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

Echolocation

Explorer
“Just cuff me and get it over with. Cillian...take care of old Daisy and her piglets. Tell them their father will come home soon. Do not reveal the truth to them, they are too innocent for this world.” - Reed Macbannin feigning guilt to Team BAD over inadequate pig licencing.

NPC Glossary
Maxwell
: Proud and pedantic RHC secretary
Julia: Avvakir's ex-wife in the Pine Island district. Has had unexpected success in imbuing a desire to swim along the shore inside of a mechanical turtle.
Connor: Ex-boyfriend to Lisandra. Originally a petty criminal, now works for Kell. Relationship ended on bitter terms.
Gariad: Angharad's little dino familiar.
Pete: RHC constable and war veteran, with a talent for baking sweets.

Other notes:
Saxby is concerned about the press Avvakir has received nobly interfering with the factory lock-ups.

Session 11 (Written by Angharad's player)

Last time on Zeitgiest, we see 3 of Team BAD being at the wharf, having just dealt with some members of the Family, when two humanoid figures and a small metallic turtle with wheels come out of the underbrush, a moment later, Ella recognized one of the figures as Avvakir, back from his time away. A brief chat later, and the group was introduced to Julia, a prior partner of Avvakir.

But Avvakir, independently of how Angharad and Lissandra had found Wolfgang, had also tracked him to the neetles. But before they could go do that, the team went back to Blander, who helped set up Lisandra as the female family member, Angharad as Deorn, Ella and Avvakir as sailors. Finding the other ship was easy enough as the Team sailed The Silvo ; the Family's ship, and it was noticed that it was quite well armed. Rather quickly we gained acceptance to board their ship, and after an utterly confusing time for Angharad, him trying to wing his way through Family customs, offering food when it was meant to be drink, guessed the amount of gold that was too be offered, and then was utterly stumped when the Captain asked him where the papers were. The papers worth 150,000 gold pieces. Oh those papers.. the others were bringing them.. yeah.. Avvakir, seeing things are getting worse and worse for the Team, decided to just punch the captain, who revealed that she had known we weren't Deorn and his crew, as we had missed many of the basic things.

Now this combat, this combat was something special, the wands the members of the crew were using seemed to do random things, the first wand that was used summoned a horse next to Avvakir, then a wand was blown out of a hand of another sailor.. Magical effects were going off all over the place but not really doing much, as Team bad slowly just knocked out every member of the ship's crew. By the end of the fight, there was 4 horses, grease everywhere, and lots of discarded wands on the ground.. 10/10 fight, would do it again.

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The team followed protocol, handed in all the wands as evidence, except the next morning, Ella woke up with one of the wands in her hand, but this one was different, a vibrant gold and didn't do the random effects. When the Team had assembled at the RHC headquarters Maxwell informed us that there was letters for each of us. The contents of each invited us to come to a coffee shop int he Stray River district, from one Monseigneur Morgan Cippiano, and as these were being read, Pete burst through the door, calling out that Avvakir was requested by Saxby, who interrogated Avvakir about if he was involved in the Docker Unions, and that he better not be.. While Delft was of the opinion that Saxby is just worried that Avvakir may end up in a political carrer, and interfering with her own political plans.

The Team then headed to the Mayor of the Nettles manor, to get permission to travel up Cauldrons Hill for the dying wish of Skyseer Nevard. It was a beautiful landscaped home, farmhouses for the servants, track for horses, and gardeners upkeeping it all the entire time. Avvakir knew that they mayor could be a bit eccentric, serious and intense one moment, joking another, flipping back and forth on a dime. After Ella knocked on the door to the Manor, a middle aged man opened, dressed quite nicely who introduced himself as Cillian Creed, who helped the Team get a quick meeting with the Mayor in-between his other, pre-planned meetings. In the brief wait to get to the mayor, what appeared to be a courier walks out of the house, and has a brief conversation with Ella about the trials and pains of those who live in the Nettles.

The inside of the house was rather.. odd.. Crystals and trinkets lining the shelves on the walls, sigils and iconography painted onto the walls, while an older man leaning back in his chair. As soon as the constables saw him, he started shouting that he should be arrested, that he had tried to fill out the correct paperwork for his pigs, but its just such a pain! He is a villain and the rest of his statements were cut off as he swapped to being more serious; listening to the Teams request to head up the Cauldron Hill for the Skyseer, and was willing to allow it, saying he needed a days time to prepare the goats blood, and that he would supply some rusted amulets to protect against possession by the foul things on the hill.. It was arranged to come back tomorrow to do the trek up the hill.

