log in or register to remove this ad

 

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

Echolocation

Explorer
Session 22
Courtesy of Angharad's player

Webber is a dick. Knows fuck all about the golden seal Xambria told team bad about

Team BAD went to talk to Professer Webber about the Golden Seal that Xambria had told us about, but was not able to to explain much of anything about it. Then the team went back to HQ, to limit test the ancient artificats and met Sebastian, who is the manager of the royal safehold at the RHC, who was a great person, old friend of Avvakir's, and was more than happy to let us test the items. bringing the wsword and amulet out, but got all kitted up in around 5 minutes to bring the staff, while the team was talking about how to test the items, Sebestion told us about Harlock, from the Battalion, who had requested the bodies of the aberrations that had been slain.

From there BAD went to go see Harlock and test the items, while also bringing the corpses for future experimentation, where we caught a boat out to the research department of the Battalion. While Ella was using the staff in their safe area, it was found out that there was energy from Apet, one of the other planes. A plane of sand and dust storms, and the plane influences Teleportation and Divination magics.

Next, team BAD decided to go have a look at Rackus's gun, and went to the Central Police station, but when the team got there, there was a large crowd of dockers complaining and protesting in front of the station, demanding Rackus be set free and less oppression for the working class of the city. Ella, being part tiefling took a large portion of the shouting once she was noticed, saying it was 'her kind' that run the factories and ruin peoples lives. Once inside, they were quickly escorted to see Rackus and his "confinement". An unlocked door, a loaded gun and just relaxing in the cell. After an infuriating conversation, it was worked out that Rackus was an idiot. That's all, nothing else, just a plain idiot. We found out who was funding his shows, though: a man called Burger-Boy. Cauis Bergeron is probably his real name to be fair, but it is hard to tell with Rackus. Gods that man is frustrating. It was also pieced together that Rackus was once just a normal dockworker, who then signed up with a merchant ship that crashed on an island, lots of people died, but it was said by rackus 'that part wasnt important' and he found a burnt out library, filled with magic scrolls and took a few, but when he eventually made it back to flint, he was rounded up by "Burger Boy" who by the way was a Tiefling, didnt he mention that? he is sure he did. Bergeron then hired and sent Rackus back to that island to get other scrolls, of which he did that, but kept a few for himself. He was also sent of to Crissilyir to see some old ruins, but they were boring, until the place caught on fire. After which he finally mentioned that the place had been a ziggurat, leading to 2 ziggurats that Cauis has been looking into

On a positive note form the conversation with Rackus, the man did actually feel remorse from killing that lady, and said he has been thinking about things with the Dockers, but knows he isn't the person they think he is, he is a partier, living in the moment and that he isn't sure why they see him as a really important figurehead, he just knows that they're wrong about that. Lissandra at that moment realised its only a matter of time before the dockers work out how self absorbed and foolish this man is, and that if things don't change, he will harm the dockers movement by being himself, not help them.

From here, the team went to go explore Rackus' house, looking for this sequestered scrolls, and luckily for Angharad, there was a party! Where at least a third of the members could probably be arrested for their lack of dress if any cops were to turn up.. Luckily for them, private property and all. Woo. Angharad decided that the best way to find out information here was to get involved with the party properly, really mix in with the crowd.. Angharad got high and partied for a few hours, while pranking Lissandra by changing her hair colour between blue and purple. Lissandra spread rumors about Rackus while looking for information int he house, and Ella got to explore the house less impeded. It was found that there was a hidden room behind a bookcase, I still think Rackus probably didn't know about it, there was books in front of it, he probably cant read; but inside the hidden room, just some discarded clothes and some torn out book pages.

There was then a foray to Keppler's house, to speak to him about Aptet and Caius Bergeron. For the conversation about Apet, Kepplr pointed out that there was a feeling of calmness when people had been hit by the black beams of light from the creatures, and Ella mentioned that when she summoned them at the testing, she had feelings of a home cooked meal, maybe from her past. The information about Cauis though, was that he was the only member of his family in Flint, as the rest are back in Danor, and that he was well known for sponsoring a lot of dig sites. He also appears to donate most of the artifacts he gets from his digs, rather than collecting them.

Relationship: Ella's scholarship patron
Description: An older human nobleman, academic, and self-made businessman.
Location: North Shore

Conrad Keppler is a civil engineer, canny investor, and dabbler in the arcane. While he has a keen mind, his engineering skills are largely theoretical and his magical ability is nonexistent, but he is a firm proponent of "progress" and enabling the success of others. His knack for investing in profitable ventures (and individuals) has garnered him wealth and influence beyond his title, and he uses them to further support his interests. He has played a role in several of Flint's infrastructure development projects and offers university scholarships in his fields of interest (engineering, science, and magic).

While not exactly a philanthropist (he cares more for the advancement of knowledge and society than individuals), he believes in recruiting talent wherever it may be found ("ability should not be constrained by circumstance") and lacks the disdain for the lower classes that some nobles possess. Not a politically ambitious man, he leaves it to his wife, Cecilia, to maintain ties with polite society. His manor in North Shore boasts an extensive library, and it is here that he can usually be found: either pursuing his own interests or meeting with business associates and academic contacts from Flint and beyond.

Currently, Nathan Jierre spends his house arrest on Keppler's residence. The nobleman has used Nathan's presence as an excuse to build an observatory.

And once the coffees were drunk, small talk w as made, it was decided that it was getting late, Ella would be heading back to the Cloudwood, taking a few things to Saph, Ally and Carrie for Lissandra, but when she left, she didn't go to the Cloudwood, the devious lil gnomeling, but she headed back to the Central District, just like Lissandra and Angharad were going! Ella ended up back at the RHC offices, where she questioned the thug of Kell's that had been arrested, asking about the bounty on her head, she is worth 200 gp, and some favour with Kell. More Worrying is that Ella is the only one with the bounty on her head.

Angharad and Lissandra though, would be doing some personal business of Angharad's, picking Kaea up along the way, whom handed Lissandra a Vekeshi Mask, saying she should hide her identity. The 3 proceded to the Nettles, where th ey found their way to Parlour, via the help of Angharads new hair brother, since Kaea decided to change Angharads hair to be green, matching this gremlin's hair. He was quite happy to lead the group to Parlour, especially at the mention of crimes against hair. Grass was obtained, since the gremlin darkly mentioned 'she has hayfever'.

Parlour worked out mid attack while Hair-Brother was shoving grass into her mouth, that Angharad was there, saying that he promised to turn her brother into a belt, but didn't let it be a magical belt! Now he is just a normal belt?!!! So sad.. Angharad bribed his hair brother into a sugar coma with cookies and sugar, while getting information out of Parlour. That the man who sent the letter was Tyler Stark, a nobleman who is the son of F;ints Attorney General, who had been saving his son from his own mistakes. Kaea and Angharad decided to arrest Tyler tonight, the man is flightly, and we wouldn't want him to be spooked. Lissandra decided it was time to head home, and that it would be safer for her to not be physically involved int he next step of Angharads revenge trip.

In the dynamic crafting session before book #3, Angharad's belt-building was interrupted by a gremlin demanding to have the flesh flayed from him, and used as a belt ingredient. Angharad passed a check to dissuade the gremlin.

Kaea and Angharad picked up one of her police contacts, a man with a dog, so he is amazing. When this man asked Angharad what the plan, it was simple 'we arrest him, make it so we can'

The house had a well kept garden, and Angharad knocked on the door, which was opened by a butler in a nightgown, telling him we were looking for Tyler stark, and yes it was late, but Justice never Sleeps. The butler asked if Master Stark was in trouble, to which it was mentioned that Stark had been involved in an altercation which could have lead to someones death.

Tyler Stark finding out that the butler had let someone in, slapped him, called him a fool, and as soon as he saw Angharad, stabbed the butler in the neck, and shouted for the guards. Kaea, having none of that, created a wall of fire keeping the guards back, saying she doesn't want to incinerate them, the old man with the dog, stopping some of the other guards from getting more back up, by tripping them. Angharad though, went directly for Stark, tripping him, stomping on his wrist to break it, and get the weapon out of his hand. As Stark attempted to squirm away, the bleeding butler held his feet in place, preventing his escape.

