ZEITGEIST The Flint Irregulars, whose portraits you may have seen

Ajar

Explorer
I've only had 3 days off in April, so we didn't get another session in until Wednesday, and the session just covered the Planar Trails segment. I warned the players up-front that I was pretty wiped and probably wouldn't be providing a lot of colour, but we went with it anyway.

Session Notes
We'd done some initial follow-up over email already. The constables returned to Agate, and asked around town to find out if anyone else had been afflicted by distant madness. There were some reports of other travellers into the bayou returning and behaving strangely, and some villagers claimed that ingesting giant spider venom had been helpful. They were happy to sell doses of giant spider venom for 20 gp apiece, but warned that insomnia and constant sweating were often side effects...

Still, the players were paranoid enough about distant madness that they bit... and then ended up making their Insight checks anyway. Oh well.

They talked to the guy they rented their boats from, and confirmed some details and rough timing of Caius' team's return from the Ziggurat.

After an extended rest, they headed to Bole, where Murdok immediately began looking around town for a place to buy an exotic spoon. Before leaving Flint, she had convinced her elderly neighbour Agnes Mildew to watch her place in exchange for a new spoon to add to her collection. A natural 20 Streetwise check allowed Murdok and Reginald to locate a hole in the wall devoted entirely to imported, exotic, and rare spoons. I used my best Marcus Kincaid accent (Borderlands, "No refunds!") and some quick Google image searching to suggest to Murdok what manner of spoon might be appropriate for Agnes. She settled on a spoon with a skull for a bowl -- not very functional, since the eyes are actual holes, but definitely Murdok's style.

The rest of the party tried to follow the planar trails, stopping to ask people about Cauis' team as they did so. This led them to the train yard, where they were able to locate the train car that the team had taken, and even the spot where they placed the seal during transport. From the station office, they obtained a list of travellers who had been on that car at around the same time, and descriptions of the team.

After linking up, the party bought tickets and followed the planar trails all the way back to Flint, which is where we stopped.

DM Notes
The party arrives back in Flint on Day 8. A lot has happened by this point:


  • A package was delivered for Murdok, which Agnes Mildew is holding for her. The package is from the RHC military, detailing the results of their experiments on the summoned monsters from the Expo.
  • One of the PCs has been framed by Lorcan Kell. I think I'm going to choose randomly, and if the dice come up Murdok, then the break-in will have been observed by Agnes Mildew.
  • The would-be fey assassin has made his attempt, since Vesta chose to do nothing about the letter.


And, of course, there's the main plot stuff with Xambria/Sijhen and Caius! The planar trails exploration in Flint is really open-ended, so I'm looking forward to seeing how the players approach it. We're hoping to play again late next week.
 

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Ajar

Explorer
In between the last session and this one, I re-read the section about the Vekeshi plot and decided that the assassin hasn't tried to kill Rock Rackus yet, so Rock Rackus is still safely in prison.

Session Notes
Murdok visited Agnes Mildew, who was thrilled with the skull spoon from Bole, and received her package from the military. I believe her words were "That's awesome!" :) This is a player who likes mechanical rewards, so it's a good thing she's a Martial Scientist.

Vesta checked on his apartment, and found nothing out of place.

After regrouping, the party sent a runner to RHC HQ to find out from Delft if he wanted them to "officially" return to town yet. The runner came back with the following message: "You should get the f*#$ over here ASAP."

Arriving at HQ, Delft immediately took them into his office. The Lady Saxby and Lord Viscount Price-Hill were upstairs, he said, and would want to meet with the PCs immediately. But he was glad they came to him first, because he wanted to warn them that Reginald was likely to be charged with murder. A letter and a sum of gold had been found at his residence...

Because the PCs had played everything just about perfectly straight with Delft, I concluded that they had earned his confidence, so he told them that he was certain Reginald was being framed, and that he would stand up for them in the meeting when the time came. Then they all went upstairs.

After a short spiel about rooting out corruption from the Lord Viscount, the Lady Saxby began going over the list turned up by the audit.

Item the first: Three scrolls of water breathing were provided to the squad for the Axis Island mission, and were not returned.

Item the second: Constable Whitecliff's substance abuse problem has been noted. While no explicitly illegal activity was uncovered, importation of regulated substances such as powdered kraken beak for creation of a (level 13) elixir of fortitude is frowned upon. Further, this may or may not be tied to item the fourth...

