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

Echolocation

Explorer
Session 45
Courtesy of Angharad's player

Team BAD met up in one of the satellite buildings of the RHC, along with team B, and Frank. Frank is potentially the royal tecnologist.. People say he is you know.

And as the construct from the steel mill activates for the first time in our company, we find out its name and title. Alexander Grappa, the Mindmaker. And the fact he is under magical compulsion to not tell us everything, but he could tell us some things and that he will be able to help us get to the Bleak Gate. Wooooooooo. The Bleak Gate again. Fuck.

After the chat with the probably evil at some point robot, team BAD ended up running into Bartholomew Price, the lead editor for the Price of Progress Publication, and that he had information for the team. Price had heard what happened at the Flint Tribune the day before, and he had seen some dwarves working on construction on the lower floors of ther Tribune, and since he had heard rumors that dwarves had been involved, he thought he'd come forth with the info. The dwarves had been working for a Soknik Repairs. And what'd be even better, if he could come join us on the investigation. Lissandra quite quickly and diplomatically shut down that avenue, with a chance later down the line for him tagging along.

Shortly after a chat with Sergeant Deb about the missions against Lorcan Kell and his band of doo doo heads, Team BAD would met up with a group meeting with Delft and the B team. In brief, we were to assist Team B with their terrorist attack problem, while also working on our own tasks of getting to the Bleak Gate and finding the fugitive fey. Maybe Ella should learn some time magic so there is enough hours in the day for Team BAD. Each of the dead dwarves at the attack had been found with white powder in their shoes, but it didn't seem to be a dangerous substance.

And post meeting, Dima mentioned to Lisandra that shed spoken to Heid, and that from him a letter had come, which gave us some information to work with. One the leader of the dwarf cultists in flint was a man known as Grundun Zubov, and that he thinks that peace between Danor and Risur would interfere with a glorious Doomsday! And that just ain't right. Secondly, Kvarti, a nice marksdwarf that we had met before had been hired by them. And from an interrogation with the 2 dwarf prisions we have, focusing on a female dwarf, the team worked out they're fucking annoying. That's about it, Titans, cultists are frustrating to talk with.

At Soknik Repairs, which seemed to be a tinkers workshop in a way, lots of things being repaired, peddle cranked machines, clocks. Lots of little devices, which you wouldn't expect to see at a store where concrete repairing dwarves had been from.. The clerk after some questioning bolted for the streets as glass cases in the store started to explode. Faint gunshots could be heard as the cases were destroyed. With a splitting of duties, Ella sent Angharad off after the boy, helped along by a haste spell. The boy didn't get far. While Ella using Ravens Flight, an icky, bad spell for bad people, quickly moved to where she had an idea that Kvarti was, and with frankly a pleasant conversation, he came along peacefully. Lisandra had opened a door to the back of the shop, and found a hidden trapdoor under a rug, that lead downwards into darkness. The tunnel when illuminated would show paintings on the walls of the witches who once ruled Cauldron Hill.

The party would let Ella go first, making use of her ability to see in the dark, while the two humans hung back, having a quiet time in the light left by Lisandra's badge. Travelling for a while in this tunnel would lead to a lower area again, as well a portcullis concelaed to the side. Ella would end up disabling the portcullis and its pressure plate with Emmett, a truly wonderful construct dragon who deserves more time in the game Drift. Past this portcullis, icy skeletons would be found, more white powder and a swarm of hecking ants. After a tussle with them , a shotgun wielding mimic was found, that insisted it was a dwarf, who was knocked unconcious, while another died, Angharad not caring about her taking her own life. The white powder was worked out to be sodium borate, a pesticide and a softening agent for cleaning laundry. An envelope with a broken seal to a Brigette Coulson.

And that is what happened last time on Zootgeist.

DM Notes

By the glory of Roll20, I've made a landing page that tracks the party's progression in taking down Kell. It's a bit hard to read everything from a distance, but hopefully the screenshots below make sense:


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strongholds.PNG
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targets.PNG
 

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Echolocation

Explorer
Session 46
Courtesy of Ella's player

The session began with Ella in rather a rush to inform Delft of the explosive plans we’d found and send word to the king. Delft agreed that it was very concerning but didn’t really have much to offer other than that. We sent word to the king via Sergeant Deb’s feather and then continued about our jobs because there really isn’t time to sit around waiting for a reply when there’s a basement full of criminals to chat to.

We started with Doug Clapper, the teenage shopkeep from Soknik Repairs, who seemed genuinely innocent and repentant and has very little useful information to offer: only that the last time he’d seen the owner of Soknik Repairs was the previous morning, and that activity into and out of the shop had died down over the last day.

Next, we tried to question the dwarf that we’d captured in the underground hideout but found her rather unforthcoming. She did mention Zubov’s icy pipe though - a reference which immediately piqued John’s interest, as he recalled the vision he’d received in the Apet ziggurat: of his former partner, speaking with a dwarf who was smoking a pipe made of ice. As the gunslinger thought about this, he recalled that shortly before she died, his partner’s behaviour had changed... she’d worn darker nail polish, and dyed her hair blonde. The conversation with the dwarf cultist rapidly deteriotated after that...