As the party was leaving, there was a commotion and a young man named Connor jumped into their carriage, telling the driver where to go, and with a biting tone, addressed Lisandra as Lady Lyrie, and as Ella and Avvakir pushed for more details, the dealings Angharad and Lissandra had made with Kell were revealed, Avvakir and Ella reacting badly, Ella feeling betrayed of her trust, while Avvakir exploded with anger. When Lissandra asked Connor to give them some space, he was quite happy to leave, blowing a mocking kiss and jumping out. The rest of the carriage ride was utterly silent, Angharad probably spending more time focused on directing Gariad on purpose to avoid the fallout partially.

As the team arrived at the abandoned church, Kell's guards on the doors nodded to the team and bailed, probably upsetting Ella even more. Potentially why when they tried to come up with a plan, Ella spat out a biting 'master of deception' comment to Lissandra, and as the group entered the church, a tired, dirty man comes out to meet us with a 'I'm Doctor Wolfgang Von Recklinhausen, and you must be the highest bidder.'

DM discussion

A rift has been created between Angharad/Lissandra vs Avvakir/Ella. The former pair made the deal with Kell, and the latter are furious at it. The carriage drive from the manor to Wolfgang's location was filled with viscous fighting followed by complete silence. Once the group realises Kell is connected to the currently unknown Steelshaper and the shadow operative, it will cause even more drama.
 
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Echolocation

Explorer
In case anyone is interested, I've made a landing page (previously just a map of Flint) for my players in Roll20. When players boot the game up, they see their desk at RHC HQ:
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I made this using Vile Tiles: Table Tops by Gabriel Pickard purchasable as a marketplace asset from Roll20: Roll20

I'll likely update it between adventures to include the correct props. Currently, the table is decorated with newspaper articles, Nilasa's police report, research on Gale, and a document from the Danoran Consulate with details on Wolfgang von Recklinhausen. The map flags important known locations, especially those related to Wolfgang (the consulate, his hostel, a glass spying over the Nettles). On the top-left of the map sits a letter by the infamous Morgan Cippiano. Other features include Angharad's pipe and dried fey pepper leaves, as well as Lissandra's coffee and wand of cure light wounds. It's certainly not Ella's wand of cure light wounds, as that would be appropriately stored away in accordance with RHC protocol.

It was very well received by the players, and was a good exercise in procrastinating. If this sounds interesting to you, I highly recommend making one.

I've taken some zoomed-in screenshots for better quality:

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Echolocation

Explorer
"Thank you! Thank you doct-" - Effie's last words

NPC Glossary
Effie - Ella's mother

Session 12 (Courtesy of Ella's player)

We began in an abandoned church, looking at a dirty, exhausted Doctor Wolfgang Von Recklinhausen.

He asked us to accompany him to the kitchen, so that we might talk in comfort, and there he shared his story. It was much as we already knew or suspected. Wolfgang hadn’t met Nilasa prior to the morning of her death, and he didn’t know about her association with Gale. When he approached her on the fence, he was simply trying to help her, but she gave him the documents and told him to run. A gunshot convinced him to do so, and as he left Nilasa told him to take her necklace. As he ran he heard a second gunshot behind him, but he didn't look back.

In the alley near the consulate he was attacked by a shadowy creature made of impossible angles, but he fought back and escaped. After that he retrieved his belongings from the hostel and headed to Parity Lake to make a deal with Kell. And so he came to be here.

Upon examination, the wound he took from the creature in the alley was very similar to the one found on Nilasa's forehead: four slash marks, as of claws, imbued with necromantic energy.

There was an awkward moment as the doctor asked what we’d paid in exchange for his life. Angharad broke it, looking at Ella and Avvakir pointedly and saying. “One, oddly enough, just did one's job. We stopped a smuggling ring… and that is all.”

Having finished his tale, Wolfgang handed over the documents - all 240 pages of them - and the necklace Nilasa had given him. Ella examined the necklace while Avvakir looked at the documents, but couldn't discover anything other than that it was quite a powerful Divination and Evocation item.

The documents were a report penned by Julian Le Brix, detailing a suspected smuggling operation targeting Danoran-owned factories. Le Brix believed that the smuggled items were being funnelled to some kind of construction project - perhaps a large warship. But his investigation was shut down due to lack of financial information from the Flint side of things.

His last set of notes detailed a visit to a factory where he found several flasks of strange black oil, with floating motes of white light within. Wolfgang recognised them from the description as “witch oil”: a substance produced when the energies of the Bleak Gate bleed into this world. He said that it was rare to find the oil in such large quantities, and that it was a valuable but immoral spell component that could be burned as a substitute for other spell components at the cost of consuming the souls of the dead.

Unlike normal magic, witch oil functions in locations like the Malice Lands where spellcasting usually fails, and that makes it especially valuable.

