-tactful suggestion that perhaps Angharad not were his jacket with the clearly visible RHC logo on it to the tavern, prompting the burly Cipith to detour and acquire new threads for the occasion. As Lisandra and Angharad left to go change, they were approached by a man at the front of headquarters who claimed to be in the employ of Locen Kell, a local crime boss who is well known to have favours with the police. Oddly enough, the man was already acquainted with their names and invited the team to a meeting with his boss at a local theatre that evening, handing over four tickets and the information that Kell is aware of Recklinhausen’s exact whereabouts and he is happy to negotiate the terms of sharing such information. After Kell’s man leaves, Angharad suggests perhaps their companions are not the right sorts to attend such a meeting and they head off to finish their errands before meeting back up with Ella and Avvakir in the Strand.

Team BAD reconvene at the Thinking Man’s Tavern, and upon arrival, the girls take a moment to dial back their shock and admiration for Angharad’s surprising shift in appearance, as he sports a very fashionable suit with luxurious trimmings. The group sit down to combine an evening meal and further their trend of disturbing the emotions of NPCs as they question Barb about Nilasa. This time it is Lisandra’s turn to stick her foot in her mouth, delivering the unfortunate news to the older woman of her surrogate daughter’s demise. Narrowly missing a heart attack, the group let Barb take her leave to rest and process the news and Angharad quickly set to work on following up with some of Nilasa’s associated in the tavern, Jarred, the halfling musician. He tipped the owner, Tad, a platinum for the bard’s time and asked for him to be sent over after his song has finished. Well, that certainly caught the tavernkeep’s attention and he was happy to oblige. Unfortunately, as Jarred began his way over to their table, the group was interrupted by a rather self-important figure previously pointed out to them as Hennet, who was eager to cut in and assault the group with a lot of hot wind, and turn the interrogation on them. Seemingly dubious of their status as Constables, he waffled on about authority, reason and revolution, before concluding with the challenge.

“Tell us why you think you have the right to enforce the law.”

Angharad, perhaps displeased with this show of arrogance, shushes the man and once again politely asks the halfling to come sit. Jarred’s hackles go up and he refuses, demanding they answer Hennet’s inquiry.

At the tense turn of events, it was Lisandra who found her tongue first and attempted to remedy the situation, as the surrounding tavern looked on. She attempted to take the humble route, arguing that she was not here to enforce anything, but to serve. When Hennet pushed for an elaboration, she explained she served the dead and forgotten, those who have been tread upon and those who have lost their lives to help them find justice. Insulted by the following accusation of inebriation that followed, Lisandra insisted one did not need to be high to care for the murdered, and figured it to be an act of common decency. Before her temper truly flared, Hennet raised his hands in a gesture of surrender and shifted his line of questioning to challenge why constables are better equipped at serving justice then, than any other person in the crowd.
Honestly, she replied that she thought it was not a case of ‘better’, simply a case of circumstance and invited anyone interested to apply for such a position with the RHC, should they be interested.
As the discussion progressed, Hennet gestured for it to come to close, slamming his hands down on the table and making the ominous declaration, “Alright! Let the ritual commence!”

What the hell does that mean? Will the interrogation continue? Will Lisandra have to awkwardly word spa with this arrogant twat further? What outfit will Angharad wear next? Stay tuned to find out!

DM notes

I introduced Keppler to resolve an unrelenting question of the group: if the shooter was firing from the window, and Nilasa laid parallel to the compound fence how could a bullet pierce who shoulder and puncture lung? They were considering that there may have been two shooters from different locations. I thought it would be best to draw on the engineering expertise of Conrad to help reconstruct the scene and provide guidance.

I've attached the most recent version of the party's Trello board, as well as a report receive from LeBrix (requested by the constables in the previous day).
 

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Echolocation

Explorer
After session

Necrogolems

In between sessions, I ask players to answer a question about their character. Previous examples include:
  • Who would you kiss, marry, kill from the Coaltongue party? (RIP Pemberton),
  • Where do you get your clothes (including shoes) from?
  • Why do you work for the RHC? (Asked early in the campaign)
This week, I asked players to contribute a theory to the Trello board. I had previously mentioned that I dig the conspiratorial theories made by the players. Two players stepped up to the challenge (Lissandra's/Ella's) and provided the disturbingly/humorously accurate "Necrogolem Theory" (see attached).

Solstice party

We also have a text channel on Discord that allows players to roleplay. Typically this is for characters to interact with other people in the party, but sometimes characters interact with NPCs. I also use it to foreshadow things. For example, a while ago, the party met a gambling halfling who smelt curiously of coffee.

