Chaldea

Az PCs, Session 014
The Grey Citadel

Attending: Argent, Shadon, Vol, Siri

Argent circles up Dmitri, a former cabin boy, young guy, pick pocket, 16 year old, who has done time. Barely makes the Ob 1 roll. Dmitri confirms that while not a pleasant place, Moore’s jail isn’t a tomb of horrors either. Argent and Ceylonda decide they can let Bruno cool his heals for awhile and seek a political solution to his release instead of a jailbreak.

Argent takes Siri and Vol to see Baroness Tomei. As always, the baroness is prim and proper. They meet in her “court” which is a simple hall with a large desk and she is dressed conservatively with a blue high-color dress. The top of her desk is bare. Her steward, Argyle, brings forth papers or ink if needed. Argent thanks the Baroness for sending Sir Lucian. The baroness is stiff as usual but seems genuinely stunned to have an elf in her home. Siri brings some tea. Siri and Vol make a collective etiquette test and pass; Tomei invites them to return in 3 Sundays for tea with the girls.

Argent explains the opportunity with the spiders and the need for 200 sheep. Tomei agrees to providing half the cost and the effort. She will deliver them to the Black River. Argent and Shadon will rescue Souza.

Shadon visits the tree and updates Tilith on goings on.

The Gray Citadel

The party recalls (after some prodding by the GM) that Garrond the White gave them a significant clue about how the captured elves were being taken to the Gray Citadel. Perhaps an opportunity to take the hunter by surprise for once. From the roden they learn that they could approach the citadel from underground, coming up through the sewers.

Vol does some research and finds in Mirador’s hall of records maps to the citadel. Voila! It’s built near a military fortress north of the Black River.

Get leads Argent, Shadon, Siri, and Vol through the sewer system. Eventually they get near the citadel and take a steep narrow tributary up to just below the citadel. There is a long shaft with an iron ladder leading up, capped with an iron grate. Shadon and Siri cast threne of the chameleon and Argent uses stealth to climb up. Siri also casts spirit servant. At the top of the ladder Shadon can hear some creature scurrying around, noisily due to the rock. The shaft opens up into a cavernous room.

Siri’s servant busts open the grate and the adventurers pour out to face a formian warrior. Who knows what fate led him to serve in the basement of the hunter’s lair? Shadon dispatches the giant ant in a single swing after Argent’s crossbow fails to penetrate its carapace.

The party presses on and finds four prison cells with several humans and an elf - Eladamari! Eladamari informs Vol to watch for Tilion, who was taken from them recently.
The party presses on and reaches the ground floor of the citadel. Here they fight a desperate fight with an ogre wielding a large hammer and a plate breastplate. Shadon delivers a strong blow but instead of the ogre dieing instantly like all Shadon’s other opponents it’s merely a light wound. Oh oh. The ogre swings back and delivers a B9 severe wound to Shadon, crushing his hip. This gets the parties attention and they slowly wear the ogre down. The ogre doesn’t manage to get any more solid hits in.

The take time to investigate the ground floor of the citadel, recover Tilion, and drag Shadon back to safety.

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Az PCs, Session 013
Shadon survives attack from the hunter

Attending: Siri, Vol, Argent, Shadon

Trait Vote

The play group holds its first trait vote. We play strictly according to the procedure outlined in the AdBu. The GM establishes a limit of 2 traits per character, only one of which can be a Dt or C-O trait. We ended up breaking this guideline in the case where a character received unanimous votes and the tie-breaking vote resulted in another tie.

As a result of the trait vote Argent gained Iron Will, Street Smart, and Obscure Past and lost Sailor’s Oath and his Letter of Marquee has expired; Shadon gained Killer; Vol gained Sonorous Voice and Wise Aphorisms; and Siri gained Obscure Aura and Lucky.

Shadon Saved by Grey Armor

Get and his mixed crew of roden and humans are smuggling Argent, Shadon, Ceylonda, and L’yon in the river boat with the secret smuggling compartment in the keel. They sail past the mouth of the Black River into the harbor (past the senses of Garrond the White) and find the Misty Raven. They approach the pirate ship from the stern and exchange seagull calls with Smiley and Barefoot on board. The coast is clear! The four, along with Get, climb aboard.

Unbeknownst to the party, the “elf-hunter” has been staking out the Misty Raven, knowing that at least the elven pirates would eventually return here. He’s in luck, Shadon is with them! He stands to fire from a warehouse rooftop at extreme range. Shadon has a chance of seeing him before he fires, it’s an Ob 8 Observation test. Only 7 successes! The hunter fires his “size large” great bow. 10d versus Ob 4, hits with a bonus success. +1 to DoF, GM rolls a 2. It’s a B10 wound! Time for Shadon’s armor roll. 5d + 3d persona (doesn’t want to miss this) for 8 armor dice. But the armor is grey! That makes the difference and he gets the necessary Ob 4. (Ob 1 base + 2 VA for arrow +1 VA for power of the bow)

The arrow hits Shadon right in the chest but fails to penetrate the armor. It lifts him up off his feet and slams his back and head into a mast. Just scrapes and bruises. The hunter is clearly spotted with his silhouette in the moonlight, 9’ tall, muscular, hip-length dreds, weapons, quiver of javelins, black.

The hunter runs away.

The party confers in Ceylonda’s state room. Chief shows up and informs the group that half the sailors are with a local knight, Sir Lucian, holed up in the Golden Flask. They’ve taken to arms and “kept the party going” for five days and nights, taking shifts sleeping under tables or in the back room. “Bad news, they got Bruno.”

Chief and L’yon urge Ceylonda to get the Misty Raven and its crew to safety. They discuss their knowledge of the local coast and agree that Crock Cove would be best due to its commanding view of any approach. It’s half a day’s journey south along the coast by horseback or boat. Ceylonda turns command of the Misty Raven over to L’yon and instructs him to take her crew there, except for Chief, who will run errands, and herself. Ceylonda stays to “secure her investment” and rescue Bruno.