Item the third: The assistant to corrupt Mayor Reed Macbannin, Cillian Creed, was reported to have died resisting arrest. It is considered extremely poor form for constables to kill suspects.


Delft interjected at this point that he debriefed them immediately after this battle, and was confident from their injuries that the death, while unfortunate, was indeed accidental.

Item the fourth: A search of Constable Whitecliff's home also uncovered a letter from Lorcan Kell, thanking Reginald for taking over Kaja Stewart's smuggling business and idenfitying weapon and ammunition importer Shane Smith as a threat to said business. A sum of 200 gp was also included. This is a matter of grave concern, and Constable Whitecliff is hereby relieved of duty while the investigation proceeds.

Reginald deliberately acted stunned, pretending he didn't know this was coming, and asked numerous questions about what had been done with the letter -- in particular, he asked if the RHC had another level 5 spirit medium (since he knew Carlao's squad had a spirit medium) who could trace the letter's history. Unfortunately, the spirit medium in Carlao's squad is not level 5...

Delft expressed his confidence that Reginald had been framed, noting that the squad had every reason to be enemies with Kell after his kidnapping and torture of Lynn Kindleton in the Theatre of Scoundrels, but even so they had turned down overtures from the Family to resolve the matter outside the bounds of the law.

The Lord Viscount was pleased with this, but noted that the investigation would still have to proceed. He then told the squad that they had shown themselves to be better people than most, that he expected more of them than these slip-ups, and that he had high hopes for their futures, Reginald potentially excepted pending the results of the investigation. He then shooed everyone else out of the room except for Viveen, the goliath Yerasol Veteran, who he invited to the Governor's formal ball. After making clear that he wasn't hitting on her, Viveen accepted, and then left and immediately began talking to Murdok and Vesta about shopping for formal wear...

After the meeting, they went back to Delft's office. He had Reginald turned in his badge, but told him that he could still "tag along" with the squad in an unofficial capacity while the investigation was conducted. We stopped with the players thinking about what to do next. Murdok mentioned that in light of what they'd seen at the ziggurat, they should probably give Rock Rackus' stories about visiting the moon a little more credence...

DM Notes
The players definitely weren't expecting the meeting, which made it all the more fun for me. Now I'm picking out some songs for when they go talk to Rock Rackus. I haven't decided if I'm going to perform them myself, or send them audio links at the appropriate times.

I think for the initial meet I'll go with Play the Blues by Danko Jones ("if you wanna know how to play the blues / get yourself a woman"). I'm thinking that he'll be plinking away at that when they arrive, and maybe he'll ask them for a suitably inappropriate rhyme, like "what rhymes with threesome?" to impress upon them that he's kind of a douchebag.

Then if they try to persuade him to use his celebrity for good, he'll instead write Muse's Uprising, and perform it at his next big show. "They cannot control us / we will be VICTORIOUS" seems suitably anthemic. If they see him before then, I'll maybe do an acoustic cover of the chorus and bridge. :D
 

Ajar

Explorer
Rock Rackus: Working-Class Hero
We spent two sessions largely on the discussion with Rock Rackus. I had a brainwave before the first one, and realized that Working-Class Hero would be the perfect song to use. So I strummed it idly throughout the initial conversation, where the constables mostly focused on getting Rock to tell his story about his work for Caius Bergeron and his trip to the moon. Rock made his offer to the PCs -- a request that they get the charges dropped in exchange for a trip via one of his teleportation scrolls -- but they only agreed to consider it.

When Rock mentioned the philosophical notes scrawled in the margins of his scrolls, and after some discussion, several PCs identified them as matching the ideology of William Miller.

Once the "shop talk" was done, Rock mentioned that he was working on a killer song for his big "get out of jail" show, but was having trouble coming up with rhymes.

"Okay, so here's the first line:

So we had a threesome, Kate, Courtney, and me..."

To the tune of Working-Class Hero, obviously. Note that "We Had A Threesome," the song's title, does in fact contain the correct number of syllables.

That sparked some discussion about rhymes. Rock did have a second line in mind:

I asked for their address, they said that we'd see...

Rock commented that it was kind of an awkward line with a lame rhyme, but followed it up with:

They said if we had fun, they'd give me the key...

But, he said, he was lacking a killer fourth line to close it all out. There were numerous suggestions from the constables, but the winning one came from Viveen:

I asked what the charge was, they said it was free!