Tyler shouted 'Angharad, we could have risen to the top together! We could have killed the Old Stag! We could have controlled the Court!' to which Angharad replied with 'You are an idiot. The favour of the Court is not what is wanted. It is better to avoid their notice all together' while he was being cuffed and sent to the central station. Afterwards Angharad and Kaea parted ways there, with only a few threats passed back and forth.

DM Notes

The fight with Tyler was all theater of the mind. There were no rolls, just a montage of scenes. Angharad says a lot of cringe lines, but I think "Justice never sleeps" tops the list.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Echolocation

Explorer
"Don't get yourself killed!" - every citizen of Granite

Session 23
Checklist by John's player

  • Went to talk to caius
  • He was a dick and damaged a table due to our questioning
  • We took an uneventful train ride
  • Angharad gave us flowers
  • We got an offering for the Voice of Rot
  • Some dicks stole the seal
  • Another uneventful trip this time through the swamp
  • We got to the temple and found dead researchers
  • They all had large tumorous growths
  • Then we went inside after a vision was had
  • We walked down for what seemed like a 150ft
  • But it was only 10
  • We found the room where the artifacts came from
  • We then had another vision of more researchers dying to aberrations
  • We went left down the longest short corridor
  • And walked through a curtain that wasn't human leather
  • John had a vision of the ringmaster from his old home and accidentally shot Angharad
  • We then fought some centipedes and creepy brain bugs and that's where we are

DM Notes

Recap contains a few player theories: someone taking the seal and the ziggurat containing human leather curtains. Regarding the second, every successive "the curtain is NOT made of human leather" only reinforces the belief more...

I renamed Agate to Granite after Angharad is the events of The Dying Skyseer asked Delft about the RHC offices in random towns. He began with Slate and Shale, before listing Granite. Delft snapped back: "Granite? Don't be ridiculous...they're much to small to have an office."
 

Echolocation

Explorer
Session 24
Courtesy of Drift's player

We kicked off the session with Ella utterly failing to remove the bug from her head. Fortunately it wasn’t interested in laying eggs in her brain: and just exploded into psychic damage instead.

The remaining creatures were eventually dispatched: Sydney getting in some vicious hits and Angharad stubbornly maintaining his grapple fire-fight until the bitter end. After applying some healing, we turned to look at the puzzle room before us. A series of coloured force fields occupied the room, along with six coloured stones.

When grappled, Angharad deals fire damage to the grappler each turn. The eye of madness reflected this damage back to Angharad each turn too. Eventually, Angharad won.

We quickly discovered that touching the coloured stones activated and deactivated the force fields - as well as creating coloured force bridges - and set our keen intellects to getting across the room. That led to us yelling at Millie as she flew around pecking things.

As the last force field fell to Millie’s expert pecking, and the final bridge across the room shimmered into view, there was a burst of light and we were all overtaken by a vision. 3 orcs, armed with 3 familiar artifacts, fighting semi-translucent aberrations. Somehow we understood their words, even as they spoke in Ancient. They spoke of “Toteth’s seal” failing, and the aberrations being from "Gidim" - but smelling of Apet.

One of the orcs closed its eyes and focused its mind on one of the aberrations before it, and the creature phased out of seni-corporeality into reality. Another orc quickly sliced it in two, and as the vision faded we found ourselves with a newfound understanding of two things. First: we now had the ability to speak Ancient. And second: we understood that the aberrations we’d been fighting were not incorporeal but thoughtform creatures. Creatures that could be forced into reality with a concentrated effort of will.

Armed with this knowledge, we advanced: crossing the force bridge and finding a symbol for the sun on the far side. We continued into the next room: a far smaller space with a complex mechanism hanging from the ceiling and an ancient stone map on the floor. Shining a light on the apparatus highlighted two specific spots on the map: our current location, and a point off the coast of Ber.

The next room had the symbol of Mavisha on the floor - the plane of water - and a space on the wall that looked like it had once held something rectangular and 6 ft tall. Dust marks suggested it had been removed recently.

The corridor beyond led to a stone pillar with the symbol of Jiese on the floor - the plane of fire. Angharad, on a hunch, poked the symbol with fire, and it briefly glowed, deactivating the fire trap hidden in the pillar. So... for once... Angharad... actually… prevented fire damage? That’s a first.

Continuing down the corridor, we found a secret doorway in the wall that had been jammed open with metal poles. Someone had set a rug on the floor in the doorway, woven with the word “Welcome”. 2 bodies lay just beyond it, and 5 more deeper into the room. 3 of them were tieflings - the ones Caius had sent maybe?

As we peered through the doorway we saw a broken circle of protective runes on the floor, and a golden disc on the far wall. As Lisandra looked in she received a vision. The 5 people lying dead on the floor had been performing a ritual: but one of them slipped and broke the circle. As he did, aberrations appeared and killed them all.

Closer examination of the “disc” on the wall revealed that it was actually stone covered in a thin layer of gold, and there seemed to be some kind of passage behind it.

As the others entered, Ella hung back, and received a vision. A vision of her father. He seemed to be trying to contact her, via some kind of magic. But just as she thought she'd made some kind of connection in return, the vision vanished.

Ella's father (Da) brought his family to Flint 30 years ago to assist in the industrial revolution. Shortly thereafter, he died of bleaching. Or so it is thought...

In reality, Ella's father was recruited by the Ob to assist the colossus cell. Believing it was a project that would end the Danor-Risur conflict, Da faked his own death to protect his family. With his work finally completed, he now spends his time tinkering with planar energy. He has found a way to imbue Ella with a form of Guidance (spell), which will hopefully aid her. Ella will eventually encounter him in the events of Book 5. At this stage, he does not know that his boss (Steelshaper) killed his wife.

One important aspect of the vision was that Da was writing notes, but Ella could not make it out. This aspect is blown out of proportion when Ella's Distant Madness takes hold.

The others watched in confusion as Ella slammed a fist into the wall. Despite their questions, she remained evasive about what she’d seen, and they returned to searching the room. Inside we found that the corpses on the floor had had their pockets rifled - much like the bodies outside the ziggurat. And closer examination showed that the golden stone seal definitely had something behind it. As we dragged it aside, we found ourselves staring into a deep, black void.

Floating in the void was a dead, faceless man. Looking at him, Lisandra received another vision: the man was standing in the room, and the void was full of aberrations. One of them dragged him into the void with overly long arms and bit off his face, leaving him floating there.

Ella, ever keen to explore, volunteered to enter the void: tying a rope around her waist before jumping in. It was... like space - if Ella had known what that was. Lightless, weightless, and seemingly limitless. And yet, there was breathable air. Reaching the end of the rope, Ella contemplated the space for a moment before heading over to the dead man and checking his corpse. His pockets had also been rifled - just like every other corpse in the ziggurat. With the help of her allies, Ella dragged the body and herself back into the ziggurat room.

There wasn't much time to contemplate the dead man though, as Lisandra, John and Angharad were all struck by simultaneous separate visions. Lisandra’s vision was not shared, but John saw his previous partner: conducting a shady deal. And Angharad saw a familiar nymph from his past, spouting taunting words.

Time: Present

Lisandra was teleported to the Theatre of Scoundrel's costume rooms, where ex-lover Connor was dressing manikins in costumes. To her dismay, Lisandra found out Connor worked for Kell in Book #2, though has been unable to talk to him. The two carefully chatted, with Connor utterly confused at how Lisandra managed to sneak into the place. Connor shares his aspiration to get close to Kell, make a bucket full of gold, then quit the guild. Before leaving, Connor asks for Lisandra to pick an outfit. The vision ends shortly thereafter.

He hopes the outfit she chose will be best suited to the Family meeting he is about to attend. Connor will snitch to the Family, and make a return appearance in book #5.

Time: Past

John comes from the capital, but is currently on hiatus after killing his partner who attempted to assassinate the Viscount Inspector. Unbeknownst to John, his partner was part of a radical eschatological movement. The vision takes John back to the evening before his partner's death, to an inn where she picked up a homemade bomb. Previously, John could not make out the figure who gave her the weapon. But in this vision, John found himself inside the inn, and could see the silent exchange clearly---it was a man smoking from a frozen pipe.

Time: Current

Angharad was stolen by fey as a baby, and raised in The Dreaming. A nymph was initially intrigued by the adolescent boy, but grew bored of him. She would often toy with him, breaking his heart over and over. In this vision, Angharad is briefly teleported to the dreaming. The nymph, seeing a fleeting moment to terrorise the man uses her time wisely, and attempts to gaslight him to oblivion. Spoilers: it works.