The current scene is a Solstice Party held at Ella's house:
The last rays of the solstice sun burnish the clouds gold as guests begin to arrive at Ella’s home. Effie warmly welcomes each arrival at the gate, a blue-haired gnome boy beside her shyly holding up a basket of flower wreaths. Sofia and Maria sit on the grass nearby, alongside a flower crowned Maxwell and Ruki, nominally weaving more flowers together. Mostly, though, the young gnomes are just throwing flowers at each other, with the tengu and Crisillyiri gentleman left to pick up the stray petals. The scent of crushed flowers mixes with the mouth-watering aroma of festival foods as a steady stream of trays is carried from the kitchen to the tables dotting the lawn by an entourage of a sheep, two platypi, a bear, Gary, Andolyn, and her invisible servants.

Several musical notes sound from a pink-haired gnome tuning her lute under the trees and a mob of children immediately descend on her location, yelling out their favourite songs. A wizened female gnome wanders nearby, lighting the lanterns scattered about the lawn with a whispered word - the orchard and back garden already aglow with similar lights. Bee, a female gnome and a male dwarf work together under Gran Clara’s supervision to manoeuvre an oversized metal box into position by the house, doing their best to follow her instructions. Laughter drifts from the lounge room windows as a spry old gnome with a goatee tells wild tales to Delft, Pete and the other constables over a game of cards.

Uncle Ivan and Grandpa Desmond were last seen heading towards the garden shed.

Ella's adorable toddler gnome siblings made a Summer Solstace card for the beloved Big Friendly Giant Avvakir. Here is the card made with glitter (crushed rocks from The Dreaming).

CardFront.jpg
CardInside.jpg


Meme

meme.png
 

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Crispy120286

Explorer
Its great to see another adventuring group going through the adventure at the same time as my group and at roughly the same spot too! My party just arrested The House Elf (Danisca got away) and are planning on meeting Skyseer Nevard tomorrow morning and stop the smugglers that night (It's the 4th).

I must say, your handouts and use of Trello are fantastic! I too use Google Sheets to keep track of all of my campaign notes which has been a tremendous help. I was trying to write a session by session synopsis but that turns out to be more difficult than it looks, I give all the kudos in the world to those of you who can keep up with it.
 

Echolocation

Explorer
I was trying to write a session by session synopsis but that turns out to be more difficult than it looks, I give all the kudos in the world to those of you who can keep up with it.
Absolutely, props to all the DMs who manage to do it. I'm not one of them. Before each session, we decide who will do the recap next week. All the players write it out ahead of time, so I just copy and paste them here.

I must say, your handouts and use of Trello are fantastic!
Thanks, that means a lot to me. Feel free to use them!

My party just arrested The House Elf (Danisca got away) and are planning on meeting Skyseer Nevard tomorrow morning and stop the smugglers that night (It's the 4th).
In the most recent session (not posted here), my group met Nevard. They adore him, and are very excited to help him watch the heavens from one of the most dangerous places in Flint. I hope your group becomes equally excited!
 

Echolocation

Explorer
Session 8

The last few sessions have been a bit rough. For those who don't know, the last few months, Australia has been roughed up by fire, hail, floods, and storms. We play online, so people had to constantly leave to drag something out of the dangerous hail, or drop out due to power loss. As such, the sessions have been a little slow as we wait for people to return.

Recap (Angharad's player)

There was silence in the tavern during Hennet's speech, everyone listening to him before their eyes trained onto the party, as the tavern members rearranged the tables to form a circle around us, Lisandra noticed a small rock in her glass.. a pebble, Ella's badge instantly started to glow, while Lisandra swiped the pebble out of sight.

Once Hennet was encouraging us to ask Jered (the ocarina playing halfling bard), the party got into why they were there, Jered saying that Nilasa was nice, always down to talk about new ideas, and that he had known her for years, and that she was always down to talk about revolution, while being fervently against industrialism in general, but focused upon Risur in general. Furthermore, Jered told us that Nilasa had a tenancy to make friends with those who would cause chaos, while Jered believed that she had friends who were likely doing things that were illegal, which was worked out by Lisandra and Ella, Jered had even met these friends of Nilasa's a few times, and they were the Cloudwood brigands; mercenary bandits who kind of had a robin hood vibe going for them.

At this point, Lissandra opened the question up to the crowd, stroking their egos a bit in the practice, which lead to a bunch of inane questions thrown at Jered.

Once this was done, Lissandra started to question Hennet, who innformed us that Nilasa was mainly interested in his ability to write in Crissilyiri, which he had learnt while he was researching the fossils of dragons and demons. Nilasa had gotten him to write a letter to one Monsigneur Morgan Cippiano. At the end of the communication, or the ritual as Hennet put it, he said 'Unmask the masked', which Ella knew to be religious, but not why. Angharad spoke to Tad, the innkeeper, after all of this, to keep an eye out for any dark haired Eladrin or half elf ladies for him, and to pass a message on for him, to which he agreed.

