Saratov PCs, Session 018

Sakhmet pleads with Vecna; Soviet ambushes Mavra

Steve Conard, Mavra Chang
CJ, Prince Kalibar
Mike Boozer, Vecna

With the GM playing Bart, to establish Bart as an ongoing character that Jackson can play when he can come, Bart shows Mavra that one of the bills of sale Mitar showed him was a forgery. He convinces Mavra that she needs someone in her crew who is proficient at forgery and counterfeiting. Mavra agrees and signs Bart on to the crew of the Markovian.

Sakhmet Pleads with Vecna

Two days have passed since Vecna acquired the Lich Skull of Armond from Sakhmet in exchange for Tomi’s ring. During this time Vecna has been hearing dark whispers at night from the skull, urging Vecna to build a lab. Someplace private, where their work will not be disturbed.

While Vecna and Pavel, his faithful manservant, are having morning coffee at the Hope Inn reviewing the daily correspondence from Saratov, Tanda interrupts. She informs Vecna that Sakhmet has just arrived via chariot and has urgently requested an immediate, private audience. Vecna agrees and Tanda offers the use of the general manager’s office. Pavel informs Kalibar, who posts two Gino and another guard outside the office.

Sakhmet looks harried, as if she hasn’t slept for the past two days. She entreats Vecna to return to her the Lich Skull of Armond, that she should never have sold it to her. She admits that she fooled herself into thinking that as a high elf he would be immune to Armond’s ability to influence him in dreams, since elves don’t sleep. But since Vecna has had the rod she can feel Armond’s presence in the ethers and she has been plagued with horrible visions and terrible omens about the fate of Vecna, that he will become an exceedingly evil and destructive necromancer. When pressed as to why she would trade away this rod of power Sakhmet admits she coveted the ring for it would benefit her far more than she let on.

Meanwhile, Gino goes to Kalibar and says “That priestess is hysterical in there. I think you should come.”

Sakhmet literally gets down on her knees and begs Vecna to let her trade him something else of equal value. Vecna uses his gift to look someone in the eye and learn their secrets. His gift reveals that she is terrified of her god’s displeasure should this cursed relic not be returned to her temple’s safe keeping.

Kalibar’s voice can be heard through the door, “Is everything alright in there?” Vecna says “yes.”

Vecna asks, “What is your offer?” She admits she has no other artifact of power comparable to either the rod or the ring they sold her. She asks if a collection of more modest items of arcane power would be attractive. Vecna says okay and Sakhmet leaves, relieved. Kalibar sternly escorts her to her chariot.

After, Vecna discusses the situation with Mavra and Kalibar. After some questioning he admits “that the rod talks to him.” Mavra says, “Oh really? You never thought to tell us this?” “I hadn’t gotten around to it.” Vecna goes on to explain that they really shouldn’t worry, yeah necromancy, or “death art”, deals with some eerie topics but it’s just one aspect of sorcery. The trio goes back and forth on whether they should keep the rod or entertain another offer. Mavra seems to accept Vecna’s assurances that there’s nothing to worry about.

Realizing that Armond is somehow bound to this rod Vecna decides to use aura reading to understand Armond’s intent, Ob 4. It takes me a moment to come up with a suitable penalty for failure but eventually I announce, “If you fail this test you instead come to have new insight and aversion to a trait that you yourself possess. You’ll pick a trait on your character sheet and scratch it off.” Boozer is intrigued with the possibility but really wants to win the test. He scrambles and forks and gets exactly 4 successes.

I announce, “Armond’s intention is to teach you everything he knows about necromancy and make you the most powerful sorcerer in the universe.”

“We’re keeping the rod,” Vecna proclaims to Mavra and Kalibar.

“Then we better get out of town fast before Sakhmet returns,” responds Mavra.

Kalibar adds, “Yeah, I don’t want to find out about her plan B.”

As the GM I’m thinking, “Oh boy, I can’t wait to see how they explain this to Kwell.”

Mavra Signs on More Human Cargo

We decide to backtrack a bit because Mavra had some extra time and wanted to have lined up a smuggling job for the trip from Esh back to Saratov. Since they now have a contact in The Joint, she goes to Bart, who sets up a meeting with Collier, the guild agent who originally did the contract for Bart. This time she’s invited to come to the guildhouse where she’s given a tour, meets various personalities, sees “Rogue of the Year” awards on the walls for various members. The paintings are accompanied with hints of their larceny. “…who aledgedly stole the Marquee Diamond but all charges were dropped.” “Rumors couldn’t be confirmed, but …” “He’s denied any involvement but sources close to the man say…” Most of the personages are human, plus a hobbit or two, and even a couple of elves.

Mavra meets with Collier who suggests taking religious exiles. 5 priests to Saratov for 8 cash dice, 4 up front, 4 on delivery. This is the highest-value smuggling job she’s ever taken, but also the most dangerous. Since Esh is the only city in the empire where deities other than Set may be worshipped, the Empire expects trafficking of priests and warriors of religious orders to be smuggled out of the city to spread heresy. Smuggling 5 priests directly to Saratov? Unheard of. Collier is impressed.

The deal is signed, arrangements are made.

Soviet catches up with Mavra.

During the coming couple of days while they rush about getting ready for departure they are attacked by Soviet, a priest of Set they met many sessions ago in Vinnitsa. From those days, Soviet has been convinced that Mavra stole Tomi’s ring though he had no way to prove it. All this time he’s been tracking the adventurers and finally caught up with them here in Esh.

Of course I will deny that this was simply an excuse to playtest Rumble, my new house rules for combat in Burning Wheel.

Soviet jumps Vecna, Mavra, Kalibar, Gino, and Barry in the streets. Soviet was supported with a minion of set and cast a pouch full of bones into the street which grew into four walking dead (Burning Wheel zombies). The player characters won, but Kalibar suffered a midi hit in the process.

By the end of the fight it was late and we wrapped up.

Artha Awards and Tests

Ob 3 grief test (for advancement) for Vecna due to the scene with Sakhmet.
Ob 8 steel test (for advancement) for witnessing the living dead rise from the street.

1 fate for talking his way through the situation with Sakhmet
1 fate for pursuing most powerful sorcerer
1 fate for pursuing wealth
1 fate for engagement
1 persona for humor
1 persona for embodiment, MVP, or best supporting actor

2 fate for lining up a daring smuggling operation (engaging your belief about becoming a legendary privateer and for creating a complication with your instinct of not passing up the opportunity to make a profit)
1 fate for pursuing wealth
1 fate for engagement
1 persona for humor
1 persona for embodiment, MVP, or best supporting actor

1 fate for supporting the team
1 fate for engagement
1 persona for humor
1 persona for embodiment, MVP, or best supporting actor



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