Rackus loved it. He was sure the dockers would eat it up, especially if they were outside protesting to get him released! He'd be rolling in money again before long. "That's what they all care about, right? Chicks and stuff?"

At that point, Vesta raised an eyebrow and asked if Rackus had ever asked any of his fans what they cared about.

"Huh? Why would I do that?"

This spurred some discussion about docker working conditions and pay. A somewhat puzzled Rackus commented that he'd have to think about all that.

Recalling that the cops were just about ready to release Rackus on bail because they were sick of the protests and riots, the constables offered to escort Rackus to his apartment. The relieved cops agreed readily.

Rackus' Apartment
Outside, the rioting dockers shouted slurs at the PCs until Rackus raised his arms, and in his booming voice, assured them that these people were cool, they were his friends. The somewhat confused crowd parted slowly and they were able to leave the premises.

Rackus' apartment looked like it had been turned over, but he assured the constables that it always looked like that. Then he immediately headed for the bathroom. Moments later, sounds of choking were heard...

Bursting in, Viveen saw a well-dressed young man trying to get a dagger against Rackus' throat, but partly strangling him in the process. The party dropped the assailant in a matter of moments.

Bela used his supernatural abilities to compel truthful answers from the man, but they didn't learn much -- only that he claimed to be working for the Old Stag, and that he had been planning to kill Rackus, not kidnap him.

They took the man to a nearby police station and turned him over, but stayed to question him once he recovered. Some interrogation revealed that he was the son of Flint's Attorney General, and he threatened to unmask Vesta if they didn't let him go. He seemed unbalanced and somewhat divorced from reality, though, alternating between saying incriminating things, asking to talk to his father, and proclaiming his innocence.

Reginald suggested that he could contact his well-connected uncle Maitland about the matter, and possibly obtain an appointment with Attorney General Starke. That was where we left off for the night. Should be an interesting next session!

DM Notes
Since Tyler Starke's father is the Attorney General, I figured he would get word of Rackus' pending release on bail, and take the opportunity to try and ambush him at his apartment. The constables decided to escort Rackus back, which allowed them to foil the assassination attempt and capture Starke. That will earn them some prestige with the Unseen Court, but we'll have to see how they handle the potential political fallout in Flint, particularly given that they've been explicitly told to stay out of the papers.
 

Ajar

Explorer
Digging for Lies MapTool Campaign File
For other DMs using MapTool, I'm attaching my Digging for Lies campaign file to this post. It includes the Ziggurat of Apet configured with vision blocking and light sources, and a separate DM map of the ziggurat showing the correct setup for the rainbow room. If you use the map, you need to make sure to give your players' tokens sight when they add them to the ziggurat map, otherwise the light sources won't work for them.
 

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Ajar

Explorer
Reginald and Viveen went to visit Reginald's uncle, Maitland Whitecliff, a well-connected royal functionary currently stationed in Flint.

Maitland Whitecliff - Maitland is Reginald's youngest uncle on his father's side. He is a purveyor for the palace, and though he traveled widely in this role during his youth, he has spent virtually all of his time at court in the past decade, working in a managerial role. He is very much a player in court politics, and is well disposed toward Reginald (it was he who pulled the strings to get Reginald his position in the colonial outpost).

Reginald's player and I had both forgotten that Maitland was supposed to pretty much always be at court, which would put him in Shale, not Flint. In fact, I didn't remember that until just now. So I'll have to come up with a reason for Maitland to have been stationed temporarily in Flint.

Maitland was pleased to see Reginald. Reginald's explanation of the situation with Tyler and Raybould Starke was crystal clear (high Diplomacy check result) and Maitland was well acquainted with the elder Starke, and aware of his troublesome son (high Streetwise for Maitland, a natural 20). Maitland assured Reginald that he would be able to meet with Starke and ensure the matter was resolved discreetly... provided that Reginald was willing to let Tyler go unpunished for his attempted murder. Reginald and Viveen agreed to this.

Meanwhile, Bela and Murdok returned to RHC HQ to update Delft. They let him know about the attempt on Rackus' life, and that the would-be murderer was the son of Flint's Attorney General, setting up a potentially huge story for the press if word got out. Delft double facepalmed, sighed, and reminded the constables yet again of his explicit instruction that they keep their work out of the papers.