As we spoke, Lisandra spotted flickering shadows approaching - one of them wielding a syringe - and realised that these were not shadows at all. Three figures shrouded in dark energy rushed forward: two of them mostly human in appearance but the third composed of unnatural, impossible angles. They all had a necromantic aspect, and the third figure in particular smelled strongly of burning oil.

Lisandra managed to blind the angular creature, and Avvakir made short work of one of the others. In desperation, it flung out a hand toward the fireplace, which exploded with shadowy energy. This wasn't the limit of their powers though, as they exploded in a deafening cacophony upon dying. One of them managed to explode Angharad's cigar and stab Wolfgang in the gut before going down, but both of the men seemed… relatively fine afterwards.

Meanwhile Avvakir was beating the angular creature to a pulp, and it quickly turned incorporeal and retreated, hissing, “Do not think this is over.” Shortly after it left we heard a series of crumbling noises coming from the entrance. Upon investigation, Lisandra found the front entrance blocked by metal beams. The angular creature was standing outside, talking to a man in a purple cloak.

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As she watched, the shadows around the creature flickered and cleared to reveal a human in a police uniform with a pencil-thin moustache: the so-called “Officer Porter”. The purple-clad man patted it on the shoulder and thanked it, then said “Tell Lorcan Kell I appreciate the deal, then go tell your boss I have the situation under control.” Officer Porter’s flesh unravelled into nothing and vanished, as three metallic carriages approached the church.

The purple man gestured and a metal chair, a bucket with a wine bottle, and a goblet tumbled out of one of the carriages toward him. The chair sat itself down and the bucket floated in the air beside him. He poured some wine into a floating goblet, took a sip, and called out, “Constables! I would like to parley!”

While the others scoured the church for alternative exits, Ella attempted to sneak a peek at this Magneto-wannabe. She failed abysmally however and was immediately spotted. The man in the purple cloak beckoned her over and introduced himself as “Steelshaper, master of metal.” He requested that we hand over the doctor and the documents within one hour, or else. Despite his… melodramatic manner, Ella detected many magical auras on his person, suggesting he wasn't someone to take lightly.

Nonetheless, we decided we weren’t giving this arrogant metal twat anything, and dug ourselves in for a siege. Angharad sent Gariad to the Nettles police station with a message, while Avvakir, Wolfgang and Ella created a barricade. Lisandra spent the time copying as many of the documents as she could, also taking a few loose deeds out of the folder in the process.

As the designated hour drew to a close there was the sound of another carriage arriving outside and Steelshaper’s voice rang out once more: “Constables, I have altered the agreement of our trade. You may want to see what I have to offer.”

Lisandra and Ella cautiously approached the entrance and Steelshaper gestured with a dramatic flourish toward the newly arrived carriage. He snapped his fingers, the door flew open, and out stepped… Effie.

She ran to the barricade, and as mother and daughter reunited through the bars, Steelshaper smiled and issued his ultimatum: “Hand over what I want, within an hour, or I kill her.”

Team BAD retreated to discuss their options - Ella uncharacteristically bereft of ideas. There were precious few options to be had…

Eventually, we decided to hand over Wolfgang and the documents, but have Lisandra keep the copies she'd made and the loose deeds she'd taken. We'd keep a lock of Wolfgang’s hair, to aid in Scrying, and Angharad would have Gariad follow Steelshaper’s carriages so we'd know where he went.

Preparations made, we paused for a moment more, as Wolfgang offered his Malice-wrought rapier to Lisandra. She was taken aback by his generosity but... he insisted that he wouldn't need it, where he was going. He also told Ella to keep Nilasa’s necklace. And as he turned to go, Avvakir put his hands on the doctor’s shoulders and promised him that we would find him. Then, with nothing more to do, we returned to the entrance.

As we approached Steelshaper was asking Effie about the solstice party, but seeing us he smiled and turned. “Is that what I think it is?” He beckoned and nine shadowy figures with rifles appeared, aiming at the entrance. He warned us that if anyone other than the doctor and the documents left the church then we would be shot to death.

With little choice, we agreed, and Steelshaper opened the bars, “Good luck. Make them pay,” Wolfgang said as he walked through, and then the bars closed behind him, leaving Avvakir and Ella to watch the proceedings from afar.

As Wolfgang approached, Effie jumped up, thanking him profusely, and Steelshaper snapped his fingers. A cheese knife flew through the air… and slit Effie’s throat. As the blood poured from her body, Steelshaper stood over her, taunting her, before kicking her dying body towards the church. “The druidic healer has used all her magic on the locals. Poetic.”

Ella screamed as the light left her mother’s eyes, and Avvakir tried to pull the bars apart in rage, but Steelshaper… just smiled. And cleaned his cheese knife, as his shadow lackeys piled explosives around the church entrance.

