TI4.59: Aftermath

The characters for this session:

Fennec, L3 wizard, combat and curative schools

Crompton, L3 rogue, roguery and Runebearer background

Cauleigh, L4 warrior, literate townsman background

Jotunn, L6 warrior, hunter background with tracking talent

Relatively unscathed, the four Restorers have survived a showdown with Bishop Pausanias and his followers, in a mysterious chamber below the Cathedral in Sarnas. Now, the wheels that have been set in motion by their actions revolve… bringing danger to those not attuned to fortune’s vagaries!

Taking stock

The Restorers catch their breath and take stock. Echoes of the fight barely diminish, as though the weirdly-marked chamber wishes to hold onto the chaos.

There are two descents west, and one at the south end of the L-shape chamber, east. The remains of Severin and one acolyte sprawl messily down from where Cauleigh was fighting, and at the south end  the trace remains of Takrina – really just her hardest pieces of equipment. The headless corpse of Pausanias lies near Cauleigh and Crompton, in a huge pool of blood.

Taking a head count there are five living acolytes, shocked out of resistance, either setting down their maces or waiting to be told what to do. Jotunn has been holding off three, and Fennec two more.

Of the Restorers only Crompton is physically battered, and he is suffering from poison effects as well. Cauleigh’s breastplate is ruined.

“Let’s take a little time, gather valuables, and herd these muppets out – there’ll need to be an accounting” Fennec declares. His mana is tapped out, for he lost control on the TTYF that blasted Takrina.

“There’s at least one ghoul,” Cauleigh reminds the others as Crompton swigs a dose of Mother Hobb’s TBT juice, “so let’s ask what the layout is here and what else lies below.”

Jotunn eases his weapons back and rubs his beard:

“Before we think ‘below’ – do we know the way back is clear? Have we dealt with what’s around? Maybe, sort out this mess then scout further…”

“Yeah, we’ve done a good job here. The assassin, the creepy priest, this fat guy… I don’t think fuzz-face the necromancer is in on this…” – he breaks off to check among the scared acolytes, but none of them are shape-changing back into anything. Jotunn nods:

“True, right now there’s a little bit more to be done, mostly tidy-up unless there’s more surprises…”

 

A sound from above – who could that be?

“We’re about to have one,” Fennec interrupts urgently: “a gate just got kicked in – upstairs – we’re about to have company!”

“Right you four – five – put down your weapons and shift these bodies,” Crompton orders.

The acolytes shuffle as though resistant to the notion, but then one pipes up:

“Yes! Yes… even the heads?”

“Yes, even the heads,” Cauleigh insists, settling Regdar back into its scabbard. “Well this could be good news,” he comments, a trifle grimly, unslinging his trusty caliver. He taps fine powder into the frizzen-pan and lights his match.

For his part, Crompton retrieves his big ancestor axe from where it fell, then readies his long arquebus on its stock. Fennec brandishes his staff, as though he has the power – a good bluff is sometimes all that’s needed! Jotunn moves to front-rank, close to the rough-tunneled entrance.

The acolytes seem anxious to avoid displeasing their captors but reluctant to move towards this new threat. One of them kneels in the blood and cradles Pausanias’ head, weeping.

“What’s wrong with his head?” Cauleigh demands unsympathetically.

“I’m mourning a good friend… he was a good man.”

“Until when?” Cauleigh returns, attempting to appear sympathetic. The acolyte explains that Pausanias fell ill, and as an antiquarian may have sought out something… then the details are lost as whatever it was Fennec heard above, curses from some closer chamber or tunnel.

A faint flickering or shimmer is visible beyond the entrance.

“Who goes there?” Crompton challenges.

 

That help you asked for

“I believe there’s someone down there, m’lady,” sounds a male voice off in the distance.

“Who goes there?” Crompton calls again.

“Stand back!” – a strong, woman’s voice. Jotunn and Crompton step back – but Crompton re-aims his arquebus!