Shortly after this, Lissandra took a leave, and asked Angharad to accompany her, to Ella's great amusement, as she winked and wished them a good evening. But, instead the duo were heading to the theater to speak to Kell, the crime boss. But on their way there, they heard a bunch of angry shouting, someone grunting in pain, and a woman's scream for someone to stop them! Two thugs wearing bright red scarves sprinting away from the scene. Lisandra had the carriage chase after the thugs to cut them off, and as the did, the thugs eyes grew wild, with one of them clutching a small bundle of frabic, ran into a building, but unluckily for the one carrying the bundle, Angharad's fire caught him in the leg. Just after that though, out of sight, it was heard' Get Up! Babies fetch a bloody huge ransom!" which set the two RHC agents off immediantly, chasing them into the building and up the stairs.. Meanwhile, Ella and Avvakir had finished eating at the Thinking Man's Tavern, were taking a carriage back to the Nettles, before Avvakir stepped out early, saying he was going to speak to an old friend to try and find the Doctor...

Jumping Back to Angharad and Lissandra though, pursuing the two thungs up the stairs into a wooden floored room, which massive red curtains that rose as the pair made it into the room, letting them look out into a room filled with around 100 people, all armed with pistols and crossbows pointing at the agents, bar one.. a young man with a shocked expression on his face, and green eyes who was lowering his crossbow while staring at Lissandra. And then, they heard a 'Bravo!!' and the sound of clapping...

Moments later, an atheletic looking man, bouncing a leather ball came to bring them to Lorcan Kell, and they found out they were in the Theater of Scoundrels, a criminal organistion who rehearse performances, but also muggings, ransoms and various other types of deception. Kell claimed that he had the doctor in his care, and was willing to hand him over if the RHC constables would do him a favour, it was even enforcing the law, so huzzah really. We were to stop a smuggling operation on the 4th evening of summer, and that he had even heard that Nilasa was involved in it.. the athletic man, Rufus, as we found out, was directed to take us to a room to think it over, after which they decided that they didn't really have a choice, but wouldn't be able to tell the other two members of the team how exactly they found the info, thus they told Kell they would do it, and that he would get them to the Doctor once we had dealt with the smugglers. Sadly, probably due to the worry of dealing with a mobster, the two had forgotten to get where the smugglers were located.. Hopefully that doesn't become an issue..

Angharad returned to his home in the Cloudwood after this, while sending word to the brigands to not get too antsy when the RHC came a knocking, they were just here to talk, not to arrest. Ella went to her fathers grave and spoke to him at length..

On the 3rd day of summer, during the spiel to Delft, Lissandra left out the details of meeting Kell, which he noticed something, but decided not to press the group how they had learnt about the smugglers , while Avvakir informed us he had the Nettles being canvassed for the Doctor, while Angharad informed his allies that he knew of how to meet the Brigands of the Cloudwood, that he ignored what they did in the Cloudwood, and they knew not to operate near him, telling the group that they tended to take money from those who had too much money, and gave it to the poor.

After that, the group decided they had to speak to the Skyseer Nevard, and made their way into the Cloudwood, they heard the panicked neighs from a horse, with damaged carriage harness hanging off of it, and a woman's screams coming from a carriage, slowly sliding off the edge of the road, archers scattered around, taking shots at a man next to the carriage. Angharad recognized one of the archers as Renyard, the leader of the Cloudwood bandits.. After a brief scuffle, Dreaming humming birds attacking Ella for her blood, Angharad pulling a lady out from the carriage just before it fell, and Renard getting even angrier at first, it came to light that these men were Kell's, and had kidnapped the lady, 'Maurina' who was also Renyard's beau.

Once everyone had calmed down, the constables were able to speak to Renard about Nilasa, being told that she had helped them a few times, but never asked to be paid back for her help... Apparently she was just over only talking about it, and wanted to do something. Angharad asked Renard if he knew of Nilasa's other employer, alluding to Gale, not her adoptive father, of which Renard knew nothing, Angharad briefly showed his Vekeshi Mask, trying to jump his memory, which lead to Renard commenting that she had fire inside of her, so he wouldnt have been surprised if she was one.

Ella was asking the spellcaster about his blood drinking, dreaming touched humming birds, and was told that with the right emotions, the stars aligning and the right state of mind, you could get to the dreaming, Angharad was not particularly impressed by his friend wanting to get to the Dreaming.