He bid us farewell, telling Avvakir that he’d see him in another life, and kill him some other way, then he strolled away. His lackeys started to lay out a fuse for the explosives, and Angharad and Lisandra yelled at Avvakir to get Ella out of there. The deva snatched up the screaming tiefling and retreated to the back of the church with the others.

They took shelter in the sturdiest place Lisandra could find, and as the explosives blew and the cavern rumbled, we found ourselves relatively unharmed - physically at least.

A few hours passed, the police arrived and managed to dig us out. Lisandra made a sketch of Steelshaper while Avvakir comforted Ella. Once we were freed from our almost-tomb, Ella ran to the entrance and collapsed beside her mother’s body. Hours passed as the rest of the team quietly discussed what to do.

Lisandra and Angharad volunteered to return to the office and complete any paperwork, while Avvakir, with great care, laid his Pebble on Effie’s body. As we watched, her terrible throat wound closed, vanishing along with the blood on the ground and flowers appeared in their place.

Avvakir escorted Ella home, as Effie’s body was taken to the Nettles police station, and the deva broke the news to the family. Ella slipped away during the proceedings, to find her brother and mourn.

Meanwhile Angharad and Lisandra had arrived at the RHC headquarters and found Delft, sharing a nightcap with Pete. They shared their story, and Delft vowed to bring Steelshaper to justice, before setting off towards Ella’s house. Lisandra went home, Angharad fell asleep over paperwork, and Avvakir eventually left the gnomes to their grief.

It was late at night when Delft knocked on Ella’s family's door. She reluctantly agreed to speak to him and he gently offered his condolences, encouraging her to come to work in the morning, and reminding her of his comment from a few months ago. With her exhausted agreement, he left, and Team BAD’s darkest day… came to a close.

And as the sun rises on the next day, we can only hope… it's brighter than the last.

Discussion

What a horribly delightful and depressing session. Party tensions are at an all-time high, perhaps only unified by the desire for vengeance against Kell and the Steelshaper. With every session, the players become more and more invested in the game world.

Unfortunately, Avvakir's player is no longer finding TTRPG's enjoyable, and has taken an indefinite break. This didn't come out of the blue, with the party knowing it was a possibility for many months. I'm not sure if I'll try to find a fourth player at this point in time.
 

Echolocation

Explorer
Session 13 Overview

Team BAD travel to the peak of Cauldron Hill with famous skyseer Nervard Sechim.

Recap (Written by Lissandra's player)

After the deep loss of Effie, most of our constables awoke the next day to a strange encounter. A strange fey creature visited each of them to deliver a message, expertly coded to invite them all to Angharad’s house without any suspicion, of course. Following their gremlin guides to the Cloudwood, each arrived at a clearing that encased a very interesting and rustic looking cabin. Ella was first to arrive, followed by Lisandra. There was a brief, tense exchange of small talk of the invitation before Ella led the way. They walked in silence around the spiral path that slowly winded in on itself to the front door as Avvakir joined them. Ella studied structure itself, the outside adorned with many sylan symbols that shaped prayer of protection to the Titans. Eventually they arrived at the front door, unlocked, and an awaiting Angharad inside. He sat at a table in the main room of the cabin, laden with dried leaves of various plants, fey pepper includes, and various other paraphernalia that hinted a little deeper at the man’s relationship with drugs.

As it turned out, the Cipith had quite the news to share. In the wake of their recent association with Kell coming to light, and the upset it caused, he thought it best to be as upfront as possible. Ella, fed up with secrecy, urged him to say his piece and Angharad told the party that the Vekeshi had tasked him with something just prior to the Summer Solstice. He was to hand over a gift and a message to Gale when he encountered her, as if the Mystics knew they were to be put onto the case. He produced an odd-looking mirror, which Ella identified as some kind of magic item that would allow an soundless image or a scene to show reflected in the glass when activated. He explained he was to deliver it along with a message that said, “The Unseen Court is watching. Take this mirror and when you see the face of our enemies within it, bring them down and we shall reward you.”

Too exhausted to dwell too much on the situation, Angharad’s admission was taken quite calmly and the team decided it was best to focus on the time-sensitive task at hand; assisting Skyseer Nevard to Cauldron Hill and gain their invitation to speak with Gale.