Two figures emerge down into the chamber. The taller draws their eyes: she coruscates with weird purple and green patterns that cascade down her. In her left hand she holds, casually, a rapier; in her right she presents a rod, horizontally: it’s about the same dimensions as the lockup-key rod Jotunn carries. Behind the lights, she is armoured. And she’s an elf. Behind her, part-hidden by the light, comes Osusk the bushy-bearded necromancer: a pale purplish shielding light precedes him.

Cauleigh, standing roughly equal with Fennec behind the first pair, calls:

“We are the Restorers! Introduce yourself!”

 

Not always welcomed by adventurers

“Hold yourself bound under law! This area is under investigation!”

“Under whose authority?” Cauleigh retorts as levelly as he can.

He finds himself spinning, rammed up into the chamber roof, spinning along the roof into the wall, then down onto the stone flags! Pieces of gear pinwheel off him in his course, showering the chamber. Fennec notes that the elf gestured with the rod, to accomplish this. He raises an eyebrow: a flagrant display of power. (And no more than he’s come to expect, from elves.) Osusk scuttles to one side:

“Don’t look at the runes!”

“Yes we learned that,” Fennec agrees, as Cauleigh picks himself up, “I suspect that’s what rotted Pausanias’ mind.”

“What is this place?”

“It’s some sort of inner dungeon dug through into,” Cauleigh says, keeping his cool as best he can, “and it is accursed.”

“I’m guessing it’s on unconsecrated ground,” Crompton adds.

Osusk nods, trying to take in the scene while not reading the carven walls. The echoes of Cauleigh’s descent still reverberate. The necromancer humbly half-bows to the elf:

“I think, my lady, these are the dwarves that Daisy Brightwater sent us down to aid!”

“Yes, we’re the Restorers, Cauleigh reminds her edgily.

 

Bound under law

“I do not like what I see! I see the body of beloved Pausanias, naked, ruined… much has been done here that is ill! This will take the investigations of law: therefore, consider yourselves all bound under law!”

Her imperious gaze takes in everyone in the room. Cauleigh bites his tongue, and Jotunn chooses his time – and tone – well:

“It might interest you to know we haven’t checked everything and there may still be dangers here.”

The elf – who has still not bothered to introduce herself – notes to Osusk that they’ll need a legal team here, then turns to Jotunn:

“Well! You seem to have a civil tongue. Let’s descend, and see what’s at issue.”

Once she and Jotunn are out of sight Cauleigh finally recalls that he has seen the elf. She is senator Kalashtriel, senator Isildore’s bodyguard and described to him by Girol as “a killer.”

As though to excuse Kalashtriel’s breach of etiquette Osusk ruminates to Fennec:

“We came by way of the tombs of heroes: the sight of they had been desecrated – of course many of these fought alongside her – enraged the senator.”

 

Evil Idols

Jotunn meanwhile finds a single broad chamber below linking both stairs. Three idols loom in niches opposite: an armoured skeletal figure bearing a two-hand sword; a bat-winged minotaur-like creature; and a demoness-style idol. Before each, a bowl shows ichorous residue; and in a semi-circle are strewn half a dozen vials.

As Kalashtriel stalks alongside him her light, weird though it is, allows Jotunn to pick out three of them that seem to still have at least a dose left. He tucks them away.

Meanwhile, noting Osusk distracted and the acolytes eyes elsewhere, Cauleigh sneaks a number of “interesting” items away. They include a bundle of sticks, a ring, and a heavy warhammer. As he returns to reclaim the handaxe buried in a shattered skull, Jotunn and Kalashtriel walk up from below.

 

Takrina’s bequest

Osusk seems reluctant to touch anything himself, but finds his way south to where Takrina fell. He stoops, examining the remains. Fennec expounds on the effects of a high-level TTYF. Osusk samples a vial and pronounces it spider-venom.