Bela's player was so taken with my Working-Class Hero parody from the last session that he came up with a complete set of alternate lyrics. Some of the syllable counts are a bit off, so I'm tweaking them, but our group is getting together for a week in August and I requested that they bring a guitar (since they live closest to where we'll be meeting). There may be a live Rock Rackus performance in the works...

Little do they know, of course, that the seed they planted in Rackus' mind after their last chat will continue to grow as he talks to the dockers and finds out how miserable their lives are. So they may get a different set of alternate lyrics than what they expect...

A Risuri docker is something to be!
 

Ferghis

First Post
Digging for Lies MapTool Campaign File
For other DMs using MapTool, I'm attaching my Digging for Lies campaign file to this post. It includes the Ziggurat of Apet configured with vision blocking and light sources, and a separate DM map of the ziggurat showing the correct setup for the rainbow room. If you use the map, you need to make sure to give your players' tokens sight when they add them to the ziggurat map, otherwise the light sources won't work for them.
Whenever I use line of sight on Maptools, it slows the software to a crawl, occasionally crashing for the users with weaker PCs. Maybe this happens only because the DMs have pretty complicated (or detailed) blocking lines. Have you had any problems of this kind?
 

Ajar

Explorer
No, it was pretty fiddly to get the vision blocking to work for all of us, but once it was working, it ran fine. No issues with slowdown.
 

Ajar

Explorer
Pardwright Museum
After meeting up again, the constables headed to Pardwright to talk to Hans Weber. He was very interested to hear about their trip to the Ziggurat of Apet, although they did leave out some details -- like how they set off every trap in the place, and how it got flooded and is now inaccessible. :D They asked him why anyone would want to swap out the seal -- he speculated that perhaps the thieves believed that the replacement seal would actually function, but that was unlikely to actually be the case due to the Ancients' mysterious affinity for goldsmithing.

Asked what the images on the seal might represent, based on a surprisingly detailed sketch from Murdok, Weber speculated that the images were simply representations of the Ancients entombed within the ziggurat, and that the feathered snakes whose eyes followed the group were magical watchers of some sort (duh).

The constables asked if they could see records from other expeditions funded by Caius Bergeron. Normally, the University would keep such things confidential, but Weber was happy to help the RHC. Perusing the records revealed little -- the only thing the other expeditions had in common was the remote locations of the sites and the frequency with which the sites were known to be associated with the Ancients in some way.

Viveen asked if he knew anything about the Voice of Rot, but Weber replied disdainfully that he had little interest in fey -- no offence to the eladrin, Vesta, standing off to the side. While there is no faculty devoted to fey studies, there is a fey department within the cultural studies faculty, and a professor there might be able to provide some additional information.

He mentioned the upcoming Gala of the Ancients, and suggested that they all attend. The constables then bid their farewells and headed for the Silver Swan, which Bergeron was known to have frequented.

The Silver Swan
The constables arrived relatively well-dressed apart from Murdok, who doesn't really clean up well (or at all), and shared a table, an expensive meal, and even more expensive Crysillyri wine. Vesta commented how much the wine tasted like the blood and tears of his people...

During the meal, Reginald flirted affably with the waitress, and tipped her very generously at the meal's end. Shortly afterward, he caught up with her in the hallway and suggested that they should perhaps meet for beverages outside of her working hours; she was quite pleased and agreed. After some small talk, he asked if Caius Bergeron had been seen around here recently. The waitress admitted that Bergeron was staying here, but that he had explicitly instructed the staff not to disturb him. He did sometimes emerge for meals, generally protected by two tiefling bodyguards, but hadn't done so in the last couple of days.

After the constables left the Silver Swan, they decided to stake it out. Finding a suitable hiding place nearby, Reginald performed the Detect Planar Energy ritual, revealing traces of Apet energy wisping from a room on one of the upper floors of the Swan. Suspecting this meant Bergeron was in fact there, they staked out the Swan overnight. Nothing happened. After some deliberation in the morning, they sent Bela to Delft for a warrant to get into Bergeron's room. Discreetly asking the morning duty manager to come with them, they went to Bergeron's door and knocked. No response. After a few minutes, they had the manager open the door.

To the great surprise of no one at all, Bergeron was dead inside. A cursory glance revealed his brain had been removed through his soft palate, and was missing. A map on the desk showed the location of the Ziggurat of Apet as well as something else -- perhaps another ziggurat? His desk drawers contained journals from Xambria's expedition, but notably not Xambria's own journal. Finally, his trunk contained some fineries and scrolls of Sending.