The three of them had scarcely come back to reality when another vision hit all of us: Kell’s cronies, standing in an alley around a man tied to a post. They immolated him, after accusing him of being a snitch, and cheered as he died. One of them was given a letter, with the address being Angharad’s house.

Time: Current

In the alleyways of Parity Lake, Kell's men execute a snitch in the style of Angharad: burning him alive, and fusing a golden coin onto his finger (an improvised mage cuff).

Even as the vision faded, a sound trickled in: flowing water, streaming down the room's walls - and this was no illusion. And it was no water. As the room began to fill with acid, the corpses around us began to rise: the groans of the undead joining the hissing of the caustic fluid. And Team BAD took one look around and began to beat a hasty retreat. Or at least, most of us did. Because some people just don’t know when to bloody quit.

The acid rapidly flooding the floor made movement difficult, and John soon took to the air in eagle form: leaving Ella and Angharad fighting a running battle on the ground. Or rather, a walking battle because Angharad refused to move more than absolutely necessary. Preferring to hit zombies than outrun the rising tide of acid.

Ella coaxed him along as best she could - alternating between healing his zombie and acid induced wounds and yelling at him in Gnomish. Despite Angharad's self-imposed handicap, we eventually we made it back to the rainbow puzzle room: leaving a trail of charred, fire-and-acid-singed zombies in our wake.

When we finally arrived we were greeted by a lovely sight: 3 more mummies! And these one had spells! And class abilities! Attempts to negotiate with them in Ancient quickly broke down. Fortunately we had a secret weapon: buttons. John managed to lure one of them across a force bridge, which Millie then cunningly deactivated behind it: leaving the mummy monk stranded. It took its revenge though: punching the little blue jay in the beak as she flew away.

Meanwhile, the largest of the mummies had crossed another force bridge and was ready to pummel Ella and Angharad into a pulp. They were not so easily pulped though! As they activated various flying abilities and flew the hell away.

Eagle John deactivated the bridge behind them, sending the mummy plummeting onto the acid-soaked spikes below! Bird power!

That just left the stranded mummy monk on one platform and the mummy spellcaster by the entrance. John and Angharad took care of them handily: eagle John clawing the spellcaster to pieces, and Angharad bull rushing the monk off the platform after it managed to jump across.

Ella on the other hand was being entirely useless: taking a nap in the acid while her friends did all the work. Typical. A nap that was getting dangerously close to turning permanent. Fortunately Angharad and John slapped her awake with healing before she got herself killed - much to Millie's relief. Do you know how hard it is to find a good caster these days? Or even a mediocre one? Times are tough for familiars... You have to take what you can get...

Having finally finished Indiana Jones'ing it up, we headed for the entrance: wading through rivers of acid to get there. John having a great time having his flesh slowly melted away! He really shouldn't have given up those eagle wings… Still, overall: things were looking up!

...Until we got outside. Then we found out that every single dead thing within sight of the ziggurat had decided to get up and go for a stroll - in our general direction of course.

But hey… at least it's not raining! ...Oh waaaaait.

So tune in this week: to find out how Team BAD gets itself out of this one! ...Or possibly just to watch us get our brains eaten by swamp zombies. Who knows?

DM Notes

I LOVED the ziggurat, and I think the players did too. I didn't expect them to manage a bee line to the final room. As a result, I quickly piled them with visions. I think this worked quite well, as the players inferred that whatever was causing the visions was in this room. It also created anxiety, as the characters struggled to do anything without being interrupted by a vision. The anxiety culminated in the dead rising, so it was perfect pacing.

I cannot believe Angharad: (a) deactivated a trap by blasting it with fire, and (b) saw zombies mounting up around him and decided to try to fight despite other characters begging him to run.

Angharad and Ella have Distant Madness! I've always been unimpressed by the madness in Pathfinder, so I tailored custom ones to the characters. I aimed to capture an aspect of their ziggurat vision that would obscure their personality and judgement.

Partner paranoia (Angharad)
You expect your partners to betray you at any moment, though you fear the repercussions if you are the first to attack. Like the nymph from your past, you feel both fear and love towards the party. Play Angharad as if he is expecting his partners to attack him. For example, treat all threatened squares by your ‘allies’ as threatened by your enemies. You do not gain benefits from flanking, cannot accept aid another attempts, and cannot accept spells from others willingly.

In all of this, Angharad feels a need to please his allies, if only to relieve suspicion or gain tenuous love. Angharad adds +10 to rolls attempting to aid another.

Ink insanity (Ella)
What was written on that parchment? Ella knows what it is. It’s the reasons he uses to justify the pain he put Ella and her family through. Play Ella as if she expects every piece of writing to hold the secrets to her father’s abandonment, be it fear, anger, obsessive curiosity, etc. Ella receives a -4 penalty on all intelligence-based skill checks, as she struggles to focus through her emotions. Whenever exposed to writing, she is shaken for the next hour. This penalty does not stack with cumulative exposure to writing.

A part of Ella brims with hatred. Whenever she casts
Demetriou’s Direction, she does not gain the usual spell effect. Instead, Demetriou’s Direction functions as the spell Rage that may target only herself, and lasts for 10 rounds.(edited)

A special kind of Guidance bestowed upon Ella by her Da's experiments with planar energy. Except, now it functions as rage.
 


Echolocation

Explorer
Session 25
Courtesy of Lisandra's player

We began last session with Team BAD making their escape from the Ancient ziggurat. As the pouring rain doused their acid-seared bodies, the groans of undead filled the air from all directions. From the ground around the structure, the dead were beginning to rise. Decomposing researchers staggered to their feed and decomposing wildlife crawled up from their muddy graves. The violent flashes of light illuminate their advance towards the ziggurat with vicious intent. As the group looks around frantically for an avenue of escape, a terrifying voice is heard.

CLIMB.

With no better plan in place, the constables scramble up the sides of the structure. As they reach its peak, they look back out to see the landscape shift and writhe, as if the swamp itself is coming to life. Swaths of hungry undead are devoured, pulled beneath the muddy floor of nature from whence they came before a massive head snakes out and rises, cutting off another slew of undead enroute for the structure. It’s rotting skull opened wide, snapping it’s twenty-foot long jaws closed over an army of undead creatures. Team B.A.D watched on in silent horror and awe as the gargantuan serpent cleared the ground, devouring the once-dead and retreating into the drizzling swampland. It turned a single, milky-grey, glowing eye to rest on the tiny living creatures crowded atop the ruins.

MY SLUMBER IS DISTURBED.

The words sent terror down the spines of all present. The Voice of Rot conveyed the offence, charging Team BAD with tracking one that fled the ziggurat. One with reason, to be hunted down and returned to its home plane to appease the Fey Titan. With players and characters alike, lost for words, Team BAD felt a grip around their throats, like a shackle, that caught their breath for a moment before releasing, and was Angharad who tentatively summoned the ability to speak out to their unexpected saviour, accepting the terms. With a deal struck, the Voice of Rot bestowed the ability to sense the planar energy to the constables, before vanishing into the swamplands completely.

Visibly shaken, exhausted and injured, Team BAD sat in the rain and let the shock of the experience abate. A quiet, and shaken Angharad left to check on the boat as the rain began to ease, and Ella and Lisandra took a moment to pull themselves together.

In light of that little turn of gargantuan events, it seemed the groups priorities had changed. Using the new ability to track the energy of Apet this ‘creature with reason’ would leave. She discovered a few hints from herself and her fellow, as well as two trails leading back through the swamp towards Granite. One strong, and a lesser one that felt more like a group of people than a single entity. Despite their trepidation, the team set off to follow the trail back. The trip back to Granite was wet and miserable, with little conversation and the many watchful eyes of the swamp creatures silently watching the team make their way back.

After a night of whatever sleep our constables could muster, the group woke to a prepared breakfast by Angharad, and eager to get busy, he quickly offered to check on their horses. Ella and Lisandra compared notes on the previous days' insanity at the ziggurat and it came to light that Kell has a bounty on all their heads, though Ella was not so surprised, having learned about the one on her own head in a prior chat with one of Kell’s men. Deciding to dwell on one problem at a time, they decided to head out to find Angharad and see where the trail continued.

