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ZEITGEIST Tizbiz Zeitgeist Campaign

Tizbiz

Explorer
Hi,


i am currently running a pathfinder based zeitgeist story. I am not an native english speaker and beg you to ignore any misspellings.

My players are really into roleplaying their characters. We have been playing together for a long time and know each other well.

Having only two players we decided to use the Gestalt Character rules. Lylandra who is storytelling a Burning Sky campaign somewhere else in this forum plays a swashbuckler/bard and her husband plays a stalker/alchemist+arcanist. Later in the game the players felt they needed an assistant NPC and recruited an other constable who already was a medical forensic researcher with the RHC.

Both players invested a lot of time to build meaningful characters and unknowingly have deep connections to Risur and matters that will feature in the adventure path. Yet during the first adventure and especially during the first half of the second adventure i felt my second player was often bored or distracted. He had told me in advance that he does not like city adventures and investigation plots and he felt they had to dig for even the smallest clues. He was clearly often outside his comfort zone. Only at the end of the second adventure he startet to get into the plot.
 
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Tizbiz

Explorer
Auryn, daughter of matriarch Galadin, daughter of Kaealys, daughter of matriarch Launga of Elfaivar

Auryn was born as daughter of matriarch Galadin in Elfaivar. Deeply frustrated by her own drive to do all things perfect and to a lesser extend the high expectation her mother had of her being the next matriarch of a tiny independent enclave she fled the small eladrin city.

She is curious, brave and feels the need to do anything she does to her best abilities. Being incredibly charismatic and beautiful beyond mortal standards helps her negotiating her ways and avoiding most conflicts.

Her cousin Zahir found out about her plans and insisted to follow her because he himself had no hope ever to be chosen as a worthy husband. They boarded a westbound ship but were soon attacked by a pirate ship. Cousin Zahir was badly wounded and went missing during the fight. She still mourns his death and feels herself to blame for allowing him to come with her.

Auryn was sold as a exotic slave to one Mr. Fordren an really wealthy industrialist from Danor who had her delivered to a private resort in the Yerasol islands. (I changed the name of Mr. Pemberton to Fordren and plan to play him as an commercially involved partner to Mr. Goodson. I are wondering what will happen when they actually meet again.)

There she was held captive by her tormentor who insisted on calling her Charusheela.

After a long time she was freed by a risury warship and befriended the crew and captain Morris Dawkins. (who later initiated her into the Vekeshi movement)

She went to Risur and worked as a artist who was deeply interested in the new docker movement and their ideals. After some years she decided to work for the betterment of Risur and joined the RHC.

 

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Tizbiz

Explorer
Gabriel Carlyle

Mr Carlyle was born about 540 years ago as the third child of a wealthy merchant family in Alais Primos . He quickly realised, that his two older siblings Vanisair and Stilling Carlyle would lead the family business, so he saw little future for him there.

He choose to attend a butler school and worked in his first assignment with a crisilyir official.

A few years later he was drafted to the military and assigned for special operations. He was especially adept in questioning eladrin prisoners but got into a fight with one of his sadistic superiors. This officer tried to kill Mr. Carlyle´s captain who was saved by Gabriel.

Mr. Carlyle´s Team was near the last battle and was transformed by the death of Srasama. After his transformation Gabriel was deeply disturbed because he could hear the dead als well as something he could not place but was somehow connected to magic and the goddess. And he could not agree with the clergy anymore who he saw at fault for all things going wrong in crisilyr.

In the aftermath the deva was found by his captain and this guy helped him to leave crisilyr. The deeply frustrated Gabriel found a new home in Risur and devoted his time to a noble family named Vantrys.

Almost 500 years passed and he arranged all matters for many generations of the Vantrys who involved themselves in the industrialisation of Flint. He studied alchemy and brew a potion that could suppress the voice of srasama and learned how to bear with his gift of hearing the dead.

A few years ago he died protecting the last scion of the Vantrys family. The new lord Nathaniel Vantrys withdrew himself from public eyes but cared about his „Uncle“ Carlyle.They would discuss the incident and lastly Nathaniel recommend him to the RHC. Since then the Vantrys industrial prowess was plagued by arson and financial problems.

At the RHC Mr. Carlyle was quickly found to be an excellent judge of character and his fine manners were useful when dealing with powerful nobility and the newly wealthy.

Gabriel looks to be around 40 years old and he is always correctly dressed. He has a strong sense of what is appropriate and ist very keen on keeping with risuri traditions. For example he is still concerned about his former lord having a heir soon. He at first rejected any information from Auryn that his lord might be homosexual and still hopes Lord Vantrys might come to his senses soon.

 

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Tizbiz

Explorer
I was worried how to forge an Eladrin princess and a Deva from Crilisyr into a functional team and was almost annoyed when both players agreed that they would have avoided contact with each other as much as possible.

I compared the RHC responsibilities and the strong points of the players and came up with the following sidequest.


Mr. Carlyle reads his favorite high society gossip rag and finds a announcement of a science competition sponsored by the museum of natural history and a Mr. Guy Goodson who is a business partner to his former lord Vantrys. He decides to visit the competition because he has nothing to do on sunday and it might be a notable high society event worth watching.

At the same time Auryn Galadin gets a visit by her good friend Nymeia who is a student of biology and botany at the pardwright university. Nymeia is terribly nervous about her thesis being nominated by the museum of natural history´s science competition and Auryn offers her companionship during the presentation.

In the sunday morning both players independently visit the science competition and watch the gathering of some philanthropic high society members including the sponsor Guy Goodson and crown prosecutor Starke and his rather indifferent son Tyler Starke.

The nominees include Auryns dear human friend Nymea, the half-elf Julia Fymarsö and the young female minotaur Wolmi Heffanita. All the nominees are students of the pardwright university.

Auryn Galadin and Gabriel Carlyle meet each other as they observe the gathering and awkward moments pass while they speak about what they do in their free time.

They both seem relieved as the museum curator announces the nominees and each of them shows a short presentation of their thesis. Then the committee members announce Wolmi Heffanita as the winner of the competition.

During the presentation Auryn observes similarities between her friends Thesis and the one of Julia Fymarsö. She immediately suspects that her friends research data has been stolen and dislikes Julia Fymarsö especially as she has seen her to be very unfriendly to her young attendant girl.

Mr. Carlyle senses that the curator is very uneasy when he announces the winner and recalls Mr. Goodson looking for business opportunities in Ber and Wolmi Heffanita being the young niece of the berian ambassador Heffanita in Slate.

While they exchange their findings the gathering is disturbed by docker drunkards shouting abuse at the nobles and industrialists and the two RHC constables intervene to diffuse the situation peacefully.

The gathering concludes with the winner Wolmi Heffanita announcing that she is going to use the prize money to sponsor an journey to recreate a famous expedition to the border of risur. She invites the other nominees to accompany her on this journey.

In the evening Mr. Carlyle retreats to his favorite cigar club and expects to read newspapers at an uneventful gathering of gentlemen. His evening is disturbed by the club sponsoring an elven artist singer event. To his amazement the unearthly beautiful voice belongs to his fellow constable Auryn Galadin who he recognises despite her artistic mask. After the event they share a glas of spirits and find that the gathering is not as awkward as the initially expected. The gentleman Gabriel offers her to see her safely to her home and both find that they have been living in stray river for years unknown to each other.

The next day they are called to Inspector Delft´s Office. He tells them that they have an assignment because he needs someone with some scientific knowledge and good manners to guard an expedition from the pardwright university. They are expected to return the berian ambassador´s niece safely after the journey.

Curator Hans Weber instructs them that they will pose as guides and helpers and that they are expected to organise the journey.

To their relief most of the ancients expeditions way can be traveled by train to Bole and there is even a private train along the border. They find information about the ancient expedition and remember that there were rumor´s about the members dying in accidents or even curses. There is even an rumor of one Mr. Starke bringing back a notebook of the expedition but at the museum of nature history they are told that this notebook is believed to be lost.

They investigate the private mine which owns the train and find Lord Vantrys owning a share of the stock of this business.

They organise provisions and Gabriel easily secures his Lords permission to use the private train.

(The young Lord was visibly agitated by his unexpected visitor and touched his arm fondly during this visit but Gabriel cluelessly ignored his Lords not so platonic love interests.)

As they do not know the wilderness they seek out a druid whom Auryn knows from her Vekeshi contacts. (she does not tell Gabriel because even the very moderate vekeshi of Flint are mistakenly known as murderous terrorists) The grumpy druid agrees to accompany them as they agree to help her to make medicine for the poor.

Some days later the expedition gathers his members at the Flint Train Station and the constables are shocked to see Julia Fymarsö commanding several porters to carry a lot of trunks and unnecessary equipment. After a heated discussion they manage to board the train just in time.

During a short stop somewhere along the way they encounter a pair of pickpockets. Auryn chases them but sees that she must return to the departing train.

During the journey Julia is amazed that her Guide is a Mr. Carlyle and tells Gabriel that she is actually engaged to a Mr. Carlyle from Danor. Gabriel recalls his Brother Stillin relocating to Danor and the family being involved in the Avery Coast trains.

The party arrives in Bole and secures their places at the private train where they are treated unexpetedly well. (Mr Carlyle remains still completely clueless that Lord Vantrys arranged for their special treatment.)

At the mine they get the best accommodation the small mining community has to offer and the next morning they finally embark on their more dangerous part of the journey.

A few days pass with Julia complaining about the difficult journey and her aching feet. The party reaches the place that the ancient expedition where traveling to and settles for a base camp. The next day they find crude walls and a kind of neatly tended garden. Some of the plants move away and the constables quickly negotiate with the vegepygmies who rush to defend their garden.

Auryn wins the hearts and minds of the plant people by exchanging seeds from her own small garden in Flint.

(My players are hellbent to avoid a fight because they feel they are officials of risur and they both tend to use their luck and diplomatic skills really good. Getting these plant people as allies granted them a very unmolested journey till the tomb because the plant people secretly secured their way.)

Mr. Carlyle largely ignores the visibly interested efforts of Nymeia to get to know him.

(Poor Nymeia always gets a rebuff when she invites this gentleman later in Flint.)

The next day Wolmi Heffaniti suggest a route deeper into the backcountry and to the party´s amazement she seems to predict how to navigate the wilderness. Once their suspicion is raised Gabriel and Auryn catch the ambassadors niece consulting a small ancient notebook. They confront her about it and reveal her possessing the lost records of the rumored Mr. Starke. Wolmi claims that she got it legally from a trader visiting Ber and that it points to an ancient Tomb of her ancestors. She wants to retrieve a Symbol from that tomb to gain more prestige in Ber and to convince her Uncle the ambassador to give her a greater degree of freedom in her life.

Wolmi claims that she knows the Rituals to open the Tomb without releasing its curse. Reluctantly the constables agree to search for the tomb.

The party journeys to the tomb and find the way completely matching the information in the records. They find a slope with an buried entrance which can be opened by digging. Near the entrance Auryn finds the droppings of a young black bear.

Uneasy they open the tomb an find a crude sarcophagus which they open with the rituals that Wolmi has provided. Inside they find a minotaur skeleton wearing a gold necklace with geometrical symbols and a not matching magical stone hammer with very ancient tribal symbols.

Wolmi takes the valuable proof of her ancestry and leaves the old tomb while Gabriel decides to attune himself to the tomb because he wants to know more.

(Gabriels player missed the part which would have told him that his speak with dead feat does only work 24 ours after a creatures death. But i wanted to drop a clue for his efforts.)

The tribal chieftains spirit answers his summons and tells him that one of his symbols of office was taken from his enemies. Then he begs him to defend his descendant from danger.

The constables hear the girls crying for help and soon engage a very angry black bear who is fighting a wounded Druid in front of the cave. They fight the bear who leaves his bite and claw marks all over the soon unconscious Gabriel till Auryn manages to knock him out. (not Gabriel … the bear)

The party quickly retreats and journeys largely uneventfully back to Bole and then to Flint.

Wolmi is very pleased and promises that she will give the records back to the Starke descendants in a few month.

Auryn and Gabriel discuss their journey and both think that they wouldn't mind to work together in the future.
 
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Tizbiz

Explorer
I happen to have one of my players writing a (german) recap for this campaign and she even adds her thoughts for me to see. This means you see the campaign trough her eyes and not from both players or mine. I will translate these and add my own thoughts. Please forgive the occasional german sentence structure sneaking in.

Stover Delft summons Auryn Galadin and Gabriel Carlyle to his office and suggests that they could look into a closed case of a late Skyseer, which was rumored to have had a vision concerning the King's visit, "if they don't mind following a cold case".


The two constables examine the files and get to know that the skyseer's nephew is a young Bailiff named Steffen and so they visit him and his colleagues in the Nettles.


Everything points to a "true“ accident, but the Skyseer has left many cryptic drawings in her apartment, which Auryn and Gabriel draw on paper so they can show them to a different Skyseer since they are no experts on visions (They only know about the famous, but very old Nevard, so they were looking for him.)


After searching for him in the Nettles they can´t find Nevard, so they consult other, more unknown skyseers. Finaly Ms. Galadin and Mr. Carlyle agree on an interpretation based on their own findings and the interpretation of the moderately famous "Allseer" who had scores of beautiful ladies waiting for his visions, as well as the interpretation of a local seer in a shady tent at Bosum Strand: There might be some unrest in which people from Ber are involved which in the worst case can end in something deadly. (cant remember how they misinterpreted some of the drawings and came up with the wrong Ber clue actually. Fortunately they got it when they saw the map on display.)


(The players were requested not to take the skyseer related background because we just finished an other campaign where one player was using omen and visions quite often and i was a little tired of that. Yet i wanted to give them the clues from the skyseer theme in exchange for a little legwork.)


*Auryn was a bit surprised that Assistant Chief Inspector Delft sent Mr. Carlyle and her on a mission immediately after their last assignment, even if it was a seemingly cold case. For a short time she was not sure if she would not have preferred working alone, as she was used to. But somehow she felt that they both had something in common. Gabriel Carlyle worked precisely, planned exactly and had a keen eye. And more importantly, he had 500 years of experience. She could not help comparing him to Thorandil, who had been teaching her art and music back in Elfaivar. He too had been a veteran of the last war. She understood what a girl like Nymeia could see in him. And yet the mystic nuances she could sense so clearly were often completely alien to Gabriel, resulting in his skepticism towards the Skyseers. She had wondered how many of the seers really had visions, and how many were just charlatans who had attention or a quick coin in mind, and thus extolled the old traditions of Risur. Was the Alleseer a real Skyseer? She could hardly point her finger on whether or whether not he was sincere. Not being able to find Nevard had frustrated her, but she could, no, she had to draw her own conclusions from the cryptic information. Especially if the King's welfare was at stake … *


The constables share their insights with Delft, and he agrees to raise the security level for the time of the King's visit.


Auryn visits rear admiral Dawkins to tell him the disturbing news and he seems to share her worries. He promises to swap part of the crew of the Coaltongue with crew members of his own flag ship. Auryn is relieved to know Dawkins' most trusted men will be on duty. If fortune was on their side, it would be a happy reunion with old acquaintances, even if this was important work for the RHC. She is still troubled by his mentions of a growing rift between workers and industrialists, as well as followers of the old paths and the new industrialism.


She is invited by the rear admiral's wife Milena Dawkins to stay for supper When Milena hears that she will be on duty on the Coaltonge she tells her about a nice young noble who will antend the celebration and seems to be interested to play matchmaker for Auryn and Lord Vantrys.


*Auryn hoped that Milena would someday understand why she had no interest in a marriage with a young Risuri. Not only would Auryn survive the poor by ten lifetimes, a connection with any human or non-Eladrin would also not be futile, as she could not sire any offspring with them. Plus probably none of the „little“ boys would ever be her equal. Love was a concept unknown to her, and even if she was ever to develop spontaneous feelings, which she thought was impossible since true relationships needed time, young men would probably not be her first choice. Her first husbands in the enclave would have most certainly been experienced, older Eladrin, who could have supported her in her duties, while the chosen young men became the husbands of experienced, older women. But for Milena's sake, Auryn decided to at least exchange a few polite words with this Nathaniel Vantrys.*




Mr. Carlyle asks his informants to mingle with the crowd at the day of the celebration and to tell about suspitious guys or known troublemakers if they happen to spot them.


As the constables are responsible for the coordination of the security, they visit the Royal Shipyard in advance. There they meet the talkative chief mechanic from Danor, Geoff Masarde, who explains some of the features of the ship. He tells them that firing the canon might extinguish the fire in the ships furnance and leave the ship without power.


Carlyle comes up with the idea of ​​preparing an escape boat for the king and securing the furnace of the Coaltongue. Auryn agrees and takes him to the rear admiral's office.


Auryn introduces Gabriel to rear admiral Dawkins and they agree to prepare an escape boat, just in case. For the event of an energy shutdown of the ship, Dawkins tells the two that the Coaltongue will not be defenseless because there will be more ships accompaning her on her maiden voyage. Carlyle wonders about the details of Auryn's relationship with Dawkins. When he asks her about it, she tells him that he is her best friend and that she trusts him unconditionally(which seems to surprise him even more)


The constables spend the evening together (apparently both do not have much to do at the moment ...) and exchange their (pretty negative) opinions about industrialists. They also talk a lot about responsibility of aristocrats (especially Carlyle seems to hold noble families in high regard, but Auryn agrees that being taught to lead responsibly from the very beginning will work out better than just aspiring to power through money or strength)




*Auryn was astonished to see a Danoran tiefling aboard the Coaltongue. She had concluded that Masarde had to be an exile because he had protection, but no supervision, like a prisoner would have had. The ship was impressive, albeit frightening. She saw the potential in the combination of technology (new) and magic (ancient). She had hesitated to take Carlyle to Dawkins, but did not really know why. Maybe she did not want to reveal too much about herself, but there had been something else ...
Nevertheless, Carlyle's logic was sharp and the king should be protected by all means. She was not surprised to see that her colleague was wondering about her contact, but she did not want to doubt the integrity and trustworthiness of Dawkins. Carlyle was a strange man, she told herself. He did not seem to have a private life, had no hobbies, and she was not sure whether she was doing him a favor or whether she was a nuisance when she was spending time with him. But as he was a veteran of the old war, there was a slight chance that he could explain to her what had really happened when Srasama died. He seemed to dislike industrialists as much as she did. Plus he was favoring a leading role of the traditional noble families whose heirs were groomed to be leaders anyway. They really had the same ideas, ableit in a slightly twisted way, yet Auryn could not forget the time of the mad kings of Elfaivar (who were also "educated nobles") and that she herself had been educated to be a leader.. Still both of them shared their appreciation of the old risuri way more than she had previously thought.*


On the day of the launch of the Coaltongue, Auryn and Gabriel are both assigned to monitor the crowd gathering in front of the shipyard.


Together they look for suspects via descriptions they got from the RHC profiles and quickly spot three restless potential troublemakers, which are all found near signs which match the vision of the late skyseer.


The three suspects are part of the Docker's Union and the constables manage to calm the three with arguments and even get the help of Thames Grimsley, (who leads the three troublemakers away after being promised a favor.)


After a brief conversation they admit that they were instigated by the veteran Dafton. As time runs short, Auryn quickly charms Dafton and leads him away to Grimsley. Till that day, the Docker has only known her as an artist but now he suspects her of being a cop. Still he thanks her and tells her that he will keep in mind that she owes him something, even if he might return the favor again.


Auryn promises that either king Aodhan or governor Stanfield will be informed about the terrible, unjust situation of the workers. Carlyle seems to be impressed by Auryn's networking, but warns her that she should not put too much strain on her relationships.


*Perhaps Auryn understood better than most of the RHC or the town guards of Flint what the Dockers felt. They expressed their feelings and thoughts through their form of art and Auryn knew how to read them. Until a few years ago, the concept of a "job" had been foreign to her. She has had her duties while other Eladrin were taking care of everything else. Her life had been regulated, simple and secure. But these people suffered in a country that could afford great ships like the Coaltongue. Industrialists lived in abundance and could afford leading the luxurious lives of kings. Even law seemed to protect them. Nevertheless, violence and turmoil were the wrong way to achieve one's goals. Violence only led to conflict and suffering. She was glad Grimsley understood this approach and that their influence had been strong enough to prevent worse. Grimsley now knew that she was part of the RHC. Carlyle was right, she had given her promise that the king or the governor would learn of the conditions of the workers without having access to any of them. But she could ask Milena a favor, even if she would not have the chance to speak to either of them. She just hoped that her words could make a difference. In no case did she want to choose between the safety of Flint and the well being of the workers. And as much as she despised the exploiters, she had sworn to defend any Risuri, regardless of who they were.*




Delft tells the two constables to go on board and help welcoming the guests while some cooks enter the ship to deliver sweets. Milena Dawkins boards the ship, as well as a somewhat depressed looking Lord Vantrys who is in the company of a much more cheerful Guy Goodson. Vantrys' mood lightens up when he sees Mr. Carlyle. The King's sister Lady Ethelyn has an Eladrin attendant with her and she seems to be as unhappy as Lord Vantrys was just some moments before.