Upon reaching the Skyseer’s camp, the group met with Pazamu who greeted them and led them to Nevard, reminding Angharad, ‘No Cigars’, and winked as he held up a ritual dagger and invited them inside the tent to begin the ritual. With a little apprehension, the group assembled inside, greeting Nervard and Pazamu went over the details of the ritual again. A glass of milk and the dagger was passed around as each constable carefully cut themselves and bled into the glass. The orc retrieved the milk and his hands glow as the liquid shifts to black. Pazamu pulls out an ancient-looking scroll. Ella’s attention focuses on the scroll as Pazamu works the magic and she recognizes its use from history books, as a piece of ancient forbidden magic called the Bond of Forced Faith, once used by the old Witches of Cauldron Hill. It was used to make them nigh invincible in battle, as they bound unwilling victims to them which would take the injuries they received instead. The scroll disintegrates as the magic is done, leaving Nevard now bound to each of the constables. Noticing Ella’s recognition, the Skyseer apologizes for the use of such a spell, but explains that he thought that despite its dark history, perhaps it could be used this time for something good. Ella dismissed his apology, expressing, somewhat reluctantly, that she understood… and that she has had some experience with using ‘questionable means’ for the greater good. Lisandra quietly shrank into the background and was relieved when the Skyseer nodded and suggested they head out. All were a little surprised when Nevard got to his feet with the ease of a much younger man, but it seemed the ritual had worked.

With the Skyseer in tow, the group dutifully make their way to the Mayor’s house, letting the old man discuss the Nettles fondly. They each listen quietly at Nevard’s tales about how the Nettles used to be when he was younger, though Lisandra’s nervous attention drifted to keep an eye on the roads around them as they travel, perhaps a little paranoid that Kell or anyone else might be keeping eyes on them. Nevard laid out the grizzly history of Cauldron Hill as they travelled. A tale of witches who inhabited the hill 150 years ago, plaguing the city below with goblins and phantoms to steal people for their dark magic and hiding between realms to evade retaliation. After decades of terror, they were finally felled by King Lorken with the aid of a Crysilli Godhand.

At the Mayor’s residence, they team is greeted by the pleasant face of the Mayor’s aid, Mr. Cillian Creed. Pleasantries and introductions were made, as they brought Nevard through and met with Mayor Macbannin by the pig pen out back where all the preparations had been made. Gathering in a pile, as promised, were camping supplies and several barrels of goat blood and several less animals gracing the pen that last time they visited. Cillian rejoined them with a cover tray containing the protective amulets. Apprehensively, at the Mayor’s insistence, the constables and Nevard take up the amulets and place them around their necks. At Lisandra’s anxiousness, Reed reaffirms that the amulets will protect them all from possession from any supernatural forces atop the hill and instructs them, quite forcibly, that once they return they must all undergo a cleansing ritual to ensure any stragglers have been dealt with, for safety’s sake.

With determination, and a healthy dose of trepidation, the group began their journey up the hill. The ascent was fairly benign, almost suspiciously pleasant as they caught a breathtaking view of the city from above, standing in a cool breeze from the ocean that drives away the humidity. The only detail that marred the picturesque view is the grey smear of heavy smoke that obscured the Parity Lake district from above. As the constables marvel at the city below, Nevard’s chin lifted to the sky, taking in the clear view above them where the stars would shine after the sunset came.

Team BAD busied themselves getting a quick lay of the land, and Ella spotted a curious glint of something magical down a sheer spot down in the hill. Curious enough to trust her fellows to assist her, they group worked to lower her down via a rope, and she use Lisandra’s grappling hook to tug out the item, retrieving a small shiny cauldron from the foliage. Successful trust-exercise complete, the group set to work preparing the campsite before the night came. Avvakir marked out the camp with a ring of goat’s blood as Lisandra and Ella dug a small pit for a campfire nearby two fallen pillars, edging the pit with gathered stones to shield the light. Ella continued to shield their small campsite with surrounding brush as Lisandra wandered the perimeter, quietly speaking out to spirits of place to beg them to be on their best behavior and maybe not come to the hilltop tonight. Angharad warded the camp in his own way, much like his home, by burning little sigils of sylvan around the area.

As night settled in, the group huddled around the fire as Nevard began his gazing, and it wasn’t long before the horrors of Cauldron Hill made their presence known. Spectres flocked to the hill top, swarming around the ring of blood. A wriggling woman with skeletal features, crawled towards the camp… giggling gleefully with a hungry stare as she began to circle the camp. Horned demons, lion-faces monsters and goblin phantoms joined in, tracing the camp in endless circles with hungry looks and terrified calls.

Quietly, Nevard leaned over to Anghard and whispered just loud enough to be heard. Through the link, he recognized Angarad’s blood and Vekeshi leanings and inquired about his knowledge of the star, Mishados. Unfamiliar, Nevard explains that it is supposed to be an incarnation of his dead goddess, Surah-sama. She was said to have been a healer. The blue-skinned, dog-faced Mishados waits in the heavens for when she will be recalled to bring the goddess back to life. At the urgings of the skyseer, Angharad turned his gaze upwards and watched Mishados dance in the night sky, captivated by its strange movement.