Ceylonda, Shadon, Chief, and Argent board the roden craft and Get maneuvers them directly across the street from the Golden Flask. Argent thanks Get and releases him to return to his kind; he is relieved to finally be heading back to the Black River. The four sneak to the Golden Flask. With two elves and a roden, Argent is the “Slowest and Loudest” and must make the Sneak roll. They all duck past the two bobbies on guard without problem and sneak into the Golden Flask through the roof hatch.

The Golden Flask is rocking. With all the sailors and soldiers here it’s a busy place and that’s brought in locals. It must be 2am with 20 people in there. Thank goodness it’s not the Fish Women’s night. One of Lucian’s men-at-arms is standing out front as doorman. From the loft, Argent gets Uthred’s attention by spitting a pea at him. Uthred brings Lucian up to the loft.

Uthred downloads the party on what’s been happening at the Golden Flask, where Sir Lucian and 5 of his soldiers have camped for several days to help protect Uthred and keep the place secure should Argent come in blind and also protect the Misty Raven if necessary. With all these armed patrons, it would be a tough haul for the bobbies to bring them in. Chief reports that it’s odd that the army hasn’t been upon. The party concludes that Moore must be trying to keep this low key.

The party decides that now that Argent and Uthred are reunited and now that Ceylonda and L’yon are back and are leaving with the Misty Raven they can simply close down shop. The sailors return to the Misty Raven. On the way they grab the two bobbies and later throw them into the harbor on their way out to sea. It’ll be hours before they report in.

Lucian and his 5 soldiers, all on horseback, take Argent, Ceylonda, Shadon, and Uthred to Mirador’s.

Durgoth Engages Mirador in a Duel of Wits

Siri and Vol are just winding down from their duel of wits with Agate in the previous session. They’ve experienced firsthand the compelling warmth and comfort of the dwarven kitchen. It’s well past midnight and the clan baker has arrived to start baking bread for the next day. After a night of lively discussion and a unique sharing of three women of different races (human, elven, and dwarf) and a bond deepened by dwarven ale (we’ll escalate to nog in a future session) the women finally enjoy a moment of silence. Thoughts drift naturally to wondering about the sleeping arrangements.

It is a moment only as the silence is quickly interrupted by sounds of arguing elsewhere in the keep. Perhaps it was there in the background all the time. Agate looks curious and starts off in the direction of the voices with Siri and Vol in tow.

As the women get closer to the noise they hear a large crash and Agate scurries a bit faster. The sounds are coming from Mirador’s study. As they approach they hear Mirador yelling in his loudest, angriest stentorious debate, spittle is flying, and he is raining down chastisement upon Durgoth about how Sivitis has absolute power, he could seize all their lands and throw them in the gulag, how Mirador has to think about the welfare of the clan and all the women and children, and all for a bunch of stupid elves – at this moment Agate opens the door – Mirador looks and locks eyes with Vol. Mirador then jumps across the room and starts to strangle Durgoth. Two axebearers arrive but Agate keeps them from intervening in the fight, “Let them tussel, probably good for ‘em.” Durgoth seems passive in the assault. After, Mirador perhaps overreacts, announcing that it’s time for the entire clan to pack up the valuables and button down the hatches, expect an assault by legionaires, and prepare for hajr. “Prepare the explosives!” “Secure the vaults!” “Get ready for Hajr!” Mirador storms off.

Durgoth reports that he won the duel of wits. Mirador has agreed to stand beside Baelianavel in the Court of Sivitis.

Party Reunited, Hodgkins gains an apprentice

As the sun is coming up over the planes to the east Sir Lucian’s band arrives with the rest of the party. Quarters are arranged and the party confers for a bit on next steps before eventually succumbing to fatigue.

Later in the day, after a rest, Siri meets Hodgkins, the dwarven brewmaster, in the kitchen. It’s an awkward introduction as Hodgkins isn’t sure who she is or even what gender she is. “Without facial hair, I can’t tell human women from men.” Siri compliments Hodgkins on his dwarven ale and asks for the recipe. He’s not going to give it up easily but Siri presses the matter and asks for a test. Ob 4 Persuasion. Since she doesn’t have Persuasion it’s an Ob 8 Will test. She dumps in the persona, get’s some help from Vol, makes use of her new Lucky trait, and wins the test!

Much to Siri’s dismay and the amusement of the party, however, she learns that this is not going to be as simple as an afternoon in the kitchen. Learning to brew dwarven ale takes years.

“It starts with the grain,” Hodkins explains as he leads Siri off to the mill.

Vol Explores the Library

Agate introduces Vol to Seneschal Alden, the clan chronicler, and notices he is too young for his position of prominence (Ob 3 dwarf-wise test to figure out something is amiss. Beginners luck, Ob 6, 6 perception plus forks for ballad of history and etiquette. Misses, but 3 6’s and a fate turns it into a success.)

She spends some time reading about dwarven history and their heroes. And demons.

Vol spends time researching botany. Fails to find a book on underground dwarven botany but finds a book on grains.

Vol researches the hunter but finds nothing.

Vol researches about dwarves and elves but finds little. Although she does find a text about the “sale” of the dire forest to the elven kingdom after they moved into the area.

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Saratov PCs, Session 018
Sakhmet pleads with Vecna; Soviet ambushes Mavra

Attending:
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.

Vecna:
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

Mavra:
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

Jemdet:
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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Saratov PCs, Session 017
Bargains Struck with Sakhmet

Attending: Vecna, Kwell Geldzahn, Mavra Chang, and a cameo by Jackson Conard playing Bart.

Good-bye, Fortress Defender!