When Auryn asks Carlyle about Vantrys' sudden change of mood, the Deva explains that he used to work for Vantrys.


After a prolonged tour around the ship, Lady Ethelyn seems tired and weary and Auryn and Gabriel take her to a room where she can rest.


The constables observe the the guests and learn that the industrialists seem to take great pleasure in the event.


The ship leaves the harbour and Auryn and Gabriel are tasked to blend in with the guests partake in the banquet under the lightning lit crystal dome (it is absolutely safe they said!)


As the banquet ends, Carlyle and Lord Vantrys talk to each other. Vantrys is not happy about his business relationship with Goodson and promises that no one is exploited in his own company. He also mentions an entrepreneur who is particularly respected (Sechim), since he leads his chemical company which he has founded on his own in a very responsible and independent manner.


Vantrys looks much more relaxed in Carlyle's presence. Auryn suspects that Carlyle is a good friend of Vantrys, but her colleague tells her he was (and somehow still is) like a son to him.


Auryn and Gabriel happen to overhear a conversation between Principal Minister Harkover Lee and King Aodhan, as the later apparently gets a bloated belly and it seems like the Fey of the sea want to make him feel that they are displeased. (The Fey are not amused about the Coaltongue). Aodhan tells Harkover Lee that he fears that the situation as it is right now might kindle an insurrection. The constables don´t geht the part what would cause his fears.


When Aodhan notices the constables, he asks them about their opinion on the Coaltongue. They tell him that they are impressed, but Auryn also mentions that the ship has caused a lot of suffering for Flint's workforce. The king explains his own burden and responsibility for all of Risur and indicates that he had to make the difficult decision to let Flint be Risur's industrial center in order to lessen the threat that is the highly industrialized Danoran military. ("At the moment, we need the industrialists"). Auryn warns him respectfully that Flint is becoming more and more of a powder keg and that one must not lose sight on the possible threats one might breed from inside.


*Auryn was astonished to see that her "future husband" (in Milena's eyes) Lord Vantrys was not only the former employer but apparently also a good friend and quasi-son of Gabriel Carlyle. She understood what he might feel for the "boy," as she had herself taken care of the little Eladrin of her Enclave, who were cared for by the whole community. She could not help but notice that Vantrys seemed more alive whenever Carlyle was present, and that he even freely expressed his thoughts. Thoughts ablout his feelings of unease when it came to his relationship with Goodson. Thoughts about the need to treat his employees well. Deep inside, she realized Vantrys was reaching out to his mentor for help. He was still too young to be without an adult adviser. She felt empathy for the young lord, but would have to disappoint Milena again. Auryn was also amazed that Lady Ethelyn had an Eladrin maid and wondered how she had come to her service. She understood the Duchess' displeasure about the new technologies, but found her open display of her discontent to show a lacking respect for the king. King Aodhan was an impressive man, who emanated a pleasant, calm and even warm aura. And he had actually listend to her concerns for the workers of Flint. Like Old Stag, he had the aura of a matriarch which made it easy for her to exchange thoughts with him and which gave her confidence. She respected the difficult decisions he had to make, even if she had not necessarily come to the same conclusion as he did. But alas, she was an Eladrin from a small enclave in Elfaivar and had no country to rule and millions of inhabitants to protect. She wondered what kinds of difficult decisions she might have to make once she was a matriarch, and for a moment she ws afraid of that burden. She only hoped that Aodhan would not lose sight of the Fey and the unseen court, since they too belonged to Risur and the hints of Old Stag sounded troubling. Old Stag ... he had to have something important to do in the dreaming if he could not be on the ship on this important day. She just hoped he was all right. His career prospects were nothing compared to a broken bond with the Fey. Harkover Lee had seemed eerie and harsh, and she did not really know what to do with the mage. Yet the King was certainly in good hands.*


The Duchess Ethelyn is missing after a few hours of absence. The constables are send to look after her by Assistand Chief Inspector Delft and to lead her back to the banquet. Delft fears that she wants to shame her brother by not being in the crowd when the king makes his speech.


On the way down, they are stopped by Carlyle's favorite columnist, who wants to know more about rumors on Lord Vantrys (his "relationship" to Goodson and hints about Vigilantism). Carlyle dismisses all of these accusations as mere rumors.


The constables find the room of Ethelyn locked, so Carlyle quickly lockpicks the door to Auryn's surprise when they hear a splashing sound. Auryn fears that the Lady has gone overboard and is shocked when she sees Ethelyn dive into the deep sea alongside Archfey Beshela on a Titanic Nautilus.


The subsequent hectic search for Ethelyn's servants ends with the discovery of several murdered technicians and sailors (including some members of the admirals flag ship which Auryn knew)


*Beshela. What had happened in the name of all the Titans that Lady Ethelyn disappeared in such an unsuitable manner with an archfey and her wretched pet? But now she was gone and "someone" had left a pile of dead people. Auryn did not have time to think about the consequences. She had to find the culprit before more people died. Before they killed more people she knew. Who meant something to her. Who were important. The faces of Milena, Telluriel Rommath, Julien, Kilika and King Aodhan floated before her eyes. And for a moment, Zahir. She would not hesitate again. She would eliminate the threat at any cost. No more would die today.*




The constables search all the decks and uncover a sabotage attempt of some cooks, the eladrin maid and two other technicians who try to make the engine explode and sink the ship.


After a short, hard fight Auryn and Gabriel can finally knock the saboteurs out and pull the fire stone out of the overheated furnace.


The constables realise that they only bought themselves some time and decide to switch off the furnace with the help of a completely planned (!) shot of the main cannon. Carlyle shovels as many firegems as possible out of the fire, while Auryn searches for Geoff Masarde and together they activate the fire sequence under the glass dome. (And interrupt the King's speech ...)


Ms. Galadin and Mr. Carlyle tell Stover Delft about Ethelyn's high treason, who in turn informs the king, while the constables move on to inform Harkover Lee. (Lee gets really angry and casts a silence to cover his cry of rage and the heroes get a very short glimpse of his eyes turning into a slit.) He also demands the death of the Duchess.


Harkover Lee commands the constables to conduct the interrogations of the prisoners who call themselves fanatical "true patriots", who support the anti-technology stance of the Duchess and lament the decline of the Risuri values, fearing that the ancient connections to the Fey will suffer beyond repair should Aodhan continue his course.


The constables are very skeptical about the changes the industrialisation brings to Flint but sharply condem the terrorist's actions.


*Treason among their own ranks. A murder plot, an act of sabotage on the Coaltongue, which could have easily extinguished hundreds of lives on the ship. Auryn was able to understand Lee's reaction (or better explosive rage) only too well. His harsh, repulsive nature now made much more sense under the prospect that he had to keep such a fiery rage under control. She could not help assuming that he could be a fey advisor to the king. Carlyle had once again been a reliable partner, who had protected her during combat .They both had taken care not to end even more lives (they had been especially careful with the eladrin maid) and were able to learn something about the motives of the "true Risuri". In fact, she understood the logic of the attackers too well and she found that she could even agree with them. However, violence, especially conducted in such an insidious and excessive way, could never be a good start for negotiations. She was sure that the king, as an intermediary between Fey and mortals, would have had an open ear for reasonable concerns, and that the terrorist's cowardly attack had destroyed all possibility for negotiation. Such behavior was unworthy of a noble sibling of the king and even less of the eladrin woman in her attendance.*


The constables are told that the King would like to speak to them again and he asks them about their life and their reasons to join the RHC. Auryn introduces herself as being the daughter of Galadin, daughter of the Kaealys, daughter of the matriarch Launga. Being quiestioned why such a descendant of Elfaivar would be part of the RHC, she explains that she was freed from "danoran captivity by a certain "Captain Dawkins" and is thus indebted to Risur. Because of this she is skeptical about an all-too-danoran path which Risur might be about to follow. Aodhan tells her that he missed Dawkins at the celebration (she tells him that he has caught a fever) and declares that he really likes his „youngest rear admiral“. Carlyle states that he has been living in Risur for centuries and has proudly served the Vantrys family until his death 7 years ago. His family, except for the young Lord Vantrys, had been killed by an attack of unknown assailants. He says he has known Flint and Risur for a long time, but is concerned about the current domestic political situation and the worker's issues. The King understands their motivation to serve Risur and shows his own pain about the betrayal of his beloved sister.


In the same night the cowardly attack is announced to the Risuri media and in the next morning the King announces that there will be negotiations with Danor for a peace treaty and that he will marry a Danoran to tie this knot.




*Auryn had not expected the King to speak to them personally. She knew there was no reason to hide her origin from the king of her new home (and in a way she was proud of what she was and had created her „elven camouflage" out of pure caution). She had to smile slightly when she caught Carlyle's surprised expression and was even mildly surprised that the King held rear admiral Dawkins in such high esteem. Likewise, she was astonished to hear about the attack on the Vantrys family and the corresponding death of Carlyle, and now she could understand the relationship between Vantrys and Carlyle a lot better. She was glad that the King had listened to the words of both of them again, and apparently also recognized their underlying wisdom. Carlyle probably knew Risur and its people better than any of them, and even he feared that Flint might soon to tear itmself from the inside. Her own experience of her imprisonment on the Danoran island and her comparison with the situation of some workers had apparently also made an impression on the king. She thought that in the end she could see many similarities between the thoughts of those present and she felt compassion for the grief of Aodhan for the loss of his sister whom he could not forgive. She herself would not know how she would cope with such an insidious kind of treason, an attempted murder by a part of her family. She comforted herself in the belief that this would never happen. Her family, her bloodline, had always been most important and holy to her, even though she was now far from home. No, a family would defend each other with their lives as she had been taught so many times before.
Auryn had feared for a moment that due to Stanfield's reactions, sanctions would be imposed on Fey supporters or critical voices, but the King's wisdom was greater than petty feelings of revenge. She herself saw the engagement with a Danoran as a wise descisono worthy of a king who wanted to maintain and build on peace. She hoped that this would also lead to diminished labor pressure and better rights for the workers. *


Contrary to all fears the population supports the king's descisions.


Auryn and Gabriel are concerned however, that the industrialists who have benefited from the armament expenditures could now plan possible intrigues against peace.


Auryn visits rear admiral Dawkins, who seems to be getting better after his „Dreaming fever“. She tells him about Beshela and he explains to her that he had fought Beshala in the Dreaming but lost because his powers were lessened by his exile. He thanks her for protecting the king in his stead. (Auryn knows Dawkins to be a strom fey exiled to live countless mortal lifes as an punishment for loving the mortals too much.)


*Despite her concern for her friend, Auryn was a little proud that he would rely on her and that she had been able to protect the king in his stead. His warm words meant a great deal to her, even though she could express it only by a friendly embrace. She had still not completely processed the events of the last day and realized now that the possible consequences were beyond her imagination. She was afraid that they might have to confront Beshela again, and if even Old Stag could not stand up to the archfey, the who would?*


Four days later Auryn and Gabriel are again summoned by Assistant Chief Inspector Delft to his office where he introduces the Minister Foreign Affairs of Danor: Lia Jierre


This part literally went by the book. No surprises here besides the party's more or less expected willingness to negotiate as much as possible instead of looking for fights.
 
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Tizbiz

Explorer
Auryns player wrote this recap and her thoughts are marked green.

Just four days after the unsuccessful assassination attempt against King Aodhan and after a great deal of paperwork, Auryn and Gabriel are once again summoned by Assistant Chief Inspector Stover Delft to present an unexpected guest: Minister of Foreign Affairs of Danor, Lia Jierre.


The female tiefling does not seem to have any time for courtesies, since she skips a proper greeting, and instead presents Ms. Galadin and Mr. Carlyle with a puzzle to test their wits and attitude. In this test the heroes are to connect three rings with three lines with three magic towers. They succeed very quickly after using a little creativity. (once it was clear that we were allowed to solve this puzzle in three dimensions, it became a pretty easy task. Carlyle insisted that there had to be a way to do this in 2D as it was a classic puzzle he knew from somewhere. I just didn't bother with that approach since there were towers to be connected, not circles on the ground)


Lia Jierre seems to be satisfied with their "bending of rules," as she and Delft finally tell them about the coming mission. He tells them that the escaped duchess Ethelyn has teamed up with a group of Risuri rebels from Shale and taken hold of Axis Island, which has previously been occupied by Danor since the end of the last Yerasol war. The Danorans have built industrial plants and mines on this island and, according to Lia, Danor is now on the verge of tipping the peace treaty with Risur to reconquer the island with its own military power. She claims that she won't be able to convince the war-mongers in the Danoran council that the Risuri on Axis Island are actually rebels, since this could also just be a political feint. Therefore, the only way to prevent an impending fifth Yerasol war is to officially return the island to Danor. She also tells the heroes that her cousin, Nathan Jierre, had been on a research field trip to the island and asks them to look after his whereabouts. Initially, the constables are a bit skeptical, but they see some kind of logic in this plan (After all, it was „Risur“ who broke peace, so why should the Danoran military risk their soldier's lives to reconquer the island? Still Lia seemed too cunning to be an easy candidate for trust-).


Delft is satisfied that Ms. Galadin and Mr. Carlyle agree with the plan and he sends them straight to the port, as the ship Impossible carrying Team 3 and Captain Smith should be ready to leave every moment. Lia promises a possible time frame of three days for the Risuri to clean their mess, since she won't be able to halt the Danoran war council any longer. Delft gives the heros the task to officially arrest the Duchess and learn about her motives. He also mentions to Carlyle that he is supposed to get information from her even if she was killed, but Auryn does not seem to understand what her chief means by this.


Carrying equipment for the party and Team 3, they hurry to the port, where the Impossible sets sail at the very same moment the heroes are on board. In the ship's belly, they agree to the plan Team 3 had worked out with Delft: A RHC commando group should enter the island unseen through a secret entrance in an underwater cave and then sneak into the military fortress in which the Duchess is assumed to be. There, Team 3 is to open the port gates via a mechanism and let the remaining Risuri fleet into the port, so that the otherwise impenetrable fortress can be taken without much resistance. Tanya tells them that Auryn and Carlyle are ultimately only reinforcements for Team 3 and both of them are happy with that sort of arrangement. Still, they all exchange their opinions on fighting styles. Only the Illusionist Letmas Sigurd is absent, as he left an illusion of himself to boil some tea (which Auryn finds extremely funny but turns Tanya and Carlyle rather sour).


A few hours later we meet up with the fleet in the seas of Shale under increased security conditions (after all, there are still some rebels in the city, so we do not dare to enter! I never told them but the players assumed that and i went with it.) Now finally complete, the fleet sets sail towards Axis Island.. The constables try to get as much rest as possible, as they are about to face a very long night. A few hours later, the heroes arrive unchallenged in a small bay of the island. Team 3 distributes water breathing spells to all of them and Tanya explains that they will dive ahead and will then signal Auryn and Gabriel when they cleared the path.


When the heroes actually see the expected tugging on the rope, they rush into the cave only to witness a terrible sight: Except for the Goblin Burton, all members of Team 3 have been crushed by falling rocks. Burton is also in serious trouble because his leg has been crushed under a Rock. Auryn and Gabriel rescue the goblin, drag him out of the water and make sure his leg is tended for. Still it is clear that the mission for him is over and that he will need urgent medical help. After that they retrieve the bodies of their former colleagues. In the cave itself the constables discover a petrified tree with a magically illuminated seal, as well as several unnaturally large iron nails, which have been struck into the wall. The heroes can not phantom why the nails should be there, but think that it might serve as some kind of protection from magic. Auryn climbs the petrified tree and takes the seal with the symbols of Avilona. Just as they have roughly identified the properties of this magical token (it offers the ability to fly for a short time), the constables notice some movement near the cave's exit. They decide to move carefully and with dimmed light and climb over the ladder placed in the cave. Then a person suddenly appears and commands some elementals to attack the constables. Since the heroes could only make out one man, they decide that Carlyle keeps the elementals in check while Auryn tries to "persuade" the one commanding the elementals. Auryn activates her new token so she can fly to the entrance of the cave. Surprisingly, the air elemental quickly changes sides when it feels the power of the emblem and Auryn succeeds in magically charming the attacker, telling him to wait and negotiate.


It turns out that the man, a gray-haired, skinny guy, is the foreman Nicolas Dupiers from Danor. He tells Mr. Carlyle and Ms. Galadin that his people were killed by "the forest" and a dryad, and that he was the only one who could hide in the mine and has been there for days. With many cautious and friendly words, the RHC agents explain to him that they are not the enemy and really only want to liberate the island. After a while he believes them and Auryn drops her charm. Nicolas is still frightened, but is open to suggestions on how to get him to safety should he give them his two elemental amulets. He agrees in a trade and the heros escort him out of the cave, while Burton is left to wait inside to be rescued by the ships divers. (we didn't really want Burton to dive through the water again as this could have lead to a dangerous loss of blood.)


The heroes pass a village that is "occupied" by a small group of Risuri rebels (a house with inexperienced "green soldiers") and avoid it. Then they finally find a group of danoran survivors in a forest where they release Dupiers into the care of his people and continue their mission. On their way, they realize that the rumors about the "strange island" are true, as the scenery suddenly changes and they find themselves in a strange place under a blue sun (which also fits to Burton's report that the deadly rocks had come out of nowhere). The constables suspect that the nails they found everywhere could help against such unwanted changes of reality. In the middle of the night, they get to the Axis fortress and sneak to the opposite side without any problem. Auryn and Gabriel use the scrolls which had been prepared for Team 3 (which had been made by Harkover himself - thank you, old man!) to pass the wall of the outer fortress and sneak along the wall towards the harbor. Since they and their elementals are all very light-footed and / or flying, they arrive without an incident at the port's wall. On the way to the lighthouse, the constables find a warehouse with dozens of Danoran corpses, which had been carlessly piled there. As they had the foresight to request invisibility potions, they use them to get into the interior of the lighthouse and stun both the wizard, the guarding officer, and the little dragon familiar before they open the harbor gate with the opening mechanism and barricade themselves and their prisoners inside. Thanks to Carlyle's quick thinking, the heroes use the emblem they got from Dupiers to close their hideout with a (perfectly fitting!) wall of stone. This way, they can wait for the soon arriving reinforcements without being in danger as they use the spare time to browse through the wizard's notes. (Unfortunately, it contained nothing of interest)


(That really caught me unprepared. I decided that a wall of stone was not anticipated by the attackers and i could not see them fetching picks and heavy hammers in in such a short time, so i gave a well deserved point to the players. The wall held up against all waves of attackers who ran back to get equipment. Has any of the other partys had the same idea?)


Ten minutes into battle, Ms. Galadin and Mr. Carlyle are liberated by their own forces. A look outside reveals that the battle for the fortress has already begun and more and more royal troops are disembarking in the harbour. During a short chat with an allied soldier about the situation and the whereabouts of Team 3, a gigantic fireball suddenly hits one of the ships. After the dust of the detonation has settled, the heroes see with horror that "something" wrapped in smoke, wielding a fiery sword and whip plows through the battling soldiers in the lower part of the fortress. They can not make out whether this person is a friend or foe, and the moment Auryn sees a flying lion shield she suspects that this could be „The Lion Shield“, a kind of avenger for the unseen court. Since Ethelyn escaped the Coaltonuge by the help of a fey, the constables are afraid that this berserker could be about to rush to Ethelyn's aid. So they decide to follow him at a reasonable distance. But since he also seems to be cutting down Risuri rebels (and is only referred to as a "god of war" even by rebel soldiers), they suspect that he might be working for a third party or be a completely rogue element. However, the constables lose his track after a few minutes. They agree to follow him again, should he reappear, as he might know a way into the inner fortress. Otherwise, Auryn and Gabriel just plan to wait until the siege engines finally make their way through the main gate.


(I was quite happy that the party appeared as shellshocked as the soldiers they encountered and had actually prepared Auryn´s player about „this Lionshield“. She wanted the vekeshi in Flint to not be murderers and so she asked what Dawkins would do if the Court demanded the death of someone and Old stag feeled the need to deny the request. I told her about a guy who is sent when the unseen court is really angry about something. My players sometimes misread hints and complain later and i did not want them to charge Asrabey not knowing the risks.)


In the meantime the RHC agents hear news about a "prison" that has been taken by the royal forces, but whose danoran prisoners refuse to hand out any information. Since Carlyle knows how to use and get even the smallest bit of information, and Nathan Jierre is still missing, they decide to help out with the interrogation. It turns out that the Danorans were mistreated badly by the Risuri. Bit by bit they learn that the people refuse to talk to them because they are afraid of a certain Danoran soldier. So they decide to approach the man who is suffering from a bad wound on his eye. The soldier seems to hate all Risuri and does not want to believe that the attackers were simple rebels. The heroes try to explain to him that 1) if he truely was a Danoran patriote he had to support the decisions of his government and that 2) a king of Risur would certainly not attack the people of his future bride. After some tough discussions he finally tells Mr. Carlyle and Auryn that he is secretly suspecting an inside job, since the well-defended fortress would never have fallen that fast. In exchange, the constable hand him over his weapons, take care of his wounded eye, and order their people to leave the Danorans who apparently wish to defend themselves.