“Always seemed like cheating,” Crompton jokes.

“Depends on your point of view, my friend,” Osusk observes.

Crompton focuses on the eerie darkness of the nearby exit. Almost certainly another descent. He spots a small dark object at the lip. Osusk trots over, seems leery of the darkness, but stoops and gathers a whip of thongs: an S&M implement. The thongs are still damp with Takrina’s blood. He adds it to his little collection.

 

Better check that evil darkness…

Kalashtriel sweeps back up, still visibly fuming, still shimmering purple and green. Osusk raises his voice from where he and Crompton stand:

“My lady – what lies below here is very bad – or so I sense.”

“Might need investigation to see if there’s something below, that might come back and haunt,” Crompton adds.

“Very well – you’re with me!”

Kalashtriel strides over and down the steps, casually throwing up the purplish-glowing shield over Crompton.

“Does anyone know who Crompton’s next-of-kin are?” Fennec calls after them.

A short time later, Crompton walks back up the stair from a vaguely star-shaped chamber below, having not touched anything and not found any foe.

“Pile of skulls… pretty much what you’d expect… and a throne.”

Meanwhile the acolytes veer closer and closer to the cover story the gullible Dwarves supplied them with. As Crompton emerges in front of Kalashtriel he hears “we were misled” from one of them, but Kalashtriel storms across the chamber and, menacing them with her superior height, informs them coldly that they will stand trial.

 

Aftermath of the raid

Over the next few days the Restorers find themselves in a strange halfway stage between being feted as the heroes who fought off undead around the south, and avoided as suspects in the killing of beloved Bishop Pausanias. Here’s a quick summary of events:

 

  • More clothes are purchased, Jotunn picks up and finishes paying for his vambrace, and Cauleigh shops for alternatives to his badly-damaged breastplate.
  • Fennec interviews Daisy, and learns, as he imagined, that a deadly-skilled senator and a reasonably-kosher necromancer was the best solution that Daisy could come up with to help, through Lady Bree’s influence.
  • Elisha is given a full update on the situation as Cauleigh found it.
  • The Masque of Death is still “on” and all the young folk of the city enjoy it to the full. Jotunn and Cauleigh, wearing their “demon pikeman” outfits, join in. They hear possible sedition, laughed off as a joke.
  • Dalton volunteers their lockup free of charge for the next month, as thanks for saving his family.
  • Jotunn manages to locate short, personable alchemist Palealia who runs the Jealous Hag near South Gate, and the potions are assayed. Crompton buys a road-charm from Palealia and Cauleigh buys an Ever-flint.

 

Around and among these events, some of more serious note are also taking place:

  • Dolem’s Spire is under siege! The enemy have at least one giant, and bridges are thrown across the river. The last few refugees make it out north.
  • These include a couple of junior wizards, who report refugees that did not have the benefit of Hidey Hole were rounded up by the orc bands.
  • Among the last out are two of the Holy Father order: Neghed, loathed Templar Dwarf and a young unassuming priestess, Ernysi. By virtue of the loss of the entire Abbey hierarch these two are now senior clergy in the city.
  • Ernysi is introduced to the River Temple, where Bowdyn, like Ernysi an unassuming priestess: but sturdier and precise-mannered: oversees the remnants of the old religion.
  • The Restorers meet tall battered veteran Sheriff von Diemar when he calls into the Porters Arms. His watchmen hand the Restorers their summons to appear as witnesses before a Grand Jury.
  • Before they go to appear, they are mana-locked by Neghed. He takes a great deal of pleasure in it.

 

The grand jury

It’s the day after the high day following the death of Pausanias, and the Tribune’s banner screams “TERROR LURKS BELOW!!!” The grand jury is convened in the Merchant Guild compound, just north of the Cathedral. In its meeting-hall the richly-carved wooden furniture is so comfortable you want to just keep sitting on it.