Their search led them to the boat hire, where the group of energies had come into town, headed out to the swamp, then returned the way they game, leading out of granite. The group was assumed to be a bunch of ‘monster hunters’ by their weapons and equipment, and their boat was rented by a man named Hammerstone, according to the sales record. Short and stubby-fingered, likely Dwarven. The stronger, older trail led in the same direction, and so they geared up and headed back out of town on horseback, following the planar energy to an old ruin by the roadside where they set camp for the night as Ella puzzled over the information gathered over a day of observing various planar energies of Apet and the Bleak Gate on their journey.

As the sun rose, they group continued to follow the trail to Granite, returning their horses safely to the stables and eager to pick back up on their trail, which expectedly led to the train station and headed off in the direction of Flint. Ella attempted to question some of the staff, and while Lisandra’s coaxing showed promise, it wasn’t until rush hour had passed that she was able to get more information from the woman who worked the ticket booth. Ella questioned one of the staff monitoring the loading and unloading of a cart and when the constables convened they were able to verify that the group of so-called ‘monster-hunters’ that had passed through Bole and returned here to Granite with the ‘large table sized object’ that they loaded on the train back to Flint. The ticket clerk identified the dwarven man they were searching for, and recounted a few more details about the group including that it appeared to be run by a tiefling woman. With the energy leading right to the station, the group decided to purchase tickets and catch the next train home to Flint.

Our constables arrived back in Flint to report to Delft and unload the news of Fey Titans and zombie-filled Ziggurats. They discussed scouting out potential leads with this new magic in the city, focusing on Caius Begeron as a main person of interest. Briefing over, the team returned to their office, checking in to make sure everything was as they left it. Ella detected no strange energies around, and both she and Lisandra were eager to check in on Pete’s team's progress on their current case. They traded their story of the Voice of Rot for a little update into the case on Macbannin and the witchoil, but unfortunately little progress had been made with the head previously found. It was locked up next door still under study. Pete lamented having to wait until opening, unless they were able to borrow keys… and under the weight of two very eager sets of puppy-dog eyes, Lisandra agreed to put her skills to use and ask Sunny if she could help.

Constable Pete Pottinger
A war veteran with an addiction to storytelling and baking. Every in-game equivalent of Friday, he lures constables into his office (the break room) with scents of delicious baked goods to regale them of war stories. Unlike his fellow veteran and team-leader Carloa, Pete's adventurous and mischievous nature ensures the underperforming constable never runs out of stories.

Sarsha 'Sunny' Whitestone
The daughter of an established upper-class merchant. She works night shifts at the RHC HQ reception desk. Typically only working a few shifts a week, the income supplements her studies of astronomy at Pardwright University.

Quartermaster Ivan 'Uncle Ivan' Rust
Son of ex-dragonslave goblins, who escaped to Risur following a recent excavation into a collapsed Ber mine. His tribe lived in fear of the dragon tyrants until the day they were excavated. After knowing generations of ancestors cowered in a mine for centuries after the last tyrant fell, Uncle Ivan swore to never be paralysed by fear. His low impulse control ensures the RHC is always stocked with too many experimental goods with not enough paperwork. Ivan hasn't slept since the Viscount Inspector has come to town.

Royal Safeguard Supervisor Sebastion Daley
A deva who manages a royal safehold in a satellite building. Unbeknownst to the party, this is his second reincarnation to work for the RHC. His first incarnation, a professional accountant with a low alcohol tolerance died in a game of Drakan roulette with Uncle Ivan and Avvakir (an ex-player of the campaign). Drakan roulette is like Russian Roulette, typically played with an advanced dwarven revolver. Though, when Uncle Ivan insists on playing it, it is played with a single-chambered firearm, usually after the goblin has lost several rounds of bets. After the gory affair, Uncle Ivan and Avvakir found the reincarnated Sabastion on the outskirts of Flint, reacquainted him with the town, and landed him a new job at the RHC. To this day, Sebastion holds Uncle Ivan and Avvakir in high regard, as neither has had the heart to tell the deva of the circumstances of his death.

As his fellows were busy organizing sneaky after hours consultations, Angharad had left on his own shady adventure, meeting with the Old Stag and Vekeshi allies. He boarded their ship and the Old Stag greeted him with a terrified mess of a nobleman that he dragged on deck. Tyler Stark, in all his piss-stained glory. Angharad was praised for his work bringing Tyler’s betrayal to light and offered him a blade to end the betrayer's life. Though Tyler attempted one last time to sway Angharad to his cause, the Cipith thought of his initiation, and no doubt crossed his mind as he drove the weapon into Tyler’s body, bleeding the traitor out as the Goddess had been, in a thousands cuts. The Old Stag nudges the blood-soaked noble overboard and scaly hands raise up to claim it, dragging it down beneath the ocean. Business concluded, the boat turns around, and disguises are donned before the Mystics part ways into the night.

Meanwhile, at headquarters, the quest for a key was turning out to be as easy as Lisandra expected. Under the protection of a little cloak of secrets, Lisandra explained her mock plight to Sunny, spinning a tale of bashful admittance of a recent visit, of the most personal nature, to Sebastian’s offices next door and the urgent need to discreetly reclaim a few of her personal effects. The young woman, elated by the juicy bit of gossip was all too happy to help, handing over the key and a letter to validate her after hours visit eagerly, and with a huge grin of approval.

She met a curious Pete and Ella outside, producing the key and keeping the details light on the how part of it’s procurement, and ushered the pair across to the offices next door. The fake letter got them past the night guard and they made their way to the lab where the head was kept for Ella to inspect. Several minutes of magic and mind-melding Ella reported no solid information on who the man was, or his next of kin. Every time a name was to be heard in a snippet of conversation, the grinding of gears would drown it out and confuse the memory. Slightly disappointed, the trio locked up and took their leave, Lisandra stopping back in HQ to drop back the key. Before Lisandra could finish putting Sunny’s curiosity to rest and bid her goodnight, it became apparent that Uncle Ivan was lurking, and had been privy to the fabricated piece of gossip… Between Ivan, Sunny, and Pete’s eager ear pressed to the glass, Lisandra resigned herself to the fact that the office would have a new tale to chuckle about in the break room soon enough. Their night ended with a parting story from Uncle Ivan about Sebastian’s unfortunate last death at the hands of a rigged drinking game divided by Ivan, including a loaded weapon, naturally.

The morning after, the team reconvenes, eager to find a lead to scout on Caius. After revisiting her own paperwork on the case, Lisandra recalled the deeds she took from the Danoran reports and with a bit of delving into ownership and aliases, found that there was a warehouse mentioned in the Strand that was rented out by Caius Begeron, under an alias. Seeming like a good place to start, they set to work. As Ella and Lisandra get a plan together, Angharad stays behind to discuss a quick matter with Delft before they leave.

Sitting down with their supervisor, Angharad asks the Assistant Inspector for another surveillance of his memories, and that he may be forgetting things, after which he revealed a letter from Lorcen Kell he received, thanking him for his interference with Kaja, and for disposing of a man he has no memory of, with inclosed payment. Delft regrettably informed Angharad of his duty to report the situation. He rejoined his fellows without a word of the meeting, the possibility of arrest on the horizon weighing on his shoulders.

Set to work the constables approached the rented warehouse discreetly, with Ella taking on a magical disguise to get close and snoop around, with the rest of the team waiting for their queue, should their assistance be required. The older, strong trace of Apet energy was found on the premises where some crates were being stored.

Will Ella find out what ominous Apet related mysteries are hidden in those crates? Will Lisandra’s imaginary sex life become the talk of the office? Will Angharad get arrested come morning? Find out today in the Adventures of Team BAD!
 

Echolocation

Explorer
An interim update! We have been playing (we've finished book 3 and the crypta heritacarum supplement). I've been occupied with my thesis (sadly not the martial kind), but will get around to uploading recaps.

For now, enjoy this token of Team BAD's newest addition, John. Lisandra's player drew the art. Her instagram: Jae ♡ (@theartofjae.exe) • Instagram photos and videos

1601346661463.png


John, Team BAD's resident gunslinger/druid, ran away from the circus with his animal companion, Sydney the lion. Taken in by none other than the Viscount Inspector of the Royal Homeland Constabulary, he was taught to embody the authority of the law and reject compromising corruption. Recently, John was forced to turn his beloved sniper (a gift from Nigel) on his partner, as she made an attempt on the Viscount Inspector's life. Little is known about the reasons for the assassination, but Nigel suspects political motivations. Nigel, weary now of a retributive strike on John, excused the constable on extended leave. John took the opportunity to visit the industrial Flint and its gun show. There, he bumped into Team BAD and a few aberrations...