After this, the party made it up the hill, to stone plinths scattered around with half a dozen people outside a tent, a gravel path leading to the tent. As the RHC members walked along the path, these individuals rose and one lady called out 'What areyou doing here? You are not Skyseers- I can see it in your eyes, Our Leader has no time for you' but, a friend of Angharad's, Pazamu brushed her aside, saying he would check if Nevard was able to see us.. When he came back saying we could enter, he asked Anghard to refrain from smoking, as Nevard preferred dim light to spare his eyes . Also under his breath, mentioned that Angharad had never mentioned what fine company he kept to him.

Inside the tent, Nevard was reclining upon many cushions, wearing a simple grey robe, the smells of cinnamon and cloves everywhere, but not masking the smell of deterioration, Nevard's eyes never seemed to make contact with ours, more looking through us, than at us. He sadly had no more information to offer on Nilasa, or his prophecy he had made about her, and when asked about Gale.

'What mayhem has Gale caused this time? She has come to me in the past, much like you have, seeking guidance. I don't know why she bothers, she never listens.' Last time she visited she had said she followed my advice, and found a new threat that eve the people of Flint would take seriously' And said that he had last seen her a week ago, further more he would be willing to arrange a meeting between gale and us, but first we would need to prove we wouldnt betray her trust, that we would need to fulful his dying wish. He wished to travel to the peak of Cauldron Hill, to see above the clouds, the strongest point of magical power in the city and attempt to pierce the veil that has taken the skyseers recently, he wanted to have a vision to show how those like Gale, and the industrialists could walk the same path together.

As we left, Pazamu mentioned that we would need the Nettle's Mayors approval to go to the peak, and hopefully he would know how to make it up without getting possessed, and that there is a ritual that we can do, to give Nevard the strength to make it up the hill, but involves our blood.

And that my fellow constables, is what happened last time.

Highlights

The players loved Lorcan Kell's lure. We had to break for five minutes as Lissandra's player wanted some time out to process what had just happened. The player described her heart beating out of her chest. Only after the session did they realise they had agreed to stop a smuggling operation they knew nothing about.

I personally enjoyed how the party handled The Thinking Man's Tavern. Hennet had made quite a spectacle, and the crowd scraped their tables and chairs to arrange themselves as a circle around the Constables. Jered was berated by several questions and not much of anything useful was obtained, but the constables were able to deduce that Jered was not responsible for: doubling in size and throwing Nilasa out of the consulate window; polymorphing as a compound fence spike and killing Nilasa, the earthquakes that shake Flint, etc...

The players seem to be enjoying the story quite a bit. They mentioned that at least once a session, an interesting spanner is thrown in the works. They also seem to enjoy the relatively slow pacing, and sinking their teeth into the setting.
 

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In my initial playtest, during the Theater of Scoundrels scene, one PC got himself maimed because he drew a gun on Kell and fired. Kell took the hit, then the whole party was bludgeoned into unconsciousness, and the offending PC had his hand chopped off and delivered to his landlord.

It unfortunately ended up messing up the game a bit, because the player insisted that his character would run away and leave the RHC. The intimidation had worked too well. He made a new character, but it threw off the group dynamic.
 

Echolocation

Explorer
one PC got himself maimed because he drew a gun on Kell and fired
My party would never do something like that, they are all too idealistic and patient. Where feasible, they spend combat trying to convince enemies to talk instead of fight. In saying this, their idealism is slowly slipping from the world as they are confronted with the cruely pragmatic and selfish sides of Flint.

One thing I love about the campaign logs shared by folks on this forum is the similarities and differences between parties. It's fascinating hearing how parties react differently to the same situation.
 

Echolocation

Explorer
Post session 8

As I mentioned in my last discussion, the players have been increasingly drawn into the world. Lissandra's player was taken aback by the Theater of Scoundrels. She has spent the last week writing several stories about her character, which I've attached to this post. To quickly recap, Lissandra was raised by a 'Father Otis' who has both criminal and community tendencies (bet you can't guess which criminal organisation he turns out to be associated with). After figuring out she could get more coin by conning nobles than swindling the common classes, she spent an increasing amount of time away from her Nettles home and with nobility. Father Otis is ill, and a portion of Lissandra's paycheck is dedicated towards providing him with the medication he needs.
Fishing for Answers: Lissandra founds out Connor (ex boyfriend, raised by Otis) is part of the Kell's Guild, and travels to visit her father figure for answers.
Father Otis & The Gang: Summary of the characters associated with Father Otis.
Friends Like These: Lissandra's history with Father Otis and Connor.
Old Flames, New Flames: Lissandra's last moments with Connor, before the two part ways. This story has some allusions to sex, so please avoid if that isn't your kind of thing.
 