At this point, the constables had Reginald touch the map -- as a Spirit Medium, he can receive images about the history of an item once per day. After touching the map, Reginald first saw Bergeron marking the map, matching its current markings. Then he saw a vision of the room at night, with Bergeron not in his sight line (although he could have been in bed), and a blue, humanoid tentacled figure studying the map...

Some discussion with the manager revealed that Bergeron had been seen earlier in the week speaking to a woman matching Xambria's description, and that they appeared to have had some sort of disagreement about a "star map," at which point he had his bodyguards remove her.

Feeling much more confident about their direction now, the constables resolved to visit Xambria immediately.

DM Notes
I told Reginald's player to write the waitress up as an additional contact, and that he would be free to date her if he wished, but that we would not be going into Community levels of detail about their relationship. At that point, it was revealed that I was the only person who watched Community, which led me to link them to the relevant clip from the D&D episode. Much hilarity and many promises to watch Communtiy ensued.

The party was feeling a little aimless at this point. With Reginald under investigation for muder and the rest of the squad under strict orders to stay out of it, they felt like they only had a couple of flimsy leads. They haven't really thought too hard about where they might try the planar ritual -- they didn't try it at the museum, for instance. But finding Begeron and the map and then getting Reginald's visions and the manager's info left them feeling a bit more like they know "what to do next," which made some of them more comfortable.

I will say I'm somewhat amazed that we've spent something like 4 sessions and well over a month on the Planar Trails segment plus the Audit and the interview with Rackus.
 

I had a planar concoct a Rock Rackus charity concert for the poor folks of the Nettles, so he could pretend to get shot by a Lorcan Kell-hired sniper -- the PC jumped heroically in the path of a blank bullet fired by the party technologist's contraption -- conveniently letting the PC fake his death while turning public sentiment against Kell. That took up a whole session.
 

Ajar

Explorer
Nice. :D

I'm thinking the kickoff concert of Rackus' Jailbreak Tour will be huge, just because of the pent-up demand for his performances while he was in prison. And since my players and I are getting together for a week of riverside seclusion in early August and I know one of them is bringing a guitar, I'm secretly working on my set list for the big show.
 

Ajar

Explorer
:D They have some suspicions. In the post above where I mentioned my alternate lyrics for Working-Class Hero, I was actually performing each line as Rackus, guitar in hand. We'd talk/RP for a while, then I'd do a new line. Once we had a fourth line, I did the whole stanza.

So I think they do eventually expect a full performance of at least the alternate Working-Class Hero. But I've also been riffing idly on Uprising in the background during their conversations with Rackus, to lay the groundwork for that. I won't be changing the lyrics there, the existing lyrics work just fine. I'm mulling over additional songs at the moment.
 

Ajar

Explorer
More Planar Trails
Last night they split up: Viveen, Reginald, and Vesta went to Xambria's apartment, Bela went to report Caius death to Delft, and Murdok stayed at the crime scene until they could turn it over to RHC/local cops.

Murdok fiddled around with the trunk for a while, but couldn't find the false bottom. Since she only failed her Perception check by one, I deliberately hinted heavily that there was a secret compartment, but that Murdok just couldn't quite figure it out. That earned me a couple of middle fingers from Murdok's player. :D

Delft was distressed to learn that yet another person of interest in the case had turned up dead, but he did observe wryly that "at least they didn't die in custody for once." After updating Delft, Bela set off after his comrades to Xambria's apartment.

At the apartment, the first three constables to arrive found signs of a struggle, but no signs of forced entry. After some looking around, interviewing neighbours and the dormitory caretaker, they finally tried the planar energy ritual, and found a strong trail that they could follow. It led them to the back wall of Lady Saxby's extravagant estate on the North Shore -- they declined to talk to the guards or even alert the guards to their presence. Instead, they followed the trail away from the estate to an empty dock.

Bela followed the same trail and made the same decisions, not too far behind his colleagues.

The constables sought out records of which ships had been moored at the now-empty dock recently. Bela caught up while this search was going on. The most recent ship, a chartered cutter called the Dagger, matched up with the timeline of Xambria's disappearance and Caius' death.

DM Notes
That was where we stopped for the night. I expect they'll most likely return to HQ, talk it over with Delft, and decide whether to take their own boat or requisition a faster one.