Unbeknownst to John, the assassination attempt was organised by a radical branch of Eschatoligsts. After failing to assassinate the head of the Constabulrary, the Eschatoligsts have set their eyes on Flint. They'll return in Adventure Five.
 

Always good to have some personal stakes for future villains.

I like your friend's art. They should post more. :)

Heck, honestly I wonder if they'd be willing to do a few commissions for NPC portraits. I dig the style.
 


Echolocation

Explorer
Unfortunately, I had to change computers and lost a bunch of recaps. But now that's all done, here are the past 20ish sessions of Team BAD's adventures. I'll try to post all recaps before our regular session this weekend.

Session 26 - 28

Team BAD followed clues of Xambria's ill deeds. They were both delighted and frustrated to find Caius Begeron dead. The party is still terrified that the moment they leave Flint, everything will burn down. It took them quite a bit of pushing to sail to Ber. By this point, they were incredibly suspicious of Xambria.

In the last session, he had flagged with Delft that he could not trust his own memories. Given the ongoing audit, the Viscount Inspector took no chances. He issued a formal investigation into Angharad, resulting in his detainment. He called in Doctor Carlisle deCornero, a specialist responsible for all psychic inqusitions in the RHC. I thought it would be more fitting to have a single person responsible for interrogating the minds of recruits, rather than leaving it up to the Chief Inspector at each RHC HQ.

Dr. Cornero has a degree in the budding field of psychodynamics from Mitchell University. For each psychic interrogation for the RHC, he transfers all of his memories to a single coloured lens to prevent seduction by treasonous thoughts and stem any budding madness from accepting multiple perspectives of the same event. The process is a joint stroll, of DeCornero and the participant, through memories, desires, and emotions. For the rare occasion of a second interrogation of the same subject, he brings with him his circular, multilens glasses, each lens with a former interrogation on it. By looking through the lens, he can examine the results of the previous interrogations:
NNSk-gvOnlsd991IFR0qX2JfTb1K2zcjMg6h-9cnFhSzwOKLYpYvkyNI4aAoGb5WWKDLXreRIXOypoJYBW7TQJ6L58bgVEvI4xGZKy6QmoYBcXvgIJkpuq6jXNPA941IzutqU9s1

In total honesty, the persona of DeCornero was built from the obscure Australian matress salesman DeRucci and the vampire dad from Twilight, Carlisle Cullen (I regrettably watched this film the night before the session).

1607648070535.png

Me and my players had a lot of fun with the interrogation. Angharad had gotten a lot of attention this book, so I gave the player a backseat whilst NPCs and the party offered character testimony. I have a recording if you folks are interested. I am a first-time DM, so feedback is welcome:

Why is a first-time DM running Zeitgeist? I didn't see all the warnings of the AP being for experienced DMs... And I really wanted to run it!

In the end, DeRucci identified and cured Angharad's Distant Madness. Ella's continues to go unnoticed...

Additionally, due to the interrogation, the Viscount Inspector was given a clear picture of how bold Lorcan Kell is. He does not take the threat lightly, and has pledged to amend fundraising practices to improve Flint's resources. This will come into effect in Book 5, but I still haven't decided exactly how.

After this chaotic affair, the group did sail for Ber. They arrived on-site, and briefly exchanged words with the friendly ships.
 

In total honesty, the persona of DeCornero was built from the obscure Australian matress salesman DeRucci and the vampire dad from Twilight, Carlisle Cullen (I regrettably watched this film the night before the session).
Wow, okay then.


This man has a serious 'cult leader who can hypnotize you with his eyes' vibe. A quick Google search found a YouTube video where someone claimed he was just a random English teacher who got paid to be the model, and there is no real DeRucci.
 

Echolocation

Explorer
Session 29: Unda the Sea
Written by Lisandra's player

Last week on Zeitgeist, our team found themselves in the middle of Ber oceans after tracking down Xambria Meredith at another Ziggurat off the coast of Pezarillo. After signalling for parley with the hostile Crisillyi ship resulted in a warning shot from one of their many canons, Team BAD decided to do a little subtle scouting below the surface. They negotiated the use of Paco’s lanterns to afford a more convenient means of breathing underwater and returned to their vessel. John turned himself into a fish and made his way down towards the Ziggurat for some preliminary scouting. During his search, he found markers that indicated the area was under the care of a druid, and unwilling to trespass, left a message for the local Druid to come to the Mistrunner to speak and returned to report his findings to the rest of his team.

The team deliberated on steps forward, attempting to piece together an agreeable plan, though John remained staunchly unwilling to move into the druid’s territory without first speaking. They agreed to sleep on it, and see if the Druid showed up before they resumed further planning in the morning. Frustrated at the risk of letting yet another potential monster on the world while they waited, Lisandra returned to her cabin to retire early, praying such manners would not result in disaster. The opposing views were for naught, come morning, as the ocean waters became unnaturally choppy, and dead sea creatures began to float to the surface.

Quickly, the team made moves to dive below and make their way to the Ziggurat and found themselves greeted by a tense party of mercenaries and magic users, in the midst of the retrieval process. After warning them to halt what they were doing, and relaying the news of their benefactor’s gruesome demise, Finona, the tiefling scholar in charge of the group struck a deal; their safe departure, for all the information she had, and they would leave the seal intact. With the local Druid making himself, and his two shark friends known behind them, Team BAD had ample reason to accept the deal, but as one of the wizards moved from the ritual space, the broken rocks and silt of the seabed shifted, and the protective wards around the seal shifted out of alignment.

An incredible burst of energy sprang forth, washing over the group and assaulting their minds as the water unfurled into a huge element. Grotesque, fish-like men sprang forth and filled the waters around them. The team fought hard with their unlikely allies, fighting both the water and their minds to gain footing. Angharad drew the elemental's attention as the mercenaries helped the team pick off the fishmen, one by one. Ella swam to the ritual circle, hoping to find an arcane answer to banishing the creature, as Lisandra finally found her nerve, calling on the whispers of long-drowned sailors to evoke rays of spiritual energy that pierced the water, and the creature with more ease than a weapon. It was a well-placed bullet from John’s rifle that finished it, piercing through it’s centre and disrupting it’s will to stay intake. As the elemental dissipated and the water calmed, all present collected to regret the fallen and make good on their word.

Finona filled them in on her work with Caius, and how her team were responsible for cleaning up the mess Xambria’s has made. It appeared that they were not responsible for releasing the creature from Apet. She offered the constables a letter which detailed not only her work agreement with the late Caius Bergeron, but also spoke of bringing her ‘into the fold’ with his associates in Crisillyr if her good work held up. Before he team made way to leave, she offered them a ring, gifted to her by Caius, made from gold with an inscription reading ‘Original Brave Ideas’.

As Finona and her guards departed, we turned to see the blaze of an explosion in the distance. Team BAD hastily made their way to the surface to see Captain Jack Glassman’s ship in flames. The Mist Runner made haste to pick them up, Ribbles explaining that there had been an explosion, and they had not found any survivors onboard, or anyone leaving the vessel. Angharad summoned Gariad, who flew ahead and into the flaming vessel to inspect the damage. Xambria was nowhere to be found, though Glassman lay on his cot, surrounded by empty bottles and a severe lack of a brain in his head. Literally. Through sharing senses with Angharad, the flaming bird could sense the foul stench of Apet on the air that indicated a spell was likely the source.

The Risuri vessel lost, the team caught up with Captain Diego and his crew on the Ber ship, reporting their findings with Paco and warning him of the dangers of opening the seal, should he wish to inspect the site himself. Captain Diego assured there were no stowaways on his ship, nor did he see anyone jump overboard, but he did offer that the explosion was akin to an over-abundance of firedust, likely self-sabotage in his opinion.