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Echolocation

Explorer
Lissandra's player is also an artist. She's taken the liberty to create some amazing digital tokens for our Roll20 game.

You can find more of her art here: Jae ♡ (@theartofjae.exe) • Instagram photos and videos

Meet: Ella, our resident technologist investigator, a reserved tiefling gnome with no patience for wrongdoers

Angharad, our fey-sympathising Vekesh fire kineticist, a man shrouded in mystery and perpetual cigar smoke.

Avvakir, the Yerasol Veteran brawler, whose heart has made more friends than his mind can remember

And last but not least, Lissandra, the Spirit Medium rogue with a penchant for spreading rumours and pilfering the pockets of nobles.
 
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A mummy Gnome and a Daddy gnome get together , andif one of them has been bad they get a tiefling gnome baby.
Alternative answers involving gnomes may use Lego or Mechano depending on your world view.
Or all Gnomes are demonic if you are a proper gnome hater
 

Echolocation

Explorer
Session 9 (Courtesy of Ella's player)

Our session began after speaking to Skyseer Nevard and agreeing to escort him up Cauldron Hill. After some debate we agreed to focus on the more time-sensitive lead of the smuggling operation for now, and sent Angharad off to Parity Lake to seek more information. He chatted with one of Kell’s thugs over some shared cigars and discovered that no one actually knew where the smuggling operation was taking place - or who was running it. So maybe he and Lisandra weren’t so lax in their questioning after all...

Meanwhile Ella and Lisandra had headed to the docks to chat to their favourite shirtless eladrin: Ugin Sisk. He agreed to look for the wharf mentioned on Nilasa’s receipt but seemed… dubious about his ability to stay focused. He also revealed that our ship - the Mist Runner - had been completed several days ago but he’d forgotten to send a message.

We reconvened at RHC headquarters, where one of our fellow constables: Serena the man-hating technologist, was pacing around outside. After some excited chatter - and leading us on a merry chase through the streets of Central District - Serena revealed that she’d discovered a new badge power: the ability to point the way to RHC headquarters.

As exciting as this was, we were nowhere near as excited as the rest of Pete’s team: who’d already discovered an alternative use for the command and were having great fun betting money on it. On our way to view this badge-bouncing spectacle we were handed a letter by the ever-immaculate Maxwell, containing a note from Dr Barnaby Camp and an incomprehensible scrawl that only Lisandra could read. The scribble revealed that Dr Von Recklinhausen was seeking a way to Ber, and was convinced he was being stalked by some “wretched creature” in the streets of Flint.

Wolfgang's letter to those who do not understand 'Surgeon (written)'.
letter.png


Wolfgang's and Camp's letters (translated)

wolfgang-letter.png


camp-letter.png


Not quite sure what to do with this information, we waited for Angharad to deliver Gaethan some tea and then headed off to the Goodson’s Estuarial Reformatory - stopping for a nice spot of dinner on the way. Or multiple dinners, in Ella’s case.

Upon arriving at the reformatory we found a very drunk young man arguing with the man in charge. Angharad recognised his friend, Rhys, and with Ella’s help managed to get him back on his feet and in a carriage - but not before Rhys had accused Derek Goodson of mistreatment of prisoners and possible murder.

Naturally we were all very interested in seeing how prisoners were treated here at the reformatory. Oh, I’m sorry: participants. Derek denied any mistreatment of the… participants but did admit to having guards shoot escapees and a boat burn down a few weeks ago. So that’s nice.

We were quickly sent off on a tour while Derek stayed behind to do “paperwork”, and were treated to some… questionable music, before finally being led to the people we’d actually come to see: Ford Sorghum and Travis Starter.

With a lot of coaxing from Lisandra - and an eventual promise to free them - the two petty criminals revealed that Nilasa was working with a new criminal group called “The Family” and someone called “The House Elf” to smuggle tens of thousands of gold worth of wands to Nilasa’s allies in the Cloudwood.

Commandeering Ford and Travis, we returned to the mainland and broke into Derek’s shack finding it abandoned and recently relieved of any important documents. Nothing suspicious to see here, let’s move right along…

We headed back at headquarters, said hi to Sunny, and stayed up until midnight completing the necessary paperwork to free Ford and Travis. At which point Ella was ready to pass out on the floor. Lisandra invited her back to her apartment instead - much to Ella’s delight - while Angharad insisted on going back to the Cloudwood. Probably to feed his secret pet cat or something…

In any case, sleep was had, shoes were snooped on, and we all made it back to work in time for our morning meeting with Delft. At which point we discovered that Sisk - wonder of wonders - had actually left a letter for us. His notes ruled out the Upper Flint Bay as a potential location for the wharf, and recommended a wonderful magic show in Pine Island run by someone called “The House Elf”...