Outside the prison they find another track of the "god of war" and finally find an escape route (which we have already assumed be out there somewhere), which would lead directly to the port. This leads to a complex with a teleportation circle, which had been changed with a magic ritual. Also 87 golden swords and some dead soldiers lie scattered on the ground. This magical gate now points to an unknown location in the Dreaming. Carlyle fears that the Fey/God of War could summon more reinforcements and covers the circle with some of the gold swords to seal it off. The party continues to make guesses about who the guy could be, and with the help of Carlyle's experiences (he has never fought against such a person before, yet the style seems familiar to him) and Auryn's knowledge (the last survivors of Elfaivar were armed to the teeth and would cut down entire companies in their rage) they conclude that they could be lucky and their attacker might "only" be a very well-equipped Eladrin veteran. Just as they come to this conclusion, they notice someone moving swiftly atop the roofs, in the direction of the main keep. The heroes follow him on the ground as fast as they can, when he suddenly leaps and activates a magically glowing sphere. The growing light illuminates the smoke around him and to Auryn's horror she recognizes the man from ancient descriptions as Asrabey, the esteemed husband of her ancestress Kasravina, who was the mother of matriarch Launga (he also seems to have recognized at least something familiar in her, since he casts a friendly wink in her direction). Shortly after, the constables are blinded by the bright light and can only hear how the iron nails are torn out of the wall. Then the landscape changes at once. Fortunately the light grows darker soon, and Carlyle remembers that a certain Asrabey had been a great help to the Risuri in a past Yerasol war, as they happened to be on the same side (he had freed a captive Eladrin, good man! ). To their surprise, they find themselves in a swampy environment, which somehow replaces the wall that had been in front of them and opens up the way to a huge labyrinth.


Asrabey first cuts his way through the hedge with his blazing sword and then continues his way running above the thicket, as the party slowly cuts through the labyrinth and fights with illusions and animals. They „persuade“ one of the fey hedge guards to clear a part of the way for them, but this fey is killed by "something" shortly thereafter. The murderer then confronts Auryn and Gabriel personally: it turns out to be a Dryad, an ally of Ethelyn. Since the constables seem unable to negotiate this time (and the dryad's initial attack on Carlyle was totally unexpected), they face the threat and beat her down. The way to the main keep is now (hopefully!) open.
 
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Tizbiz

Explorer
On the way to the main fortress, only a few hedges seem to separate the constables from the central tower when they suddenly hear voices and steps and decide to hide behind a hedge. Their instinct turns out to be right, as shortly afterwards three Risuri, led by an (quote Auryn "pretty") elf, clad in the colors of the duchess pass by. Since the constables suspect that they might want to hurry to their mistress and probably know the way through the labyrinth better than they do, they decide to follow the three at short distance. They lead them unknowingly to the front of the entrance of the tower, where the entire security team seems to have fallen victim to Asrabey's blade and shield. Since the two are under heavy time pressure, they decide to clear the way by using light „pats on the back of the head“ on the guards. Meanwhile, the pretty elf officer tries in vain to persuade his utterly afraid soldiers to enter the tower. Both constables apologize politely and make sure the passed out soldiers suffer no harm before following Asrabey into the tower.

Inside the defensive fortress they find a massacre, as rebels and soldiers of the Duchess were killed regardless of their age or affiliation. Auryn seems to have problems with the sight of so much violence and death, but forces herself to move on. When they finally arrive on the top floor of the tower, they hear a quiet, elven-sounding voice which seems to speak with Ethelyn, as she is probably about to be tried for treason against her brother and the unseen court. Since the constables suspect that Asrabey (to whom the voice apparently belongs) would kill Ethelyn at any moment, which would ruin the mission and any hope of insight into Ethelyn's motives, Auryn risks to confront the Eladrin warrior alone. Carlyle is supposed to hold back as he could be the last surviving representative of the RHC soon and would then have to report what happened to Delft. In a very nerve-wracking conversation, Auryn tells Asrabey, the "esteemed husband of Kasvarina," that by the executing the Duchess, he would only drive a stronger wedge between the king and the unseen court, as this might deprive Aodhan of his own revenge. (Asraby taking a secret liking to his beloved matriarchs cute descendant was the only reason Asraby even cared to negotiate. He finally decides that he does not want harm Auryn and her friends and actually keeps his end of his bargain instead of killing the duchess and trying to escape with the tiefling.) And that it was the king who has originally been the victim of the murder/sabotage plot on the Coaltongue. She tries to evoke the unity between Fey and mortals as a symbol of strength and a special characteristic of Risur, and Asrabey seems to listen to her words. In the meantime, the conversation is interrupted by a young, inquisitive tiefling, who, according to the constables' conclusions, has to be Nathan Jierre. Asrabey is visibly angry at Ethelyn's "devil" she's in league with, but Nathan explains that he is on the Fey's side and was actually the one who had informed the Duchess about Danor's war research on the island. He says that he had also seen someone named Kasvarina Varal on the island, and that this lady "hung on the arm of a danoran businessman" (and according to Asrabey had also built the teleport point in the city). Asrabey promises that he could think about leaving the Duchess alive and handing her over to the Risuri, if he would in return been given free escort to the nearest coast of Risur. Additionally, he wants to take Nathan with him, so the court might interrogate him in the future. Auryn agrees, but tells him that she would like to come to a mutual agreement on this matter with her "friend and colleague" who is still waiting for her outside the door. When Carlyle enters the room, Asrabey reacts extremely shocked as he views the Deva as an old enemy. Carlyle tells him, however, that he has abandoned the conflict between Crisillyir and Elfaivar centuries ago and that he wishes to sharply distance himself from the battles of the past. He believes that atrocities were committed on both sides and that even after the Malice too much fanaticism prevailed, so that afterwards he preferred a quiet life to escape the horrors of war. Asrabey seems to understand Carlyle's words, and it almost seems as if he would wish for an end to murder and fighting. He says he had been a warrior for the court for 200 years, and before that he had been a fighter at the side of Kasvarina (who also had a reputation of being an assassin/terrorist if one would believe the clergy). He hopes to see his wife again and says that he will keep searching for her.

When the constables are sure Asrabey will not do any harm to his two hostages, they retreat from the tower and talk to Captain Smith and the Admiral who's in charge of the fleet. They claim to seek a way to enable Asrabey to "escape" to Risur by taking a fast ship which is run by only the most basic crew. Smith is not too happy about this suggestion, but ultimately agrees to let the Eladrin go aboard the "Impossible".

The two head back to the tower and wait for a sign that the ship is ready to go. Carlyle talks to Nathan and he mutters that he would like to seek asylum in Risur as he fears that his cousin Lia could have him executed as a traitor because he had written the letter to Ethelyn in hope of peace (he himself was not a spy, he claims, only a researcher dealing with the spheres). When the "Impossible" signals that she's ready, the constables accompany Asrabey and his two prisoners to the port, taking care that none of the other Risuri does anything stupid. They have a few moments with the duchess, in which she explains that she has been trying for years to warn her brother of the Danorans. She tells us that she has received a prophecy suggesting that "the king" was ultimately to be governed by a man who had died a thousand times, and that some of the signs of that prophecy had already come true. We believe that the mere possibility of such prophecy, however terrible it may be, does not justify a „preventive fratricide“. So Ethelyn is carried away on a ship to Slate.

Since there is still a little time left until the Risuri have to hand over the island, the constables are looking for the next best presumed weapons factory, although they are already completely exhausted. At tzhe factory grounds, however, they find only rudimentary attempts of a prototype and blueprints of a kind of magical gatling, which is still far from any kind of assembly. What falls into their hands, however, is a code book with the inscription "Fordren Industries" (a sight which really shocks Auryn). On Carlyle's request, she tells him that it was a man with that family name who had held her prisoner on one of the Yerasol Islands.

As they head back to the fortress, all other ships of the Risuri fleet have disappeared, except for one cargo ship. Shortly after, Lia arrives with her entourage (an elf and a half-orc) in the abandoned harbor and they give her, or more specifically Danor, the island back. The two credibly tell her that they suspect that her cousin Nathan was abducted, but still alive, and that they do not know exactly where he is. She thanks them in the name of Danor, and promises them, besides a reward, an invitation to her wedding as she is – to their surprise – the future wife of King Aodhan.

After a little more than a day, the constables return to Flint and report to Stover Delft about what really happened on the island and show him the amulets that they have found and brought with them. Delft awaits a detailed report and suggests that they hand over the amulets to Harkover Lee, as he is probably the one who has the best knowledge of "magical stuff". Also, the „old man“ would probably have use for a swift report on the events that happened on the island. They also give him the book with the code, and Auryn asks Delft to instantly inform her if he is to find something about a person or people named Fordren. (that Fordren guy really ticks her off)

The next day they travel to Slate by an express coach. Auryn does not seem to be able to cope with the massacres and all the dead people on the island, and Carlyle tries to explain to her that her feelings of grief are actually a good sign, since it would be much more terrible if such a loss of life meant nothing to her. He tells her that 500 years ago he had not been able to cope with what had happened in the war, and that after the death of the goddess he could somehow see the restless spirits and therefore had to leave Crisilliyr. He explains that since these days he has learned a lot about the spirits and the dead, which surprises Auryn very much (and for a moment, she is even fearing for the soul of a "certain someone" who died in vain. Her Cousin Zahir who died on the journey).

In Slate, the constables hand over the magical artifacts to Principal Minister Lee, who thanks them for their report, but seems to have surprisingly little knowledge about Fey and the court, which in the end makes them doubt the theory that he could truly be a Fey.

In the evening on the journey back to Flint they find that their tavern is hosting a fake "cultural elven event" and Auryn is a little anoyed by the mostly wrong presentation of her culture but is appeased by the good imported wines and the actually very good food.


Mr. Carlyle is somehow hypnotised by the elven music and sees the human waitresses with the fake elven ears and wrong elven fancy dresses change into genuin eladrin dancers serving food und dancing to genuine elfaivar music. He is disturbed by this but does not tell Auryn that he hallucinates.


(Just as the party came to Bole Carlyle's player told me that he had been using an alchemical potion to suppress the eladrin goddess influence that he hears since his change and has forgotten to take the potion the last weeks. Ultimately he wanted to change his Alchemist class to an arcanist and thought that he had supressed this knowledge all the years. I had to come up with something fast and decided some confusion would be nice. Mr. Carlyle sees himself surrounded by elfaivar people whenever there is a strong stimulus till he accepts his gift of the goddess, which he did just in the beginning of adventure two.)
 
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Tizbiz

Explorer
When we return back to Flint after our short trip, we immediately report back to Assistant Chief Inspector Delft. He seems to be satisfied with our work and is expecting our complete written report about the events on Axis island. Because of our good work, he promotes us to "Constables 2nd class". We are extremely grateful for this honor. He unofficially explains that Gale's attacks are getting more and more frequent and that someone should take care of it should the opportunity arise. (I wanted to hint of things to come)


The next morning, we are called to Lady Inspectress Saxby's office, where she officially orders us to take care of the case of Gale. She gives us four weeks to gather all the information about Gale's whereabouts and plans and to arrest her, should the opportunity arise. Saxby also tells us that as long she has not chosen a new Team 3 yet, we can move into their old office. We ask her about Burton and are told that the Goblin moved to Slate and we speculate that he might need some distance after the loss of his comrades.


As Team 3's old files are still lying around in their office, we decide to check up on them. However, we cannot really decipher their (partly elven) code, which we think is a creation of the late Tanya Blattgold. We decide to write a letter to Burton and ask him if he can help us decode their files, or whether he would prefer to have the files sent to his new office in Slate. Since he apparently needs distance from his previous work, we expect the former.


Around noon Carlyle, who has been eating in the cafeteria, reads that a kind of trainer is being sought for the prison-ships of Goodson. He is bewildered at the concept of using a ship as a prison and can hardly imagine the concept of "rehabilitation".


At the same time Auryn visits the Dawkins estate to announce that she will be coming for dinner today. However, the very friendly Julien Moore (Dawkins former ship steward) insists that she stays for lunch. When she arrives at the RHC again, Carlyle asks her to meet him in his home the next afternoon, as he needs her help. She is a little surprised, but she agrees anyway. The two then discuss the concept of prison ships and they agree that it is extremely alarming that Goodson now also starts managing private prisons. They wonder if there is anything left in this world out of which the man doesn't try to make profit.


(Goodson gets to be the hated Mr. Nice Guy ... all good things he does leave a foul taste in the players mouth.)


On their way home, Carlyle notices that Goodson has established a fairly cheap tabloid newspaper which is reporting on fires on a prison ship and attributing the fire to the "terrorist Gale". He is more than just worried about Goodson when he sees an advertisement for the Vantrys ironworks factory "Gutstahl" in the same newspaper and their logo seems to indicate that the factory has close ties to Goodson.


(The party took an interest in the industralism conflict but they had the tendency to see it as evil and i wanted to start some controversy and see how they would react when their most hated industrialist seems to ally with Mr. Gabriel's Lord Vantrys. I told them „Gutstahl“ (baking pans etc.) was an old brand that was beloved by the flinter households but has steeply declined in the last years due to financial problems of the Vantrys family.)


When Auryn arrives at the Dawkins estate, Milena is concerned about the apparently miserable condition of Auryn. Since she does not want to burden her friend with the ugly details, she tells her that she saw too much suffering and death on her last assignment and does not really know how to deal with it. Milena tells her that she happens to know "someone", who had to cope with the same kind of problem (She means that Auryn should speak to her husband who has seen death's ugly face in the Yerasol war.). After Morris's arrival and their dinner together, the read admiral asks his wife for a little time with Auryn in the cigar room. Morris offers Auryn a "special" cigar which Auryn accepts with a grin. (Auryns player loved to smoke a marijuana cigar with her "father".). She tells him about the incident on Axis island and her insomnia, but also mentions Asrabey, Nathan and Kasvarina. Morris tells her that he fears a rift within the Fey community due to Beshela's actions and the ongoing industrialiation of Risur. He also mentions that he had to learn gradually that many actions, which are natural to the a Fey of the Dreaming, can cause great suffering in the realm of mortals and lead to serious consequences. He gives her the advice to not judge herself too harshly and finally offers her some rest by enchanting her with a sleep spell.("sleep my beloved child. you need to rest your mind.")


The next morning, Auryn wakes up in a guest room and heads back home. Around noon, she appears at Carlyle's place, who leads her through his house to his alchemy room and shows her a heavy spellbook, which is written in a very old elven style and also includes religious themes. He explains to his very surprised colleague that he had unconsciously written texts and spells into this book since his first rebirth and his transformation into a Deva. As he was disturbed by his uncontrolled writings, he sought to find a way to suppress his urges to work on the book with alchemical potions. But as the knowledge about Fey, Eladrin, and their relationship with Risur seem to become more and more important for his work as a constable, he wants to try to let his suppressed traits reappear again. He even seems interested in trying to understand and learn the unconsciously written magic. Auryn is more than impressed by the content and scope of his book, explaining that she herself had to study casting magic from books many decades ago, but never learned it correctly. She tells him about Estelar, one of her mother's husbands who was keen on invoking a spark of magic in "his daughter". Auryn explains that to Estelar's disappointment she had no talent for book magic but that maybe her rudimentary knowledge could help him. Carlyle explains that he has made an alchemical mixture to neutralize his suppressive drug and drinks it in her presence. As lightning flashes over his face, both feel like being torn from their bodies and fly to a clearing at the border to the Dreaming.
There we see a guardian in the form of a deer, who explains that he has yet to decide whether he can allow the Deva to cross the threshold to the Dreaming. He says that he will observe and judge him by his deeds. Carlyle asks Auryn about the meaning of the deer's words and she suspects it could be related to the case of Gale. After a short stay, they fly back to Stray River. On their journey back both of them notice that a dark presence is imprisoned in Cauldron Hill, which is confined by an arcane protective network in the nettles.


(The deer is inspired by the guardian of the threshold from various shadowrun books and is both a guardian of Risur's border to the Dreaming as well as a spiritual sentinel of magic. I have not decided yet if I use him instead of Old Stag or if he actually is the Old Stag. Right now he is a tool to get Mr. Carlyle to know the mystic side of Risur without exposing the Vekeshi of Risur to his mercy. Just a bit of flair to add to Risur. I hope, i find a way to use Mr. Carlyle's new magic get him used to the goddess and more importantly to get him to see the Vekeshi as a just movement. Otherwise it could get ugly, if he finds his trusted partner to be one of the hated terrorists.)


We spend the next few hours practicing magic together and Carlyle asks Auryn about her opinion of Gale. Auryn explains that she cannot imagine that Gale would ever seriously harm people, at least not if she had grown up with the same philosophy as she did. She also tells that she once had met Gale at a party and got the feeling that the Eladrin's only troubles were with Danor (and therefore with technology).(Auryn just assumes that all Eladrin follow the vekeshi philosophy. Probably she grew up too well guarded. *not so evil grin*)


The next day we are called back to Delft's office. He tells us that a half sunken cargo boat was found in Parity Lake in the morning which now blocks the channel. He suspects that Gale might have something to do with it, and that her actions now angered some really powerful people. We also learn that people accuse her to have sabotaged several factories and that this sabotage might have resulted in fires. (there where some newspapers destroying Gales reputation later this day and we all know who paid for the bad press.) We decide to examine the crime scene.


In Parity Lake, the local police forces are busy controlling the curious onlookers and protesters. People accuse us of destroying evidence which might point to the fact that the factory owners might have faked the "accident" themselves to prevent them from striking. We calm the people down and assure that we are only here to find out the truth behind this presumed sabotage. The investigation of the cargo boat (which causes Mr. Carlyle to slip and fall into the water. He later insists that he wanted to dive anyways) reveals that the ship was indeed sabotaged and sunk. In addition, we find a small box containing a mimic of unknown (alchemical) origin. This could be an indication that the perpetrator works with an alchemist or even be one. Carlyle decides to take the "thing" to his lab to analyze it later (and then to give it as a present to Delft they almost gave Delft a heartattack ). We then ask old Tom, a day-laborer at the pier if he saw anything suspicious and after a small payment he explains that he saw a flying woman carrying an axe on the boat. As his description of a flying woman is a direct reference to Gale (not too many flying people in Flint...), we're convinced that she is really the culprit. We offer Tom to pay him to keep an eye on the lake.


Back at the RHC, we give Delft an update on Gale. We speculate what sentence gale might be facing for her crimes and conclude that she could end up in prison for a very long time. Auryn hints that there are other people who are probably hurting Risur much more than Gale and are still not persecuted by RHC agents. Delft kind of agrees but explains that these "others" didn't carelessly annoy and financially damage too many influential people. On our request, he tells us that the former team 3's funeral would take place the next morning, and that would be given leisure time for the rest of the day.


After their conversation with Delft, Carlyle asks Auryn why she would feel so much sympathy for those who practiced vigilante justice. She tells him that she herself does not know exactly what to do with people who do evil deeds but cannot be persecuted by traditional law enforcement. Carlyle seems to reject this thought, but Auryn gets the impression that he is distancing himself far less from vigilantism than he wants it to seem.

The next morning, the burial for our comrades takes place. Carlyle seems a bit astonished at the sight of Auryn's white-red mourning garb and her traditional paintings. (I wonder if she looked like a japanese kabuki player playing a miko?). He realises that the funeral does shake her to the bones, but does not want to impose himself on her (probably due to Morris Dawkins' presence) . The rear admiral offers to take us to Stray River and we gratefully accept the offer. After leaving Carlyle at his home, Dawkins asks Auryn about her colleague because he feels an unprecedented connection of the Deva with the old spirits of the Eladrin and Fey. She tells her old friend of Carlyle's magic and his desire to understand what's happening to him. Dawkins tells her to find out if whether he's going to be a powerful friend or foe of the Fey. He also asks her to contact Gale and gives her a wooden framed mirror as a gift for the apparently hiding Eladrin.