Remembering Xambria’s pendant gave her the ability to teleport short distances, Team BAD decided to dock and spend some time searching for any signs along the coast that she may have made it to shore. Turning up dry, they decided to head back to the Mist Runner to rest. Lisandra retired to her quarters, leaving John to tend to Sydney’s wounds and socialize with his feline friend, as Angharad dedicated to forgo sleep. Taking a nip of some illicit substance, the Cipith headed out to the Ziggurat, retrieving a corpse of one of the Fishmen and taking it to shore. He found and paid a local shaman to spell the corpse to prevent it from rotting and brought it back to the ship. He found Ella asleep on deck, presumably awaiting his return and traded the corpse for her, leading her to bed. She awoke in protest, but at Angharad’s insistence she was carried to her quarters below deck, before the Cipith headed to his room for a short rest of fitful, drug-addled dreams.

After a week of travel, come sunrise, the crew of the Mistrunner made their way back to Flint. After reuniting Ugen with his hat, Ella received a message from Delft, letting them know that there was a lead at the Museum of Natural History.

A quick stop by HQ for Lisandra to dump her travelling gear was a cause of small victory, as Maxwell shared the welcomed news that paperwork for their next stipend was ready! With the promise of pay on the horizon, the team headed out once more to North Shore to meet with Delft.

The Museum had several curious onlookers about the entrance, and inside our constables met with the Assistant Inspector, looking even more tired than he usually did, and Angharad’s old pal, Professor Webber, the impressive articulation of a fossilized dragon looming behind them.

Delft informed the team more cases of Distant Madness had cropped up during their so-called ‘holiday’, and every day another victim with a missing brain. Professor Webber also alerted them to an odd message he had received from Xambria the day prior. It was filled with a plea of help and warnings about the creature that has her and it’s motives. It wants the three artifacts. The three artifacts that are currently stored safely in the RHC facilities next to HQ, which Lisandra is quite familiar with, Delft noted with a wink. The three artifacts that will, apparently, be displayed publicly at the Museum’s heavily advertised event in a few days time. Delft expressed his mutual concern and informed them his hands are tied, but he would appreciate them all working security for the event, to keep an eye on things. He also cheerily let them know that Saxby wanted to see them, for a debrief now the audit is completed.

Will Professor Webber survive his foolish museum event in the days to come? And more importantly… What does Saxby have to say about the team’s performance during the audit? In either case, take heart in the jingle of sweet coin, my friends because we are getting paid! How much? Find out today, in the Adventures of Team BAD!

DM Comments
I'm not a fan of how I ran this session. I think I'm uncomfortable with the explicit railroading devices I used.
  • The party really really did not want to go underwater. Understandable, their main DPS is a fire kineticist and a gunslinger druid. I had to really amp up the descriptions of the chaotic waters for them to even consider going down as a group.
  • I think a wizard accidently knocking a rock into the seal ritual circle was a clumsy narrative device. I knew the players would enjoy the combat encounter and more knowledge about the seals, but I don't like the way I initated it.
  • I struggled to find a motivation for Finona and her crew attacking the players on sight. They are fundamentally researchers, with hired help to guard. As Team BAD did not show up threatning violence, I did not run the combat encounter.
  • Not mentioned in the recap, as the party left the Museum of Natural History, they spied the reason why Weber was so hung up on keeping the artifacts on display---they were plastered across every bit of promotional material:
1607650011372.png
 

Echolocation

Explorer
This man has a serious 'cult leader who can hypnotize you with his eyes' vibe. A quick Google search found a YouTube video where someone claimed he was just a random English teacher who got paid to be the model, and there is no real DeRucci.
Absolutely. There are few billboards in Perth (where I live), but there are billboards of DeRucci. I cannot help but think of the Doctor T. J. Eckleburg billboard from The Great Gasby every time I see then.

His former image depicted DeRucci with a smoking pipe. But after complaints they removed it. I find it hard to believe the only complaint concerned the pipe.

Perhaps DeRucci is not real. Perhaps the reality of DeRucci is too much for the mortal mind to comprehend.

I might bring him back as the god of good sleep in the God Trials.
 

Echolocation

Explorer
Session 30

Team BAD went to HQ, collected their coin and sat nervously whilst Saxby read a list of their minor deviations from the letter of the law. They were relieved to meet the Director of Infiltration, as they had been concerned Kell's men had been following them.

Ella's Distant Madness runs loose, though her coworkers are oblivious. She checks every bit of paperwork for a sign of her Father. At one moment of desperation, she uses one of Caius' Scrolls of Sending to reach out to her Da. She scolded him, telling him his wife is dead. To the players surprise, they received a response: heartfelt sobbing. As a reminder: Ella's Da faked his death and to this day continues his work on the Bleak Gate project in Flint.

We ended after the party captured Xambria at a night at the museum, taking her back to HQ. Despite their hate for Shijen, they feel sympathetic towards Xambria. However, Angharad, the fey-fearing Cipith, did not hold back in the fight, desperate to draw the blood that would appease the Voice of Rot. I did use the museum to showcase a bunch of NPCs from the players past. Angharad smoked with Pazamu near the druid display, Lisandra talked with a noble friend about the latest goss (even noble women swoon for Rock Rackus), and Ella and Nathan Jierre had a discussion on racism in Flint outside of the Demonocracy display.

Something of mechanical interest is the fire kineticist, Angharad, took a level in inquisitor. He worships The Ash Wolf alongside Srasama, of course. Long ago, my players asked me if the fey titans could bestow divine powers upon worshippers. I answered yes, construing them as quasi-deity. I took the liberty of designing a Deity block for our favourite wolf:
Ash Wolf, the Howling Fire
Alignment
: CN
Pantheon: Fey Titans
Domains: Animal, Community, Chaos, Charm, Fire
Subdomains: Fur (animal), Family (Community), Love (Charm), Ash (Fire)
Favoured weapons: Bite or Lantern Staff
Symbol: Burned wolf fur
Sacred animals: Wolves
Sacred Colours: Grey
Unique Spell Rules:
  • Inquisitors and Paladins may prepare spark as an orison.
  • Clerics, Warpriests, Inquisitors, and Paladins may prepare pyrotechnics as a 2nd-level spell.
  • Clerics may prepare transmute metal to wood as a 7th-level spell.
 

Echolocation

Explorer
Session 31
Courtesy of Ella's player

Unlike most Zeitgeist sessions, this one began promisingly! We’d finally captured Xambria and safely locked her in a cell and she was willing to tell us everything! It’s nice when things are easy for once.

Xambria confirmed that the thing in her head was called Sijhen and that it was a “Gidim” - a race from another world. Sijhen had been trapped behind the Apet ziggurat’s seal for thousands of years, until it was released by the research team and took control of Xambria.

Sijhen had been eating people’s brains to gain their memories - and from Caius’ it had learned about the Obscurati. Caius and MacBannin were both Obscurati - much as we had already guessed - and Xambria told us that each member of the Obscurati wears a ring. The material of the ring signifies which cell the wearer belongs to, and the length of the final word in the inscription indicates their status: a shorter word means higher status.

Xambria was certain that the Winter meeting in Crisillyir that Caius had been intending to attend would have some Obscurati higher-ups there. She was also certain that Saxby - our boss - was one of the Obscurati.

Xambria had one more bombshell to share: Sijhen was intending to open a portal to another world and bring back an invasion force - and oh! Xambria wasn’t really in control of her body after all… Whoops.

In a blast of extraplanar energy the world turned transparent and Xambria climbed her way through the ceiling. Meanwhile, shadowy figures poured into the basement from the east and monsters flew through the building above.

Sigh What was that I said earlier about things being easy?

As the world fluctuated between see-through and corporeal we split up: Angharad dashing upstairs after Xambria while the rest of us confronted the shadowy figures. It soon became clear that these were the very same kind of shadowy figures we’d seen at the church with Steelshaper - a realisation which sent Ella into a murderous Rage. Perhaps more concerningly: at least one of these shadowy figures was one of Kell’s thugs - what the hell kind of deals has that man been making?

In any case, much like the creatures we’d fought at Nevard’s rally, these shadowy figures vanished on death: their bodies mysteriously dragged elsewhere with a crackle of energy.

Upstairs, Angharad was faced with a tough decision: should he get a badger gun? Or get Xambria? Wait, no - get Sejhin? ...Sejhambria? Xambri-jhin? ...Whatever. He eventually chose Xambrijhin and made it to the 2nd floor just in time to see Saxby hand something over to Sejambrijhin and watch the red-head vanish. Good ole Saxby.