The game opens with the adventurers continuing their conversation with Saul, aka Fortress Defender. They learn that Saul has the most extreme case of ADD ever. He has no ability to carry a linear conversation. His mind jumps around and every other sentence he’ll get up and go do something. Sometimes he’ll come back and answer a question asked an hour earlier. But he loves to tell war stories. Over the course of their time with Saul they learn the following tidbits:

  • Saul, Lum, and Dalia are from Midgard. They are of the norse culture.
  • They have fought side-by-side with the norse gods in their wars against the squid giants. Many of Saul’s stories will refer to having fought side by side with Thor, Sif, Frey, Balder, and so on. He doesn’t mention Loki, Odin, or any of the giant gods like Surt.
  • “The squids aren’t that tough to kill; the real wounds are psychotic.”
  • “But us norse warriors are too strong mentally, we are immune to psychotics.”
  • “We had a tough encounter with elder giants.” “I was there fighting right beside Thor, who defeated the boss squid and drove them back into the abyss.”
  • “Now we’re on furlough. Thor said we deserved a break and sent us to here to this backwater world.”
  • “I don’t know why Dalia had to break us up. She had to get somewhere and begged me to go with them but I have to defend my post.”
  • “I’m sure Lum will be fine once he has some R&R. He definitely needs to get laid.”

Having his advances spurned by Ada, Saul focused his lecherous attentions on Mavra. Mavra at first resisted but eventually consented to a tour of the fortress. After promising to introduce her to the norse gods, Saul was able to get into her panties. While his seduction attempts were crude, Mavra learned his stamina was second to none.

Heads on Pikes

On the way back to Esh the party is ambushed by a troll on the trail. The troll jumps into the party and bellows. Mavra and Vecna make their steel tests but all the horses buck and flee, leaving all four PC’s on the ground, drooling or not.

The troll has a commanding position atop a large boulder and cranks back with a whip, eyeballing Vecna. Before he can unleash, Vecna hits him with The Fear and sends the troll back to his hole while the players duck for cover.

It’s now a mexican standoff with the troll above the trail in his ambush spot, the horses run off, and the party behind a rock below the trail. The troll commands them to leave a toll and they can pass. Kwell leaves some gold on the trail and the party retreats down the trail from the direction they came. Mavra and Kwell go the furthest while Vecna and Bart take cover.

Eventually, warily, the troll comes out of its hole and spots Vecna in his hiding spot. He takes the rock in his hand and hurls it at Vecna while Vecna returns the attack with White Fire and Vecna’s companions unleash with arrows and bolts. The troll has a section of this chest sizzling and has Mavra’s arrow out his stomach and Bart’s bolt through the back of his throat. The only thing that missed was Kwell’s bolt, which went wide. The troll gets that glassy look in his eyes and slumps back into his hole, gurgling.

Mavra, Bart, and Kwell charge up into the troll’s hideout and Mavra insists that they decapitate him quickly. To get a clean shot they drag him out onto a boulder, but even then it takes Kwell several wacks to do the deed. The deed is messy and bloody.

Then the party notices that Vecna is curled up in pain. The troll’s rock hit him in the gut and did more than just knock the wind out of him. He takes a Midi wound and is suffering internal bleeding. It’s not life threatening but it’s exceedingly painful. The party has no skills to heal him but manages to get him on a horse and take him to Esh.

In Esh, Serakka’s herbalism proves effective and reduces the die penalty from -2 to -1. Losing the next die and returning to full health will take 6 weeks.

Mavra mounts the troll’s head on a pike. Yay, Heads on Pikes!

Sakhmet blesses Kwell and Serakka

Kwell and Serakka return to the Temple of Isis to meet with Sakhmet and learn of her divinations with the Goddess. The setting is formal. Sakhmet explains that Isis will back the ritual and what the cost will be. “We do not see this as a one-time transaction but an ongoing relationship between your family and our priesthood. To the extent that you show your devotion to Isis, the Goddesses favor will be returned in the form of ongoing fertility and the health and prosperity of your offspring. Devotion can be deepened with participation not just from Kwell and Serakka but also their families and clans. Devotion can be expressed through worship, tithes, influence and constructions.”

Kwell and Serakka spend about a week in preparation including private instruction in the precepts and worship of Isis, fasting, prayers, and, for Serakka, lectures on the duties of motherhood. In spite of this time it’s difficult for the dwarves to deeply understand the notion of Faith, which is a more uniquely human trait. Kwell and Serakka see the relationship as economic, or even mathematical.

In private, Serakka and Kwell discuss the situation and agree that “they are in.” They go on to discuss how much they should donate - they were given two large 50ct gems by their respective families. “Do we trade in one or both?”

[GM note: This information wasn’t disclosed during play time but I’m adding it here.] Between Kwell’s visits to the temple and Vecna’s and Mavra’s visit with Sakhmet the party can put together the following information about Isis (which blatantly riffs off traditional Egyptian myth) and the Temple of Isis here in Esh.

  • Isis’s spheres of influence are magic, fertility, and motherhood.
  • Isis is the first daughter of Geb and Nut.
  • Isis, Set, and Nephthys are siblings.
  • Isis hates undead and defends the dead from unnatural endings. Her priests offer dream interpretations and healing.
  • Isis and Osiris were husband and wife, but Set tricked Osiris and has cut him into 11 pieces, each of which is hidden throughout the universe. Finding these pieces of Osiris is the top priority of the Church of Isis. Many visions and portents point to one of these pieces being hidden in this world.

Eventually the ritual is performed. It is an all-night affair that peaks with Sakhmet laying hands on Kwell and Serakka and they each having a vision of being in Isis’s divine presence. In Kwell’s vision he has a deep insight, seeing the powers of the cosmos flowing through Isis, that force, matter, magic, and energy are all one, and the preciousness of life, from living creatures back to sperm and eggs, but back further into the genesis of creation. And with this is the understanding that Isis is the mother of life. In this moment, fully in the presence of the divine, Kwell has an epiphany into the nature of Faith. Mechanically, this means that Kwell is eligible for the Faith trait in spite of being a dwarf, although he still has to earn it in a trait vote.

Serakka returns from the ritual with no such insight. The happy couple rejoice in completion of the ritual and put aside from their minds this tiny seed of dissonance.