After changing clothes, Auryn appears at Carlyle's house to practice with him - again -, which seems just like an obvious distraction maneuver to the Deva. He asks her openly whether working as a constable was truly the right job for her if this incident puts her off track this much. Auryn tells him that because of her seeming inability to deal with death and because she seems to adhere much less to the rules of her people, she fears that she might have lost her way. Caryle tries to comfort her and tells her that while one can always suppress grief for the moment, truly coping with it takes a lot of time. Also, simply following the rules because they are given rules without ever questioning them doesn't seem like a wise idea. (Well i guess he means the rules Auryn learned in Elfaivar because he is pretty stubbornly following his own rules which are a mix of traditional beliefs in aristocracy and written risuri laws. He has not told Auryn yet about him being secretly Zorro the masked avenger for the Vantrys family.)
And while Auryn thinks that not wanting to put the lives of others at risk or even sacrifice them for her own survival are signs of an inherent weakness, Mr. Carlyle tells her that in his opinion her "flaws" are signs of her courage and compassion. After thanking her colleague for his encouragement, Auryn suggests Carlyle could visit his "friend, Lord Vantrys", who is pretty obviously looking for his support. He considers this a good idea.
On the next day, Delft is assigning us to a new case: a young Half-elf had been caught trying to break into the Danoran embassy, tried to escape and then crashed into an iron fence. What's intriguing about this case is that she was trying to "fly" out of the window of the fourth floor before crashing down and getting impaled by the fence. As this accident is a bilateral incident, the RHC is responsible to investigate a the "foreign embassy". So we head straight to the embassy, only to find a blank fence next to a police barrier plus some indignant Danorans.


Julien LeBrix, the security chief of the Danoran Embassy tells us that they took the dead woman to the ground floor and we decide to let him explain the incident from his point of view. He tells us that the dead woman, Nilasa Hume, was a friend of one of the guards and had brought them sweets as usual. When no one paid any attention to her, she disappeared to the upper floors, took some gold and a valuable art egg, and fled upstairs. He had pursued her, fearing she could jump out the window and shot her in the leg. She then jumped out of the window, he accidentally shot her in the back, and then she landed on the fence and bled to death. The story sounds extremely unbelievable to us, so we investigate the crime scene and the dead woman's body. It turns out that Nilasa was shot after "landing" on the fence (not before!) and that she had a slightly necrotic wound in her face which had been recently healed by magic. She also carries a empty potion bottle and has a certificate of bail issued by an Alfred Bellastair. Under a carpet on the fourth floor, we discover (despite or thanks to the seemingly uncooperative LeBrix Lebrix was obviously helping them but never admitting that he did) traces of blood, which have to be the result of some sharp weapon and which would be perfectly fitting to Nilasa's wound on her head. We persuade LeBrix to visit us unofficially in a cafe within a day or two, and he seems to agree. We also express our condolences to Nilasa's friend, a certain Brendan, and note that the Danoran guards seem to be under the influence of Fey Pepper. Since Nilasa had brought them sweets, and one of the boxes has the imprint of the shovelnose ray tavern, we decide to question Brendan and the guards. We learn from Brendan that Nilasa had previouslyworked for a certain Heward Sechim, the very alchemist who had been called a humanist by Vantrys back on the Coaltongue.


(the players investigate the fence in the courtyard and come to the right conclusions that the fence is too far away to be reached by someone that fell out of the windows. They think that Nilasa tried to use some flying magic but was blind from the wound in her face and did not see the fence on which she got impaled.)


We order Nilasas corpse to be taken to the RHC for autopsy and Carlyle tells Auryn that because of his connection to the spirits, he is able to contact the deceased. When asked by Gabriel why she has "broken into" the embassy, Nilasa answered that she wanted to prove that the Danorans work on something that might harm Risur (Carlyle assured her that he only wants the best for Risur and also wants to bring those to justice who caused her death). When asked who she is working for, she says "for Gale".


Since we have not found any stolen evidence for suspicious Danoran activity with her, we suspect that she must either have an accomplice or that LeBrix has already taken it from her corpse. The next place for inquiries seems to be the shovelnose ray tavern where Brendan and Nilasa have met, so we head there. (The police apparently also has found no further clues… They will report later. The shovelnose ray tavern (the players never found the reference to the german kampfschwimmer emblem. I even gave hints and promised a reward if they looked it up but they never bothered.) is the Dockers tavern where the hip Docker artists meet their wealthy patrons and Auryn is very familiar with it. I changed the name of the tavern which Nilasa was supposed to frequent.)


Around noon, owner Tad Hilly, a waitress called Barb, "the band" and a group of students are present, the latter exchanging their thoughts loudly in the "Riot Room" upstairs. We explain to a very horrified Barb that Nilasa is dead and ask her whether she had bought sweets today. Since the grim news seems to take its toll on the old woman, we wait politely, while Tad treats us to a wine for the bad news and the prospect that we will investigate the case of their dead friend. Both the band and the students are attracted by the turmoil. At first, Hennet, a geologist (himself loudly arguing), complains that there is too much noise downstairs, which in turn alarms the band. When we want to ignore the two groups and ask the two tavern workers to tell us more about Nilasa, Hennet intervenes and asks us why we would have any authority to question people here. We declare that we are from the RHC and investigate the case of Nilasa, which apparently does not get us any sympathies. Hennet demand a discourse about authority with us (and apparently does not recognizes the deficiencies in his own claim). Auryn is piqued about his reasoning and behavior and tries to silence him with statements about Miller and the history of the kings Risur (without whom no human community in Risur could have ever been founded), and after a while he tells them that Nilasa asked for a letter in Crisillyiri highspeech, but he did not know exactly what she wanted. Carlyle concludes that this could be either a letter to an entrepreneur (La Familia? again a paranoid player who is astonishingly right) or to a Crisillyiri noble.
(Auryn did eventually return to Hennet to hand him a short, written essay on the nature of authority and why having laws and those who enforce them offers more protection to those who are weak than living in anarchy. She just didn't want to feel forced to act to some nosey boy's demands)


Both Tad and Barb sincerely tell us that Nilasa was a nice woman and we decide to ask the named bailiff about the bail that was paid for her. In the corresponding office the officers tell us that Nilasa's bail was paid by a certain Heward Sechim. Getting her out of jail was not that hard for him, as Nilasa only had a juvenile crime record. He would also have tried to free her alleged accomplices, Ford Sivghum and Travis Starter, who could not be released because of they had infringed the conditions of their probation. They had caught Nilasa in a tavern literally sitting on a box with valuable stolen property but could not prove that she knew of the box' contents. We thank the officers and head to the industrial district of Partiy Lake to visit Mr. Sechim.


On the way to Sechim's factory we see a number of protesters standing in front of groups of guards who are guarding some of the factories. Sechim's chemical factory is apparently not subject to strikes and the "doorman" leads us right to his boss, the young Heward Sechim. We learn that he is the grandson of the famous missing Skyseer, Nevard. Sechim expresses his dismay at Nilasa's death and tells us that he finally understands what his grandfather's vision meant: That an adopted daughter would fly to her death. As he leads us to Nilasa's old room, he tells us that the half-elf has been working for him for two years, and he hoped that she had finally ended her criminal career. He seems to be a humane employer, who appreciates his workers and teaches them properly before letting them do dangerous work. Since we are extremely sympathetic to him, and realize that he is facing financial troubles, we discuss spontaneous ideas about how he could exploit his quasi-monopolistic position in order to promote ethical entrepreneurs and to demand more from those who exploit or abuse their workers. He also tells us that his new "super acid" Alkahest had caused great interest and he had already been threatened by shadowy characters who were stinking like burnt oil. Moreover, even Stanfield wants to buy the stuff for a dumping price, which makes him seem suspicious. (I always wondered why the players reacted so strongly to Stanfield wanting to buy cheaper? He was instantly suspected to be involved in any conspiracy because of this.)


On the way from Sechim to the Lord of Law's office, we once again try to analyze what all the protesting is about. When we ask them, the protesters tell us that their family members are locked up in the factories to prevent them from striking. The police would not help them, on the contrary, some of the guards are actually police officers who are working a second job in their off time. We are indignant at these revelations, and decide to closely examine the guards and memorize their figures in order to raise appeals against them (we are sure that the officials of Risur have to swear an oath to protect its citizens just like we had to...). As the protesters do not seem to have enough money for an attorney, we are discuss the possible plan to direct the political activity of the students in the "riot room" to a more "productive" way. In addition, we are planning to go a similar way as prosecutor Starke could be more sympathetic to the worker's case if we do him a favor by giving him his ancestor's lost notebook.


At the Judiciary Office, we are told that we should head to the port if we want to question the prisoners Starter and Sivghum, since the two are facing their sentence aboard Goodson's prison ships. Shortly afterwards we witness a strange encounter of the Lord of Law with a Crisillyiri businessman, whom seem to have a private meeting. (I interduced Mr. Cippiano and the players later wondered what the not so evil „Don“ had to discuss with the lord judge? As they almost love and definitely respect Cippiano they never bothered to investigate. *grin*) Since it is already too late to get on supply ships to the prison fleet that day (and even Delft has already left his office), we decide to call it a day.


This evening, Carlyle visits Lord Vantrys to have a talk with him. Vantrys still seems to be doing business with Goodson, but he is trying to heed Carlyle's advice to part from him as soon as possible. He seems to have jumped onto the current "fencers" trend and declares that he wants to join other young men in the evening. Carlyle advises him to think about the stories of the Ragman and also about his rank as a nobleman.


(Carlyle knows the fencer movement to be a historical reoccurring homosexual movement and does not approve but denies any knowledge. *grin*)


The next morning until we try to give meeting Lebrix a try and so we wait in the indicated cafe till noon. (i feel that Stray River is where immigrants from Crisillyir live in greater numbers. Its not a "coincidence" that Mr. Cippiano owns the above mentioned cafe)
Unfortunately he doesn't show up. But who we do see again is the Crisillyiri man who met the Lord of Law yesterday. He is frequented by shady people who report their finished orders to him. Because of the overall situation, Carlyle concludes that "Don Cippiano" has to be a higher ranking member of La Familia. We wonder what he could have discussed with the Lord of Law ...


Next we go to the alchemists in Pine Island, who are supposed to have a shop next to a certain "house elf". The gnomish owner Ms. Waryeye (a descendant of Clan Millorn?) is very attentive and tells us that one actually needs a license for buying and selling invisibility potions (which Nilasa certainly did not have) and that a wandering alchemist from Ber had bought her signature herbal mixture recently. Since to us it is obvious that Nilasa wouldn't have gone to a proper alchemist without owning a license, we leave the gnomes uninvestigated for the time being. (the players were shocked that the gnome seemed impervious to their 30+ sense motive checks and complained about a design flaw … a professinal alchemist having a access to potion of glibness seems unfair really … *mildly but friendly sarcastic* ) (it wasn't so much the potion, but the fact that glibness was a level 3 bard spell which would have required a lv 7 bard for creation and was worth a whopping 1000GP which she digested just because she was being "cautious" which raised our brows ;) )


At the harbor's police station, we tell the officials that there might be a corpse in the harbor basin, which does not surprise them at all ("has been happening very often lately" I jumped at the oppurtunity to use the classic line of the mafia member reporting to the Don: „he sleeps with the fish“). We are barely catching the transfer boat to the prison fleet and are a bit surprised that Goodson's son introduces himself as the prison's director. We explain to him that the prisoners maybe should be taught to read first before they are given books and then let him lead us to the moldy cells of Ford and Travis. With the prospect of being allowed visitors (the friends of Ford and the son of Travis), as well as being moved to a brighter cell, we get to learn more about Nilasa's plans: The half-elf got "a lot of money from the Fey" from Gale. She had planned to buy a box full of wands (possibly from the Familia? are all players so paranoid?) with which she wanted to pull off a bigger action. To this end, she wanted to meet up with her contacts and the house elf at the Bayou of Pine Island on the 4th or 5th (the two prisoners have contradicted each other one was reported to have been drinking more heavily). We decide to pass on the negotiated benefits for the two prisoners to the judges concerned and to look for further information.
 
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Keep it up.

I want to make sure I understand. The green parentheticals are the players' comments, and the blue ones are yours as GM?
 

Tizbiz

Explorer
Keep it up.

I want to make sure I understand. The green parentheticals are the players' comments, and the blue ones are yours as GM?
Yes, but some of my comments are on the ironical side. Not to be taken really seriously. *friendly grin*

And some meaning could be distorted because of the translation from german. The last post still need some editing to be readable.

PS: The editing is mostly done now.
 
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Ja. Ich spreche kein deutsch.

That's about the limit of what I learned when I went to Bremen, Berlin, and Dresden in 2015.

Oh, and ein bier, bitte.
 

Tizbiz

Explorer
Ja. Ich spreche kein deutsch.

That's about the limit of what I learned when I went to Bremen, Berlin, and Dresden in 2015.

Oh, and ein bier, bitte.
the last sentence is the most important to know in germany as long as your liver is up to drinking. *lacks the enzyme to digest alcohol properly* I miss drinking bier more often with my friends.
 

Tizbiz

Explorer
Since we are still concerned about the security of Heward Sechim, we visit the police station responsible for the security of Parity Lake. We are shocked to hear that the local officials have apparently very little knowledge of ​​the worker's situation in the factories and hardly patrol there. (well, depends who pays for them avoiding certain places. I know, that my industrial places look like a extremly poverty ridden Charles Dickens horror story ... sorry).According to the police, there are extremely few reports of mistreatment, blackmail, or arson, and we are trying our best to set the picture of the actual situation straight for the officials. We also officially demand police protection for Sechim and his factory as he is obviously being blackmailed and threatened.

Next, we head towards Cloudwood to perhaps gain the opportunity to talk to Sechim's grandfather, Nevard. On our way to the old Skyseer, however, we hear the sounds of gunfire. We decide that we, being the only officials of Flint present at this place, cannot simply ignore what might be happening nearby. Behind the next hill, we witness a strange scenery: a carriage which is about to slide down a slope and is already spiked with arrows is being shot at with arrows from two sides. Meanwhile the carriage's passengers fire back with pistols. Additionally, a panic woman is screaming for help from inside the carriage. As we suspect a case of robbery, we reveal ourselves as agents of the RHC. This doesn't seem to win us any friends on either side. (the astonished look in the partys eyes was priceless as both groups opened fire on the RHC agents) In order to prevent the carriage from crashing down, Auryn sends an invisible servant to give the horse a friendly push in the right direction (invisible servants cannot carry that much, but an unforseen "pat" on the backside works wonders) and we agree to take care of the attackers as gently as possible. After having "pacified" the first group of outlaws, we take the opportunity to ask the leader of the bandits, a certain Renard (hey Woodsman, where are your Black Horse Mercenaries? ;) ), who doesn't cease calling for a certain "Morena", why he is attacking the carriage at all. It takes a bit back and forth with angry Renard and the hazy situation becomes much clearer: Morena, the screaming, but rather defensive lady in the coach, is actually the fiancée of Renard. Morena was abducted as an act of revenge for "interfering in the affairs" of the carriage's owners (judging from their looks they seem to be gang menbers of Flint), so Renard and his people wanted to rescue her and kill the criminals for their crimes. Little by little, we try to negotiate a deal which might prevent a lot of bloodshed: Morena is returned to Renard and his people (the bandits vastly outnumber the criminals thanks to reinforcements and Morena's death would certainly end in a massacre) and we take the criminals into "protective custody" to protect them from Renard as he still wants to see them dead. Renard agrees on the deal and gives us the opportunity to lead the criminals away.

(one thing i learned from this encounter ... due to the party having only two players and negotiating instead of fighting i did not really notice that the two chars were at a higher level than the adventure would assume already and their chars were outright frightening effective in combat. The fight was a walk in the park .... i still decided to not change anything besides the maximising of Hit Points which is recommended for Gestaltcharacter campaigns. I want to avoid an arms race type of exploding experience and even faster level ups if i adjust the challenge rating of the attackers.)

We lead the carriage minus Morena to the local police station in the Nettles. The criminals are surprised that potective custody does not only include protection, but also custody, but cannot really resist their arrest. The bailiffs are not too happy about the prospect of having enemies of Renard in their cells. Still they promise that the criminals will be detained and interrogated and their identity proven. We especially encourage the young Steffen, who looks much more confident afterwards.

Next, we continue our journey towards the artists' camp in Cloudwood. As we learned from Nilasa's file that she had been living near Nevard's presumed retreat a year ago, we plan to use the opportunity to gather more information. On our way to the artist's community we are stopped by a group of people and druids who ask us of our whereabouts. Since we are not interested in revealing information about RHC affairs to possible members of a bandit group, we rebuff their questions as politely as possible. To get them off track, we venture into the undergrowth (both Auryn and Carlyle are used to the jungle) to take a long detour to the small community. (and there goes my attempt to reward them by having the druids guide them to Nevard. *grin* Paranoia reared its ugly head.)

The musicians and dancers of the artist enclave appear to be cheerful and friendly and seem to know Nilasa. We talk to one of her old acquaintances and tell her about Nilasa's accident, her contacts to "activists" and the job she had in Sechim's factory. The community's people invite us share a meal with them, which we gratefully accept. When an elf starts an old ritual dance of the maiden aspect of Srasama, Carlyle appears strangely kicked out, as if someone had hypnotized him. When Auryn jokingly shakes him up the "spell" that seemed to have put him in trance dissipates . As she remembers the rituals of her past, Auryn joins the elf in her dance but forgoes further "fascinations".

Gradually, we start talking about Nevard and people finally believe that we are true "acquaintances" of Heward Sechim - not just people who abuse his name to get to famous Nevard. We find that the artists and inhabitants of Cloudwood are all more or less connected to Renard's gang and that they use to defend each others. They tell us that we have been put under observation, as they were being cautious. But now they are pretty sure we are all right. In addition, we should turn to the druids who protect Nevard for further information. So we make our way to the druids who had previously come to Renard's help (and asked us of our whereabouts) and learn that we should meet up with them next morning. Auryn proposes to camp in order to not to lose any time, but Carlyle is less enthusiastic about her plan as he longs for his own bed and his home. So we agree to go home together (Auryn does not want to stay with people she doesn't know, at least not on her own).

In the night, Carlyle is spied on by a raven and he isn't really amused by the fact that the avian is watching him constantly. He quickly catches the raven in a sack and locks the protesting bird in his closet. (poor raven was only doing his job)

The next morning, Auryn gives her perplexed looking colleague a golden calla as a gift (a mean of thanking him for the long hours of training/distracting her from darker thoughts. Reference to Calla Aurea, which is her alter ego and also the botanical name for her favorite flower). Carlyle, however, is eyeing the plant suspiciously, since it can also be used to extract mentally influencing substances. Auryn suspects the Raven might be a druid's companion, and so we decide to release the bird again, as he will have learned his lesson.

On our way to the office, we - again - hope to meet LeBrix at the cafe, but only see Cippiano, who keeps a favorable eye on the beginning construction of a nearby boule train. (the players asked me to give more life to reoccurring npc and i thought a villain with a clean criminal record would engage in community work) In the RHC, we commission the observation of the alleged Familia member and mention that Cippiano converses mainly in the common language of Crisillyir. We take a closer look at the freshly arrived police report on the case of Nilasa and get a description of her possible contact who received papers from her before her death: He is described to be a man with a goatee who has disappeared in the Heringsgasse and left a strangely smeared puddle of blood there. A coachman also told the police that this alleged "doctor" wanted a ride to the "house of the blue birds" where he disappeared without paying him. As we have an appointment with the druids, we decide to check up on the doctor later. We also learn that the figure who shot at Nilasa was shrouded in shadows and had a glittering revolver (?) in his hands. As this person was nowhere to be found, we suspect that he/she might have disappeared via magic.

We meet with the druids who show us the way to Nevard. The Raven is also present and eyeing Carlyle suspiciously. (the raven and Mr. Carlyle will never be friends, how sad.)Together, we walk to a tent which is placed next to a stone circle. Nevard is actually a more than ancient Skyseer who seems to be proud of his grandson Heward's accomplishments. He tells us that he might be able to get us in contact with Gale but asks us to do him a favor first: he wants to get a last vision as he feels like his death might be upon him. For this vision, he wants to use his last remaining power to go all the way up to Cauldron Hill, as only there he can have an clear view on the stars. He tells us that he hopes to bring all people of Flint together and, with the help of his vision, create a better future for everyone. We consider this a noble project and agree with his plan. However, since we have heard and seen terrible things from Cauldron Hill, we first want to pay a visit to mayor Reed MacBannin's house, as he should know how to deal with dark magic. Also, we know that we'd need his consent to explore the hill. Nevard agrees to this and names us a contact, to whom we are to report if we want to pick him up.

Then we go to the estate of the mayor, a spacious, well-tended area, which is particularly charming to Auryn. MacBannin's butler asks for our patience while he tells his master that RHC agents are looking for his help. On this occasion, we meet a mysterious, slender man who seems to be a bit absent minded and philosophizes in monologue about the current condition of Flint. When he notices our our present, he offers us a leaf of Nicodemus which we thankfully accept. Dragging us into his philosophical musings, he seems to see the world in a state of perpetual chaos, which desperately calls for a new world order. He asks us about our thoughts on the aspirations and aims of the population of Flint and how one could serve them best. Carlyle sharply rejects the trend of gaining power through money, which he considers to be an illegitimate way to accumulate political influence, and states his fears that in the near future wars could be waged purely for profit. Auryn sees a problem in the fact that many people only have their own interests and points of view in mind and thus see everything that does not belong to their own sphere as some sort of enemy. She pleads for exchanging experiences and to let people seek their happiness. The three of them can roughly agree on the thought that people need benevolent, sensible leaders who are altruistic enough to not only pursue their own interests. At his departure, the mysterious man reveals himself as Doro.