And so, with less than a day left to stop it, we finally have our first solid lead on the smuggling operation - and it came from a shirtless pirate elf of all people.

NPC Glossary (Not from the book)
Ugen Sisk: A nocturnal eladrin who manages the logistics of RHC's ships. Crafted from a player's mesmerist that never saw play. My players sometimes make back-up characters, and they sometimes offer them up as NPCs instead.
Rhys: Angharad's contact. Son of a large noble family, but refuses to participate in his expected duties.
Maxwell/Sunny: RHC secretaries.
Pete: A war veteran and constable, who works alongside Carlao. Works from the break room sharing pastries and telling fantastical stories of the recent Yerasol war.
 

Echolocation

Explorer
Session 10: Badgers, Piranhas, and Smugglers - Oh my!
(A detailed description written by Lisandra's player)


Our last episode commenced with Ella and Lisandra just having read a message from their Ugen Sisk, alerting them to a lead on the House Elf’s whereabouts in the Pine Island District. Quick to get to work, the pair arrive at their office to the scent of coffee and fresh pastries. Accompanying said morning sustenance was their superior, Inspector Delft awaiting their morning report. Despite apparently little-to-no-sleep, Angharad arrived a surprisingly five minutes late, and even more surprisingly, he arrived completely chipper and full of energy… and possibly as high as a kite.

The report continued on a little shakily, as the team had yet to have a solid lead on exactly where or when this smuggling operation was intending to take that evening.

Partway through Ella’s delivery of the previous days findings, Pete bursts through their door, and after a lecture from Delft on the importance of such meetings being confidential, Pete offered a shrug and announced that Saxby wanted to see Angharad in her office. Quietly, Angharad slipped a piece of wood into his desk draw and took his leave.

Secretly shitting himself, the inebriated constable headed into Saxby’s office as Delft wished the team good luck, emphasising reminding them they should not be afraid to ask for help, as the people of Flint owe them for the prior actions.

Arriving at Saxby’s office, Angharad was greeted by the usual cheery demeanour of the boss of their boss. You know, the kind that leaves you (a fully fledged adult) standing awkwardly in front of her desk like a reprimanded schoolkid before she has barely opened her mouth. Turned out the Inspectress was curious about their meeting with Nervard Serchim, the Skyseer in the Cloudwood and asked for Angharad’s opinion of the man. With a little consideration, the Cipith decided ‘dying’ was his strongest impression of Nevard and the Inspectress replied with a steely sense of concern, pointing out that the dying skyseer seemed to be their only tangible lead on finding Gale. With a prompt dismissal, and a very quick exit, Angharad left to rejoin his fellow constables.

Ready to get stuck into their day, the trio followed Ella’s lead to visit Dima, one of Carlao’s team to inquire if she had the means to be able to cast some divination magic on the oily rag they had found in Recklinhausen’s hostel room linked to the Not-Officer Porter. Taking the group aside, Dima joined them with a scroll of Blood Biography and cast it on said rag. The results caused some confusion, as the casting was successful, but did not display the information the group was expecting. Ella deduced that whatever the rag lead to was protected by a ward that prevented divination magic from working.

On their way out to follow their lead on the House Elf, Lisandra made a quick stop in to see Uncle Ivan, the new Quartermaster, in search of a potion that might help with improving one’s reflexes and dexterity for a time. Ella followed along, and they found Uncle Ivan busy at work mixing some kind of alchemical substance and pouring it into a large gun. With a puff of smoke, the reagents started expelling a pungent gas that caused the goblin to begin coughing. A startled Ella and confused Lisandra watched as he threw the gun into the evidence room, and promptly slammed the door shut before small tendrils of the poison seeped out from beneath the door. With casual assurance, Uncle Ivan scolded Ella on worrying too much and pointed at the dissipating substance before changing the subject and dealing with Lisandra’s request.

“You need a potion of bouncy body!” he declared, pulling a few vials from a draw as Lisandra hesitated. “Come, I show you!”

Uncle Ivan raced off to their office on their second floor, followed closely by Ella and a less urgent, and still dubious Lisandra. They met with Angharad, who had remained to retrieve the previously mentioned piece of wood from his desk, because that’s not weird, and Uncle Ivan sprang into a demonstration. Despite assurances that such a display wasn’t required, the goblin downed one of the potions, and flung himself out the second story window without a care. To the horror of Lisandra and Ella, Uncle Ivan landed on the sidewalk on his back, not a single bounce witnessed. Or a scratch to be seen, apparently, as he dismissed Lisandra’s concerns before climbing back into the window via way of gun-propelled grappling hook. After this grand display, Lisandra expressed she was a little unsure that was the kind of potion she was after, to which Uncle Ivan held up another potion and simply claimed he knew, and offered her Cat’s Grace instead.