The kineticist didn’t have too much time to swear about it though, as tentacled eyeballs floated through the walls and started sending everyone insane. Well… more insane than they already were… But hey, what do I know? Maybe Josiah always makes out with his gun while Kaea sets things on fire? And Gaethan and Serena were probably just having a friendly firing contest in their office. Nothing to see here.

Thankfully Pete, Carlao and Dima were all still sane! And leapt into battle with glee! Or at least Pete did. Or, rather he would have... if Angharad hadn’t stabbed him. Whoops?

Between the insanely paranoid stabby funtimes upstairs and the many failed poison saves downstairs it took a while for us to defeat our respective enemies. But eventually we triumphed! And regrouped just in time to stop Saxby from running away. Oh - and also Delft was stuck in some kind of 1v1 versus a giant worm maw the entire time buuuuut... no one cared.

Despite her best efforts to turn the other constables against us, we defeated Saxby - with Pete, Carlao and Dima’s help. During the fight Angharad got some fun cuddle time with the worm maw and Lisandra landed an absolutely savage riposte on Saxby with her rapier. Then Saxby attempted to run away and John shot her in the back!

...And no, she didn’t die - she was just knocked out and handcuffed. Sigh Spoilsports.

Anyway, the fun times didn’t stop there! As it turned out Delft was also insane! Fortunately, John was there to shoot his sword-cane and Angharad was there to shoot his insanity, and within a few minutes everyone was back to normal. Or… back to normally abnormal? Constables are weird.

We inspected Saxby’s wedding ring and found an inscription: “Opportunity Begets Glory”, but didn’t have long to ponder this before Delft ordered us to bloody well deal with whatever the hell was happening. He gestured at the still fluctuating walls as they warped in and out of corporeality. Yeahhhhh… we should probably do something about that.

We raided the storeroom for healing potions and then headed down to the basement. Angharad’s keen eyes had spotted something happening in the subway tunnel under the RHC, and as the world turned transparent once more, we saw Xambria down there - along with a familiar golden seal and a magical portal.

We leapt through the floor and landed on the tracks, drawing Xambrijhin’s attention. The aberration asked us to let it go freely, but refused to state where exactly it was going. It became rather annoyed when Angharad referred to it as a warbeast, saying that it was actually a wayfarer but offering no further explanation. Ella tried in vain to get it to explain the workings of the portal, while the others debated just how far they were willing to go to fulfil the Voice of Rot’s orders.

As the planar energies built all around us and the wall at the edges of the portal began to crack, John took matters into his own hands by shooting Xambria.

Sijhen attempted to bargain with us, saying that if we killed it then it would take Xambria’s mind with it to the worlds beyond. But if we let it go then it’d give us her consciousness.

Ella and Lisandra seemed inclined to listen, but John’s duty to the rest of Flint and Angharad’s duty to the fey titan compelled them to act. Combat erupted and a giant freaking tentacle-worm emerged from the portal behind the seal, grabbing Angharad and hoisting him into the air.

John swiftly killed Xambria, Ella looked like she wanted to kill John, and Sijhen threatened to kill Angharad if we didn’t listen. It was all a bit of a mess - especially once Lisandra realised that Xambria’s spirit was somehow inside the worm along with Sijhen! And it seemed they weren’t the only two: as the worm’s hide split open and the flailing limbs of its previous victims spilled out. At the same time a deafening scream from hundreds of tortured souls filled the air.

The force of it knocked most of the party to their knees, but John and Lisandra were still able to gun down the worm before it - or Sijhen - could do any more harm. As it fell, the energies from the portal behind it continued to build, crackling chaotically.

Left with little time to act, Angharad and John set about trying to figure out how to close the portal, while Ella yelled at Lisandra and Lisandra tried to focus on Xambria.

The archaeologist’s spirit was still there, but fading fast, and as she did she pleaded with Lisandra to let her enter her mind. In the absence of an agreement, Xambria turned to the rest of us, making the same plea - and Ella leapt at the chance. Lisandra immediately interjected and took Xambria’s consciousness into her own mind rather than risk the tiefling taking it. At which point Lisandra fell unconscious to the floor, overwhelmed by her new spiritual guest. The only guidance Xambria or her host could offer was a single phrase: “The lantern”.

With little idea what else to do, John and Angharad set about destroying lanterns - the portal becoming more volatile with each hit. The two men quickly shoved the golden seal back in front of it and it seemed to help, but there was still one lantern left. Bereft of other ideas, Ella kicked it, and a massive wave of psychic energy slammed outwards: smashing into the minds of everyone nearby and flinging them back.

Three constables didn’t get up after the blow: Angharad, Lisandra and Millie. The two humans were still alive - breathing but unconscious. But the blue jay... lay utterly still. Ella fell to her knees and screamed as she felt the empathic bond with her familiar shatter.

The others slowly regrouped: Xambria’s spirit awakening Lisandra and John healing Angharad. The chaotic energies from the portal subsided: the world fading from transparency back to translucency and finally settling into corporeality. The city had been saved… if at a price.

It was a somber walk back to the RHC.

Carlao’s team was just rounding up the last few monsters, and they began to gather around as they saw Millie. Pete recited the blue jay’s deeds: retelling the brief but courageous career of Millipede the Magnificent - smallest of the RHC’s constables, but with one of the largest hearts.

There was little time for grief though, as the constabulary - and the city at large - recovered from the attack. Delft was quickly inducted as Chief Inspector and cover-up stories for the attack were circulated to the public. In private, Delft quietly warned each of us not to trust anyone, and to prepare for a Winter trip to Crisillyir.

We have an Obscurati party to crash.

DM Notes

  • The dramatic concluding combat was well received. I also liked the challenge of running so many moving bits at once.
  • The players enjoyed the character of Xambria. The ghostspeaker is a little nervous having a passenger, but her player is thrilled.
  • Honestly, after running The Dying Skyseer, I was skeptical that any other book could stand up to it. I think this book did, we all had a ton of fun. Some player highlights were the Voice of Rot scene, the Ziggurat of Apet, and the final encounter.
  • The players enjoyed the action movie scenes that separated more formal investigating. The players also enjoyed the deep dive into Angharad's psyche, his Vekesh initiation, and his sideplot of Tyler Starke. With this in mind, I'll be turning the splotlight onto Lisandra in the next book.
  • I find it hard to pull the trigger on characters, and it was a tough choice including Millie in the psychic blast. Ultimately, I thought Ella should suffer for her negligence. Her Distant Madness has taken route. Without the disease, should would have likely taken her time spellcrafting the lantern, and could have deduced a safe way to shut down the portal. But she was overcome by rage and fear. Although Millie is gone, it will open up new avenues for Ella. I know the player is comfortable with this too (though she is sad to see Millie go).
  • Shijen escaped. The RHC was one round off being nuked. I figured Shijen would notice the portal is nearly there and decide to fly the rest of the way. Shijen has feasted in Flint, and I figured the remaining psychic calories will be enough to fuel their journey home.
  • I used Xamrbia's speech to give players information on the Obscurati Ring Code. The players nearly had it, but could not quite figure out the meaning of the final word. It's been two books, and they are very engaged constables...I thought it was a win they deserved.
 

Echolocation

Explorer
Here are some screenshots taken across Book 3:

The Final Landing Page
1609287582407.png

Across the course of the adventure, I slowly added to the landing Page of our Roll20 campaign. This table includes a coffee grinder gifted by the Family, a Cupcake of Cat's Grace baked with Constable Pete Pottinger, and the martial thesis Methods of Extricating Warriors from a Variety of Tentacled and Tendriled Monsters. The image of Shijen was identified using the spell Blood Biography. The constables never saw their alien culprit, and they won't for a long time.

Combat

1609288065211.png


Angharad refusing to leave, attempting to fend off a horde of undead whilst toxic water pools around him.

1609288116754.png

The constables dart around the puzzle room, deactivating bridges to plunge mummies to their doom and secure their escape.

1609288177211.png

Just a few creatures to keep track of...
1609288271908.png

Saxby is intercepted in the stairwell

1609288305662.png

Delft rallies the constables in an attempt to gain control over the situation, his sword cane shattered from an incredibly precise rifle shot.
1609288498059.png

Constable Angharad once again biting off more than he can chew.
 