Next up we talked to Rufus Hammerton, asking him about the shadowy figures Kell had been working with. After some expert Intimidation by Angharad the thug agreed to talk - in exchange for having the cases against him dropped that is. Apparently Mr. Hammerton is a bit of a local sports celebrity and if his illicit activities went to court it would rather tarnish his reputation. We agreed, and sought out the appropriate paperwork. As Ella filled out Rufus’ papers, Angharad attempted to fill out papers for legally arming Lisandra’s family. This proved slightly time-consuming, as Maxwell had run out of the necessary forms after the last child Angharad armed.

Midway through the paperwork, we received a reply from Sergeant Deb via Feather. The king had been informed of the explosive threat and additional security measures were in place. The missions we’d sent out that morning were successful: a den of thieves in North Shore had been scouted and two more dens of thieves had been discovered in the Nettles.

After the papers for Rufus were finished, the lieutenant shared what he knew. The “shadowy figures” Kell had been working with were just clients: they paid Kell for his services and occasionally sent people to accompany his missions, that was all. They insisted on meeting in secure locations were reached via “weird teleportation shit” - and supplied objects for getting there: rusted metal rings that were stepped through while wearing an amulet. Kell probably has some of the amulets but it’s the other group that controls the rings and tells Kell’s men where to go. Kell’s guild has a regular contact with the shadowy group but Rufus didn’t know who. Another of Kell’s lieutenants - Quentin Augst - should though. He’s a lawyer in Central but is likely currently in hiding. If we can find him we might be able to find Kell’s contact with the Obscurati.

Rufus also assured us that - somewhat unexpectedly - Kell doesn’t actually have anything against us: he’s just doing business. It’s the shadowy guys who want us dead.

Following on from that we decided to investigate some of the leads from Soknik Repairs: namely the note about stealing Pardwight’s aether stores and the name Brigette Coulson. We quickly discovered that the aether stores had already been stolen and that Brigette Coulson - who’d reportedly been acting somewhat strange and cold of late - had seemingly packed up and left. Presumably part of the Eschatologist conspiracy...

As it was now early evening, we reported to Sergeant Deb at Hotel Aurum. One of our scouting missions had succeeded but the other two missions had failed - although thankfully no officers died. Deciding to take matters into our own hands, we took ourselves and a group of officers and military into the Nettles to Bust Up a den of thieves there. Only to find that the location was completely abandoned… Kell’s thugs had already cleared out and left. Having thus completely failed to accomplish anything useful with our missions for the day, we gave up and went to bed.

The next morning began with Angharad noting some odd fey behaviour around his home and some even odder people behaviour as he headed to work. Lots of dark glances and whispered remarks from Cloudwood citizens. He made it to HQ though, where he met Asrabey and - after some brief discussion - agreed to accompany the fey to Hotel Aurum to meet Ella and John after they finished sending off the morning missions.

Once regrouped, Asrabey announced that he’d like us to arrange a meeting with Gale - as an eladrin rather than a true fey she cannot be compelled by Ekossigan, and she might be able to help us find the fugitive fey. Using one of our Feathers, we sent Gale a message and started heading toward the Cloudwood. Asrabey also shared some information with us about Ekossigan: apparently the widdershins prophet can influence the seasons: his joy can turn winter into spring and his coldness can cause summer snow. Like the other fey lords, he lives up to the title of Unseen by being invisible and undetectable to Divination magic. The only part of him that’s visible is a mask. Apparently Ekossigan’s invisible skin is made of wood and can burn, but mundane metals cannot harm it - only cold iron.

Eventually we received Gale’s reply, instructing us to come to a particular clearing in the Cloudwood, where lovers once tied ribbons to trees to mark their love. As Angharad was the once who’d sent the message and thus the one who received the reply, this generated some teasing remarks from Ella once she realised where we were headed. Nonetheless, we made it there only to find no sign of Gale. Instead a breeze stirred the ribbons on the trees, eventually forming the eladrin’s voice: she asked why we had come, and Angharad told her we sought Ekossigan. Upon hearing that, Gale told us to leave and cease our pursuit of the fey lord. When we refused, the wind picked up and the eladrin’s voice said almost apologetically: “You must understand, I am bound by my word,” before elemental matter crackled and swirled around us...

Leading us to wonder: are we about to be fried by lightning? Will a hurricane appear and sweep us away to the Land of Oz? Or is Gale just really fond of dramatic entrances? Find out this week: on Zeitgeist!
 

Echolocation

Explorer
Sessions 47 and 48
Courtesy of me

The party defeated Gale in combat. It was hard. I took Andrew Moreton's Gale build (as a kineticist) and gestalted it with the sorcerer build from the book. Angharad took a composite blast that would have spelled permadeath for any other member of the party. After the combat, Ella used her bonded book ability to spontaneously cast Dispel Magic on Gale, which was only successful due to the inclusion of Nillasa's pendant and Gale's spellbook in the ritual. With an unconscious Gale's hands resting on her old spellbook, words took form on the pages. She warned the party of Ekosiggan and pleaded with them to contact Ellik at the Nutgarden.

The party tracked and caught Ellik. Ellik coughed up the location to the orphanage. Angharad's player made it clear he had no intention to release Ellik, despite his pleading. After Ellik had no remaining information, Asrabey through a cold iron stake at Angharad's feet, claiming the gremlin had betrayed the Court he had sworn to protect. Angharad didn't hesitate to plunge the stake into the gremlin's heart.