With their office business completed, the group set out to make a hasty trip to the Lower Flint Bay, headed to the Central docks to utilize their newly constructed ship, the Mist Runner, for the task. Concerned with the proper protocol, Ella attempted to wake their ever-napping colleague, Ugen, to inform him that they were taking the ship out for work. Deep in his slumber, Angharad summoned Geriad to dump some water on the poor man as Lisandra mumbled anxiously about the unnecessary nature of such things. After a rude awakening, Ugen let them know they can simply take the boat whenever suits them and bid them on their way. Before the trio departed, much to Ella’s delight, both she and Angharad found pebbles sitting on the hammock nearby. All three constable were now in possession of one, which piqued Ella’s curiosity as she began to diligently take notes on new variables to keep track of.

Despite being one man short, Team BAD sailed off to the Lower Flint Bay, the Mist Runner docks on the southerned side of the district and asks around about the House Elf, hoping to find out seek out this mysterious figure for questioning. They are each regaled with many varying accounts of the man… eladrin… half-elf… uh, orc? And his mystifying show that included tricks such as turning someone inside out, and right-side in, turning people various colours and such. The trio find themselves up north near the coast, at the House Elf’s studio. Inside, they met a gnome gentleman who, upon seeing Ella’s badge, quickly began attempting to sell his services to contract his services to the RHC. Introducing himself as Blander Wearyeye, Ella let her curiosity derail her and insisted that she must see a demonstration, to which the gnome turns around with a flourish, his cap changing into a tophat from which he pulls out a honey badger. Completely taken in by the display of such legitimate spell casting, Ella watches with awe as he theatrically dunks the excitable badger back into the hat several times turning it red, then blue, then bring it out again weary a tiny tophat much like his own. Lisandra begins a line of gentle questioning, small talk almost, as she asks the gnome how long he has been doing this kind of work. They discover he has been doing it for decades, and has always been in Flint and is very attached to his clutch of honey badgers, which sat in comfortable looking enclosures around the stage area. Discussions took a turn south when the name Nilasa was brought up and the direct questions began. Blander began to get a little nervous and rambling, Lisandra could tell he was clutching at straws to avoid answering the question. After further direct questioning from Ella, the gnome turned red and squeaked out he did not know the woman in question, before anxiously spouting off the list which animals could be summoned by the Summon Nature’s Ally spell. It was at this point that Lisandra stepped in, with a terse reminder at how appreciative they would be if he took a moment to rethink the question and answer a little more honestly this time. His nervous rambling devolved into an accidental mention that did not in fact know Nisala or about her smuggling operation that he was certainly not involved with in such great detail that it could not be further denied. The gnome promptly dropped the honey badger named Bartholemew from his grasp and begged it to protect him, as he turned invisible and attempted to escape.

The constables defended themselves against the ornery badger, attempting to talk Wearyeye down. Angharad managed to knock Bartholemew unconscious as Ella and Lisandra finally assured the nervous gnome that they were here for information, not to make arrests or to harm. Once the House Elf agreed to cooperate, Ella used a bit of magic to rouse the badger back to consciousness and the team were able to get some useful leads on the operation at last. It turns out that Blander and Nilasa were friends and he was in need of money to keep to the high standard of care for his badgers so he took a job to help her with a smuggling operation to buy wander from a Cryssili organization called The Family. The pair were to meet with their Family contact, Deorn, and his crew at the Family warf. After sharing a meal, they were to sail with Deorn on his ship the Silvo to meet with another ship in the Ayres called the Li Grifoni Grinyande (The Grinning Griffin) where the exchange would take place. He wrote down the address of the wharf, which was only about 15 minutes away.

Heading offstage, the trio took to a side room to speak privately about consolidating their information and conducting a plan. A little nervous about their options, they decided to head over toward the Family warf to scope the place out. After thanking Wearyeye for his assistance, Ella tentatively let him know that, if this meeting wasn’t too offputting, that the RHC may actually have a legitimate job for him in future.

After arriving in the cover of the pine forest, Angharad summoned his little firey companion, Geriad, to send him off to scout out the area and see if he could find out any further information about the wharf and its occupants. He saw people working, preparing food and standing guard, one in particular with an incredibly large gun. The team spent some time agonizing over the best approach, more underhanded methods of evening odds or trying to avoid combat. But in the end, they decided to cover their bases by having Blander write them a letter, explaining their presence as replacements, and to approach stealthily, leaving perhaps the option to to talk their way out of a sticky situation should they be noticed.