Sakhmet Purchases Tomi’s Ring

Sakhmet invites Vecna to dinner. He brings Mavra. Sakhmet offers to purchase the ring in exchange for a cash fund plus a single magic item. She explains that she took this item from an evil death art sorcerer and that it’s extremely powerful. She tried to use this item herself but experienced disturbing whispers in her dreams. But she theorizes that Vecna could use the item because as an elf he doesn’t sleep…or dream. Vecna seems interested so she takes a box and puts it on the table, facing Vecna, with herself and Mavra on the other side. Vecna opens the box and sees a long cylindrical object wrapped in red silk. He carefully lifts the silk and sees a rod fashioned from a single large shard of black onyx, capped with a shrunken fist-sized human skull. At the base of the skull, is a silver setting mounted with gems and essences.

When Vecna sees the skull he immediately sees the skull on two levels, one “normal”, but the other through a tunnel vortex of howling wind where on the other side instead of a skull is the face of a sorcerous human male shade. This shade whispers to him, “Take me from this cursed place and I will teach you sorceries beyond what you can currently fathom.”

Vecna agrees to the bargain. He learns that the rod is called “The Lich Skull of Armond” and, of course, the shade is Armond himself. The immediate benefit is +2D on Sorcery Tests.

Sakhmet explains how a fund works and sets it up in Mavra’s name. Mavra explains that there is another party. Sakhmet says to bring this person to the Temple of Isis and she will add his or her name to the fund. Mechanically, the fund is 3D but with a +1D bonus in Dorsang and a +1D bonus dealing with the Church of Isis. These bonuses are cumulative.

Captain Mitar’s Proposal

Captain Mitar, who recently won the Royal Cumberlan Rally with his ship, The Storm Bellows, invited Mavra to dinner. After a nice dinner and smalltalk Mitar asked Mavra if she could help him out. Mitar has a price on his head by the Empire and unfortunately lingered in Esh too long after the race and now the amnesty period has passed. Imperial spies are watching his ship and he believes his ship will be seized and he will be arrested if he tries to sail away. He proposes to Mavra that they trade ships. “I will sail The Markovian with my crew and you will sail the Storm Bellows with your crew. We will leave at the same time. You will get stopped by the authorities but since there isn’t a price on your head they won’t detain you, or at least not for long. And we will each have bills of sale that show that we each bought the other’s ship. Then we will both sail to the Bardic College marina and meet up on Angus’s ship, The Scholarly Pursuit.” To make it worth her time he offers her a golfball-sized blue pearl (6 cash dice).

Mavra is understandably skeptical and asks for a tour of his boat, which he provides. The boat is relatively new, less than five years old, and is in great condition. Vecna uses mage sense but finds no magic on the boat. The captains quarters are particularly luxurious. The ship is about 50% larger than The Markovian.

After further deliberation Mavra decides to pass on the opportunity.

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Az PCs, Session 012
Returning Stealthily to Kansk

Present: Argent, Siriwattinaya, Shadon, Vol.

Shadon and Vol meet Black Venom

We established that for day-to-day business with the spiders Shadon deals with a spider named Lickatick. Shadon had previously promised to set up a meeting between the spiders and an envoy from the Elven Court. Since Baelianavel was handy, Shadon set up the meet. Vol tagged along.

The spiders agreed to meet near the spring. The spider contingent included Lickatick, 6 hunter-seeker spiders, and Dro, a spider with a shiny red carapace with black hair. The spiders produced 3 egg-shaped pods large enough to comfortably fit an elf each. Vol, Shadon, and Baelianavel each entered one. The tops of the eggs were glued shut and the party were transported through the forest at a fast rate, Tarzan style. There were many zigs and zags and the party could not see out of the eggs, making it impossible to see where they were going.

After a couple hours they stopped and were invited to get out and stretch their legs and take a break. Here, the party met Yanagu, a human botanist who lived in a treehouse. Yanagu and Vol bonded and he gave Vol a book on botany and a list of books he’s love to receive if she got the chance. Meanwhile another spider joined the escort, a menacing spider the party would later learn is named Spittle. Eventually the spiders interrupted the treehouse fun and resumed the trek in the same fashion as before.

The party only traveled for maybe 10 minutes in the forest and then entered a cave system, which they traveled in for about another hour. During this period certain strands in the pods they were traveling in started to glow. Eventually they stopped and the pods were unsealed and they were invited to step out onto solid ground. The party was in a large cavern with beautiful psychedelic phosphorescent web patterns. They followed a labyrinth of webs until reaching an audience chamber with Black Venom, “handmaiden of the mother”.

Shadon managed a spider-wise beginners luck roll to catch on somewhat to the introductory rituals between the spiders and elves; the handmaiden was impressed. After introductions Baelianavel briefed Black Venom on developments with the elven court. It was hard to tell if Black Venom really cared. After that, there was a procession of spiders who brought forth many colors and designs of spider silk. Then Black Venom explained that she would like to see an expansion of her trade agreement with Shadon. At some point in this conversation Spittle interjected that the spiders should take Shadon’s spring since it was no longer an elven land. Black Venom shut her down by explaining that while her daughter had a valid point she had yet to learn that sometimes one can gain more through barter.

During this glorious display of spider-hotness Shadon grabbed a shard of loose rock so Durgoth could lick it later.

Once Shadon and Black Venom worked out the trade terms Black Venom announced that she expected certain favors up front, before the trade would commence. Namely, that Shadon would rescue her mate, Souza, from a human zoo in Kansk, and that he would bring her a herd of 200 sheep that included an appropriate mix of genders for mating and ongoing growth.

Shadon agreed to these terms and the PC’s were returned to the spring.

Garrond the White

After their time at the spring the party begins traveling back to Kansk. When the party reaches the river they are met by a roden who approaches them conspicuously and introduces himself as Get. On instinct, Argent trusts the roden and is invited to go swimming with him to meet his companions on a boat that sails by on the river. A rendezvous is set up for after dark and the party is picked up by what looks like a small, simple human fishing boat above the surface but contains a trap door to a much larger hold below. On deck are two human fisherman. Below are 6 roden and the PC’s.