En route for the orphanage, the players encountered a group of hostile locals. Angharad brands one, and Lisandra manages to calm them down. Nevertheless, they tell the party to leave quickly, and they do. Following Ellik's instructions prove difficult for all but Ella. Eventually, it begins to rain dampening both the party's clothes and mood. Ella and Angharad begin to bicker over ethics.

Eventually, the party arrives at a large centuries-old tree, hoisting structures in its bough. Scattered around the clearing are lifeless adult bodies dressed in druid robes, cats gnawing at their skin. Spiraling around the tree is a wooden staircase, and at its base is a sign reading: Gallo's School for Boys.

DM Notes

We have been plagued by technical difficulties, hence the short sessions. Unfortunately, that has made the book more frustrating than expected, but the players still seem enticed by the prospect of defeating Ekossigan and Kell, then venturing into the Bleak Gate. I doubt the players will ally with Ekossigan, as much as I would love it.

I've finally caught up on recaps!
 

Echolocation

Explorer
Text roleplay between sessions
The combined work of Angharad's, Ella's, and Lisandra's players

Here is an excerpt of the text roleplay of Team BAD this week:

_________________________________________
Angharad's eyes linger on Ella as they come to a stop. He takes a deep breath and lets it out before calling out in Ancient.

"One can feel your distraction from here, it seems to this One as if you are being eaten by fleshborers. Speak."

The tiefling's eyes snap to him, darkly furious, before she controls her expression and turns to Asrabey, pointing eastward. "That way," she says curtly. The eladrin looks at her briefly before moving in the indicated direction, obviously deciding to leave whatever this was to the professionals.

Once the fey warrior is a good thirty feet away - following a barely perceptible animal trail - Ella turns back to Angharad. Her brown eyes are accusing but when she finally speaks her voice is oddly flat. "'Death is a trade.' That's what you said. When we spoke at your house."

A muscle flexes in her jaw. "So what, exactly, did the Unseen Court stand to gain from murdering Ellik? A loyal courier? Someone who'd given you all the information you asked for? Who was under the effects of an enchantment - which I told you at the very beginning - and wasn't in control of his own actions?" By now her voice is rising, echoing through the trees: "What, exactly, was the logical gain from that?"

Asrabey pauses and looks back: expression unreadable but stance showing a hint of impatience.

Ella doesn't notice, attention fixed on Angharad. The edges of her vision blur with angry tears. "There's a difference between killing for a reason, killing because it's necessary, and killing because you want to, Angharad! The guard at the Obscurati meeting didn't have to die! Ellik didn't have to die! You told me you kill for a reason or to protect the people you care about, but then you murder a helpless witness just because Asrabey said so? Ellik was as much a victim as Gale! He could have been dispelled! But you let her live and killed him? You don't think your precious Seen of the Unseen might have been a little bit biased there?"

The gnome's hands are clenched so tightly into fists that blood trickles down one hand from the claws digging into her palm. Her chest rises and falls rapidly, breathless with anger.

It doesn't stop the jagged words from emerging though: "Is it because he was fey - not human enough to warrant humanity? Or do you not care about that at all? About what they ask you to do? Do you enjoy it or is it just business?" The tears in Ella's eyes are on her cheeks now: almost indistinguishable from the rain. "You didn't even hesitate!" The tiefling's voice breaks and her entire frame trembles.

The painful constriction in her throat makes it hard to talk, but Ella gets the last words out anyway, choking on them: "The last time I saw someone kill like that was Steelshaper! He got what he wanted and then threw away the trash!"

The scene from almost a year ago flashes in front of her eyes, just as painfully vivid as when Angharad had picked up the stake: a flash of silver metal; a gurgling cry; and a small, bloody body falling limp. The past and the present blur and Ella looks at Angharad with the same horrified eyes: the pain of innocence betrayed and faith broken. Her voice comes out low and wounded: "How could you?"

Angharad runs a hand through his hair briefly before turning to Asrabey "One needs a moment to explain things."

With a slow movement, Angharad withdraws a cigar, and rolls it between his fingers. "It was not business, it was not for enjoyment. It was duty. Ellik was enchanted you say, One agrees. But it does not matter. Ellik was twice forsworn. Once to the court for siding with the renegade, and twice for betraying the renegade to us." In a moment of frustration the cigar is snapped between his fingers and falls.

"The Court doesnt care about free will, the Court doesnt care about fairness." The grass near his feet leaning away from as his new powers act unconsciously. "And yes, if the Court declares it, this One will kill a gremlin who could warn Ekkosigian about us."

And finally, meeting Ella's eyes once again "How can one enjoy killing, if One does not feel a single thing as it happens?"

Skeet (Ella's clockwork leg) takes a step back - swaying like the surrounding vegetation - then one forward, uncertain whether to advance or retreat. Ella's tail lashes angrily and curls around her ankle as she closes her eyes, features twisting with emotion. When she speaks her voice is sharp as a string about to snap: "And if you could feel something, would you?"

Her eyes open, looking up at the kineticist: demanding and entreating. "Is your heart that cold, or are you just protecting it from the things they make you do? Because I find it hard to believe..." Ella heaves in a ragged breath, "that someone who does so much for his friends could feel nothing at all when killing someone else's."