The players all reported enjoying the whole planar trails sequence a great deal. They seemed to like how open it was, even though once or twice they weren't really sure what they "should" be doing next. I'm pretty impressed that we've spent two full months on 4 pages of adventure content (planar trails, the chat with Rackus, the assassination attempt, and Caius' death). It made my life extremely easy -- not a lot of prep at all.
 

Raak

First Post
This was a great read! Thanks for posting it.

What version of maptools do you use? I'm trying to get your campaign file to load on the one I have, but can't seem to get it to work.
 

Ajar

Explorer
Thanks! We use 1.3b86.

We've had one session since I last posted, but it was mostly spent on planning our upcoming August get-together. I have a lot of prep to do before then so I'll be ready to run at least the rest of Digging for Lies live! We'll see how that goes .

After some discussion about what to do next, the constables called in a favour to hitch a ride on the RNS Impossible instead of trying to take their small cutter so far beyond its base range. With some timely intimidation of military functionaries, they succeeded! So I'll get to drop some more of Miller's philosophy as Captain Rutger Smith. Should be a good time.

We're going to have a short session next week to wrap things up in Flint -- notably the ball to which the Lord Viscount invited Viveen.
 

Ajar

Explorer
One of my players snuck up to the seal of Mavisha while the rest stayed on the RNS Impossible and sailed it at the rear of Il Dracon De Mer.

So now I get to run two encounters at once. And this week, we're playing around a live table. THIS IS MADNESS!
 

Ajar

Explorer
My players broke the whole Mavisha seal sequence. :p

They obtained passage to the seal site on the RNS Impossible, which allowed for some enjoyable philosophizing with Captain Rutger Smith. Since we just had the conspiracy poll, I mentioned that Captain Smith had just acquired a new Millerite text: a thought experiment about a hypothetical civilization where people were just a little bit more empathetic (hello, Miller's Pyre). My players responded with the obvious "mob mentality" reasoning, but I held back and didn't include the other Pyre elements. I'm going to introduce those and other conspiracy possibilities as they interact with Smith and other Millerites in the future.

At the seal site, the Impossible kept her distance so as not to be fired upon by Il Draçon de Mer. They signalled the Dagger and pulled alongside to confer with Xambria. They noticed that Xambria was clearly uncomfortable with the attentions of Captain Jack, so the constables offered to let her come onto the Impossible. She agreed, but as soon as the Dagger sailed away, they immediately began pressing her about the amulet. Reginald explained very patiently about what the constables found at the ziggurat, their interaction with the Voice of Rot, and their concerns about Xambria's Golden Icon of Apet -- he wanted her to take it off so that they could determine if the Apet energy they sensed was from her or the icon.

Meanwhile, the rest of the party devised a plan whereby Paco, the goblin archaeologist on the the Dagger, would take a pyrotechnics scroll and use it to distract Il Draçon so the Impossible could close.

Sijhen was very suspicious of Reginald, and ultimately refused to surrender the icon. When Murdok threatened to take it by force, Sijhen used the Icon's power to teleport off the Impossible into the water, and began swimming toward the seal site.

Five constables dove into the water after her.

Il Draçon noticed this, and began battle preparations, but Sijhen turned invisible immediately afterward and the constables were forced to head back to the ship... except for Murdok, who made a great Stealth check and was able to keep swimming unnoticed.

She swam all the way to the seal site without being detected. Reginald, a Psion, sent his consciousness fragment along with her to ensure that the party had eyes on her.

Captain Smith quickly asked if the constables wanted to put their plan into action. They agreed, so the Dagger set off and the Impossible began to come about to approach Il Draçon. Reginald's Bluff and Captain Smith's Command were more than enough to deceive Il Draçon.

So we had Murdok, the human ranger (scout), on the ocean floor, with only Reginald's consciousness fragment along with her. She dealt some damage to the team down at the seal before being knocked out...

...and then rolled a natural 20 on her second death save.

IMG_20130807_224655.jpg

While the underwater battle progressed, the Impossible caught up to Il Draçon de Mer, so we had a boarding action on the surface plus a battle 50' below the surface down at the seal of Mavisha.

Murdok and Reginald's consciousness fragment, psychic anomaly, and whatever the heck else he can conjure ended up being remarkably effective against the underwater team. I wasn't prepared for this encounter (I was planning to just run the boats), so the sharks were a lot more ineffective than they should have been, but Murdok's ability to charge without worrying about hindering terrain or opportunity attacks turned the tide of the battle after she made her critical death save.