They learn that Get and the other roden are members of The Vow Stricken, followers of Garrond the White. They each carry a brand on their ear. Their order devotes their lives to knowing the secrets of the Black River. Get tells the party that their lives are in danger and Garrond has sent him to find the party and bring them to Garrond, that Garrond wants to meet Argent before he dies. Get impresses the party by telling them each who they are and some of their exploits on the Black River. But he gets a fact wrong about Siri, that this was her first voyage, but one of the other roden corrects Get over the issue.

The party is taken to Rat Isle where they are smuggled into an inn that looks roden sized from outside but is dug down and human-sized on the inside. There they are given refreshments until joined by Garrond. Garrond reveals several insights about “The Hunter,” that he is fey-like but black and about 9’ tall and with a connection to a dark supernatural place and to the Imperial Army as a special operative against elves. They also learn that the kidnapped elves enter the river near the Caracktion Bridge and are taken to the Grey Citadel.

The roden explain how they can help the party navigate the city using the river and the sewer system.

Mirador’s Home

The party decides to split up. Argent, Shadon, Ceylonda, and L’yon head for the docks in the roden ship while other roden escort Durgoth, Vol, and Siri through the sewer system to nearby Mirador’s, where Durgoth has offered them sanctuary.

When they arrive at Mirador’s they are immediately guarded by clansmen axemen who are ready to fight anyone who might try and take them. Once they enter Mirador’s Durgoth is whisked away to see his uncle (Peter and Simon can play this out later) and Mirador’s wife, Agate, entertains the guest. She plies them with food and alcohol and it’s her mission to learn as much as possible about Durgoth’s friends. Meanwhile, Vol and Siri wish to find out what she knows about Mirador, Inspecter Moore, et al.

Duel of Wits ensues! What’s at stake for Vol and Siri is “everything they know about the missing elves”. What’s at stake for Agate is “everything she knows about her husband, Moore, and the Gang of Four.” Agate wins the duel but loses half her BoA in the process. She learns all about the PC’s but the PC’s learn that the city is really run by “the gang of four” which includes Sivitis, Moore, Fitzalen, and (drum roll, please) Mirador! Mirador is desperate to keep this “low key”.

Yeah right.

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Az PCs, Session 011
Siri pushes her luck

Present: Argent, Durgoth Derlahn, Siriwattinaya, Shadon Rahl, and Vol.

Looking back at the prior session XiaoWen decided that Siri would not have fled the coliseum after the freeing the elven gladiators, figuring that she had a chance of convincing Brunitis that she was not associated with the action.

Vol also lingers about with the other entertainers, behind the stage, in the “green room” sipping cocktails. As a result of her great performance she got three offers from agents to represent her; she said yes to the one who promised her bookings in Saratov.

Argent, Durgoth, and Shadon took off, however, with the goal of a rendezvous at the Royal Oak outside the Melboron Seluciden memorial.

Not long after the escape, Soren, the doctori for House Brunitis came to fetch Cassius to prepare him for his first site, only to discover the incapacitated guards and escaped elves. Immediately he began a frantic search and called for Brunitis. Brunitis and Soren learned that an elf (Shadon) had participated in the break-out and immediately suspected Siri’s involvement. Brunitis and Soren went to medical and confronted Siri, asking her straight up if she knew anything about this or was involved in any way. Siri lied and said “no”, but since she didn’t have Falsehood it was an Ob 8 beginners luck roll. Even with generous doses of Help dice from party members she missed with 7 successes.

Brunitis knows she’s lieing but doesn’t know what her involvement is exactly. He tries to get information from her using Interrogation with forks from Intimidation and Torture. “Tell me what you know!” he yells at the top of his lungs while grabbing at her throat hard and slamming her against the wall, inflicting a Su wound, which she shrugs off. He fails to break her will, in part because he is in a hurry to get back to the games and make substitutions. Brunitis locks her in Medical and assigns a guard as he leaves with the doctori.

Siri casts chameleon, plus opening up Stealthy, hides in the Medical. The guard can’t figure out where she went so he runs off for another guard. They both come back and look around for her, but in the process open the door and she slips out. Whew!

Siri and Vol catch up with the rest of the party at the Royal Oak and meet with Tilith. They hear the following story from Cassius and Raphael regarding their enslavement:

  • Raphael: Hunter, not a ranger. Armed with a elven bow and a knife.
  • Cassius: Ranger. Leather armor, elven bow, sword.
  • Was alone in the woods picking berries (Raphael) or hunting wild turkeys (Cassius).
  • Raphael: Just felt a pinprick on his arm, then darkness come over him.
  • Cassius: Recalls getting hit with a javelin and got a good look at it before he lost consciousness. The javelin was shorter than any human or elven javelins he’d seen, golden-colored, without fletching.
  • Awoke bound, hooded, and chained. Could tell they were in a small boat, water was mostly calm but with some rapids, could smell the forest nearby, heard birds native to the Dire Forest. Also heard humans voices and one man referred to as Captain Ohsay Adbay. The humans were vicious and cruel. If the elves made any noises they were kicked, hard, with steel-toed boots - but never in the face. Took about a day. Eventually started to hear the increasing levels of sound from approaching a human city. Were taken from the boat and thrown into a cart.
  • Taken on a short cart-ride with orders to keep quiet or get the boot. The cart took them to a building. Outside the building there was an echo, like a courtyard, and they heard a human trader hawking elven jewelry, embroidery, and silks, and some human performers trying to sing the elven spellsong of meriment, but poorly.
  • In this building they were taken down underground and thrown into a cell. Here they were starved, abused, and mistreated for several weeks until sold to Brunitis. They were transported to the Ludus bound, gagged, and hooded as before. No new information except that the ride to Brunitis was through the city and took quite a long time.
  • According to Brunitis they were legally purchased as legitimate slaves. He claimed he had papers to prove ownership, that they were criminals who had been sentenced to slavery for rape. Raphael saw his papers but couldn’t read them.