Tremors run through her voice. "Is there anything you wouldn't do for them, or are you so bound up in oaths you don't know your own heart anymore? Because you're not just a weapon, Angharad! You-"

Ella swallows back impotent tears, struggling for words, "you're my friend." Her voice cracks then firms, taking on a fierce note: "And you're my family. And maybe the Court doesn't care about free will but I do! And I refuse to believe that my big brother, who'd walk through fire and acid and zombies for the people he loves, is just another tool in the hands of the Unseen Court! To be used and thrown away!"

The tiefling stalks forward and jabs the Cipith in the chest, glaring up at him. "So don't you dare go acting like you don't care or that duty is the only thing that matters! Maybe we have to kill a woods-damned fey lord to prevent a war, but I will not have it turning you back into some heartless assassin who values his life as little as those of the people he kills!"

The last line is punctuated with pokes, each targeting the spot where Gale's thunderstorm blast had hit earlier. "Because I care about you too damned much to watch you throw your life away for the sake of fey nobility who value the wording of laws more than intent!"

Lisandra silently listens, almost holding her breath, as she lets herself fade into the background. Her gaze shifts a little guiltily to the ground as she listens to Ella's words, before glancing carefully between the two again. A pensive frown tugs at her lips, but she keeps her mouth firmly shut waiting for the Cipith's response.

Angharad steps back with a flinch, eyes steaming for a moment. "One was already cast aside. One was deemed boring." Angharad's voice rising as he speaks, "One does what the Court wants because One must!"

Fist's clenched, they ignite, the Ashen Hand's fire calm while the other rages. "When One was found wanting, One wishes it was as quick as a stake through the heart but not all of us are given that mercy. Some of us are bound and burnt. Stakes driven in to hold One there as fire licks One's flesh."

For a few moments, the fire forms a saber, then a sword before flickering away to sparks "One will not do some things for them, but most things the Court requires, One will do as a chance to get close to her, so One can be free and she will be dead. If One isn't burnt out by then, then maybe One's life will be able to be kept."

With a whisper "Only then will One be able to be worthy."

DM Notes

One can be free and she will be dead

Angharad was stolen by fey and raised in The Dreaming (a Cipith). He was the plaything of a fey who claimed she was a member of the Unseen Court. Given she can actually be seen, Angharad has slowly come to terms with the fact she lied. In reality, the fey is an 'ally' of Ekossigan. She came with him to The Waking, and is responsible for the curse placed on the older boy. Her secret intention is for Ekossigan to fall, leaving a chair open in the Court for her to claim. After the party travels to the Bleak Gate, she realises she will not be safe whilst Angharad grows in power. As a water nymph, she intends to assassinate Angharad in the final encounter of this book. Her skills are in enchantment, with her powers sourced from fear.

I plan on running the final encounter as a regular combat, with the naval combat happening in the background. The nymph will tail the Coaltongue, and shape the witchoil oozes dropped by Borne to become people/situations feared by the party. If her efforts fail, she will make her appearance known (hoping to draw fear from the Cipith, thereby enhancing her powers even more). She will consolidate every ooze aboard the Coaltongue to form a Witchoil Wyrm, drawing on Harkover's fear of his former tyrannical self.

I'm still designing the encounter. I might post it on the board for feedback in a separate thread.
 

Andrew Moreton

Adventurer
I discovered the Gale Kinetecist was somewhat overpowered when she punches out a chained Maximised lightning blast but glad the stuff was useful.
Technical problems are the bane of online gaming we have had issues, the other issue is when people are talking at the same time it is much harder to pick out the different voices. Hoping to get back to face to face gaming in June
 

Echolocation

Explorer
I discovered the Gale Kinetecist was somewhat overpowered when she punches out a chained Maximised lightning blast but glad the stuff was useful.

Yeah, I did heed your warning and tuned her down. I didn't chain her lightning blast out of fear she would evaporate the party's oracle-rogue and wizard-investigator.

Technical problems are the bane of online gaming we have had issues, the other issue is when people are talking at the same time it is much harder to pick out the different voices. Hoping to get back to face to face gaming in June

Often my group has the opposite problem, where everyone waits a long time before speaking (to ensure they do not speak over others). I wish I could run with an in-person group, but my city is small and I'm pretty shy :(

Have you tried getting players on a video call? I've wondered if that reduces the talking-over-others issue (at the expense of increasing technical problems).
 


Andrew Moreton

Adventurer
We use google video chat. However bandwidth issues mean that usually only one or two have the camara turned on, it starts with more but when we get lag and inteference we cut out video. We have Roll20 open seperatly for maps but in our experience the voice channel on ROll20 did not work so we went to Google meet.
We can usually avoid talking over but that means that some people end up speaking less as it is harder to interrupt our more vocal members and it is harder for me to tall when I need to override and ask someone what they think.
Face to Face is better but illegal at the moment so we will carry on, I expect to go back to face to face post lockdown but that is may or June
 

Echolocation

Explorer

Echolocation

Explorer
Session 49
Courtesy of Angharad's player
Asrabey, even if he couldn't understand the argument before, could tell that there had been tension, and asked if they were able to work together for the mission. With some nods, the party would move on to inspect the corpses at the base of the large tree, they were dressed in druidic styled robes and cats were feasting upon them. The druids had been dead for a few days, and the bruising around their necks very strongly implied they were hung.