He urged them all to look upwards to the rare sight of clear night sky, and while Ella and Avvakir lifted their gazes, Lisandra sat quietly, back against a pillar as she clutched an old doll in her grip, eyes kept acutely glued to the spirits amassing beyond the ring. Nevard’s sagely whispers barely reached her ears, focused on breathing slowly and trying not to listen to the distant voices whispering across the evening wind.

The hours lingered on as the group dwelled in the strangeness of Cauldron Hill. The strange sounding of a distant horn, a glimpse of a mirror image of themselves sitting on the other side of the camp. But most tangible of all was an apparition that appeared inside the ring, floating above the campfire. Lisandra sprang back, almost trying to retreat into the stone at her back with baited breath. A red velvet hung in the air, glowing gently and swaying in the wind as if completely corporeal. A figure barely visible on the other side. After a moment the curtain fluttered and the form of Nilasa Hume walked out, hushing gently with a finger to her lip. She pointed out into the darkness and warned them, “The man who killed me is coming. His face is scarred, so he hides behind many faces.” She raised a featureless black mask to her face and faded away along with her curtain and the air around them became thick and heavy with the familiar stench of burnt engine grease.

The constables sprang to their feet, grasping their weapons and succumbing to the dizzying twirl of vertigo. The stars spun overhead, stretching out with a strange sense of time and movement. When their vision cleared, their eyes were drawn to the north, down by Parity Lake a build spring to flames with a dreamlike swiftness. Suddenly they find themselves amidst factories, tongues of flames licking from building to building as the air fills with terrified screams of those trapped inside. The flame rose like two dragons, decimating the factories as they collapsed into the dawn of the following day where all that was left was a charred sign amongst the rubble that read “Serchim’s Alkahest and Etchings”. The vision ended in a SNAP, and the constables found themself back atop the hill. Nevard smiled knowingly and said, “Ji-ez, the plane of fire. It is brighter tonight than usual. It reflects on the surface of the lake. You saw it, didn’t you?”

It appeared as though, perhaps through the link they shared with Nevard, the constables had their first first-hand experience with Skyseer visions. A little on edge, Ella gets to her feet and begins to keep an eye-out, still quite worried about Nilasa’s warning. The atmosphere of the evening takes a grim turn some time later the sounds of a man calling for help drift out from beyond camp. Nevard warns them not to listen as the voice continues to scream in terror, begging for help. The sounds dragged on for hours as the constables listened, or tried not to, as Lisandra clutched her doll and retreated into herself and Ella softly reminded herself none of it was real. Much to their surprise, Angharad’s voice picked up and began to match the volume of the spirits, singing a stubborn and uplifting song into the night. Vekeshi in nature, a hymn to his goddess of resilience and always coming back strong in the face of adversary and slowly, Nevard began to lend his own voice to the tune. The unexpected display drowned out the wailing and phantom tearing of flesh in the distance as they listened to the song and turned out the horror.

As midnight passed a lull in the spirits activity brought a quieter moment to the group, though a few spirits still lurk at the ring of blood. Those with the ability to see in the dark noticed a figure on the opposite side of the peak, walking toward camp with a sense of purpose. It strikes a cylindrical rod and the CRACK of a sunrod. All turn, living and dead alike, to see the light adjust and reveal a familiar man, with dark, strange angular features leaking oil across the way. He hurls the sunrod, arcing it across the camp and drawing the attention of every spirit that still lingered to the group. With a horrible shriek, the spirits sprang on the camp. The constables fought to defend Nevard and redirect the light, desperately trading blows with unearthly foes. Swarms of tiny insects erupted from the ground. After a harrowing battle, the horrors finally thwarted and beacons of light were dealt with, the constables watched the insects scurry off and found no trace of the angular man. Tending to their wounds, the group was more than happy to be done with this place, flooded with relief as Nevard declared he must return home and rest to consolidate his visions.

Upon returning to Reed’s property below, the shaken group was greeted with the sounds of shouting voices. Group of armored soldiers are in conversation by the gate. Their leader, a young man Lisandra was familiar with, seemed to be arguing with the Mayor about protocol. Between reprimanding the Mayor for not following said procedures, Lieutenant Dale greets Lisandra and returns to expressing frustration at the dire consequences of sending people up the hill at night without properly informing his team. Reed tried to reassure anyone that precautions were taken, and the light show they all witnessed from below was not part of his instructions.

Pazamu and his druidic posse was also present, awaiting to escort their Skyseer home, and made haste in taking their leave. Reed led the team back to the house, with Dale’s strict admonishments and supervision. Once purified of any trafficking malefic spirits, Lisandra asks the Mayor if he would mind her keeping an amulet, for extra protection. He agreed and with their business awkwardly concluded, the constables made haste to Parity Lake to follow up on their troubling vision of Heward’s factory, leaving Dale and his team to play an impromptu game of soccer in the Mayors yard.