Sheriff von Diemar presents the matter, and Fran Limnsman, cranky medical investigator, is his chief technical assistant. While witnesses, the Restorers are quite clear that they are also persons of interest.

The press is represented by both Elisha (Tribune) and Clarrie (Clarion) and their runners Girol and Dixit are kept busy. Refreshment breaks are excellent as the food and drink are top quality.

The jury is of two parts, a burgher-elect jury of four peers:

  1. Dainty redhead Urie, representing service industries;
  2. Fairy Miraina, representing fine crafts;
  3. Svelte Cynlo, representing metal-smiths; and 
  4. Areta, representing gem-smiths.Then the non-elect panel of five:
  5. Regular watch captain Acusta;
  6. Garrison Sgt Musger;
  7. Dwarf Tred Nordigar of the Warriors Guild;
  8. Dwarf Borer of the Adventurers Guild; and 
  9. Magister wizard Max Oberhelm of the Wizards Guild.

 

Day one of grand jury proceedings

Max operates a recording scroll that records everything the Restorers mutter to one another: there’s no presumption of privacy. (At one point he actually holds it up for Fennec to notice: Fennec does not notice.)

Von Diemar seems interested in bringing out what really happened. Cauleigh’s evidence of how Pausanias appeared is not backed up by the acolytes, who are now sticking firmly to the “we wuz enthralled, it’s all a blank” story the Restorers cued them in to. The battered breastplate helps, but is not conclusive.

Pausanias’ ring is of undead control – which might be strong evidence – but of course, since Cauleigh removed it from the dead man, it’s of no use to suggest Pausanias once used it.

Things take a bad turn for the acolytes, during the afternoon session, when a Soiled Dove is produced. She has been tied up in Severin’s closet for days, waiting to be killed. And she says the other acolytes watched as Severin worked his wicked ways on her.

 

Day two of the grand jury

The grand jury elects to make certain findings at the end of the two day inquest: it thanks Kalashtriel and Osusk; and delivers a vote of thanks to the Restorers for their brave help in protecting the citizens from roaming undead. This, of course, leaves the grand jury still considering the matter of Pausanias! Their intention is to allow the Restorers and other witnesses to go about their lawful business.

The matter of “what lies beneath” is discussed at some length. It seems the grand jury has some discretion on the direction its inquest takes! The jury invites the Restorers’ experience of the undead floor in Fingold.

Cauleigh in particular summons his speaking skills, with some assistance on technical aspects from Fennec. The key point is that Fingold was able to use a very senior priest, specifically fetched for the purpose. Discussion follows of Dolem’s Spire and what help the Templars may be. Fennec tenders the notion that a rescue mission to Dolem’s Spire might be worth trying. But Max Oberhelm notes boundary issues and the Sheriff ropes and hog-ties the idea of expeditions before the grand jury commits Sarnas to something like war.

The second day finishes with a strong indication of favour to the Dwarves. On top of their earlier vote of thanks, the grand jury finds no reason that the Restorers can’t be recompensed by keeping the fair loot of their combat. (Although Fennec’s mutterings, duly recorded by the scroll, nearly change their minds.) These include two items Osusk picked up: a knife and bracer; and a Dis-Spell wand from Pausanias. Beyond that, the Restorers are released on their own recognizance. And still mana-locked.

 

Thoughts for where their path may lead

The city publishes a reasonable reward for adventurers to go below and deal with the source of the undead.

They while away the next few days having things assayed by Palealia and using the Sheriff’s note of thanks to get up onto Mettastos’ queue. Jotunn books a re-working of Takrina’s bracer.

But Cauleigh for one is unsure whether he ought to plough his hard-earned cash into excellent armour. It would fit into his plans to travel west, then back. But he resents having his hands tied – an adventurer is his own master! And he has served Sarnas well – even if he has helped himself as well, along the way. His comrades listen sympathetically to him as he addresses the tavern ceiling along these lines. Or, possibly not sympathetically.