Vol sings a song of lament for them. The song is touching, but the party knows that their grief is too great to be undone by one song. During the song Ceylonda backs away from the party. She appears to want no part in it, nor does she seems that thrilled to meet Tilith.

Shadon approaches Ceylonda, chastising her for her disdain of elven ways. She scoffs at him. He asks what happened to her that would driver her so far away. She laughs, “You and I don’t know each other well enough to have some sort of bond that would cause me to share with you my grief.” Then Shadon gets his 1000 yard stare, “When hope returns, you will return to our ways and the light will be reignited.”

With Tilith’s help the party spirits away Cassius and Raphael to Shadon’s Spring, where they are joined three days later by Baelianavel and a couple other members of course, including Faeinar, a female Etharch minister of trade. Faeinar and Durgoth explore some interesting trade opportunities for Mirador. Baelianavel sets up a 4d resources fund to help with the rescues of the elves.

Baelianavel suggests that he will reach out to the Azerbaijan diplomatic corps about visiting Kansk, where he should stay, policies, etc. This is a prelude toward Baelianavel meeting Mirador - after Durgoth warms him up. The goal is that Mirador is enlisted in Baelianavel’s approach to Sivitis.

Durgoth uses Kansk-Wise to know Mirador’s status in Sivitis’s eyes but fails the roll. Mirador brags about meeting with Sivitis but Durgoth knows he could simply be bragging. All Durgoth knows for sure is that Mirador knows Sivitis. No idea the standing.

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Saratov PCs, Session 016
Esh, and the Tongued Fortress

Present: Mavra Chang, Vecna, Prince Kalibar, Ada Loban Nythil, Kwell Geldzahn. In town: Pavel, Serakka Cloudforge. Left on ship: Yakov and Smirnoff.

The _Markovian _arrives at the Harbor of Esh. The city is obviously at over-capacity. There are a line of ships waiting to dock. A harbor ship sails out to greet them, collects taxes, and informs the party that they will have to wait here two days (estimated) if they want to dock their ship. After learning they could just leave the ship anchored in the bay and take a water taxi into town the party decides to do this and bribes the administrator to return the taxes and tear up the paperwork.

The taxi takes the party and the “cargo” to the piers. Sir Montague and his companions take off on their own. The party finds Hope Inn, a large touristy inn near the docks that has good food, nice rooms, and a full bar. Their waitress, Tanda, is extremely helpful. She is a true local, a Dorian, who is quite willing to keep talking as long as the tips keep coming. From her they learn that bandits have likely overrun the Tongued Fortress but that she has a cousin, Bart, who’d they could contract through The Joint to take them there; that she has an uncle named Angus who owns a boat docked at the Bardic College, and from him she learns that they could dock there if they like; that Captain Mitar won the Royal Cumberland Rally and he’ll be hosting a private party here this evening, and, yes, she can get them invites; recommendations for a good bath house where Ada could take in a nice bath and the dwarves could get their skin scraped; messengers to the temple of Isis; and an introduction for Kwell to Murdock, the Cellar Master.

From Murdock, Kwell was able to find a great bargain, a keg of an obscure nog from a family that never sells it outside their clan - probably stolen or taken as tribute. But Murdock didn’t know what he had and was happy to unload it.

The PC’s enjoyed Captain Mitar’s celebratory party for having won the rally. Rumors abound that he wins by cheating, but apparently no one could prove it. We didn’t roleplay extensively but I described the event as a who’s who of pirates, privateers, independents, wealthy hobbiests, and a few merchants, and good roleplaying fodder for referring to in future –Wise or Circles tests.

Rather than charge on up to the temple and knock on the door someone (Boozer?) was smart enough to request an etiquette test to know the best way to approach Sakhmet. With help from Ada and Pavel, Vecna sent notice to Sakhmet along with the letter of introduction from Taras announcing their presence and location in town and requesting an audience. The letter was answered within the afternoon with an appointment for three days hence.

The meeting with Sakhmet was a bit formal as Kwell presented the nature of his visit. Sakhmet promised she would consult the goddess on this matter and suggested that he return in three weeks. After the formal meeting she invited Vecna to return for dinner. Curious about her motive and always looking to build powerful connections, Vecna agreed. They discussed court gossip, got to know each other a bit, Sakhmet prodded for more information about the dwarves, and Vecna presented the ring Mavra received from Pepper, taken from Tomi once she was assassinated. Sakhmet said she would take some time to consider an offer of purchase.

Realizing that they were going to have to wait three weeks the party figured it had time to go check out the Tongued Fortress. To recap, Kalibar had been informed by Farth Dunn that perhaps a clue to finding Lum would be to talk to Saul. Saul used to run with Lum’s crew but is currently being held captive in the Tongued Fortress, north of Esh. The party asked Tanda to set up a meeting with her cousin Bart. Bart arrived with Collier, an agent of The Joint, who arranged the business terms of the contract for hiring Bart as a guide, supply manager, and investigator in the nearby town of Lyle.

Early the next morning the party set off. It took about an hour to get out of town due to how crowded Esh is, with the morning rush of the city coming to life. Most of the morning was riding through the country side and rolling green hills where farmers farmed and grazers grazed. After lunch the trail went in to rougher terrain and the party met hardly any traffic until reaching, suddenly, the town of Lyle. Lyle is set on the south edge of Lyle Lake, which is about the size of Lake Washington, with the Tongued Fortress on the north end. That evening, asking about, Bart learned that the fortress was taken over some time ago by a fierce barbarian warrior who ran out some bandits who had been held up there for some time. This warrior has claimed the place and has driven off anyone crazy enough to try and claim it.

The party was curious how a fortress could simply be taken by anyone for the asking and the townsfolk explained that apparently it has no real strategic value as it’s nearly inaccessible, in poor repair, and uncomfortable.

The next morning, Bart chartered a fisherman to take the party on the Tongued Fortress. As the party crossed the lake Ada sent Moxie to scout. Moxie found the fortress, which was carved into a cliff by the lake, shaped like the face of a demon with a long tongue serving as the ramp from the lake dock to the main entrance perhaps 50’ above the beach. Moxie also found a warrior who shot at Moxie with a bow from the “eye” of this demonic face.