Unfortunately, not a word could be shared before the man with the gun spotted the group and shouted an order to kill, and for the deckhands to get the ship ready to sail. Darting out of the dock that sat above piranha infested waters, Ella darts out to oppose a woman with a dagger who is blocking the way forward, backed up closely by Lisandra and Angharad. Despite taking injury, Ella holds her own with both rapier and claw against her target, and Lisandra slips in to flank and try to get an advantage in the fray, agile in her approach, but still a little unpracticed with her rapier. In his frustration at seeing his friends get hurt, Angharad lets loose torrents of flame, taking some damage as they haphazard blaze right past the woman.

Deorn, the gunman, joins the fray as his compatriot is surrounded by constables, and the piranha approach, hoping for a meal to fall from the rickety walkway during the fray. Lisandra takes a bullet to the shoulder, and as Deorn’s companion began to slip into unconsciousness towards the water, she turned on the man, clutching her shoulder, and approached him with her weapon ready. The unconscious woman slipped from the wharf before Ella was able to grab out at her, and was devoured by the hungry swarm below. The sight horrified Ella who stood aghast with a front row seat to the event, and it enraged Deorn, who turned his vengeance toward Lisandra.

The encounter took a turn for the worse as Deorn’s skill with a weapon was more reliable than Lisandra’s ability with a curative wand. Ella managed to rejoin the fray, anxiously taking up her shortbow. Angharad rushed in to place himself between Lisandra and Deorn, attempting to divert his rage by insulting his family… which unfortunately worked and Deorn was all too happy to oblige. Cutting Angharad down, he turned on Lisandra, wounding her severely before Ella ran with her curative wand with aid.

With the Silvo nearing a state to sail, Deorn turned and left the wounded constables on the walkway, heading off to set sail. Desperate to not fail, Lisandra took stock of the situation, anxiously searching for a way to gain the upper hand. As Ella brought Angharad to consciousness and ran ahead, the Cipith let off a torrent of flame, attempting to light the sails and stop the ship from getting away. The flame missed and desperation set in as Lisandra steeled herself for a grizzly idea that the bloody haze of water by the dockside prompted. As Deorn was delayed to retrieve his precious gun, she reached her hand out toward the feasting piranha’s and drew on the departed spirit, conjuring the woman’s ethereal form into being in front of her kin, much to Ella’s distress as it appeared at her side.

It was enough to keep his interest on land. For a moment, the Deorn’s face slackened, looking shocked and almost relieved… before the spectral woman lashed out, plunging a ghostly arm through him and causing pain… and potentially lasting psychological damage. Deorn’s vengeance is once again honed in on Lisandra as he moves with purpose through the combat towards her. Putting some distance between them, she lifts her chin with as much authority as she can muster and shouts, “Killing me will not bring her rest! Stand down or I will make sure her soul lingers and suffers.”

The bluff paid off. Deorn reluctantly raises his hands above his head, nodding to Lisandra with a grin and admitting defeat. And with that, the horrific encounter was to an end. The woman’s spectre dissipated and from the shore, they noticed local police gathering to inspect the commotion. Leaving her colleagues to tend to their prisoners, Lisandra met with police to ensure their jurisdiction was not interfered with. As Lisandra verified their credentials, Deorn shoved a few papers to Ella and quietly urged her to stop the wands from entering into anyone’s hand claiming that if the Family couldn’t have them, nobody should.

The police carted off the arrested men and with the conflict over, Ella was left to ponder the red-stained ocean beneath them as Angharad assisted in tending to Lisandra’s injuries. Still in care-taker mode, it was Angharad who approached Ella, pensively perched at the edge of the walkway and promptly lifted her up and began to walk her away. She protested, asuring she was fine and that he should put her down and continue with their work. The little tiefling made her way to secure the Silvo as Lissandra quietly wandered off to inspect the main building.

The session came to a sombre close, as Ella handed over Deorn’s note to Angharad, for once not interested in paperwork in the slightest. A map, conveniently marked with times and places by the Ayres and labeled, The Grinning Griffin.

How will our motley crew of constables move forward and prevent the impending smuggling operation? Stay tuned, for the next adventure of Team BAD.

Post-session notes
The party was shaken by disappointing Delft. They seem to really admire him, and were taken aback when their boss scolded them for not knowing the time, location, or nature of the smuggling operation.

Nothing much else to say, other than that the party heard Blander desperately call out for Danisca, and just assumed it was another honey badger. The combat was resolved before she had a chance to appear, and watched the rest of the discussion from the rafters above.
 

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