“We could bum around and wait, or I could talk to the Sheriff,” Jotunn offers.

In Sarnas’ southern watch-house, Jotunn locates von Diemar working off the “bull-pen.”

“Pretty much through things,” von Diemar greets him with, “coffee?” 

Jotunn makes a plea for the mana lock to be removed. He now learns that the grand jury’s findings are soon to be released and will be good news. The Sheriff offers to “hustle things along” and “roust around.”

On the way back, Jotunn organises a decent coffee to be delivered to the Sheriff. The watch-house coffee is terrible!

 

Two of the Restorers spend some AP:

Fennec takes IQ to 34, WIZ to 33, LK to 27 and SPD to 25.

Crompton takes WIZ to 25, and LK to 33, STR to 27.

 

Props:

This time, I’ll give props to the Mythic GM-Emulator (GME). The Dwarves set some things in motion last session, and there are other events occurring elsewhere, so I simplified everything by posing a longish list of questions, and answering them with a d100. For NPCs, attitudes and power levels, I also give props to Universal NPC Emulator (UNE).

 

Addendum: Events of near concern to the Restorers

These events began before the inquest and continued over and after it. I may be giving the Restorers too much credit thinking they are organised enough to stay abreast of this, but so be it. My intention in listing the events is to move to the point where the most immediate preparations for the Underdark expedition begin.

  1. Investigation of the rune-carven chamber and idols: Done. Sheriff von Diemar and Fran Limnsman make a thorough search, removing 11 skulls to be returned to various despoiled remains; and locating a secret entrance to the Underdark.
  2. Removal of the worse effects of the tunnels off the crypts: Done. Chaos magic still roils around the tunnels but Lady Bree dampens it to the point where it is unlikely to affect people clearing them. Daisy Brightwater restores the Seraph and tidies the desecrated memorials.
  3. Clearing the sewers of undead: Done. The Rogues Guild uses its influence to supply volunteers for this. By doing so they take over Takrina’s old HQ, and earn the city’s gratitude. Borer leads the early running, then once the HQ is secure, other rogues are able to take over. This does not give Borer any special insight into the undead presence.
  4. Janorra’s return to normal: Done. Once Pausanias dies, whatever big bad he is working up also dies down. However, there are knock-on consequences. The elf clique owes senator Isildore a favour, which makes the nobles senate faction very nervous, but there’s not a lot it can do without a full breach.
  5. Pricing Wizards Guild membership: Done. Fennec’s membership is discussed by those who wish him well, and the Guild agrees he can join if he wants to. It will cost 300AP and a week out of campaign, to represent the investment of scroll-writing techniques. Thereafter Fennec would be entitled to a more sympathetic ear when he asks for potions, scrolls, and spell-teaching. Should Fennec wish to work for his keep over winter instead of attempting to travel, this is a sound investment.
  6. Pricing Mettastos armour: Done. Jotunn can purchase on the following multipliers:
    Triple the book price, then use the cumulative multipliers:
    x2: Lighter. STR-3 (but min of 1 STR);
    x3: Slicker. DEX-3 (but min of 1 DEX);
    x2: Magical soak. The face value (NOT the warrior value), and of course prevents the piece from being broken by magical BB effect;
    x(n) where n is level of spell defence. Armour can be proofed against spells of a given level, just like it can be proofed against bows of a certain power. If you only want the armour to defend against one spell, divide by three. Eg proof vs DeathSpell#9, means a factor of three.
    Finally round down to the nearest hundred.
    The time needed to make the armour is one week plus (face value in days x the sum of multipliers.) Jotunn must be available for initial measurement then final fitting.
  7. Finding a source for Omni-Eye of loot: Palealia is able to do this, at 25 per item, or 40 for a one-off.
  8. Searching the Bishop’s Palace and reading his antiquarian notes: Ernysi invites Fennec… which is where we pick up next session!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s