True to suspicion, they encounter a group of suspicious people in an alley by the wayside. Two dragon-like men and a few mercenaries huddled around a wagon. Ella and Avvakir attempt to approach, badge displayed to inspect the goods as Lisandra and Angharad keep a presence at the entrance of the alley. Upon finding the wagon full of alchemist fire, Ella demands the goods be relinquished, and naturally an altercation breaks loose. One of the dragon-men attempts to set the wagon alight and Ella, Lisandra and Angharad attempt to busy their opponents as Avvakir pushes the wagon aside, slowly getting closer to the lakeside. The dragon-men flee, and with all but one mercenary knocked out, the combat comes to an end as the man begs for leniency in return for information. He shares the information he has, about the recent attacks on the district and further plans for the next target, the home of Security Chief LeBrix before Lisandra tell him to run home to his family in the Nettles and stay out of trouble before the local police arrive. The three others were arrested and as they were taken away by the authorities, the constables were met with their final oddity for the very eventful evening… a message on the wind from Gale herself and a yellow canary that flitters about them all, requesting they give her a time for that evening that suits for a meeting.

With a hagged sigh, the group declared 11pm tonight to the wind and left to return to HQ to catch a quick nap and figure out how the hell they are supposed to meet this Cippiano, warn LeBrix and meet with a supposed terrorist all in one day while still gaining a little sleep. Join them for a day in the life of an exhausted agent of the King and see how the manage to pull off this insanity today in the adventures of Team BAD...

DM Discussion

Avvakir will continue to be a party of Team BAD (until the end of this adventure), with another player controlling his actions during combat. Outside of combat, he passively follows the Team.

A couple of the players have a hunch that the Mayor has some larger role in this story, but they are unsure whether that is as an ally or as an enemy. For example, Lissandra's player wasn't sure how to interpret Lt. Dale's argument with Reed. Was he helping the party by sneaking them up onto the peak by bypassing red tape, or was he hoping to avoid interference by the military?

The players quite enjoyed the Cauldron Hill encounter, and the variety of enemies. Having Wolfgang's rapier here was a true blessing, and reminded the group of their bittersweet time with the Doctor.

I introduced Gale's message a little earlier than the book recommends, to help players plan their priorities for the next session. The message requested a meeting that day, as the following day will be filled with events (the day of the rally).
 
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Echolocation

Explorer
"He [Lorcan Kell] is an ancient and deceptive tyrant, just as the slain dragons of Ber. Perhaps this is another trait we share” Morgan slowly raises his mug to sip his coffee. “An interest in dragons?”
“The Family do not leave footsteps, but the sons of dragons do. If you agree to free Deorn, I will repay you in dragonborn twicefold.”


In this session, Team BAD meet some of Flint's more benevolent criminals, Morgan Cippiano and Gale. A once rather-uncompromising party is now consistently making deals with criminals in a desperate attempt to uncover the truth behind the angular man.

Session 14 (courtesy of Angharad's player)

When the party first arrived in the morning to speak to Delft, they found him exhausted. Delft had spent the evening watching Ella's home (as the RHC/police was short on constables and officers). After spotting a shadow lurking, he demands Team BAD spend their nights in a safehouse. Saxby calls Ella into her office to, in a moment of strange benevolence, offer her condolences for mother (killed by the Steelshaper). After informing Ella she has found the funds the offer her mother a state funeral, Saxby promptly reminds the constable that this is justified, as if Ella was not involved in the case, her mother would still be alive. Brimming with anger, Ella bites her tongue as the two discuss theories of Nillasa's death.

Then party split in the morning, to see Dorian with Ella and Angharad, while Lissandra went off to write letters, saying it may be for the best if she wasn't there for that meeting. Dorian as soon as he found out that Cippiano had made contact become smug as hell, saying he would be out within a week, Angharad firmly doubting that though.