Ella was first up the tree, Angharad and Lisandra after her, with Asrabey coming in last. Rotting food could be smelt and rocks being flung at the team as they traversed upwards. When they had made it up the staircase, they entered a small room and got into a scrap with some gremlins hiding in the roof , flinging rocks, making people unlucky and spell resistance. It was a glorious, confusing fight.

With a simple stab to the ankle, Angharad was thrown to the ground and had a noose wrapped around his neck, but it didn't really stop him. With some combat tricks, the team won the fight.

Ella would find a fairly untouched office, that wasn't really explored while B.A.D went onwards, found an abandoned playrooom that seemed like it was in use semi recently, fitting within the 2 days potentially for the dead druids. A class room filled with mud people, probably from bored gremlins and then a gremlin bedroom was found. Asrabey offered to "deal" with the sleeping gremlins, even if he seemed reluctant to do it. The stench in that room was nearly life endangering, dazing Lisandra and Angharad, while Asrabey could function in there. Ella didn't go in for some reason..

As the team kept moving south, with a impressive entrance, a mask would form in front of the southern most satellite building. A floating mask with antlers and leaves around it. "Greetings, I an Ekossigan of Spring." Asrabey and Angharad would move forwards, interposing themselves between the Fae Lord and the ladies. Ekossigan of Spring would launch into a small speech, calling Asrabey the guard dog of the court, and Team B.A.D his pups. Telling the party that there is something inside Cauldron Hill, and that Asrabey's wife is the gardener. Kasvarina, and that she doesn't remember him. And that Ekossigan could get there, but it comes at a step price. Death, and death of the freshest flowers. And from the other satellite buildings, children's anxious cries could now be heard. Lisandra and Ella would rush to try and free children, even as Ekossigan of Spring would pass over to Ekossigan of Winter. His other forms overlapping to distract the eyes. A snow leopard, covered in ice would wrench itself from space.

I had Ekossigan of Winter enter the world with three mirror images, each embodying one of the other seasons. Upon shattering, the mirror image grants Ekossigan a slight advantage in the combat:
Ekossigan of Spring: When struck, erupts in a healing bloom, healing him for 2d6 HP.
Ekossigan of Summer: When struck, dries Ekossigan of Winter into a hardy wood. This suppresses Ekossigan's vulnerability to fire for one round.
Ekossigan of Autumn: When struck, erupts into autumn leaves that cloud the attacker's vision, blinding them for one round.

Asrabey would inform Angharad he will stop the army of fae coming up, that he must stop Ekossigan but not kill him, and then Angharad faced the Fae Lord alone. Angharad would shatter Springs image, while Ella and Lisandra struggled to get the children out, struggling with the bordered up, the grown over doors. The Angharad would be bitten by the snow leapord, eyes locking on to it, but even as that happened, once again Angharad would fall prey to a Fae's machincation with his mind, and hit the floor, asleep. Cracking of the branch that Lisandra and Ella were on, still trying to free the children and then Ella would succumb to a confusion effect. And now lastly, Lisandra the only functioning member of the team, would watch as she couldnt stop the branch they wre on breaking..

Falling..

Nothing they could do. But Gale, weak, struggling from the fight before, but free from her compulsion would come to the aid of the party. Her wind powers catching Lisandra and Ella, striving to stop the dorm from falling as well,but its mass was too much for her, and it hit the ground, cracking, shattering. Destroying some of the fae army, but also those poor children inside. Gale would wake Angharad, Ella waking Lisandra with her claws in a moment of confusion. But even as they would redouble their efforts, Angharad enraged that once again Fae messed with his mind, Ella still in the throes of confusion, attacking Asrabey with everything she has, And Lisandra, watching more dormitories fall, would save Angharad from his own focus. Gale, flitting about, not strong enough to help the children.

"Put down your arms! The children are as good as dead. Their sacrifices will be in vain if I am slaughtered!" But his logic could not save him, Lissandra giving out healing magic while Angharad struck down Ekossigan of Winter. The great tree would stop decaying, the fae army falling back as Ekossigan of Winter was brought back to wakefulness. the last few boys saved by Lissandra, Ella and Gale.

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Three of four dormitories fell. When Ekossigan was defeated, the final batch of children were one round from plummeting.

Ekossigan of Winter would tell the team of his disappointment with Risur making a treaty with Danor, that he would find proof that Risur was failing in its duties to the Court. But instead he would find something that horrified him. The Court would deny his claims what he saw in the belly of the mountain though. Angharad would ask about where he can find Arianrhod in the Dreaming when the others were not nearby and was informed that he brought her here.

Ekossigan of Winter would laugh at Asrabey, that he had sworn to protect him from any others hands. Angharad would offer to deal the blow, knowing it meant trouble for himself, but Asrabey had other plans. "Protect you from any others hands, yes. But not your own." And would force Ekkosigan of Winter to hold a cold iron stake, and draw the point across his own neck.

Team BAD, struggling with the after effects of their mission, would separate over the walk back. Ella leaving earlier, heading away without a word. Angharad, barely paying attention as he helped Lissandra set the boys up, before excusing himself half way through, walking into the Cloudwood and Lisandra, getting the boys settled before heading back, to listen to spirits and do what she can to help all the boys of the school. Both dead and alive.

And that my friends, is what happened last time on Zeitgiest.

DM Notes

As I've already mentioned, the encounter was very well received. This is despite Ella spending the entire encounter confused, and Angharad spending it most of the time sleeping. The party also had a lot of fun with the gremlins.