The fisherman refused to go right up to the dock of the fortress but agreed to dock nearby at the base of a trail leading to the fortress. From here the party approached the fortress and saw the warrior firsthand. A tall barbarian with long red hair and a full red beard, bow in one hand, stein of beer in the other. He fired at Kwell, who looked down to see an arrow sticking out of his armor just to the right of his heart. Thank goodness for armor!

The party could see two obvious ways to enter the fortress. The stairs in the shape of a tongue, leading up from the dock, but also a trail carved into the rock face leading up to the “ear”. The party split up with some of the adventurers heading up the trail to the ear and some heading up the stairs. The stairs were “trapped” with heavy carts that rolled down the stairs (by using the ramps on either side) and the trail to the ear was “guarded” by a mechanical claw that extended out to attack people coming up it.

Highlights included Ada being grabbed by the claw and flung into the lake. Kwell being grabbed by the claw and flung toward the lake, but instead hitting the sand. And Ada jumping over the cart on the ramp, gracefully landing on the other side. When Ada eventually secured the landing at the top of the ramp the barbarian grabbed her, kissed her brutally, and flung her back down the ramp, laughing. But then he had to tend to the persistent Kalibar and Vecna party coming through the ear - the claw on auto-pilot mode had not deterred them.

Eventually the party got inside and Kalibar fought the barbarian sword on sword, but was disarmed quickly, with the barbarian tossing the sword behind him to collect as booty. The battle turned when Vecna blasted the barbarian with white fire. With 14 (or 16?) points of damage, more than enough to kill most any mortal, the barbarian cursed and swore, limping back to an inner chamber where he barred himself in, yelling curses at the mage, calling him a cheater.

After being assured that the party wouldn’t attack him the barbarian let them in to parley. The inside of the fortress looked like a dorm room at a frat house. Old beer steins laying around, dirty underwear strewn about, old pizza crusts (hey, why not?), and so on. But also, a nice sword rack, helmets, pieces of armor, and other sundries a warrior might value.

They party parleys with the barbarian only to discover that Saul isn’t a prisoner of the barbarian, Saul is the barbarian. They have a somewhat-fruitful discussion with Saul and learn that Lum is with Dalia, a tiefling, who has a fortress in the Mountains of Chaos. The party asks him to come with them and show them the way.

“No, I can’t leave here,” Saul tells them.

“Why not?”

“I have to stay here and guard the fortress.”

“Why?”

“Because I’m the fortress defender.”

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Az PCs, Session 010
The First Rescued Elves

Present: Argent, Shadon Rahl, Vol, Siriwattinaya, Durgoth Derlahn

The session suffered initially from technical issues with internet access at Darrell’s home. Determined to play—-bravo!—-Darrell’s family drove to Dad’s and turned his home into an internet café.

There was some discussion about what to do next. The party recalled that the Elven court refused to entertain ransoms or buy-backs of Elven slaves as it would stimulate the market of elven slavery. Instead, the Elven court encouraged—-unofficially, of course—-rescues reliant on stealth or bravado.

The party eventually decided that the best course of action would be to examine more closely the situation involved with the two elven gladiators owned by Brunitis. The first order of business was to do more reconnaissance by sending Shadon in with Siri during her next round of medical visits. The cover was that because Brunitis has elven gladiators Siri would bring an elven healer to assist her. Shadon was able to converse with these elves in elven and learn that, yes, they were two of the eight who are missing and while one of them might have suffered a significant amount of emotional damage, yes, of course they would like to be rescued.

The scout’s reports about the defenses of the ludus were not encouraging. Busting two prisoners out of an Imperial Gulag might be easier than freeing them from a manor filled with gladiators. It was decided that the party would break free the elves at the upcoming gladiatorial games, in the coliseum.

At this point we broke from the traditional D&D style of the GM describing the defenses and guard levels and such and the players trying to find the weakness. Instead, the GM ruled that the party “has a credible plan” and we focused our creative efforts in coming up with an interesting vignette for how each character would contribute to the breakout, culminating in a test for that character, playing fast and loose with sequencing, timing, and framing. This led to 5 “parallel tests” each of which would separately serve as a linked test to a central break-out test.

Durgoth succeeded at a circles test to know Randigutgard (aka Randy), an old dwarf army buddy who became a gladiator trainer and took a lead into event management when the gladiatorial games became popular, figuring business was where the real money was. Durgoth convinced Randy to let him put his tinkerers cart at the perfect location to assist the elves in their getaway.
Siri succeeded at an alchemy test to make some ingestive poison that was effective enough to knock out guards without likely killing them.

Argent succeeded at a persuasion test to convince two guards to drink some poisoned ale. Durgoth mongered a help die by taking Argent drinking with some dwarves, teaching him all the tricks dwarves have for convincing someone to have a drink. Vol mongered a help die by coming up with the idea of a Argent pretending to be a bar owner of a bar other than the Golden Flask, giving out samples to attract business.

Vol succeeded at her circles test with her local bard friend to secure a slot in the performance roster and subsequently succeeded at Song of Meriment to provide a distraction, earning a Kansk reputation in the process.

Shadon succeeded his sword test and dispatched two guards the old-fashioned way.
Five linked test successes meant the central stealth test—-with Argent as point—-had +5D. Even though it was Ob 4, Darrell rolled 16 dice. An easy win.

The adventurers earned their first deeds point!

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Vishkon PCs, Session 011
A creepy voyage

Present: Balin, Garvin, Elven, Umod Dzirt, Szazarac.

Having learned that Elven’s father, Duanor Dzirt, is off killing dragons in Perin the adventurers made their way to the docks of Saratov to book safe passage.