The party went and visited Cippiano, at a little cafe near Bee's icecreamry. In there was a stern looking man, reading a newspaper and chuckling to himself at parts, but when the party opened the door, he put it down, and beckoned us over to join him. Though, before looking at the party, he looked at our shoes, frowning at Angharad's and Ella's, but then smiling at Lisandras and greeting us, telling her that her shoes are finely made, but he has a tailor he prefers. After small talk with us, he mentioned that he had found the two arsonists that we were looking for, and was amenable to handing them over, but only if we could free Deorn as a favour to him. At this moment, Ella recoginises the man as someone she had seen in this area playing street cricket with children several months ago. And very quickly the party realsied that this man was the head of the Family in Flint. Cippianomentioned he understood that two of the party had paid respects to Kell, but insisted he was not like that 'tyrant'. After some thought, the party agreed to the exchange, Angharad ordering an exotic meal of two half-dragons from Michael and putting the two arsonists in their carriage. Once they had paid their respects to Cippanio and were getting ready to leave, we were told that if we wanted something to be done, speak to the cobbler that he got his shoes from, that he was a wonder for doing things. if you needed a bespoke pair of shoes, or a breaking of a skull, he could organise it. In departure, Morgan kissed the constables on both cheeks. However, on Lisandra's cheek, his head lingers, whispering: "In youth, the Father provides for the Family. In sickness, the Family provides for the Father. He has served us well. We are sparing no expense" (DM note: a reference to Father Otis, a criminal clergyman and Lisandra's father figure).

Following their visit with the godfather of Flint, the party tied up a few loose ends. They dashed to HQ to release Deorn and lock up the half-dragons. They interview the arsonists and reached an agreement---two visas for Ber in exchange for the name of their employer. After this, they dashed to the Danoran consulate to inform LeBrix of the planned arson of his home. Furious, he etched the names of the half-dragons into bullets. In an emotional discussion, the party leveraged their knowledge and diplomacy to extract some details about Nilasa's death. With the constables assuring him they will keep the information to themselves, he discloses that the consular met with a gem merchant on the first of summer in his basement. LeBrix suspects, however, that there is more to this merchant than meets the eye.

Now, Team BAD, being utterly exhausted still went to their new safe house to sleep, getting a few hours in before a canary woke Angharad up by tapping on his outer window, and him being the perfectly well adjusted man that he is, just shrugged at let it in, telling it to chill. In short order this damn bird flew around, waking everyone and leading the team quite a journey out to a waterfall where they saw a lady, a lady they had been searching for.. Gale, terrorist potentially and that very hard lady to get in contact with.

Angharad as soon as they were speaking to each other wanted to finish his promise, placing the mirror on the ground and saying 'The Unseen Court is watching. Take this mirror, and when you see the face of our enemies within it, bring them down and we shall reward you'. Gale reacted well to this,s aying she had been wishing to get closer to the court, but asked Angharad for advice on what to do if they wanted her to be a killer, should she do it to impress them, to which he could only reply, 'do not let them make you a killer, if you must do not hesitate, but you've told us you tried to avoid killing, they already have enough weapons and killers' while he pointed to himself. And as the team spoke to Gale, and learnt that Gale had been to t he Bleak Gate, a mirror image of the world, and in Mirrored Flint she could not see anyone but her and her guide from the Unseen Court. But that she did see touches and lanterns in the distance that made a path next to the canal , past what should've been Parity Lake and then finally up towards the Nettles. SHe didnt make it there, but she did see Smoke and Steam drifting into he sky that had no stars at all.

Nilasa found a clue about what they were up to, and was murdered for it. She knows that this conflict is larger than her desire for revenge, but she cant get back to the Bleak Gate, nor can she show us what she saw, the same alignment with Nem will not repeat for a long time, but she has a way of proving it. And with this, she gave a small book to Ella, sending it over via the wings, and telling us that it has a spell that will detect planar energy, though we have to be exposed to what we are seeking. Lastly Gale told us that she is sure there is a conspiracy between the Danorans and the Industrialists, as well as a third party from the Bleak Gate, and that we need to find out what they're doing.

To help us get back from the long journey out, Gale offers to fly us back, to which Ella and Angharad were extremely eager and convinced Lissandra to let them do it, but only to the edge of the nettles. And after a fantastic time, Gale mentioned that Nevard wanted to do an address the crowds, and she would like it if we were there. She hands Team BAD a flier:

poster.png


DM notes

Since we are down to a team of three, I have let each player choose to Gestalt their character for better versatility. Ella is now an investigator/wizard. Angharad is a fire kineticist/swashbuckler. Lisandra is now a rogue/oracle. I explained this within the game world as their experience on Cauldron Hill providing occult insight. This session was filled with characters coming to terms with their new abilities. Lisandra casted mage hand unconsciously, and Ella wound Gale's vellum book was filled with many other spells which she could understand (it's now her spellbook).

The party is getting close to completing their book. Fortunately, two characters have become obsessed about identifying an amulet Reed let them keep. Currently a silvery iron, I plan to have this amulet rust over the next few days. This will hint at the mayor's involvement, as currently the Angular Man seems to be the focus of their investigation (not necessarily a bad thing).

Team BAD has been siding with criminals left, right, and center. Following the presumed release of the arsonists, I want the party to observe a negative consequence for their actions (probably off-screen). Let me know if you have any ideas.

Lastly, we have begun consistently recording audio for our sessions. If it's of interest, I will upload them.
 

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