(unexpectedly at least to me the players instantly liked Doro and thought he was "cool")

Shortly thereafter we are greeted by MacBannin. The mayor asks us for the reason why we'd want to visit the hill and we tell him about Nevard's concerns. MacBannin tells us that we should start our journey during the day and have our camp fixed before nightfall. In addition, we would have to wear amulets for protection and stay in circles drawn with the blood of animals, which can distract evil spirits. In any case, however, we should start and end our journey at his estate. He also advises us to maybe go up this the same day, as the weather is just favorable. Plus, we should make sure to have protection against the unnatural cold which haunts the mountain's top at night. We agree to this and decide to quickly buy some equipment and then to contact Nevard.

(nice day ... lots of roleplaying and negotiations. Rewarding but no big surprises this session)
 
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Tizbiz

Explorer
We venture to the inner city to shop for crucial equipment for our trip to Cauldron Hill as we'd like to make is as safe as possible. Just when we finished shopping, it is clear to us "out of the blue" that Nevard will probably need a while to reach his contact by foot / mule. (Obviously players misread signs sometimes. Macbanning telling them “ist not raining the next days” does not mean “almost dying Neward ist ready to race to Cauldron Hill” on short notice. It even is the name of this adventure.). Since we assume that the weather will stay calm for the next few days, we decide to spend the rest of the time investigating Nilasa's contacts. After we pick up the report of the blood analysis (the name of the bloods owner was missing, because I was not really prepared for the spell and needed a quick solution without giving away too much information that early. Later their new NPC assistant told them that it was odd that the name was missing and did a new test.), we travel to the “blue birds” pension and ask for the whereabouts of the mysterious doctor. The pension's receptionist tells us that the man, Dr. Wolfgang von Recklinghausen had departed 2 days ago and seemed to have been in a hurry.( I wonder if Recklinghausen is based on the von Recklinghausen M.D. family...) She tells us that Recklinghausen was a Danoran citizen (actually from one the malice states but the maid did not know this information and the players never bothered to ask at the embassy) who had planned an excursion to Ber and therefore had to name two people as "contacts" who could vouch for him: a colleague, Dr. Barnaby Camp and a human biologist from Pardwright University, Lynn Kindleton. Otherwise he had been a very nice and generous man. She is willing to take us to his vacant room, where he has left some of his traveling equipment behind. Therefore we suspect that he will not have left the city yet and might be hiding somewhere else. Unfortunately, we cannot gain any more clues from his equipment as some documents are clearly missing. The receptionist also tells us of a policeman, a certain Mr. Porter, who had come to the pension two days ago and asked for the doctor as well. This guy did smell strangely like burnt oil and after a bit of searching we find a handkerchief with an oily "blood residue" in a trash can which could belong to the man the doctor supposedly attacked.

Since we suspect that either Porter or the doctor would have taken the missing documents with them, we go to the corresponding police station and ask for their colleague Porter. However, we quickly realize that there is no police officer with his name working there. (there was a young errand boy working for the police force who was called when they asked for a Mr. Porter working for the police) When we study the report on the blood analysis, we find that the blood has to belong to an augmented human being who has been attacked by Recklinghausen. Since Porter is nowhere to be found, we decide to visit the two contacts of Recklinghausen, as we suspect that they might know more about his whereabouts or have even given him shelter.

Camp, who is maintaining a medical practice nearby can not help us much further, but describes the earlier work of Recklinghausen and mentions that he is in the process of combining healing, magic and alchemy. Apparently Recklinghausen achieved pretty amazing results. He had been on his way to Ber and had good contacts with Lynn. He also tells us that a certain Porter visited him earlier and we ask him not to give the man any more information since he is definitely not a Risuri police officer. Instead, he should immediately report back to the RHC or the next police station should Porter return to him.

Our path leads us to Pardwright University where Lynn seems to be in a practical pathological exercise. After dismissing her students, she shows herself to be unusually repellent and anxious. She agrees to accompany us to the RHC, but would only like to talk to us there. We guess she that Porter already paid her a visit and is therefore overly careful. After arriving at the RHC, Lynn realizes that we are actual RHC agents. In our office, she tells us that her highly esteemed Dr. Recklinghausen, with whom she had studied together at the university (and with whom she is obviously in love Never really understood where that impression came from but I went with it as the players mentioned it. Lynn and the Dr. got to be a couple later and left for a honeymoon in Ber.) has recently gone undercover. However, she was able to keep in touch with him via written letters. We offer her to stay in our office, if she is afraid of Porter, but ask her to send a letter to Recklinghausen in our name. She agrees to hand over the letter "at the usual address" (the butchery under her flat) and to describe "both agents of the RHC " as trustworthy people. As her letters are always picked up in the morning, we decide to call it a day.

On our way home, Carlyle decides to pay “our” street cafe a visit. There he is watching the man we only know as "Don Cippiano" as he plays boule with a group of children. After a while, Cippiano decides to sit next to Carlyle, but the two do not exchange other words than a polite "good evening".

Auryn changes into her leisure clothes and heads to Riot-Room philosopher Hennet. She tells him in private that she does have an interest in philosophy, but she does not want to be compelled or put on display. In addition, she has kept both her identity and occupation a secret, as, being an Eladrin, she has a lot to lose. Therefore does not want to risk someone being able to have a complete picture of her too quickly. Hennet seems to understand and Auryn suggests that the students might be able to use their commitment and money for a good cause: to find a good lawyer who might help the strikers / trapped workers. She hands him her essay on the necessity of authority (laws protect the weak and authorities ensure that they are implemented; in an anarchy only the strongest rule. For more details, take a look at the actual essay). Furthermore, she discusses the possibility of a charity concert for financial support for the workers with Thames Grimsley.

The next morning we trace the very complicated path of Lynn's letter back to a warehouse and the headquarters of the Kell Guild, the Scoundrel's Theater. (I made the letter pass a lot of different hands so the players saw the extend of the networking of the enemy yet it failed to impress the players as they felt they could corner the gang boss on its own turf. I even made a point to let the players overhear a conversation of red scarfed gangers leaving the theater of scoundrels that they are at “war” with the RHC) As the letter is nowhere to be found, but we are still sure that Kell and his guild have to know its content, we decide to perform a surprise attack through an upstairs window. Our target is the guild's leader, Lorcan Kell. We plan to wait until there are only a small number of guild members with him, rush to him and hold him at gunpoint. Or swordpoint. (both players specialise in melee only and it is a running gag that they should buy some guns soon) This way, we might use the brief element of surprise to get information from Kell and run for it before he can summon reinforcements. When Kell's crooks start beating up the “artists” at the stage, we see an opportunity to both sneak up on Kell and maybe stop their brutal act. Unfortunately, the crooks are more attentive than suspected, and we are quickly surrounded by Kell's men. The situation seems pretty tense, but luckily we can convince Lorcan Kell to dissolve the whole affair without bloodshed as he seems to be interested in establishing contacts within the RHC (and having dead constables would be considered a very bad start). We quickly realize that he knows where the missing doctor is, but Kell demands a compensation for his important knowledge. Since he is apparently waging a secret war with the Familia, he suggests that we could do him some favors regarding the Familia's bravuras. But as we are not interested in dragging the RHC into a feud with an international crime organizations, we politely deny his request. Instead, Auryn proposes to perform in private for the "obvious art enthusiast" (although she is more than just disgusted at the thought of entertaining such a creep), but the Guild's leader would rather see 10,000 gold. We explain that negotiating sums this high is far above our pay grade and that we'd have to discuss this matter with our superiors first. (Glad we made it out alive... plus Auryn was utterly afraid that Kell might recognize her being an Eladrin. Oh, I missed that business opportunity completely)

When we are back in the RHC and present our case to Delft, he categorically rejects paying Kell for information, but he agrees to observe the area around the Scoundrel's Theater.

Since the "event" will probably take place at the Bayou on the evening of this day, we decide to take a look at the mysterious “house elf” beforehand. The house elf turns out to be no elf at all, but a honeybadger-training gnome. The little guy starts tossing around snippets of knowledge of magic, animals, alchemy etc. at Auryn, which, to the gnome's surprise and delight is countered by her likewise broad knowledge. While the two are engaged in conversation, Carlyle takes the opportunity to search the house of the magician. He discovers various buckets of lightning powder, and a passage to the neighboring house , the shop of Ms. Waryeye, on the upper floor. In addition, Carlyle finds several undeclared alchemical vials in a vault. (he found some nasty traps to) When her colleague is finished with his examination, Auryn declares herself to be an acquaintance of Nilasa and starts talking about her grim fate. She tries to tell him that she'd promised to be Nilasa's replacement “in case of events” and that she wants to accompany him to the bayou. The gnome, however, rebuffs her, and after we leave him alone, he heads to his wife's house via the hidden passage under the roof. As Carlyle already expected such a move, we confront the two gnomes when they try to reach their carriage. After a brief exchange of charm spells (Carlyle manages to resist, but the gnome falls to Auryn's “you're my good friend” spell), the gnomes tell us that they would be expected at an exchange of money which would take place in the Bayou this evening. However, they are now too scared to take us with them, which is why we decide to head to Pine Island on our own (silly gnome could have put more effort into helping out her new dear friend...).

When we arrive at the pier in the Bayou, we discover a group of Risuri on a boat who are led by a Crisillyiri. After we've checked all our options (the piranhas in the water turn sneaking through the water into a very dangerous affair, distracting the piranhas could in turn alert the crooks ...), we decide to openly declare to be substitutes for the gnomes. After getting some side-eyes, the guys who seem to be members of the Familia take us with them on their trip to the Avery Islands. (After what happened in the Scoundrel's Theater, we thought that fighting 8 Familia bravuras wouldn't sound like a particularly healthy plan. Especially because from our point of view, the Familia seems to be the more powerful organization. They are smarter and far more likeable than the red scarfed Kell gangers.)

Near the Islands, we meet up with another ship. The other ship's crew hands the bravuras three chests containing special, universally usable wands in exchange for a total of 160,000 gold (150k in bills, 10k in gold pieces). After the transactions, the Familia members get back to the bayou and share some delicious chicken pasta with us and we befriend a nice bravura called Pietro. One of the three crates is handed over to some run-down people onshore, and we recognize some of them as Nevard's guardian druids. We are pretty sure that possible wand-based attacks or sabotages can be prevented after a conversation with Nevard and / or Gale and decide not to intervene (especially as the ship is still full of Familia members...).

The other boxes are driven by coach to a well-known cafe, where an equally well-known Don Cippiano is interested in who else is arriving alongside his two boxes. Since he seems obviously aware of who we are and who we work for, he greets us with a warm smile and invites us to a cup of very good coffee and small snacks. (he gave his bravuras a “we speak later of how you where fooled by the RHC” look) He explains that his people want to gain a foothold in this region and that he wants to gradually take root in Flint's underworld. But since the Familia represents certain moral principles, does not want to work at the expense of the ordinary people and would rather exploit rich people and other gangs, we agree that, for now we don't need to disturb Cippiano's work, as long as he refrains from endangering the peace and security of Risur. In addition we decide to give the Don a small crash course on the special characteristics of Flint. He tells us that he already made an agreement with Renard's people and will have to put up a fight with the Kell guild in the not so far future (again, no problem for us as we don't like these brutal creeps either). We ask him to keep an eye out for a certain Dr. Recklinghausen, and he promises to do what he can in this regard. We give him the advice to be careful when it comes to matters of the Fey (they might be heading towards a civil war now and we make sure he understands that Ethelyn's supporters are considered traitors) and look at the well connected Guy Goodson. He also asks us to be lenient with his "godchildren", the bravura, should they happen to kick over the traces. We say that we will not act against Risuri laws for his sake, but may put in a good word. By and large, we are under the impression that the Don Cippiano could be quite a decent man.

The next day, we are both surprised to find a small package containing a new espresso maker and a packet of good coffee at our doorstep. When we report the issue of our late-night meeting with the Familia to Delft, he does not seem to be averse to the agreement as long as Cippiano's men do not threaten the internal and external security of Risur. He also hands us forms for the "proper declaration of the received goods" (Carlyle was skeptical as to whether he could accept the gift, Auryn thought it would be an affront to not accept them and was already considering to give the Don a home-grown flower in return).

Around noon we finally meet LeBrix in the cafe. The long time of waiting for the danoran security chief finally pay off as he can tell us some new, albeit "purely hypothetical" findings: For example, that he was not even present in the embassy at the time of Nilasa's death. Therefore it had been impossible for him to shoot at her. He confirmed that both Nilasa and Recklinghausen have been frequently in the embassy, suggesting that Nilasa might have told the doctor about her plans. (she wants to tell, that the agents assume that them meeting was no coincidence and they where actually working together from the beginning which later proved to be wrong) When we ask him what kind of sensible documents she could have found in the embassy, LeBrix tells us about ownership documents and secret papers as well as his own investigations in some danoran factories, where strange incidents had taken place. He wanted to get to the bottom of the incidents and found small hidden vials containing a black, stinking liquid, especially in those factories where working conditions were particularly dangerous. However his superior, the ambassador, had prohibited further investigations and kept LeBrix' report in his safe (which Nilasa had then plundered). From his statements we also suspect that "Porter" could have had contact with the ambassador and also possibly shot Nilasa. (I felt early in the investigation that the players needed a success and had LeBrix be angry about being ordered to cover up the messy death of Nisala and LeBrix actually wanted to someone else to continue the investigation of the witch oil.)

We thank LeBrix for his hypotheses and report back to Delft. As a previous investigation about Porter had revealed that he might be a Risuri whose strange condition could stem from an accident, he asks us to continue our investigation in this direction (even if he really wants to let the presumed veteran have his peace). (The players asked … I think it was Lynn Kindleton … about altered humans assuming she knew about all kinds of biological oddities and I told them half jokingly that as a student she heard about forbidden human enhancement experiments and she suggested that the RHC could possibly have more information about secret government research … well, they asked Delft about the Project and Delft pulled out an old ledger with the title Project X … *pun on x-files intended* The file had some information about different former war research into human enhancement but ended with the new kings decree to end all research into “bleak magic” human enhancement) As for the vials, he is really worried. We discuss a couple scenarios that might justify a massive search in Parity Lake's factories without causing a panic, but we assume that we'd need another RHC division to discreetly examine the whole affair in a timely manner.
 
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Tizbiz

Explorer
Here is the essay Auryn mentions in the above post.

My dear fellow student Hennet,

considering both my professional capacity and my identity, I am sure you will forgive me for not having had much time for a longer tete-a-tete on your proposed discussion about the nature of authority. In order to perhaps lessen your disappointment a little, and to provide you an insight into both the enormous complexity of this philosophical chapter and my ways of thinking, I would like to propagate a thought experiment at this point which stems from the logic of Heid (and I know indeed that the postulation and the hypothetically resulting conclusions could be quite radical and almost millerish, but I would ask you to give it a try):

Let us take the question about why one party or person should been given the right to exercise authority at its root and pull it out so that hypothetically there is no authority of any person or organization left. Such an "order" appears to be quite desirable in the eyes of a free spirit: no one tells another what to do, and everyone is master of her own life. As a consequence, however, all rules, laws, and the enforcement of the same would have to be abandoned as the enforcement of laws requires a form of authority which no longer existed in that system. However, absence of authority does not necessarily mean a concurrent absence of power and influence, and both of them are no longer subject to any external regulations. Now who do you think would live under good and who under bad conditions in such a scenario? In my opinion, the only right that would still apply would be that which is made by might. And in a society like modern Risur, those who are mighty and powerful without lawful authority are all too often simply those who accumulate money and influence. Instead of a king of Risur and his officials, you would have the concentration of uncontrolled power on industrialists, traders, and rich nobility. The very same people who are already exploiting a good part of the citizens and migrants, the workers and the poor, the weak members of society. And now consider whether this kind of society is preferable to the current one?

By no means I want to imply that every society inevitably needs authorities to work well. In a purely altruistic society, in small communities and in families, the emotional ties between individuals are strong enough to prevent abuse and exploitation. But in a society lie Risur, we should focus on making sure that those who have power can exert it within certain boundaries. And we should ensure that those who control the distribution of power, the authorities, are people who are wise, far-sighted, righteous, and able to judge for the good of all. That they have diverse backgrounds and perspectives and are well prepared for their task. That they, like a good mother, find the balance between leniency and severity.

You do not need to agree with my point of view, but it would be my pleasure if you tried to understand it.

Auryn
 

Tizbiz

Explorer
Session 7

During our talk with Delft, he mentions that a further member from the special department was assigned to our team: Margit Stenz. He also explains that should we keep up our good work, he'd see a chance to establish a new Team 3. (As the players moved into the rooms of team three they felt their team was small. Preparing to start the campaign I made a List of Staff of the RHC and concluded that the constables which were mentioned in the adventure are the most senior agents and are working in teams one, two and three. Margit Stenz was an extra who was mentioned as a forensic expert in my notes and my players suggested that she would be suitable.)

When we return to the office, we welcome our new colleague who has previously been occupied with medical examinations and pathology. We find out that she was dissatisfied with the initial result of Porter's blood test. When we ask her to explain her dissatisfaction she mentions that the conducting lab assistant might be corruptible due to his passion for gambling. We therefore ask her to repeat the analysis in a timely fashion and forward her suspicion to Delft. We make sure he understands that it is only a suspicion and that the unclear blood test result could easily be caused by a lapse or a lack of competence. Meanwhile, Margit begins reading up our files on the investigation in the case of Gale. We tell her that we plan to accompany Nevard to Cauldron Hill on the same day and ask her to come with us. To our surprise, Margit seems fascinated rather than frightened by the idea of traveling to this historical place. She just leaves her little dog, Ripper, with Delft and he promises to take care of her pet (Delft doesn't seem to bother taking care for a dog? Maybe Ripper will catch him some Mimics? The players wanted Delft to be a more life filled character, so i started working on that part.).

We go to Nevard's contact person and the druid and the old Skyseer show us an ancient scroll, which is left over from the times of the witch war: With the help of the stored ritual on the scroll the vitality the ritual's participants can be transferred to a specified target, thus protecting this person like a shield. Also, the target is empowered by this combination of life force. We all feel a bit queasy at the thought of using this "evil" ritual. Margit and Auryn agree to support Nevard for the "greater good" under the condition that he keeps himself out of trouble and stays in the background. Carlyle, however, does not feel at ease with the thought to have someone like him, who has already been "revived" and infused with the essence of another being, participate in this ritual. Nevard's druid companion agrees to take Carlyle's place in the ritual and to accompany us on our journey.

We start our the ascent with a pack mule and our previously bought equipment and rations. Our first stop during the journey is the estate of Mayor MacBannin. The mayor hands us old rusty amulets, which are supposed to prevent becoming possessed by spirits and he advises us to never put them off. (I really hoped they would take the amulets off *grin*) After a few hours of climbing we actually reach the top of the mountain which towers above Flint. We sense that the atmosphere is dense with ancient spirits, and ask ourselves what the night might bring. Since we arrived very early, we use the time to search the hill for signs of danger or abnormalities and erect the camp for the night. We take a good distance from the old ritual stones and our investigation gets us an old, magical cauldron, which was apparently not used for dark rituals, but rather for cooking food (Carlyle seems to be interested in this relic for his alchemy). At dusk, we draw two protective circles around our camp (just in case...) and arm ourselves with blankets and spells against the expected cold.

After nightfall, we can observe the clear starry sky for the first time in a long time. But this peaceful aspect of our night at Cauldron Hill is rather short-lived as the spirits seem to come to life alongside the shadows. Strange creatures approach our camp, but are fortunately distracted by the circles of blood. Likewise, we are disturbed by haunts, mysterious noises and images which appear in front of us, but we manage to defend ourselves against their influence. Suddenly, a red curtain appears in the middle of our camp, through which the phantom of Nilasa speaks to us. She warns us that the man who killed her will come to us soon and then disappears.

After a while, a two-dimensional, shadowy creature arrives on the hill, which seems to easily get rid of the spirits and smells like burnt machine oil. To our surprise, this figure begins to throw ignited sunrods in the direction of our camp. We try to throw them back to where they came from before the rods' light draws too much of the spirit's attention towards us. Auryn shoots an arrow at the creature, but it does not seem to do much harm. When the figure appears once more at the edge of our circle wards and takes on physical form, its haunted existence is ended by two focused slashes of Carlyle's kukris. (I intended to quickly undo the circle of blood and have Mr. Creed vanish into the night. But two incredibly brutal critical hits killed the poor witch oil infused “Porter” despite adding a ridiculous amount of hit points to this stats. I was really worried what this will do to the adventure but it was not so bad an event. My dear Storytellers: beware of him getting near the blood circle because players will kill him!) The remains of the sunrods, the smell, and Nilasa's warning make us conclude that this figure must have been Porter.