For those interested, I've attached two documents written by players to describe their character's actions. In Broken Boughs and Fallen Cradles, Lisandra ventures back with help to collect the deceased and explore the orphanage. In After the Rain, Ella returns to her family's Nettle home (they have since relocated to the Cloudwood camp) to dwell on her actions.
 

Attachments

  • After the Rain.pdf
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  • Broken Boughs and Fallen Cradles.pdf
    48.8 KB · Views: 31



Echolocation

Explorer
Session 50
Courtesy of Lisandra's player

Last session opened the morning after the harrowing events at Gallo’s School for Boys. The group had gone their separate ways; Lisandra had returned to the school with volunteers to tie up loose ends and do what she could for the spirits of those departed; Ella returned to her family home in the Nettles to rehash her failings with only Skeet for company; and Anghard set to work putting out word to his Vekeshi contacts to assist before returning home.

That following morning Angharad met with a contact that could offer some aid. Plucking a lovely flower along the way, the Cipith made his way to a dump to rendezvous. Literally. As he entered, an eight-foot figure of decaying rubbish emerged from a rustling pile. She peered down at him, her eyes welded shut with fetid grime as she sided him up. She smiled at him with a grin full of teeth from multiple creatures, outstretching her arms for an embrace. Angharad obliged without hesitation, his jacket quickly stained with rubbish juice and oil as he greeted The-Trash-Heap and presented her with the gift of a beautiful flower. Delighted about the prospect of watching it rot, she set the flower aside and presented the Cipith with a gift in kind, though she advised that one of his companions would be better suited to using it. He is presented with a pair of magical secateurs. Angharad smiles knowingly and leaves The-Trash-Heap to enjoy her mess… and probably to prestidigitation himself clean at a respectable distance.

Meanwhile Ella and Lisandra were awaking later than usual at the Cloudwood Camp, to the sight of empty campsites. The pair found the residents gathered, attending the remnants of the funeral for the boys lost in the treehouse accident. The crowd parted to let the pair through to where Pazamu and the other druids stood. It seemed by the stares and the whisper’s amongst the crowd they had parted in fear and revulsion, not courtesy. As Lisandra thanked Pazamu again for his help, an old man and a few other residents came out from the crowd and accused the pair of being bad omen, of bringing death to their children. He screamed at them to leave and not show their faces around the camp again. Ella caught the gaze of her Aunt in the crowd, who looked away, and quietly accepted the man’s wishes. Lisandra stood her ground, weathering another angry tirade before making her way after Ella. They walked together in near silence for a time, before Lisandra received a message that there was a body that required her skills to question in the morgue; Quentin Augst. She informed Ella, and mentioned she was late for a meeting with Azrabey before the pair parted ways.

Lisandra made her way to the Needle Tree, unsure if Azrabey would even still be around. A crow sat atop the tree, watching her for a moment, before flying off. For good measure, she waited a while, and was surprised when Azrabey shortly came striding out of trees. The oracle apologized for her tardiness, and for her potentially prying intentions and announced she wanted to speak to him about his wife, Kasvarina. For the first time, Lisandra read expressed emotion on the Fey warriors' face; sorrow and regret. Though her prying would not be forgiven, it was accepted and the fey spoke of their very long-term marriage and his promise to keep her safe, and his failure to do so. He was surprised to hear of her on Axis Island, as well as from Ekossigan, and had no knowledge of her recent endeavours. He had not seen her for half a century. They spoke about the Bleak Gate, Lisandra only sharing hints at their knowledge and intentions, and Azrabey requested that if her team were going there, that he would like to accompany her and rectify his broken promise to his wife. Careful not to promise anything concrete in such matters, moved by the small show of emotion, and commitment to his wife, Lisandra conceded that if it did not impede their investigation, she would do what she could to try to assist him in keeping his promise. With an unsettling compliment that Lisandra would do well in the Dreaming. Emboldened, she let her curiosity prompt a final question about the empty spot Ekossigan left in the Court. The fey explained it would take time to find a replacement, and that it would require finding a fey of the right emotions to fit the role. As he took his leave, Azrabey acknowledged that the team worked well with him, and that he may work with them again in future. Unsure of if such ideas were a good thing, Lisandra bowed her head and the pair parted ways.

At RHC headquarters Lisandra rejoined her fellows in the foyer, where John, Angharad and a barely engaged Ella were greeting Grappa, the newly repaired construct man, along with Frank, the Royal Technologist, and his mechanical doggo. He let the group know that Grappa was ready to go when they were, and he would be at Hotel Aurum if they had any further questions. Grappa would be staying at R&D until he was needed, and was set up with some entertainment in the meantime.

The group headed directly from the morgue from there, greeted cheerily by the halfling in charge, Senior Morgue Attendant Hobart Kettlewhistle. After giving the team a run down on the body and it’s belongings, he took his leave to let the interrogation begin.

Maybe they should have kept him around for good luck. Halflings are lucky, right? Turns out, Lisandra’s persuasive powers, and Augst’s arrogant as fuck attitude were at odds, and instead of turning up to answer questions, the dead lawyer was (of course) turning up to make a deal. A new body for all the information he could give them towards taking down Kell. Frustrated, Lisandra only stayed connected long enough to squeeze a few details about his terms before returning her senses to the living world and relaying the bastard's request. Before making the decision, the Team decided to check in with Deb at Hotel Aurum and get a better look at how their operation against the Guild was fairing.