Up on the surface, the Impossible closed on Il Draçon from behind to avoid cannon fire. Once they closed, Bela (the gunsmith warlock) filled the Draçon's captain, Bernard, full of holes and then pulled him off the boat and into the sea, only to be basically keelhauled by the Impossible as both boats continued moving. (He failed his save even with the +5 for being pulled over a railing.)

Bela was riddled with crossbow bolts by the two dwarf mercenaries on Il Draçon, but Viveen (the runepriest) healed him before diving over the railing and swimming down to the dig site to help Murdok.

Underwater, Reginald noticed through his consciousness fragment that something was dragging Finona's corpse (Murdok got the last hit and decided it was lethal) away -- that would be an invisible Sijhen. He telekinetically levitated it up off the sea floor, but Sijhen will respond with telekinesis of its own... and that was where we stopped.

Since we're all on vacation together at a lake house, I should have another update tomorrow. :p
 

Ajar

Explorer
Addendum: Sijhen is pretty close to the seal, so in addition to grabbing Finona's corpse, I think it will also open the seal, just to give the constables that much more to deal with while it escapes.

The jig may be up for Xambria, but it doesn't really change how Act 3 unfolds as long as Sijhen gets away here -- which seems likely.
 

Ajar

Explorer
Session Notes
Sijhen and Reginald had a brief telekinetic battle over Finona's corpse, but Sijhen was more than a match for the psion. It moved over to the seal, broke the ward, and swam away with the dead tiefling in telekinetic tow. The portal opened and a water elemental poured out, followed by nine bizarre fish-men. Seeing this, the constables and their remaining enemy -- the mercenary druid Kranto - immediately ceased hostilities to focus on lifting the seal back into place and reactivating the wards.

On the surface, with Bernard effectively being keelhauled and the Impossible's crewmen with Vesta winning the battle for Il Draçon, Bela shouted at the crew to surrender. Combined with the slowly forming whirlpool, most of the mercenaries concluded that they weren't being paid enough for this :):):):), and gave in. A few of them shouted at Bela to take the wheel and help them get away from the whirlpool. The crews tossed grappling hooks across to enable Bela to get to Il Draçon and take the wheel. Captain Smith shouted at him to pull back and allow the faster Impossible to handle pickup of the underwater constables. It was at this point that Vesta leapt off Il Draçon to try and swim down to the dig site, having waited until the ship was as close as possible.

With some solid Command checks, both captains were able to evade the currents and dangerous rocks, and Il Draçon retreated while the Impossible continued circling the dig site. Vesta's swim check -- well, dive check, really -- was sufficient to get him most of the way down toward the battle, despite the currents.

Murdok and Viveen were blasted by planar energy from Mavisha, but Murdok found it surprisingly refreshing (high enough check result to get a healing surge and action point). Viveen was unaffected. Lucky for them, since the Mavisha elemental tore up the remaining octopus and began to pummel them as they alternated between attacking it and working on rigging the fallen seal to the nearby winch. Kranto swam up to the crank, and started hauling the seal up once the rigging was hooked up. Vesta swam over to the wards, and recognizing the magic as similar to what he'd seen in the ziggurat of Apet, began priming the wards so the seal could reset.

A survey of the overall scene, with the boats above and the aquatic battle below:

IMG_20130808_221501.jpg

And then a closeup of the seal being raised back into position:

IMG_20130808_221512.jpg

Just as Murdok landed a critical hit on the elemental, killing it, Vesta finished reactivating the wards, re-sealing the portal.

All six players breathed a sigh of relief. :p They had the Impossible pick up Bernard, rather than letting him get back on his (former) ship.

They then signalled La Inspiración, so that they could talk to Paco and figure out what to do about the seal and the dig site.

Bela searched Finona's quarters and found a detailed letter from Caius Bergeron, with a clue about a meeting in early winter...


DM Notes
Sijhen escaped with Finona's body, which will allow it to eat her brain and learn what it needs to know... so I can run Act 3 basically as planned.

I was pretty amazed that all of my players survived this. When Murdok swam to the dig site alone, I was pretty sure she was going to die. And I did drop four of the six players, some more than once, but between Murdok's natural 20 on her death save, some timely heal checks, and the extra healing surge from a critical success on the hydromantic energy save, the dice were definitely in the players' favour.