Because of the turmoil, the other spirits are now drawing attention to us and start to head towards the circles. However, thanks to Margit Stenz's nature magic (channel energy), we are able to let them dissipate. Bigger enemies are brought down by well-aimed blows of Auryn and Carlyle. After the fight, all who were connected to Nevard via ritual share a vision of dancing flames which set fires to Parity Lake and some of the adjacent factories (including Heward Sechim's chemical factory). In all this chaos, some workers are caught in the collapsing factories. It becomes instinctively clear to us (except Carlyle) that this event might take place the next morning, so we hurry down the mountain, fend off some stray spirits and directly head to MacBannin's manor. The mayor is surprised that we are back this early and performs the necessary cleansing ritual on us in his dressing gown. He doesn't ask any further questions though. We part from Nevard and his companion, and Nevard promises to send word to us as soon as he has learned more about the meaning of his visions.

We run to Parity Lake as fast as we can and hurry to Sechim's factory. There we find the some of his workers, as well as an utterly tired Sechim, who is wondering what all this commotion is about. We tell Heward about the vision of his grandfather and he spontaneously agrees to help us to search the factory for explosives. As Auryn enters the factory hall with Sechim, Carlyle takes much more interest (and suspect) in the morning cabbage delivery (my players made continuously puns about cabbages after this incident which is a reoccurring joke in some anime), and wants to examine the crates in front of the factory. He is very surprised when a man wants to stab him in the back. (My cabbages! At first I thought that Carlyle searching the cabbage crate was meant as a joke for the cabbage man/Cabbage Corp. from the Avatar-verse but he was actually being serious).

It turns out that the supposed fire devils are actually two dragonborn and one human. One of them had been hiding on the roof of the factory and is about to throw a kind of fire bolt. As he sees the danger ahead, Carlyle teleports up the roof, despite the fact that two guys with a knife and a greatsword still loom around the cabbage crate, and deals with the wizard. Auryn, who has quickly come to his aid, takes care of the fighter with the greatsword in his stead and together they take care of the last attacker. (Carlyle throwing his kukri at one of the thugs as part of his dual wield attack after downing the wizard to save Auryn from an imminent stab was pretty awesome in retrospect ) (I hoped that attacking the single player at the cabbage cart would add some pressure but the fight was really short and I could not even scratch the players once).

The arsonists are sent to the RHC for interrogation, and we encourage the local police to rigorously search the surroundings of Parity Lake on a large scale. Since we can now credibly proof the acute danger, we arrange to evacuate all workers from the factories until further notice. (the players used this excuse to free the workers in the factories who were kept prisoners by the factory owners.)

Totally overtired, we head back home, but we agree to climb up Cauldron Hill again the next day as soon as possible in order to interrogate Porter's spirit with the help of Carlyle's spirit conversation.

The next morning, Auryn takes one of her newly grown plants to her favorite cafe. She gives the flower to a waitress and asks her to hand it over to the cafe's owner (Don Cippiano) as a means to thank him for his gift. After that the three constables meet up in the office and Margit Stenz performs another examination of the blood of Porter (this time with a fresh sample). Her results surprises us, as she writes down a long list of names – people from which "Porter" must have been composed. (thank you, Ranger Wickett! I actually wrote 150 names on a paper *grin*) We suspect that Porter (or whoever the man originally was) took the spirits and their energy from Cauldron Hill, and used their essence to strengthen his own. (his powers coming from being strongly infused with witch oil was largely the players brain child and resulted from their inquiries about human augmentation) We arrange to compare the names of Margit's list with the data of the registration offices to the last few centuries, in order to differentiate between old and new names (and perhaps to clarify Porter's original identity).

Next we go back to the place where we camped last night. MacBannin is surprised to see us again this soon, but nonetheless prepares us for the ascent. On top of the hill, Carlyle connects with Porter's spirit. He tells us that he has worked together with "the true patriots and the greedy" and wanted to help them build "a weapon for the king", but would not know any other plans … (MacBaninn's words coined the term “true patriots” as the name of the conspiracy and the players asked themselves if there might be a connection to the incident in the first adventure)

His statements suggest that he must have been part of a much bigger plan. We head back to the RHC to interrogate the guys we arrested the night before. Since the dragonborn wizard appears to be the most intelligent of the three, we begin our interrogation with him. We quickly realize that the guy is a grown pyromaniac. With the prospect to receive the minimum penalty for arson, he tells us that he has carried out precise arson on various buildings over the years. Because he mentions the fact that he had to make sure to not damage sensitive equipment in the factories (and this objects were often heavy machinery), we conclude that these actions should press the original owners into selling their damaged factories. (Gale was credited for most of the sabotage anyways and the arsons were an addition to the crimes she is accused of) After a while, he names us a certain dwarf, Eccleston, as his contact and describes a veteran ring, which this man would always carry with him. Further research shows that the damaged factories were all bought by different people. However, some of the buyers are people we would not consider to be creditworthy. Carlyle is horrified when finds that six of the factories have previously been property of Lord Vantrys, and thus his Lord, too, is a victim of the conspiracy. We mandate a complete check of the buyers and decide to personally look for the dwarf. In addition, we order that the pyromaniac must be kept under observation after serving his prison sentence, since we consider a subsequent offense to be very probable.

In front of the RHC building, we meet a small, magical canary which is sent to us as a messenger from Gale. We tell the birdie that we would suggest meeting Gale the next morning, which in turn makes the bird follow us inconspicuously (Auryn jokes about the fact that Carlyle must somehow exert a certain attraction to birds ...).

In the evening we go to a harbor pub in Bosum Strand, where Eccleston used to meet with the two dragonborn brothers. Unfortunately, the dwarf does not appear (we assume, because Sechim's factory did not burn down). To our surprise, we meet Pietro again who has come here to look for more clues about our missing Dr. von Recklinghausen. He tells us about rumors that the "wanted person" could be hiding in a building in the Nettles, but he also invites us to his (hopefully successful) engagement party. We wish him good luck with his engagement and tell him that we will contact him or his people after an important date tomorrow and that we are really grateful for his efforts.

The next morning we ask the canary to take us to his mistress. The animal takes us far out of town past the wedding falls (Mr. Carlyle remembers arranging several of his former Lords weddings near the waterfall) up to an idyllic river. There Gale is already looking out for us and she seems initially very wary. Auryn first makes it clear that they do not plan to arrest her and that they also do not believe that she is responsible for all terrorist attacks which happened over the last time (in fact, the factory fires have to be accounted to the pyromaniac ...). We still advise her not to pursue her goals so aggressively and destructively, and Auryn also mentions that there are "people" who are loyal to the old values and true ways ​​of Risur and who want to promote the peaceful coexistence of Fey and humans and who may have different, more subtle ways to protect the people she cares for. She gives her the mirror she received from Old Stag, but she can not explain exactly how to use the mirror to make contact with him.

About Nilasa, Gale tells us that the half-elf wanted to investigate a worrying suspicion: some time ago, Gale had contact with a creature named Elik, who took her to the Bleak Gate to show her something strange. There she saw heavy activity and lights in the shadow realm version of the Nettles, although the actual inhabitants of this plane would not need any light. She guessed that the people came from our world and would use the secrecy of the Bleak Gate to build something in secret. Nilasa would then take a closer look at the Danorans for her, since her initial suspicion had fallen upon them. Gale does not know much more about the Gate, but she knows a spell which allows us to track and detect increased concentrations of planar energies. She offers to share this magic with us.

Under these circumstances, Auryn expresses a suspicion that she has had for several days now: that a group of Danoran industrialists (Goodson is dismissed from suspicion because the purchases of the factories are too subtle to be his work) might be working on a war weapon despite the official political position of Danor of making peace with Risur. Apparently this plan plays out at the expense of Risuri entrepreneurs and workers (the witchoil which needs sacrifices to be fueled). Because of her personal history, she suspects the involvement of Fordren, especially because of his company's books they found in an abandoned factory on Axis Island. Carlyle does not consider her idea too far-fetched, but adds his suspicion that "greedy Risuri" might also have an interest in stirring conflict and encouraging rearmament of both Danor and Risur. What makes them even more worried is the fact that, right now, they can not even leave out their own governor of their theory. (The players later analyze the sort of goods the burning factories where producing and got a hunch that the “true patriots” are building a second iron clad warship.)
 
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Tizbiz

Explorer
Session 8-1 (this was a longer session will be narrated two parts)

As we continue talking to Gale, she tells us that she has never heard the name von Recklinghausen before. We explain to her that Nilasa has apparently trusted him enough to give him the evidence she had stolen from the Danorans before. On what is actually motivating her acts of sabotage she explains that she is afraid that Risur might become a second Danor. We are trying to convince her that further sabotages might not be in her best interest, as she already got a lot of negative press. Any further actions could mean that we could be forced to go against her even if we don't want to. We tell her that we know about her deal with the Familia and also about our good contacts with them. Likewise, we promise her to solve the case of Nilasa's murder, so that her friend did not die in vain. We also clarify that the Danorans (with the exception of the Ambassador) have nothing to do with the incidents, as their own factories were sabotaged and “stolen”. We ask Gale to make sure she and her people will use the wands for self-defense only. We also ask her to let the dust settle over the whole affair as we investigate the backgrounds of the conspiracy.

Auryn tries to get the Eladrin into a more personal conversation. She explains that she regrets not having paid more attention to her during a brief encounter at a party a year ago and that people with stories similar to hers have already fond true friends among the Risuri. She asks Gale about her magic and how she could flee from the Danorans, but Gale only points to a "mysterious helper" to whom she owes both her magic and her freedom. Auryn tells her about her own friend at the navy, thanks to whom she could escape captivity and with whom shares a strong connection. It also turns out that both women are descendants from originally rivaling ancestors, but at least in Auryn's opinion that doesn't have to be an obstacle for having a good relationship with each other.

Gale asks for more time, and she shows a boulder as a means to get in contact with her. She tells us to place the message on the rock. We plan to get her a bottle of witchoil and some further information, and say good-bye to her. (The players were very passionate and managed to convince Gale to lay low for a while as they were promising that they are working to get overall better treatment for the Factory workers. Gale will stop her attacks on the factories for a while.)

On the way back to the RHC, Auryn asks for Carlyle's support for the two upcoming social events (Pietro's engagement and, more importantly, the royal wedding), as she does not have much knowledge about the course of such events in Risur. She suspects that the Deva will have centuries of experience and hopes that he might give her a crash course in Risuri weddings and engagements. She explains that she could also contact Milena Dawkins for more information should that be more reasonable or appropriate. To Carlyle's bewilderment, she doesn't seem to understand why a “ritual of engagement” would be that important at all. When he clarifies the meaning of an engagement, the two get into a discussion about the nature of marriage their two cultures. Carlyle is a bit appalled about the fact that Eladrin "marry" solely on the basis of an appropriate heredity and matching abilities of the couple (which, to him, seems a bit like a breeding program). Auryn tries to comfort his disturbed thoughts with the explanation that no one is really forced to have children despite the fact that new daughters are necessary fur her race's survival. He is also disturbed by the idea that Eladrin do not recognize biological paternity and therefore do not grant the "true father" of a child any particular position in rearing that child (Husbands are looking after their wife's children equally). Auryn doesn't seem to have questioned the whole affair too much and declares that neither of the husbands is to be preferred to prevent jealousy (even if obviously not all husbands stick to the rules…).Also, in a traditional marriage one would never know who the “true father” was. Furthermore, she sees children born out of wedlock as a "luxury" (a statement which, in turn, is vehemently contradicted by Carlyle) because they are obviously not born out of rational decisions, but out of affection. She also admits that there are such children in their society and that they are indeed accepted (unplanned children are better than no children after all); A sign that biology does not always adhere to the expectations of ceremonies and rules. The two also talk about Zahir, Auryn's "branch brother," who wanted to accompany her on her journey and who was killed by pirates. Auryn comes to the conclusion that she is torn between accepting that Zahir made his own decisions and the fact that he had lost his life as a consequence. In the end she thanks her colleague for the exchange and offers him her sympathetic ear as well, should he feel the need for such a conversation, as she really likes him now. (Auryn ist very passionate and its rather obvious if something moves her feelings. Gabriel on the other hand does not like to speak about his own feelings.)

Back in the RHC headquarters, we report to Delft. He is a little annoyed (rage attack ;)) at the fact that we met with Gale but did not arrest her. We tell him that Gale can provide us with important information that could be of great importance to the safety of Flint and Risur, and that we in fact have more than enough evidence (and soon, a written statement) that she is not responsible for the fires. Delft understands our position, but makes sure to let us know that Gale has currently attracted an extremely bad press which is fired by affected industrialists. We report on our "agreement" with her and explain that she will keep a low profile in the future. We also ask Delft whether he sees a (legal, official) way to repay her debt. We suggest that she might make a financial donation as part of her compensation (alongside a statement of why she had originally committed her deeds? Money's the only language those industrialists seem to understand...). Delft finds this idea reasonable and we write a corresponding message to Gale and plan to let Margit deliver it the next day with of the witch oil vials on top at the agreed rendezvous point.

Because we are about to ask Pietro for a way to the chapel in the Nettles where the Familia is currently suspecting our missing doctor, Carlyle has to cancel Nymeia's invitation for tea (a subject Auryn knows nothing about). (Poor Nimea gets rejected again. Gabriel did not event tell Auryn that Nimea has invited him several times.) Together we go to Stray River, where we meet the cheerful bravura together with his future fiancee, Venezia, in their new bakery. (its a sweets shop selling chrisillyir confections and cakes and it is a means of laundering money from Pietro's not so lawful earnings :cool:) The young woman does not seem to be too happy about her fiancee's business (I guess, she means that Venetia was not happy about a unearthly beautiful eladrin turns up to chat with her boyfriend and stealing her time with him), but seems obviously very attached to the pretty boy. Pietro describes the way to the hideout in the Nettles and we use the next-best taxi cab for a ride. On our way we meet up with Nevard's druid acquaintance and tell him to send us his raven if he has news regarding Nevard's vision and his plans.

Fortunately, we indeed find a small chapel in the described place, which was once built by the Clergy. It seems like it was later abandoned by the missionaries, and is built directly into a rock wall. We meet a little boy who is standing in front of the chapel, talk to him, and after a while he tells us that his family is currently having a "guest" who is paying them a little money as compensation. We offer the boy's family some money and ask them to look for a secure shelter elsewhere. They gratefully accept our offer and tell us that there are a total of 6 people present in the chapel. With this information, Auryn and Carlyle decide to sneak in and knock off one of the guards first, before surprising the other 5. Among them is a pretty defensive Dr. von Recklinghausen, and it seems that the guy is totally oblivious to the fact that he has been some sort of hostage for his Kell guards all the time (he also plays a very sweet violin!). (Auryn apparently instantly fell for Dr. Recklinghausen who looks good and ist brave and even ready to sacrifice himself for his friend Dr. Lynn.) After knocking down the Kell guildies, Recklinghausen seems to be utterly afraid that we could be “his nemesis”, so he carefully touches us with his rapier, but is then surprised that none of us turns into a shadowy being. We tell him that "Porter," that very shadowy creature he is so afraid of, has been dead since his attack on our expedition and that we have been looking for him ever since Lynn told us about him. The doctor seems relieved about this revelation and tells us that he had been involved in an incident in a danoran witchoil test facility, where a risuri agent had conducted a special ops mission against them and everything had blown up as a result. The agent had been badly disfigured and had tried to kill Recklinghausen. After this incident, he had committed himself to research methods of non-magical healing and was later horrified when the man “in a butcher's apron” who attacked him in Flint suddenly turned into the agent of that time after being struck by his weapon. Fortunately, Recklinghausen has the missing documents with him and we ask him to bring his case to the RHC so we may inspect its contents.

Just as we are heading to the exit of the chapel, we are attacked by shadowy beings and the exit appears to be blocked with metal struts. We fight back to the best of our abilities against the beasts, but are suddenly shot by lightning and a sharpened crowbar from somewhere outside. The crowbar strikes Auryn and leaves a wound at her shoulder. (The players were breezing through this fight because the had killed Cillian Creed at Cauldron hill. So I had “Magneto” make a point by trowing the a crowbar and a Lightning bolt from far beyond the entrance. He was instantly disliked by the players.) While we are eliminating the last of the shadows, the "metal magician" asks us to hand him the doctor and his documents, and issues an ultimatum of an hour to meet his demands. Unfortunately, he is too far away for a direct attack and we are horrified when we see that he has about 50 more people / creatures as reinforcements. (I took care to arrange things outside in a way that the players would not just massacre poor Leone.) When we try to play cool and don't seem too impressed by his demands (after all, we're pretty safe in the chapel, right?), one of his henchmen presents a hostage, Lynn Kindleton. As we had left Lynn in the protection of a RHC agent, we demand to know what has become of her bodyguard. To our shock, the the mage simply replies that this man might need a grave. We point out to the guy that right now he has started a fight with the wrong people (no one kills RHC agents without suffering consequences! *grin* That really hit a nerve. They took that really bad.). Recklinghausen offers to take Lynn's place, but we remind him of the fact that we have no guarantee that the metal mage will hand her over or leave her unharmed. Instead, we suggest to first search for possible escape routes and to scan the documents for information - after all, the mage just gave us one hour to do whatever we want. During this hour we find two possible exits, as well as a lot of property deeds for factories among Recklinghausen's documents. When we once again negotiate with the mage (who has been busy eating cheese and drinking wine...), he at least tells us his name, Leone Quintal. At the same time he states he will be satisfied when he gets the documents first, hands over Lynn second and finally recieves the doctor. We use our remaining time to thin out the documents (we make sure to sort out all the documents for Vantrys' factories) and make a well-forged copy of LeBrix' report (so we can take the original one with us). At the same time we look out of the rear exit and notice that crates are being moved somewhere out of sight.

For the exchange, Leone magically bends the metal-sealed entrance upwards and then exchanges Lynn for the documents. To our surprise, he then closes the entrance again. Shortly after, Leone's henchmen carry heavy crates to the blocked front entrance, so we suspect that the doctor is not considered important, and that Leone wants to blow up the whole chapel - including us. So we take to our heels and make haste for the back exit where we make sure to stay both hidden and out of range for possible cave-ins. As suspected, we witness a powerful explosion shortly after, and then Leone and his people start to leave.
(Still not sure whether we'd prefer to call Leone “Mr. Magneto” or “black sheep of the Beifong family”. Anyway, he seriously hurt Auryn with a crowbar projectile he threw “for sports”so she'll make sure to take revenge for the attack) (I hope he lives long enough to be a memorable adversary.)

When it becomes clear that we are safe after all, Lynn and Wolfgang fall into each others arms and together we head back to the city. On our way we are almost run over by Pietro and his carriage, who started to hurry into out direction soon after explosion as he was really worried about us. He drives our halfway alive and kicking crew to the RHC, where we report to Delft and tell him about Leone's attack. We suggest that Recklinghausen and Lynn Kindleton should stay at the RHC headquarters until we have sorted our the matter, as Leone and his gang might easily assume us all to be dead. The pair thanks us for all that we've done for them so far and Recklinghausen gives us both Nilasa's canary in a coal mine amulet and his rapier as a means of expressing his gratitude. Auryn is moved by such generosity and gives him her own rapier (which she got from Lia) in return as he will need some weapon to protect his beloved should they really move to Ber. After making sure that the pair has a comfortable room in the RHC, the now almost quasi-officially appointed team 3 heads home all tired and exhausted.
(Auryn developed a little crush on Recklinghausen during this episode. She's proper enough to not act on it as she respects Lynn and he is clearly her companion. Still, the guy seems totally adorable: Handsome, dedicated to life, brave, a gentleman and he even plays great music!)
 
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Tizbiz

Explorer
Session 8-2

The next morning, Carlyle is greeted by a young man who tells he brings Mr. Cippiano's Regards. The young man is acompanied by two broad-shouldered bravuras of the Familia, who present a tied-up dwarf named Eccleston to Gabriel. Auryn, on the other hand, is visited by the already well-known raven companion. Both meet at Carlyle's home and question the still tied-up dwarf over to delicious cups of coffee. Eccleston believes that the two constables are members of the Familia and is pretty afraid of their interrogation methods. After a bit of “smalltalk” he confesses that he hired the arsonist dragon boys on Porter's behalf. In addition, he can tell us the name of the former agent's taxi drivers. We finally reveal ourselves as RHC agents and let Margit transfer the dwarf to the next police station. (They called Margit for this task.)