Not well, was the answer. Their resources were low, and time was running out. They needed to pull out some big blows against Kell and soon if they wanted to meet the King’s deadline. So, with great reluctance, the team decided they would meet Augst’s terms for a new body, and Lisandra would reach out to her contacts in The Family to perhaps unite against a common energy to replenish their numbers in the final days of the fight.

Ella accompanied John to RHC headquarters to set the ritual in motion, before returning to the home of Bridgette Coulson to sift for further clues and interrogate her houseplant. After giving it a much needed drink, the plant was more than happy to help with whatever it could. After directing them the woman’s choice collection of fanatical philosophical literature, and making Ella feel terrible about showing her notepad to try to bridge humanoid-plant communication barriers, the pair returned to the RHC, along with the rescued plant.

Meanwhile, Angharad had accompanied Lisandra to Dozy’s boutique to inquire about assistance with Kell… as well as get gifted some new magical shoes and free dancing lessons while she was at it. Angharad even joined in on the surprise three person flash mob. Dozy also advised that Morgan was the man to see about such favours, and pointed the pair in the direction of his current whereabouts; a fashion show a few blocks away.

Dance lessons over, Lisandra and Angharad made their way to the show. The oracle couldn’t help but use the glamour effect on her new pair of kicks, disgusting her appears as… herself. Only with an outfit much more befitting to such an occasion. After scoping the place out, and Angharad silently intimidating any men from approaching Lisandra, they approached Morgan and, a small bout of obligatory small talk aside, and compliments about shoes, Morgan asked them to come speak with him in private about their favour.

He was not surprised about their arrival, or request, like any good mob boss with his organizations ear to the ground. In fact, he exceeded their request for additional resources, and revealed that he had a man on the inside of the Guild, and given certain circumstances, he could easily deliver Kell to them if his terms were met. He requested a moratorium on murder investigations in Parity Lake for his people to clear the district of Kell’s without it punishing his people for the act, as well as Lisandra to attempt to have the King release a prisoner by the name of Giovanni Algardi, who would need to be teleported to Alais Primos tomorrow and the most curious request; for the team to recount what Ashima Shimtu told them in the Crypt.

In a show of good faith, he offered up information on the man known as Steelshaper, apparently incharge of the Obscurati in Flint. His name was actually Leon Quital, and he hailed from North East Vendricce originally, where his family ran a vineyard.

Lisandra also had a term to add to their deal, should one be made. She requested that, if the Family were clearing out Parity Lake, she would appreciate someone exempt from any final punishment, one of Otis’s boys. Morgan quietly assured her, “We do not hurt our own Family,” and the comment seemed to calm her nerves.

They thanked Morgan for his time and offer, and said they would consider it and give a response before the day was over.

The team reconvened at HQ, ready to approach Quentin Augst about his plea deal and were met with the best news they’d heard all day. In the cells below the office, John’s ritual had come to fruition, and Quentin was apparently far less happy with results as some of the team were. In place of the weasley lawyer, was a… well. A lawyerly weasel, it seemed. The new body Augst had been reincarnated into was part man, part weasel and a whole lot of unhappy.

What arguments will break out around the office today among Team BAD as they battle the moral quandaries ahead? And what will they do to ensure Kell is dismantled and they find their way to the Bleak Gate?

DM Note

John's player rolled a 100 on the d100 to determine the reincarnated race. Of course, I could not resist having Augst's body reflect his nature.
 



Echolocation

Explorer
Remind me what's up with this?

The party ran dry with leads for the Eschatologist terrorists. They had really dug deep into Brigette Caulson, who they found an empty envelope for in the hideout. She has fled Flint. John used talk to plants to try to get more information, but it just confirmed their preconceptions.

After reflecting on it, was Brigette just supposed to be a regular old reporter? In the book, it's written that she may be harder to find if Flint Tribune blew up. I took that to mean she was in on Zubov's plans and flees once she realises she may be connected to the terrorist attacks. But I guess she would also be harder to find if her place of work blew up....
 




Echolocation

Explorer
Session 51
Courtesy of Ella's player

A weasel man with unreasonable demands: that’s how last session started. After hearing out Quentin’s complaints we struck a deal: he’d tell us where Kell was, as well as ten weaknesses in the guild’s defenses and who their Obscurati contact was.

As it turns out the weasel actually had some useful information. Like which runes were needed to transport things to the Bleak Gate - although not which spells are needed to make those runes work. Also that Kell’s Ob contact - some guy called Norm (whose last name is probably Al) - likely recently offered Kell an “escape route” through the Bleak Gate. So if we can find Kell then we just might find the plane-shifting magic we’re looking for.

According to Quentin, Kell was last seen in the Theatre of Scoundrels - but that was before Quentin died so who the hell knows where he is now. To reinforce our utter cluelessness, Deb messaged us with the morning’s mission results: the sting had failed - abysmally. There was almost no chance we’d be able to dismantle Kell’s guild by the next evening.

Great!

With that news we decided to go visit Lieutenant Dale - sorry, Captain Dale - in hopes of some kind of actually positive breakthrough that didn’t involve storming the Theatre of Scoundrels on a maybe. Before that though, it was mail time! Delivered by bestest boy: Maxwell the Meticulous.