Running the simultaneous surface/aquatic battle was pretty crazy, but the players loved it -- having to time things on the boats so that players jumping overboard could get to the dig rather than being swept out to sea.

When they get back to Flint, it will be time for the inaugural concert in Rock Rackus' JAILBREAK tour!
 

Ajar

Explorer
Some notes from the final session of our week-long player/DM vacation.

Session Notes
They unloaded the Crisillyri mercenaries in Ber, and then returned to Flint with Il Draçon, captained by Bela and crewed by spare soldiers from the Impossible. Vesta, an eladrin, actually wanted to execute the Crisillyri, but the other constables dissuaded him, and Captain Smith noted that while commandeering Il Draçon might not trigger an international incident, slaughtering her crew likely would.

On the return to Flint, Delft wanted to see them immediately, having left a watch at the docks in case they returned. He explained that Reginald had been cleared and was reinstated, that Maitland had indeed quietly resolved the issue of Tyler Starke as promised, and that Hans Weber was planning a gala and had received a strange letter from Xambria Meredith. Finally, he added that a warehouse rented by Caius Bergeron had been found, and that they should check it out.

The constables took all of this in with their usual aplomb -- that is to say, they asked tons of questions. The letter in particular intrigued them, with its mentions of words like 'Sijhen' and 'Obscurati.' They asked if Weber had heard of either one, and he had not. They then went to visit the skyeers at Nevard's Henge, but they had not heard of such things either. Reginald asked if the seals they had found had any relation to skyseer lore, but the answers were fairly vague. The effects the constables reported did seem to line up with the view of the skyseers that the planes are other worlds that govern or predict our lives, but there was some disagreement about the implications of the seals.

Bela and Vesta investigated the warehouse, finding a box that looked to have been used to transport the Seal of Apet, along with some documents matching the train shipment that they tracked from Bole. This definitively linked Bergeron to the seal.

They also tried to detect planar energy, and caught a signature moving along Stanfield Canal. However, before they could pinpoint which ship it was coming from, they lost track of it.

Next, it was time to attend Rock Rackus' concert! I put on my best Rock Rackus duds and picked up the guitar that Bela's player had brought along to the lake house. Viveen's player, my girlfriend, recorded it on her phone for posterity.

ROCK RACKUS PRESENTS: WE HAD A THREESOME / RISURI DOCKER

The reaction at the table was... well, you can hear some of it in the video. :D

DM Notes
I reasoned that by this point, local cops would have come upon Bergeron's empty warehouse, and word of it would have filtered over to the RHC and Delft. This gave them an extra thing to investigate between their return to Flint and the Gala of the Ancients.

I'm also using the suggested diversion in the adventure, where Sijhen hires a redhead to captain a barge and run it up and down Stanfield Canal to confuse the PCs. That seems to be working so far.
 

Ajar

Explorer
I've been working ludicrous hours since coming back, but we should be starting up again this week or next week. In the meantime, to complement the Rock Rackus video performance linked above, I thought I would post the lyrics of the closing song from his Jailbreak Tour set. As I mentioned, one of my players sent me a complete set of alternate lyrics around the "we had a threesome" theme, based on the verse that we came up with in a previous session. But after their talk with Rock, he had a change of heart, so he modified the song for the actual performance (which was recorded for posterity and is linked above, with yours truly as Rock Rackus).

We Had A Threesome / Risuri Docker (to the tune of Working-Class Hero)
Gather ‘round dockers, come one and come all
I'll tell you a story with words truthful all
A stirring tale of a gent who is not small
We had a threesome: Kate, Courtney, and me

Rock Rackus left Flint and left his barstool
He travelled about; made good use of his tool
He met half elven twins and they made him drool
We had a threesome: Kate, Courtney, and me

But Rock couldn’t leave Flint for long, as you know
No matter how comely the moon’s lovely glow
One man can on-ly take ten times in a row
We had a threesome: Kate, Courtney, and me

Rock came back to Flint but he found it was changed
The skies and the stars and the hills re-arranged
His be-lov-ed dockers, he found them in chains
But a Risuri docker is something to be

‘Twas too near en-slavement, Rock could not a-bide
The state of the dockers, while rich men were snide
What else could he do then but swallow his pride
A Risuri docker is something to be
A Risuri HERO is something to be
If you want to be a hero, then just follow me…
 

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