Next, we ask Tom, the taxi driver whose name was given us by Eccleston. He confirms that he has frequently driven a man named Porter, who perfectly fits our description of him, to the estate of mayor MacBannin. Surprisingly “Porter” never returned from the manor, but there has always been another person who came back and needed his service. (I tried to give the players the hint, that someone knows their “alter self” magic and that “Porter” spends some time at the mayors house.) Since this sounds more than just suspicious to us (also, one of the persons who were driven by Tom matches the description of the “butcher” mentioned by Recklinghausen), we decide to travel to the mayor's manor once more.

Since we also have some new insights to share, Carlyle writes a letter to Lord Vantrys and Auryn sends a message to Morris Dawkins, in which they both ask for meetings in the near future.

On the way to the manor we pay our druidic contact a visit and return his raven friend (Auryn apparently developed quite a good relationship with the bird ... after all, she did not lock him in a closet). The druid tells us that Nevard is planning a big, public speech for the next day, in which he wants to reveal his vision to the citizens of Flint. We are interested in what the speech's content might be, but the druid tells us that Nevard has not told him anything yet, and that we should look out for the old Skyseer in Pine Island in the upcoming morning.

At the the mayor's manor we find out that, except for a very young butler and the gardeners, the entire "court" of MacBannin seems to have gone missing. (I did not want the adventure ending here but wanted them to be able to explore the place) On request we are told that the mayor is at a meeting with the governor and that the actual butler, Cillian Creed, is currently on some sort of business trip (isn't it a butler's business to serve his master? Well, he was dead at this point and it is a coverup story). This sounds extremely suspicious (especially to ex-butler Carlyle) and we remember that the name Cillian Creed was among the names on the list of Porter's blood test (there were several Cillians and several Creeds on the list, but that did not seem to be a coincidence. They actually read all 150 names on that list. *evil grin*). We let the young butler show us around and discover a feint smell of Nicodemus leaf and a used ashtray in the butler's room. Because of this we conclude that "Doro" must have visited this room recently. By “doing the Doro” (smoking leaves of Nicodemus in the closed room and looking where the smoke drafts away), we manage to find a secret door leading to a small office, where we stumble across uniforms, a veteran's ring and a few diaries among other things. We realize that Creed must have been a special agent in the last Yerasol war and part of the secret "Shield of the King" unit. However, some of the diaries of the past 15 years are missing and we suspect that Doro might have taken them with him. To find out more about possible involvements of the absent mayor and additional contacts of Porter / Creed, we decide to search the house from top to bottom. While charming Auryn distracts the young, very inexperienced butler (and hints that Carlyle might offer him a lesson or two in "how to butler"), Carlyle quietly and carefully explores the mayor's office and quarters. Unfortunately he finds nothing really incriminating, except research papers, literature and records about the Witchoil in addition to the corpse of the 3rd mayor of the Nettles, who probably died from a stroke in his secret office. (Gabriels Player startet comparing the size of the rooms and trying to find a hidden room. I quickly rewarded him with a secret room. His face was priceless when he actually found this forgotten room and rolled knowledge history to remember that the third mayor got missing. His conflict between his urge to boast about him solving the secret and the need to not reveal him snooping around was a happy moment for me.)

Since the mayor's return was scheduled for the evening, we continue to explore his estate. We find greenhouses in which (partly poisonous) plants are cultivated which could be used for the organic components of the witchoil. Also strange seems an empty shed with en elevator leading to an empty basement, where 8 busy technicians seem to disappear without a trace. (the players where drinking tea in the back of the garden when eight women came to the estate and entered the shed.) We suspect a teleporter in the elevator shaft, but can find nothing except old metal rings, even if traces on the ground indicate that heavy equipment was dragged through here. Since we can not make any progress here and can not find any suitable magical traces, we decide to wait for the mayor over a cup of tea.

In the evening MacBannin returns from his visit to Governeur Stanfield. We confront him with the question of whether he has ever seen both "Porter" and his butler together in the same room. Since he obviously does not tell us the truth, we confront him with our accusation of conspiring with an enemy of the city and all of Risur. At first it seems like MacBannin wants to attack us, but Carlyle resist his initial spell and asks him for his reasons as he might understand them. (oh, again this clever patriotic speech and incredibly good diplomatic rolls.) It turns out that the mayor was acting solely out of patriotic reasons and that he sees himself primarily obliged to the king. Auryn is hesitant at first, as she thinks MacBannin's means to this seemingly noble ends are completely wrong and does not want to let him get away with his deeds, but lets him clarify his position. When we reasonably explain him that we do not see any possibility that his orders could truly come from the king, as Porter wanted to charge his witch oil vials by killing innocent Risuri workers (who are also the citizens of the mayor's Nettles district), the mayor realizes that both he and his loyalty have indeed been abused. We tell him about our investigations and he points out that he cannot give us much more information about that matter as he has been put under Geas by the people whom thought to be the king's agents. (Macbannin never told them about a geas but he could not answer certain questions so the the players suspect the above information.) We take a cautious approach by asking him questions about people and organizations who may (implied by his silence) be parts of the conspiracy. We find out that the Danorans were fooled by him and Porter with the promise of making a good deal by buying some cheap factories via front men and letting certain materials “disappear” in return. However, these deals were only known to the danoran ambassador himself. Some of the materials have been used to produce Witchoil in large quantities, but we do not know exactly where and how it is made (we guess somewhere in the Bleak Gate). He cannot tell us anything about the teleport mechanism, but can admit that he sent Porter after us onto Cauldron Hill to silence Nevard. From his non-statements, it is also clear that he had planned an attack on Nevard the next morning, and that it is now too late to call it off. He does not know of anybody in the RHC who might belong to his circle, and also vehemently denies a collaboration with the treacherous Duchess Ethelyn. Governor Stanfield and Doro, however, both remain suspicious, even if we have no proof for an involvement. MacBannin also tells us that he had originally chosen Creed as his butler because of his past as a special ops soldier. What unsettles us most is MacBannin's statement that the ultimate goal of the whole project would be the creation of a "weapon for the king" – a purpose which we certainly doubt. We wonder whether this mysterious weapon is to be used to rekindle the war between Risur and Danor (thus confirming our suspicion that someone might be interested in waging perpetual war), or perhaps even to free Risur from its obligations to the Fey (by killing the sleeping Titans or the Archfey?). Since we do not know how many additional parties are involved in the conspiracy/project, we can only speculate at this point. We are, however, slowly starting to exclude the possibility of a purely profit-motivated action, especially as Guy Goodson does not seem to be involved in the matter.
(Finding out that MacBannin had been behind Porter's actions all the time was really shocking for both of us. Especiallty the thought of him playing all nice on us and then stabbing us in the back just one second later. For a moment, Auryn was afraid that Mr. Carlyle could switch sides and join the mayor, but fortunately he just wanted to understand his motivations)

We decide to keep up appearances and do not arrest MacBannin. Instead, we ask him (since he said he was not geased in regards of his actions) to stop and / or sabotage operations and to provide us with as much information as possible should he get new instructions . Besides, it would not hurt to have a mayor who is really loyal to the king with feelings of guilt up our sleeves.

Auryn insists on taking her friend Dawkins into confidence as soon as possible, as he should know about a possible attack on Flint harbor, but Carlyle is skeptical about whether the rear admiral might be involved in the conspiracy - after all, he's part of the military. Auryn, however, firmly rejects her colleague's suspicion and makes it clear that she places her unconditional trust in Dawkins. But she wants to make sure to leave his wife Milena in the dark, as she is Stanfield's protocol officer. (Auryn is feeling very uneasy about mistrusting Milena, but she cannot be 100% sure that she is not involved and doesn't want to take any risk)

With a queasy feeling in our tummy, we again visit the druids and warn them of a possible attack on the high Skyseer. We also contact the RHC and the Familia to protect Dawn Square, where Nevard wants to make his speech (and where the first fundraising concert of the dockers is to take place afterwards). In the course of this, we provide Don Cippiano a little insight into the fact that we suspect a conspiracy in Flint and that it would be in his best interest not to get entangled in it. We especially point out that the Familia could gather a lot of advantages when they stay on our side in this regard and also let Cippiano know that "someone" of Kell's guildies is involved in the conspiracy. We promise him in return to protect his people the next day, especially in terms of possible police inquiries, and suggest that he should not miss this important cultural event. We also thank him for his help regarding Eccleston.

This night, Carlyle dreams about the guardian of the Dreaming (the huge stag) who shows him to an alley in Bosum Strand where a pool of witchoil lies on the ground. He fears an attack during Nevard's speech in which several people might be hurt or killed on purpose (to charge the oil) and warns Auryn of the possible disaster. (the player misunderstood the dream at first and thought they were preparing a huge witch oil bomb that could obliterate the whole ward from the map. Oh sweet paranoia … I should have played more on this and used it to conceal the main attack but I was so astonished that I could not react.) Together, we hurry to the place of Carlyle's dream and find a seemingly abandoned warehouse. On closer inspection, however, we discover 8 technicians who are working on a kind of witchoil-driven robot in the warehouse and are handling cauldrons full of witchoil. Together with Margit we stop them and their robot and can prevent them from teleporting through a puddle of witchoil. We send Margit to hand over the women to the police so they might later be transferred to the RHC, while examining the traces of the technicians' work. Due to their documents, we suspect that, besides working on the robot, they had augmented 8 cats with witchoil infusions. These augmented cats can be given orders in addition to becoming terrible killer beasts in the process. With Nilasa's spell we search for bleak energy traces which could lead us to the cats, but do not find any.

Since we suspect that we will magically sense the cats should they approach Nevard, we decide to go to Pine Island to talk to the old man in advance. It takes a while, but he finally tells us about his (very weird) vision. He also feels that the Nettles are no longer a safe place for anyone and urges us to evacuate the people living there. We tell him and his companions about the still missing cats and the attack, but Nevard insists on making his speech, and we do not really want to stop him.

After some time, Nevard's procession arrives at Dawn Square, where the various druid fractions are slowly lining up. We also see many citizens of Flint who came to see the famous Skyseer. Thanks to the attentive druids, we preemptively unmask some skeletons disguised as druids, who had worn white masks and carried un-assembled metal rings. When Nevard finally begins his speech, all of a sudden 8 shadow cats jump out of the metal-framed well of the central square. While the majority of the people present are instantly panicked, we, the Druids and the Bravuras manage to protect the old Skyseer. We even get to "reprogram" one of the cats (which we plan to give to our RHC research lab afterwards). Unfortunately, Nevard suffers a heart attack due to all the commotion and is about to die. He calls out for Auryn, touches her forehead with his hand and transmits his vision to her mind before faintly whispering “please... save them” and dying in her arms.
(That last scene was just awesome and really touching. At least for me. Yet poor Auryn has to cope with a respected person's death once again.)

(At the end of the session Gabriel's player told me, that the adventure path is finally starting to feel right for him and that he did not like the first adventure as much as the second. He does not like solving criminal cases and all the legwork that is involved.)
 
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Tizbiz

Explorer
Session 9

After Nevard's death, Auryn hands over the Skyseer to the care of his druid companions and, heads to the podium after a brief exchange with Carlyle. There she explains to the people that have not fled during the attack the dangerous journey Nevard had done to go all the way up to Cauldron Hill only to gain a vision. She also tells the slowly gathering crowd that the old man had risked his life following the Skyseer tradition and serving Risur and Flint. She explains that his efforts have not been in vain as he had given her insight into his vision at the moment of his death. Then she describes the dangers that may arise from Cauldron Hill as vividly as possible. She then calls out to the people to heed Nevard 's warnings and evacuate and abandon the Nettles. At least until the "twice arisen darkness" has passed. For the evacuation, she explains that Mayor MacBannin, the guardian of Cauldron Hill who has been appointed by the King himself, will surely organize his citizens' resettlement to his best abilities. She also claims that Governor Stanfield won't close his eyes to this sort of imminent danger. (She realized that, right now, they could ask MacBannin for almost anything as they know about his dirty secrets and he really seems to care for his people)

After the speech, Carlyle personally thanks Don Cippiano for the presence of the bravura and reminds him that we, too, have kept our promise to protect his people. Auryn asks Thames Grimsley about his plans for the planned charity event. He explains that he will postpone the concert for reasons of piety, which Auryn totally understands. Shortly thereafter, Margit Stenz surprises us with the bad news that the arrested technicians have all disappeared during their transport to jail. All of us can hardly explain how this could happen, especially as an investigation of the car used for transport offers no clues (holes, metal rings or magic) at all.

While we keep looking for possible explanations, the ground shakes again as a new earthquake is striking Flint. This time we get the feeling that something really dark is resonating with the shaking earth. We try to estimate the epicenter of the earthquake and assume it might be located in the Nettles.

As we want to talk with MacBannin about Nevard's death and possible means of evacuating the Nettles' citizens anyway, we use Pietro's carriage to drive to the mayor's mansion. On our way, another quake takes place and our horse starts bolting all of a sudden. Fortunately, Auryn's quick reaction (jumping out of the carriage and then calming the animal) (no car crash ... i really tried but my players luck beat me again *grin*)is able to prevent a possible accident.

After this event we decide that going by carriage poses too much danger and we continue by foot. When we arrive at the mansion, we see that parts of MacBannin's estate threaten to fall into subterranean caverns. Fine, black miasma emerges from the cracks and the air is filled with the smell of witchoil.

Mayor Macbannin himself is standing in front of the “mysterious shed” and he seems to be conducting a powerful magical ritual. A short examination of the spell he's casting and the overall look of the scene it seems like he is trying to prevent the eruption of a ... kind of transdimensional wave of bleak gate energy mixed with masses of witch oil. (Macbannin did suspend all activity after having doubts about his work. Abruptly shutting down the magic witch oil production was not the best idea. And the tank filling with witch oil interacted with the bleak gate energies in an unexpected dangerous way. There are still other reasons for the earthquake but as this thread is being read by my players i do not want spoilers.)

We offer MacBannin our help in trying to regain control of the situation and ask him what in the name of the titans had happened. He swiftly explains that an earthquake has probably damaged his secret Witchoil factory which is now about to explode in a cataclysmic reaction.

We think we might repair the damages in the factory, and Macbannin hands us three amulets. He explains that while wearing these amulets, we can pass through the metal ring and enter some kind of transitory plane between the Bleak Gate and our world. Auryn mentions that she knows a similar kind of dimensional overlap between the dreaming and the real world from her enclave, but that this transition had worked quite differently.

Down in the complex, we have to defend ourselves against two witchoil Jaguars running wild. After the fight we discover that the beasts must have killed one of the missing technicians. Another technician is hiding in an office and we “rescue” her from the Jaguars as we realize we'd need more information about what's going on here.

Due to her shock and because we are obviously being sent by the Mayor, she is quite willing to give us the information we need to understand the purpose of this complex. First we find a kind of shut down turbine with magical derivations. One floor below is a huge facility with a giant Witch oil tank and both magical and mechanical control units.

Thanks to our own (but rather limited) knowledge and the help of the technician we manage to identify the parts of the system that are malfunctioning. We decide that we have to lower the level of the Witchoil first before we can safely shut down the whole system. As we have two tubes to choose from - one one of them damaged and in need of repair and the other one leading to an unknown destination - Auryn hurries back to the surface to ask MacBannin, while Carlyle, Margit and technician take care of some of the broken pipes to prevent them from bursting.

When she meet up with the mayor again, Auryn sees with horror how MacBannin is struggling with some kind of Porter-Witchoil monster hybrid. MacBannin quickly tells her that one of the pipes leads back into the Bleak Gate and the other one leads down the hill. He doesn't get much further, as he casts his last protective spell, jumps towards "Porter" and both perish in an eruption of magic. The protective seal he cast seems to prevent the Witchoil from emerging for the time being. (I thought that Macbannin deserved a heroic redemption instead of being murdered by the "true patriots".)

When Auryn is back in the complex again, we use the un-damaged tube to pump the Witchoil back to the Bleak Gate. We are struck by waves of felt “hatred”, but we are unable to pinpoint the source of these emotions. After that, we can reach the control platform and finally stop the machine. After some discussion about what to do with the shut down machine, we decide to make a sketch of the magic wall's patterns, so we may reconstruct it should the need arise. Then we cut out some important components from the arcane runes to leave the system in a non-operative state.

After this last-minute rescue, we head back to the office and explain the situations to a really astonished Stover Delft. Sadly, we have no evidence of the Stanfield's involvement in the conspiracy besides MacBannin's non-statements. Also, we do not really know whether the Deva, like MacBannin, was deceived by patriotism and the idea of working on a secret project for the King as well. We ask Delft to keep our investigation in terms of this conspiracy in secret, as we do not know which officials might be involved in the matter (we have good evidence that at least some officers in the royal treasury may be involved) .

Next we head to our dinner at the Dawkins mansion. There, a troubled looking Milena immediately directs Auryn, who is still completely smeared with oil from "fighting with the jaguars at Dawn Square", to the bathroom. She then leads Carlyle to the salon and starts chatting with the “handsome gentleman”. (Girl has to get herself presentable. Plus she argued she'd need some rest after all the commotion. And she's totally interested in Carlyle... after all, Auryn might have finally found a match!)

After Auryn is back, we tell her about our invitation to the royal wedding and Milena guesses that she might be invited as well, so we could easily all go shopping together. (Carlyle is not convinced). She also talks about a forthcoming wedding of Goodson, but can not tell us more about his future bride's identity.

It turns out during this conversation that Milena had privately attended Nevard's proclamation and that she believes that her governor still wants to uphold Risuri traditions. Carlyle, however, gets the impression that she acts a little evasive.

After the meal, Carlyle and Auryn talk about all the stuff that happened that day. We tell Dawkins of our suspicion of a conspiracy in Flint and ask him to keep his eyes open for anything fishy in the military / navy. Likewise, we point out very cautiously that perhaps even the governor (and Milena?) could be involved in the matter. He is shocked to hear about MacBannin's death, as the Mayor played an important role in keeping the sinister powers of Cauldron hill in check. (As the players are totally suspicious of the governor his trusted aid Milena could be involved also. Poor Milena ...)

This night, Auryn is summoned by Old Stag to a meeting of the Vekeshi. The group heads to MacBannin's magical seal in the Nettles and together they reinforce the ward with their combined fey magic. Carlyle is summoned as well, alas not in a physical form as he is called by the stag Guardian in his dream. He suddenly feels and looks like one of the masked participants and offers his magic as well. (I still have the huge problem that Mr. Carlyle thinks the vekeshi are murderous zealots and Auryn can not tell him straight about her membership with the flower children of Flint. I hope that him being part of good deeds of the vekeshi will soften his attitude.)

The next morning, both constables are fairly exhausted, but do not tell each other what really happened during the night.

As Carlyle would like to question the spirit of MacBannin to gain more insight in his involvement in the conspiracy, we go back to the mayor's estate together. Unfortunately, MacBannin does not give us more usable information. Still we are sure that he does regret his deeds and that he kind of redeemed himself by his sacrifice. (I was relieved that they did not ask more dangerous questions than they did.)

We do learn that there has to be another research facility south of Cloudwood, which is why we travel to a few remote farmsteads. We investigate them using the amulets MacBannin had given to us. There we find an animal research facility, including two technicians. They say they had been given orders to “clean up” their research and quit their work by MacBannin. We take them into custody, but give them good prospects for release (they are only hired female graduates from Crisillyir, not nefarious criminals).

Since we have evidence that maybe some “other" might be interested in the witchoil research complex after MacBannin's demise, Carlyle mentions the idea, to blow up the factory in a way that makes it look like a true accident. When we are about to place the explosives, we stumble across a somewhat older cigarette butt that has written “Doro was here” all over it. Standing there, we also get the eerie feeling that we actually managed to prevent the first “darkness” of Nevard's prophecy.

To our annoyance, Lady Saxby takes us off “case MacBannin” after we hand her our official report. Stover Delft tries to protest against this measure, but cannot really do more to help us. Likewise, we are told that we should forward any press requests to our boss and do not make any statements “for the RHC” (the story with Nevard had drawn wide circles). We suspect that Saxby could not approve of our comments to the reporters, and for a moment, Carlyle suspects her to be one of the conspirators or traverse their circles (even though MacBannin told us that the RHC is clear of conspirators).

From a short announcement in his favourite gossip magazine, Carlyle finds out shortly thereafter that Guy Goodson wants to marry a certain Cecilia Fordren (even if he is not yet officially engaged with her). Auryn is frightened by this prospect, as this woman is the niece of Francis Fordren and she suspects that the uncle of the bride could also be present at the upcoming wedding. She talks about her idea of secretly attending their public wedding celebration in order to find more information (and perhaps a favorable opportunity) about the businessman. Carlyle is astonished at the importance she is giving to the Fordren family and Auryn tries to explain to her colleague why she hates Francis Fordren so much. She tells Carlyle about Fordren's character and about the time of her imprisonment on his estate and even shows him the hidden “Scar” on her neck (which she got as a result of wearing the golden necklace/collar). She explains that he himself did not physically torture her, but that he was on the verge of wiping out her identity as a matriarch's daughter and that he was mentally mistreating her. (She is not really sure whether Carlyle could actually understand her case, but she tried her very best.). Between the lines she tells him that she is looking for an opportunity to "quit" the matter in order to find peace. (Mr.Carlyle was not happy about her intention to kill Francis Fordren.)