Echolocation

Explorer
“It’s getting dark here... Good! Good. All the better for sneaking. Keep doing your good work, Constable Lisandra. I’ll keep a sneaky eye on things here.” - The final words of Millie's spirit.

Session 32

It wouldn't be the end of a Zeitgeist book without a funereal. The group spent some time making peace with Millie's death. Lisandra, the ghost speaker, used her abilities to commune with the dead bluebird. Millie's unfinished business concerns are millipede that forever escaped her grasp.

The party hosted a funereal at the treehouse estate their resident druid/gunslinger, John (who has now decided to relocate to Flint). Lisandra gave a touching speech. Ella, still under the effects of an ever-growing Distant Madness, used the funereal as an opportunity to swear vengeance upon Millie's killer. Much like Xambria, Ella blames the Ob for the death, rather than acknowledging her own personal role in the tragedy. Angharad, the Vekesh Mystic, nods in agreement during Ella's speech.

The party also questioned Saxby. Of note, the party was taken a bit aback when she genuinely wished them luck on their investigation.
 

Echolocation

Explorer
Crypta Heritcarum

Throughout Book 3, when players couldn't attend the session, we ran interim episodes of the Crypta Heritcarum. Each player made a character to explore the Crypt. In part, this was to showcase the capabilities of Ashima-Shimtu's pool, as I knew in Book 4 my party would be sceptical about travelling into a crypt. Additionally, I wanted to flesh out the character of Gene, the Lunatic Godhand:
The year is 200 A.O.V. when Gene Javerto, a Clergy geneu credeto (literally “spirit of belief,” but more colloquially known as a “godhand”), assembles a team of sellswords and clergyfolk to accompany him on a pilgrimage through the vault. For the mercenaries, the Godhand has promised they may keep whatever uncursed treasures they find. For the ones of his own rank, Gene has promised to put in a word for your promotion based on your performance. For both, the path will be perilous, horrific, and possibly lethal.
Each character picked a Clergy virtue (if part of the Clergy) or a vice (if a sellsword). Virtues and vices were associated with a mechanical advantage to a particular check/bonus in the Crypt.

The party roster:
Mary Pottinger: An alchemist who bakes her reagents into delicious goods. Sugar rush bombs, entangling caramel, etc. Old in age but young in spirit. Ancestor of NPC-favourite Constable Pete Pottinger.​
Mishka: A dwarven brawler/skald. When Triegenes 'liberated' Drakr, the necromantic pacts between her family and demons were broken. Her family suffered a nasty curse and have been at the mercy of the Clergy's... charity ever since​
Jeseh A gathlain dinosaur druid...what more is there to say?​
Konrad A hellknight soldier climbing through the ranks​
Heck Elven four-armed alchemist/rogue​
The party cleared rooms, for Gene to enter and explore. It provided a good opportunity to share tidbits of lore. Heck and Mary's frying pan were felled by the rust monsters. Konrad used the rust monster egg to cow the legionaries into submission. The party wasn't messed up by item curses, but they did fall for the teleportation trap, nearly dying after accidentally entering the room of the inverted giant. The party found the first blade of Srasama, and to their surprise, it bent to the will of Mary (transforming into a frying pan).

The party made it to Ashima-Shimtu's room. The demoness merely asked for a blessing, before granting the party passage out of the crypt. I then time-skipped twenty years forward. Gene visits a bedridden Mary, now at the end of her life. Over tea, the two reminiscence over their adventure into the crypt. The sweet old Mary reveals that she does not remember much, but still remembers their time together. Gene smiles, placing down his tea cup (still completely full). He swiftly leaves as Mary chokes on poison. In all the chaos, Mary's family do not notice the godhand is now missing his halo.

The rest of the character roster turn up dead in their respective domains, each murder unified only by a single hand imprint plunged through their chest.

Throughout the epilogue, it's revealed that the Crypta Heritcarum story is being told to their characters over a morning breakfast cooked by the skald Constable Pete Pottinger. He explains that the first blade of Srasama was handed down generation from generation. Now it resides in his hands. Pete gestures to the 15-foot metal slate he is currently using to cook eggs. Pete has no use for the blade, so he would rather it be used by another constable in pursuit of justice. The party were unable to secure the blade before leaving for Beaumont, as Pete required it for a children's birthday party. I was worried it would make tailing female suspects too easy for Book 4. In retrospect, it would have been fine. When Team BAD return from their overseas adventure, they'll find the blade tucked above a kitchen shelf.

The players enjoyed the change in scenery, and the opportunity for a good ol' fashioned dungeon crawl. They enjoyed a rather introverted, quiet, meditative Gene and the plot twist. And of course, they love the idea that Pete recited all of this as a story to them whilst casually cooking breakfast with a powerful artifact.
 


Echolocation

Explorer
Jesus, running the headquarters online must've been a slog. Lots of clicking and dragging.

It was a bit... But it's better than not playing! My sole regret when running that combat online was not writing up a script to change the transparency of the map depending on the round. I think have an map oscillating it its transparency would be great immersion.
 

Echolocation

Explorer
Session 33

Who doesn't like a good montage? I interspersed the party's planning montage with scenes from their lives outside work. Some scenes represented the powers gained in their recent level up, such as John retraining with a druid Professor from Pardwight University. Ella's scenes represented her increasingly slip into Distant Madness, such as:
  • Scene of Ella scribing a Scroll of Fireball into her spellbook, her hands shaking and her shadow momentarily morphing before her eyes into the outline of Cillian.
  • Scene of Ella with Serena in a building, repairing the construct from the steel mill and trying to get memories from it but growing increasingly frustrated. One clear memory: bronze claws reaching out towards a blurred, darkened humanoid figure; gained the impression that this figure was a source of hate and resentment but that the construct was reaching out toward it in kindness, forgiveness and hope. (Ella had found a way to magically share memories with Grappa. Grappa sensing Ella's ruthlessness for revenge tries to imbue an alternative route. After it becomes clear Ella is long beyond forgiveness, Grappa refuses to share any more memories with the tiefling).
  • Ella destroys the willow planting above her father's grave with a fireball
  • Ella writes to Kell demanding information. At the meetup, Kell sends assassins. Ella murders them with fireballs from a distance.
  • Ella bombards Kell-associated factories with fireballs.
I asked Ella's player to brainstorm ideas before running this session. I didn't want to play her character.

On the final day before the voyage to Danor, Ella brings her younger brother into the RHC HQ for witness protection, paranoid her family will fail to care for him. Angharad, the Vekesh Mystic, attempts to arm the child. A heated argument breaks out among the party, still oblivious to Ella's madness. Ultimately, Delft agrees to issue protection for the child. Once the party leaves, Delft oversees numerous reports of arson, murder, and Ella's own family demanding the child is released. After consulting experts and running interviews, Delft joins the dots. By this point it's too late to warn members of Team BAD---they are in the dead magic zone of Danor.

As for the montage, the party did well. They passed the cover identity and secrecy goals, with a few contingencies planned for Vendricce. I used Roll20 to track goals in front of my players.

landing-page.PNG

preparing-01.png


preparing-02.png


itinerary.png


The voyage aboard the Roscommon was pleasant. The captain gave another set of false identities to the party. The party (bar Ella) drank chocolate liqueur, offering plenty to the fey spirits of the figurehead. With each day, the Roscommon swayed a little more... Unbeknownst to the party, a submarine placed a tracking device on their ship.

The party arrives in Beaumont. I took the luxury of a tense moment where guards look over their paperwork, before breaking the tension joyously welcoming them into the country. The party sleep at a luxurious hotel. But just who is the party?

  • Lisandra: Lynette Musgrave: A bride to-be. Travelling along the Avery Coast to meet nobility from Crisillyir.
  • Angharad: Henri Musgrave: Lynette's brother.
  • Ella: Cassandra "Cassie" Flickerfield: Lynette's legal advisor, to ensure the proceedings go as expected.
  • John: Behid: Bodyguard for the group, and handler of Lynette's gift to her to-be husband.
  • Sydney the Lion: Abigail: Lynette's gift
For each day, I had Ella roll a wisdom check. Once the party settled into Beaumont, she realised her dubious actions in Flint would be uncovered, and the RHC would likely send warning to the party. Fearing circumstances sliding out of control, she decided she had to act.
 

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top