They booked passage on The Ocean Harvest, a fine looking caravel with a motley crew but a well-mannered Captain Ulmat. On the morning of departure they encounters Yurgo “Warz” Ashenskya, the dockmaster, who stared suspiciously at the ship with his good eye, while his floating eye perceived God knows what. When asked about the weather he replied, “Do I look like a fucking astrologist?”, waving his arm stump at the heavens before stumbling off on his peg leg.

Captain Ulmat gave them a tour of the ship and showed them their place in the common area below-deck, leaving them strict instructions that the lower hold was off limits. He also told Elven to keep her spider in the rigging, that Szazarac would get shot with a crossbow if he touched the deck.

Of course the best way to get adventurers to go where you want them is to tell them it’s off limits. It took a couple of days at sea before the party had an opening where the access to the lower hold wasn’t under watch. In the meantime they had observed a terrible stench coming up from below, which Elven mistook for decaying flesh.

Garvin took below to investigate. A few minutes later Garvin returned screaming in terror for he had beheld a Deep One - as in the deformed humanoid amphibious men-fish followers of Cthulhu who occasionally interbreed with humans. Of course Garvin didn’t know all this detail, just that an otherworldly monstrous eye surprised him and, after failing the steel test, Houston decided it might be best to Run Screaming instead of Stand and Drool alone with the monster.

As Garvin came fleeing up the ladder the first mate, Kelton, a tall cruel beast of a man came down to see what the commotion was about. He warned Garvin he wasn’t to go below and hauled him off to the captain. The party followed but a couple of sailors kept them at distance. After the captain confronted Garvin about going below Garvin expressed curiosity about an old tome that he saw in the captain’s possession. He couldn’t read the title but the subtitle read, “Visions of the mad Somacian.” The captain invited Garvin back to dinner to learn more.

For dinner, Garvin surprised the Captain by bringing Elven to dinner with him. Suspicious, Balin waited outside the door with Kelton, who also stood guard. Unfortunately, the wine was poisoned and Elven was immediately incapacitated and Garvin nearly so. Balin heard the commotion and yelled for Szazarac, who came to the rescue through the captain’s window. Balin easily dispatched Kelton and joined Szazarac in dispatching the captain.

Balin, Garvin, Elven, and Szazarac came out on deck just in time to rescue Umod who was in a massive brawl with the rest of the sailors and was about to be overpowered.

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Saratov PCs, Session 015
Lost at Sea

Present: Mavra Chang, Vecna, Prince Kalibar, Ada Loban Nythil, Kwell Geldzahn, Pavel, Serakka Cloudforge, Yakov, and Smirnoff.

Before Leaving Saratov

Emperor Kordaava invites Mavra to dinner in his quarters. He sends his personal counselor, Guille (Aimilian) to pick her up in a gilded carriage. Guille has a friendly disarming disposition, the consummate butler, etiquette off the charts, “I’ve arrived with the bar!”

The dinner is “informal” by Imperial standards and “intimate” in that Mavra is Kordaava’s only guest but of course it’s never truly private as they are waited on hand and foot and there’s a sense that guards are within easy reach. Kordaava thanks Mavra for the use of her ship in his battle against Roofdrak and gives her a gift, a magical sail, perfectly fitted for the Markovian. The sail is of exquisite workmanship with intricate golden threads along the seams, Mavra’s sigil across one side, Kordaava’s on the other. See the Celestial Wind entry under Items.

Viktor proposes a smuggling opportunity to Mavra, “How do you feel about human cargo that wishes to avoid ‘Emperial entanglements’?” Mavra says yes and is introduced to Montegue, Sir, who asked to meet Mavra before committing to the deal.

Kwell’s family organizes a send-off party for Kwell, Serakka, and their friends, a private party at the Chaldean Prime. The PC’s meet several of the crazy dwarven relatives: Therbotran, Grantal, Maulfist, and Haggaih, along with some other influential dwarves like Eli Graybeard (who shares the fascinating story of Elven). A dwarven midwife named Beatrice performs a fertility blessing. Kwell and Serakka are both given very large diamonds of 50 cts plus. “To help finance the ritual, but yours to keep if you can bargain for the ritual without them.”

Lalfroth gives Vecna three new spells.

Kalibar gets a letter from Farth Dunn. “I hear you’re looking for Lum. He used to run with a guy named Saul, who might have a clue as to how to find Lum. Saul is currently held prisoner on Dorsang in the Tongued Fortress.”

We established that Kalibar has several older brothers and sisters.

We established that Vecna does not know Lum the Mad.

Lost at Sea

Mavra used a Seven Seas-Wise test to establish that once a year the Royal Camberland Yacht Club hosts a race around the island of Dorsang and that for this race there is an amnesty. Pirates and other criminals of the high seas can participate without fear of arrest.

The party boards on the Markovian and sails up the coastline to Pavladov and then heads west to Dorsang. Unfortunately, Mavra doesn’t know about the “Dorsang Drift” which often causes captains to miss Dorsang altogether and sail past it. Like Mavra, for example. The ship is lost at sea in calm waters for several days before a wind picks up. There ends up being a water shortage because the last two casks of water are mislabeled, they actually contain cod liver oil instead. Several of the crew get sick from dehydration and one of the pilgrims with Montegue dies at sea. Kwell drinks the cod liver oil as if it were water, thinking it will help his seed for the upcoming ritual with Isis. He drinks far too much of it and gets sick and even hallucinates.

The ship eventually encounters a squadron of agitars flying pegasi. The agitars don’t engage or offer to help but shadow the party for some time. The ship finds land but instead of Dorsang they are NW of Aimil. They follow the coastline and eventually reach Aimil waters. The agitars stop shadowing them there and they are met with an Aimilian warship, The Marquee, a three-masted caravel commanded by Captain Cheval. Cheval escorts them to the Aimil city of Vichy.

The Aimilians are somewhat distrusting and hold Vecna (and Pavel?) as guests on the Cheval while the party reprovisions. To party has trouble paying for all the taxes and reprovisioning costs. Kwell goes on land to find the local district manager for M3, Dargon Heggleford, who gets the costs waived. But while visiting Dargon Kwell gets sick from drinking too much cod liver oil.

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