The next days are rather calm. Carlyle invests a great deal of time searching for evidences and legal means in order to compensate Vantrys for the loss of his factories which he had to sell after the arson. Auryn enters the fencing scene as "Aubron of Thessarien," and finds out that Lord Vantrys has close contacts to some haughty young half-elf named "Jack". To her shock, his raw fighting prowess seems to equal hers. She is talking a bit with Vantrys (who prefers dining and talking in classy restaurants to conversations in the fencing club) and it almost seems like he wants to employ "Aubron" after she tells him that he could easily become a fighter if he just invested some time in training.

After these meetings, Auryn tries to explain her colleague the impression she got from the young lord: In her opinion, his "excesses" are means of escape from his duties which could also imply that he feels alone and without hold. Carlyle, however, seems to distance himself from the young lord and feels that the noble line of Vantrys will end with Nathaniel and that he as the family's "guardian" had failed. Auryn suspects that this might be the reason for the ongoing struggles between Butler and Lord. She asks Carlyle to not give up on his protege, but to be the help he might need right now instead.

Some time later, the docker charity concert takes place, which seems to attract quite a lot of donations (although the dockers are not yet sure whether the money should be used for the resettlement of the Nettles' citizens or for supporting the workers' rights). Auryn partakes as masked Calla Aurea and performs excerpts from her still unfinished version of the dirge of Vekesh. She explains to her audience that this piece has a special significance for Flint, as it was both the first and last performance of Navras, the architect and constructor of the opera house of Flint. She illustrates the scenes of the songs with the help of her magic and ends her performance with a symbolic triumph of life over death, symbolized by a sunrise / phoenix metaphor.

This session consequences of the players actions altered some of the adventure. The players had "befriended" Macbannin and got some direct information from him. My players cleverly asked, if there were conspirators in the RHC and in later sessions we had to change some facts that resulted in Bergeron having a much larger role in organising the conspiracy to fit this. This worked out well.
 
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Tizbiz

Explorer
Recap 10

The next few days are pretty calm, so we finally get some time to relax. Gabriel Carlyle uses his spare time to do more research on the lost Vantrys factories as he still wants his Lord to regain financial independence from Goodson. (Him spending quite some time to imporve his former lords financial status made me think about where this whole Goodson thing was going and gave me evil ideas, But i did act about this only a few sessions later.)

Auryn tries to gather more information about the upcoming wedding of Goodson and Cecilia Fordren. She, or more specifically, Calla Aurea, manages to get hired as a singer for the engagement festivities on the Avery Isles. As she knows Cecilia to be a Danoran woman, she plans to prepare some traditional or popular songss from Danor.

After some chill weeks of training and doing some smaller jobs in the RHC (mostly researching older cases), we are summoned to Delft's office. He orders us to travel to Elba Island and interrogate the traitor Duchess who is held imprisoned there. We are pretty surprised by this appointment but Delft explains that the King has recently read a lengthy interview with his sister and got the impression that she really regrets what she's done. As he fears that he might be biased due to his strong ties with his sister, King Aodhan asked specifically for people who know both Ethelyn's crimes and her character. In other words: he wants us to examine whether his sister genuinely repents her sins. (I always wondered, if the Duchess could be used again in a meaningful way. I even thought it would be a nice twist, if she could be redeemd. Because of this i decided to see, what the players reactions were.)

Carlyle is skeptical about the whole plan as he fears that King Aodhan might treat his sister with an unreasonable, almost inappropriate softness just because she's his family and points out that the only reasonable punishment for high treason is the death penalty. Still he agrees to talk to Ethelyn in order to get a complete picture of her situation and character. Plus Auryn kind of teases him as being „RHC's master inquisitor“ who should better live up to his expectations. (Auryn teases him a lot.)

After a swift voyage aboard the „Impossible“ and a short reunion with Captain Smith (luckily he's alive and kicking after his transfer of Asrabey and Nathan Jierre), we land on a small, almost idyllic island in the eastern sea. There we find Ethelyn working in the garden of what seems to be a small farm. It seems like she's kind of enjoying the hard, manual labor and she's all sweaty and covered in dirt. (The Duchess is actually a nice granny like the queen mum?)

She doesn't object to our questioning and is almost eager to explain her situation. We ask her about her plans for the attack on the Coaltongue, her intentions and ideas. She tells us that all she did was just because she wanted to keep Risur safe and acted in her country's best interests. She explains that she had tried to warn her brother about her vision and the threat that unchecked industrialization imposes for years, but that she had been ignored.

She also mentions that killing her brother had never been her intention – all she wanted to do was to prove that technology was not safe and could malfunction at any time. She had been pretty sure that Harkover Lee would have saved Aodhan and the others – a thought we find dangerously naive. Ethelyn expresses her grief for all the soldiers who died in the brief civil war, an outcome she had never wished for as well. She had believed that all of the Unseen Court would have taken her side of the conflict after Beshela had made her move and was utterly shocked that they had send an Avenger to kill her instead.

We tell her that she must have known that her actions might easily have ignited another open war with Dannor, but she kind of brushes this argument off as she believes that back then she literally had no other choice. She had hoped to be nominated Risur's next queen and could have ended all animosities with Danor herself then.

We come to the conclusion that Ethelyns deeds were not driven by greed, envy or the temptation of power, but rather motivated by believing that she was trying to do what's best for Risur. We are also pretty sure that she's not one of the „true patriots“ conspirators either. Still we are not sure whether she sees all of her deeds as the mistakes they were. Which is why we are also not sure whether she would or could do the same mistakes again. (well, seems that back fired, I had hoped for them being more ready to help her redeem herself.)

We advise her, who claims herself to be a „friend of the Fey“ to follow their teachings more closely and to act less impulsively the next time. We also explain her our own view on visions (as we recently had our own share of Skyseer madness): That the true meaning of visions is never as cear as we might think and that some visions might even point to a lot of different interpretations if one thinks about them long enough. In regards to technology, one should take a careful look at both sides of the coin before making judgements. We agree that the industrialization of Risur and especially Flint has some negative consequences and that this trend has to be kept in check and not left to the industrilalists.

Last but not least, Auryn tells Ethelyn about Nevard's last vision which seems to disconnect Ethelyns own vision with the Coaltongue. We secretly tell her about our fear that Governor Stanfield could be involved in the „true patriot“ conspiracy and the Duchess is more than concearned. She asks us to keep an eye on the matter and we promise her to do so.

After returning to Flint, Delft asks us to travel to Slate to report back to King Aodhan. Turns out that our meeting with both King and Prime Minister is of rather informal nature, as we're about to meet the duo in the King's private dining room for breakfast. Both men seem to share a special kind of friendship and trust as they jokingly share each other's food which they bring to the table themselves. As the meeting is pretty devoid of servants and personnel (Aodhan even shushed them away and told them that he'd care for himself), Mr. Carlyle is rather piqued by such a presumed breach of protocol. Yet he cannot really say anything against his King's preferences which in turn amuses Auryn. (I had king Aodhan butter slices of bread for his guests and the funny faces of the shocked constables were priceless. The mood at the breakfast was more like having one at a hunting trip and the king and his mage setting aside fine table manners.)
We give both men our report on our meeting with Duchess Ethelyn and it seems like the King is looking for an opportunity to give his sister an occupation, hoping that she might redeem herself. Mr. Carlyle carefully explains his concerns for such a plan as he fears that the populace of Risur might call him out for favoritism. After all, the Duchess committed nothing short of high treason, a crime that pretty much calls for her death. Auryn shares her colleague's concerns, but also understands the King's feelings. She suggests that maybe the King could offer a number of amnesties to repentant criminals who wish to serve Risur instead of rotting in their cells as part of his upcoming wedding with Lia Jierre. Should Ethelyn then appear on one of these amnesties, it could then only be seen as part of the King's generosity towards his subjects. (i was pleasantly surprised, when the players suggested this. Yet only time will tell what happens after the peace summit.)

All those present applaud Auryn's quick thinking and agree on her plan. Harkover Lee tasks us with the „mission“ of finding other candidates who'd qualify for auch an amnesty. (Going through masses of files and documents is one of our specialties, eh?)

Next, we speak about the MacBannin incident and our suspicion that there might be some kind of conspiracy within Risur's borders. Together we discuss who in Lanjyr might be benefitting from a continuing war between Danor and Risur or a disturbance of peace. We assume a number of possible scenarios, ranging from the interests of greedy businessmen to disillusioned veterans to actual patriots who'd maybe want to construct a weapon to rid Risur of the Fey Titan threat. Another scenario could be that Crisillyir tries to get rid of the uncouth „Fey Lovers“ of Risur and the „Cursed Devils“ from Danor in one cataclysmic war. As far off as this theory might sound, the Crisillyiri see devils everywhere (including Elfaivar) and have good knowledge about the Bleak Gate.

We also discuss the mysterious Leone Quintal, his metal-shaping powers (which might be due to a draconic sorcerous bloodline... wasn't there a „Steel Lord“ dragon who died 200 years ago?). Unfortunately, such powers seem strange even for the magic expert Harkover Lee and so we plan to be extra cautious should the guy and his goons reappear somewhere else.

King Aodhan also shows some serious concerns for the safety of Cauldron Hill, now that its Guardian Macbannin is dead. We all hope that the magical seal which he formed during his last sacrifice will keep the dark forces in check until a new mayor is found. We also mention that we might not be that much up to date in the causa Macbannin in the near future as Team 1 has been given the case. We add that we totally understand the political reasons for this move and that we don't mean to insult our Lady Saxby by bringing this up. Still, Harkover Lee asks us to keep our eyes open as we are clearly the ones with the most expertise and might be up to something big regarding the possible „true patriot“ conspiracy.

Besides his encouragement, Prime Minister Harkover Lee prefers staying in the background and leaves much of the talking to King Aodhan. He seems to be more interested in eating lots and lots of (really delicious) ham and we can only wonder how he keeps up his rather slender figure. Good metabolism, we guess. Auryn mentions that she thinks both King and „First Man“ make quite a good „couple“ as they seem to share an uncomplicated relationship. Carlyle is curious about how Lee got into his position and where he learned his exceptional magics as he had to be quite unknown in his youth.

After returning back to Flint, we immediately ask for our first batch of files for the upcoming amnesties.

A few days later, Goodson's engagement festivities take place in his estate on the Avery Isles. Auryn partakes as the masked Calla Aurea and she's quite surprised to see that the really young bride-to-be is accompanied by „Mr. and Mrs. Carlyle“. She instantly recognizes Mrs. Carlyle as the student Julia Fymarsö who „borrowed“ her friend Nymeia's data for her presentation and concludes that the young gentleman at her side must be the mysterious other Carlyle. As he looks quite a bit like her colleague, she muses that he might be family with „her own“ Mr. Carlyle. She keeps in the background to avoid any collision with Julia Carlyle and witnesses the arrival of Lord Vantrys, who is accompanied by a richly dressed Jack, and finally Guy Goodson.

Auryn notices that Cecilia Fordren seems to be more interested in Mr. Carlyle than her future husband and that this fact seems to incite jealousy in Mrs. Carlyle. Goodson doesn't seem that emotionally invested in Cecilia either, so this all looks like nothing more than a big, fancy business affair. She tries to make contact with Cecilia and finds out that the young woman lost her father in the last Yerasol War and that her mother is currently busy in Cherage. As the Carlyles are business partners and share a family branch with the Fordrens, she's currently staying with them in Flint. Fortunately for Auryn, Calla Aurea's performance is a big hit with the audience. Plus Francis Fordren, Cecilia's uncle, is nowhere to be seen either. (I felt it was to early for Auryn and Fordren to meet.)

The day after, Carlyle is invited by his „descendants“ (technically, they are his brother's descendants) to a cup of tea in their new estate in Central District. For their small tea party, both Mr. And Mrs Carlyle, as well as Cecilia Fordren are present. Yet the two women are soon bored by their male counterparts as the earlier smalltalk descends into discussing intricate business details. When they notice that their conversation becomes rather technical, both men move to the Billard room of the estate to continue their discussion over a game of snooker and some good tobacco.

During the talk Carlyle (the elder) gets to know that his brother had moved to Danor after the war of the second victory to start a business there. He took a good risk during the turmoil of the past and his family had to endure many hardships before starting to prosper. After a while, the Carlyle family became entangled with a branch of the Fordren family who's in charge of Fordren Industries. Today, the leadership of the company has primarily fallen to Francis Fordren who still manages the biggest business decisions. (The main branch of the Carlyle family is heavily involved in the Avery Coast train business but Mr Carlyle junior works for Mr. Fordren.)

The Carlyles plan to import goods from Danor to sell them on the ever growing marketplace that is Risur, and especially Flint. This is the main reason why they are so interested in forging close bonds with powerful Risuri industrialists like Goodson. Carlyle wishes this younger counterpart good luck, but reminds him to adapt his business model to the local circumstances and traditions. He especially encourages him to offer good conditions for employees after Carlyle the younger explains that workers are basically not much more than cattle in Danor. Carlyle the elder tells his relative that right now, some of the more specialized factory owners, like Heward Sechim, try to establish a codex of basic rights and that those „humanists“ might offer better conditions to business partners who share their views.

The next day, Delft has a new job for Team 3: We are to take care for the safety for the Kaybeau Arms & Technology Exposition (or KATE). The exposition takes place near the new Kaybeau railway station and is basically part of the opening ceremony. As both local police and RHC are stationed there, we should report to Sarah Lockheart as our liaison officer.

We introduce ourselves to Mrs. Lockheart and immediately start exploring and checking the fair booths. Most exhibitors seem rather harmless, but we manage to find a barrel of witchoil at the booth of a certain Colleen who exhibits all kinds of engines. She tries to explain that she got the fuel from a merchant in Bosum Strand (which we believe) and that she didn't really know that buying it was forbidden. We tell her that the oil is pretty dangerous and confiscate it to have it checked up at the RHC HQ.

We also come by a booth where canned food is produced and sold. Auryn is delighted by the thought of buying a good meal that can be stored for weeks. She admits that she has never learned how to cook food (she knows how to make „something“ out of fruit, grilled fish and vegetables but that's it. And she really enjoys good food.) and praises this new invention. Carlyle is skeptical at first and mentions that no one can beat a skilled chef when it comes to proper cuisine. Auryn takes his comment as invitation and asks him whether he'd cook something for her as well if she'd provide the raw materials for both of them. (Auryn bought some cans to take home.)

We also find an exhibitor who sells all kinds of artificial means of making music, ranging from a small music box to a full-scale mechanized orchestra. Auryn finds the thought of artificial music very creepy and devoid of emotion while Carlyle is fascinated. Unfortunately, even the boxes cost quite a fortune and so the Deva has to give it a pass.

Carlyle notices that his colleague seems to finally be her relaxed and quite vivacious self again after she had encountered so much death on Axis Island. He doesn't mention it to her or Margit though.

Another „booth“ (or rather big tent) is that of Fordren industries which seems pretty intriguing, especially to Auryn. They exhibit both weapons and automated bodies / suits and large areas seem off-limits for the average expo guest. Before we are forced to go through the whole „we are RHC so puh-lease show us ALL of your stuff“ protocol, a young Mr. Carlyle greets the three of us and offers to show us around. He tells us that some parts are restricted and for the Risuri military eyes only. This way we get to see some prototypes of the „railgun“ sketches we saw back on Axis Island. What intrugues us (and especially Mr. Carlyle) most is the B.E.A.R, a large automated bear unit. Carlyle the younger explains that the replicant is totally safe and ready to use and Carlyle the elder promises to recommend buying a B.E.A.R for the RHC to Delft. (Even after another 8 Sessions the automaton is still often mentioned jokingly. The players still love the B.E.A.R.)
Auryn prefers to stay in the background as she is constantly on alert, fearing that she might run into Francis Fordren any time now. Her paranoia pays off as she and Carlyle spot the guy while he's about to discuss business with Guy Goodson in a back office. After the two men shake hands, Goodson turns into our direction while Fordren vanishes in another office.

As Carlyle is still busy with Carlyle, Goodson greets Auryn whom he recognizes to be one of the RHC agents who averted a total disaster on the Coaltongue. He honestly thanks her for saving his life back then. When Auryn tries to downplay their feat and claims that this is simply their job as RHC agents and also congratulates Goodson on his engagement with Cecilia Fordren, he insists on repaying the debt and invites the two of us to his wedding. When Auryn tells the businessman that she doesn't know whether they'll have time to spare and whether their boss will allow them leisure time, he brushes the argument off and blatanty tells her that he does know how to pull Saxby's strings.

Auryn is relieved that she managed to avoid a confrontation with Fordren while Carlyle is still fascinated by the B.E.A.R. She tells Carlyle about the invitation and all of a sudden seems rather nervous about the fact that she couldn't just excuse herself.
(Well yes, of course she would be stressed by the fact that the bride's uncle surely wouldn't miss the party and now that Goodson invited her, she'd have no chance to hide behind Calla Aurea. Thanks, Goodson. Also thanks, Delft for not mentioning the fact that Fordren could be present at the KATE.) (Well, the party will be canceled but that is a story for a future session.)

Shortly after, we meet a half-giant namend Knock who'd like to sell a really big seven-rounds gun to us. He's doing his best to help „tiny Auryn“ aim at his targets, but nevertheless she politely declines the offer due to her „feeble elven arms“. Carlyle's fantasy on the other hand seems to take flight as he imagines installing the gun atop the B.E.A.R. Oh, the possibilities... (Knock just dragged Auryn to his booth and gently forced her to fire the gun. I was a little surprised that the players took that so calmly.)

Just when we are about to visit the last section of the exhibition, we hear rumors about a possible concert of Rock Rackus. Auryn doesn't have too many kind words for Rock's style of music, but she acknowledges his fame. We manage to meet up with the artist in his tent just before the event is about to take place and we share a few words with him. To our surpirise, he remembers Auryn from her own engagements and invites us to share stories with him. He tells us about the „invisible court“ and his journey to the moon during which he got his pistol magically enchanted by a fey. While we try to disbelieve his stories, he does seem to have convincing proof and shows us all of his artifacts, including an amulet of the ancients. He doesn't really know where he got this one from and we think it might stem from the same culture that made the grave we found during out trip with Wolmi Heff'anita, Nymeia and Julia Fymarsö. Auryn is busy correcting Rock's spelling and explanations (Stannis stlye!) while Carlyle finds him to be particularly unnerving. We politely ask him to not fire his pistol or even load his golden bullets into his gun during the concert, but fear that our pleas might fall on deaf ears. (its scary, when the players kind of foresee what might happen. „I told you so!“)

Then we hear screams from the outside. We run out of the tent just to see some grotesque monsters near an ammunition booth. One of the monsters, a tentacled Phaerimm-lookalike with teeth carries a dwarf in its tentacles while the other four look like giant mosquitoes, All of them seem to be ghostly, as if they were not really there. On top of that, a young man who's wielding a golden staff tries to fight the flying beasts, but he looks all terrified and doesn't really seem to know what he's doing.

We rush to the „wizard's“ help, but have to witness the dwarf getting tossed through the Phaerimm's body, losing consciousness in the process. The monster seems to become corporal though and we start fighting it and its „comrades“. The wizard uses his staff, but the magic missiles, while truely effective against the incorporeal flying things, just seem to conjure more of the beasts. Auryn calls for the man to stop casting and casts a sleep spell on some of the flying beasts. Carlyle starts fighting the tentacled beast, but his attacks don't really do much. Fortunately, we recieve help in form of a dwarven gunner who has a really good aim. To our terror, Rock Rackus also joins the fight and manages to shoot a random bystander.
Another Phaerimm appears after another magic missile volley and luckily Mr. Wizard comes to the conclusion that he's not helping at all by summoning more monsters. Carlyle finishes off the corporeal Phaerimm while the other one seems particularly interested in Auryn. She fights back and is relieved that her assumption that Recklinghausen's anti-aberration rapier might actually harm the creatures was correct. This one becomes corporeal after being hit by her weapon and together with Carlyle they kill the last of them. (I changed Recklinghausens Rapier´s Properties because Auryn´s player will probably keep it as her main weapon during the whole campaign.)

Meanwhile, the dwarf, Kvarty Gorbatiy subdues Rock Rackus before he can do any more harm. (Dwarven Judo Style, Yeaah!) Auryn rushes to the badly wounded bystander's help and heals him magically. This ejects the golden projectile from the victim's body and the crowd instantly recognizes the bullet to be one of Rock's. Someone starts calling Rock a murderer and wants to go get him, and we barely manage to prevent the formation of a full-fledged lynchmob.

We also subdue the terrified wizard and take both Rock and the wizard into custody and ask Kvarty to accompany us and answer some routine questions. Meanwhile, Margit has the job to tend for the wounded.
 
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