There were some potions, sent by the mayor of the Cloudwood as thanks for killing twenty-four children - I mean... saving seven children. And Kvarti dropped by to give John a shiny new murder gun! It had cool powers like cold damage and bleed damage and fire resistance and putting out fires and basically it’s the anti-Angharad gun. So next time the Cipith goes insane, John can just shoot him!

Rifle of Reflective Equilibrium
Aura
strong necromancy CL 13th
Slot none; Price 42,000 gp; Weight 12 lbs
Damage 1d10; Critical x4; Range 80 ft.;
Type B and P; Misfire 1; Capacity 1
Category Two-Handed; Proficiency Exotic

A marvel of philosophy-driven engineering, this rifle embodies Kvarti’s interpretation of Eschatology. You cannot lift this weapon easily. Only once you ponder that it might end a life, and you come to terms with that possibility, is it light enough to carry.

This +1 frost rifle is cold to the touch, providing a salient reminder of the possibility and responsibility of taking a life. This weapon cannot deal nonlethal damage. This weapon deals an additional 1d6 in cold damage against creatures that were once alive but then died (such as undead or resurrected creatures). When fired, the rifle’s shooter can elect to convert all B/P damage into cold damage.

When a bullet from this weapon hits a target, they take 1d6 bleed damage. Bleeding creatures take the bleed damage at the start of their turns. Bleeding can be stopped by a successful DC 15 Heal check or through the application of any spell that cures hit point damage. A critical hit does not multiply the bleed damage. Creatures immune to critical hits are immune to the bleed damage dealt by this weapon. Another bullet can reapply the bleed damage, but does not increase this damage. For the purposes of damage reduction, immunities, and vulnerabilities, this bleed damage is classified as cold damage.

While holding this weapon, you gain fire resistance equal to twice its enhancement bonus.

Lastly, once per day as a swift action, you can extinguish any or all nonmagical fire within 30 feet of you, and each ally in the burst can make a saving throw against any ongoing fire damage that a save can end.

Angharad immediately combatted this by retrieving the blade of a literal goddess from the breakroom. Come on guys… it’s not a competition. Clearly realising this was overkill, Angharad then threw it to Lisandra instead. Angharad, what have we told you about throwing weapons in the breakr-? Ugh, never mind...

Meanwhile the B Team was having a much easier time of it: chilling at a cafe in the Cloudwood with some nice food and an impromptu mob. There were pitchforks and everything. All because some woman had “messy hair”. Admittedly the child crying “witch” might not have been entirely wrong: since Josiah saw a nymph with twiggy hair disappearing into a bucket nearby… but that didn’t stop Carlao and Dima from getting the blame instead. But it’s never a bad day to be chased through the Cloudwood by an angry mob, right? Breathe that fresh country air...

Back to Dale though: the real hero of this story. As it turns out he didn’t have a way into the Bleak Gate, but he did have magic amulets to use once we got there! And coffee - because it’s important to treat yourself. <3 He also mentioned that he’d be sending soldiers to Hotel Aurum to travel through the king’s portal with us. So that’s nice.

Meanwhile Angharad had been doing some recruiting of his own: this one more on the murdery fey assassin side, as he acquired the means to summon some vekeshi mystics to help with our fight against Kell. No one questioned Angharad when he proudly presented his twig to the team. You do you, fire-man…

Still a little conflicted on what exactly to do, we decided to have Lisandra contact Connor - who was hopefully a Family double agent and not actually Kell’s thug - and see if he could give us any info. This turned out… surprisingly well! And Connor told her that Kell was at the Grand Suites - not the Theatre of Scoundrels, Quentin you useless twat - and that we should capture him before the next night or not at all.

Lisandra's ex-boyfriend, Connor is a savvy pickpocket who climbed the ranks of Kell's guild. Lisandra last talked to him in the Ziggurat of Apet, when it briefly teleported her to the dressing room of the Theatre of Scoundrels. In our version of Zeitgeist, he is Morgan's mole.

As if we needed any more time pressure...

Deciding to make the most of the evening, we investigated our last Eschatological cult lead: 382 Byrne Street. Which turned out to be a complete dead end. But you don’t know until you know, you know? In a last ditch effort Lisandra performed a spooky Divination and got the charming message that the cult’s frost bomb was probably going to go off around noon tomorrow so not having any leads on the cult was fine, absolutely fine.

(We’re all gonna dieeeee.)

Faced with our imminent demise, we went to sleep. John woke up to some men trying to “liberate” Sydney, and Angharad chatted with some lumberjacks who thought the Cloudwood was going to burn down. Interesting times, indeed… There were also tales of angry mobs lynching cows and… well, evidence that they’d also been lynching not-cows.

It was a grim morning - made all the more grim by Delft’s message that there was a hostage situation underway with Flint’s Governor and those pesky cultists we’d utterly failed to stop. We’re super good at our jobs guys, don’t worry about. As it turns out, the cultists had taken over a subrail station and were demanding booze, a Skyseer, and John’s dad. Because no Zeitgeist morning is complete without personal trauma.

So there you have it: we have until noon to stop a bomb, until evening to stop Kell, and until tomorrow night to foil an entire underground conspiracy located in another plane of existence.

Just another day for the constables of Team B.A.D.!

GM Note

The bomb is protected from divination, but I felt a bit bad for the party dredging up so many dead ends.
 

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