The characters for this session:
Somewhat distracted by their allies:
Whitey, half-elf rogue
At close of last session our four heroes emerged from the descent, burnt, tattered and filthy, and unsure whether they could afford to stay in town. This session deals with the verdict of popular opinion and the workings of factions. The actions of the party during their stay in Sarnas pays off, providing them with support and assurance.
Part one: The pre-Committee hours
A slayer by any other name would smell as sweet (once bathed)
The six heroes emerge into the Sarnas night and for many hours, seek out bath-houses or at least inns with an option of a tub, night-stall barbers, and clothiers that don’t mind being knocked up in the night. Naturally, Mizva and Whitey drift away and so by midday, it is just four clean, well-clothed Restorers sitting around their favorite corner of the Porters Arms, discussing the new titles Cauleigh wants to add to their long list of honours.
He has three he would like to add, then whittles that down to two, but when the other three object to “Slayers of Sezrekan” because they will have to explain that Sezrekan isn’t a place but the name of a god – every single time – and who the god is – he graciously accepts merely “Sarnas Sleuths” as the badge of honour for the overall dealings in Sarnas.
Then Fennec raises one of the original possible titles – Saviours of Sarnas Abbey – as long as the bigwigs agree – and Crompton wants to simplify that to Saviours of Sarnas.
“After we leave Sarnas” Jotunn adds drily. “But we’ll have to see what the papers say.”
At that point, a farrier’s wife interrupts, with a bill for the upkeep of their ponies. As they amicably settle up, she mentions that their exploits are already in the papers.
With a feeling of doom the morning edition of the Tribune is fetched off the bar…
Slayers of who?
The morning edition already carries a report of the descent. “Thunder Down Under” bellows the Tribune in vast capitals. It seems the six explorers eviscerated someone named Evanrude, and brought sacred fire to end a creature named Sacredan. A leak?!
Much earlier, immediately after their emergence, the six heroes found themselves sitting in comfort in the Bishop’s Palace, sipping nourishing drafts, and filling in a questionnaire.
The essence of this questionnaire is to list the gear they found during the descent (though to be sure, other specifics such as dangerous creatures, please describe, are included). Every single Dwarf fills it in honestly, though Crompton scrawls a list of property he lost during the descent, along the margins!
And now they hustle out and collar a passing paper-boy, and buy a copy of the Clarion. It too has a report, citing a reliable source in the “admeturers guild” that says a large amount of treasure was not found.
“Reliable source… we know that’s wrong” – Cauleigh
Sheriff von Diemar has a word
A smartly-turned-out watchman intercepts them before they can decide where to walk next, and escorts them south-east to the watch-house, and up to the “bull-pen.” After whetting the curiosity of a few detectives they are waved in to the Sheriff’s office by the man himself.
“Good ta see yer self. Jest tryin’ ter work out th’ right time t’convene Committee fer th’ Descent.”
They are given a time, noon the next day, and a place, the same Merchant’s Guildhall that the grand jury used.
The Sheriff alerts them to Neghed’s position. The Templar is making sure that everything they brought out is being valued, possibly with a view to buying the gear for a low value. But the Sheriff, who seems to be neutral, means to involve all of the select and craft guilds where need be.
And speaking of guilds…
Immediately on departing, Cauleigh and Jotunn find themselves invited to the Warriors Guild to brief them – over an ale or three – and Fennec heads direct to the Wizards Guild to speak to Daisy. Crompton walks over to the Park, to see if he can find an Elf. Jotunn has given him the last acorn to hand back to them.
Aside from general cheer and goodwill, the point of the Warriors Guild briefing is to arm the guild with enough information to take a position on the Committee proceedings, and warn the Dwarfs not to blab ahead of the Committee.
[There’s an interesting exchange where Cauleigh tries to put across his story of the city being blind to a string of unusual murders, and Diesa points out that in fact each murder was investigated – but Cauleigh ignores the facts in favour of his own story. There’s a grain of truth to it, since had Elisha not been on the crime beat, the bodies would not have been examined expertly. But since Cauleigh acknowledges the “official position” while not acknowledging it is factual, 20AP for he and Jotunn! I do question whether I ought to be rewarding fantasy-spinning…]
Daisy finds Fennec at the exact right time, after a nice snack and nap have allowed him to recover a little. Listening to his description, Daisy ropes Max Oberhelm in, as the situation seems to need an expert bureaucrat. In a private office, Max throws up a privacy chamber and they discuss matters freely. Max takes a number of notes and reassures Fennec as best he can that the Guild has the Dwarves covered – there won’t be any low-ball valuations.
Daisy examines the key Fennec was given by Ernysi… in great detail. Then hands it back.
Again reassuring Fennec that as long as a consistent, well-delivered account of the descent is offered – and Mizva is not left to run amok – the Committee should prove routine, Max closes the interview.
As for Crompton, after meeting no Elves in the immediate Park entrance, he takes a stool at Central Perk and falls into a very pleasant conversation with a couple. [A L1 CHR SR on a L5 requirement means that he unwittingly tells them a great deal about the descent] But at length Chani enters and Crompton both hands over the acorn and makes an appointment for a hafting assessment at her guild, paying her 24 gold for priority. He’s invited to visit Princess Janorra and accepts but does not act on it.
Much later than they arrived at the Old Alehouse, the two Warrior Dwarfs part ways, Cauleigh to walk round to the Park, Jotunn to head back to the lockup. Cauleigh makes the further acquaintance of Warrior Artie Patch, good-natured, in-the-know Hobb, who recommends his cousin (Gizzard) as a Rogue that might make a good scout for a foray into Sarn Athrad. They discuss wintertime jobs and the prospects of the hunter-killer teams being agreed. Cauleigh passes up the idea of a wager.
Jotunn gets a farewell kiss from Diesa Zarkana (of the wealthy Zarkanas) and Hanna Burrowsmith (of Wizard Guild liaison squad). He’s followed all the way over to the upper docks by Girol, who fails to interest him in buying the cub reporter any food, or talking to anyone for that matter. [L2 CHR SR ends off the inexpert youngster]
Cauleigh speaks to Cettros, Central Perk’s centaur proprietor, and learns that Crompton has been in blabbing to reporters; that Cettros is catering to the Committee; and that endorsements and speaking engagements will no doubt be offered the famed spelunkers. Finishing his coffee-liqueur (on the house!) he leaves for Jane’s Bakery.
It’s already clean-up time at the bakery: Jane greets Cauleigh and summons her younger sister (Mother Hobb) out from some stewing process. Mother Hobb kisses Cauleigh hello and wonders where “her boys” are. Cauleigh explains Betty’s toad-down-the-back prank, and that he has named the toad Betty.
The Porters Arms sees all four Dwarves gather very ready for bed, barely bothering to grab a bite. Idly and in passing Fennec wonders where Mizva and Whitey are, but is too tired to act on it.
Let’s go find Mizva and Whitey
A solid 14 hours later they wake in the dawn, to the cries of Extra! Extra! Descent Details! Read all about it!
“I can’t tell how anyone could get this information!” Cauleigh exclaims, having decided not to betray Crompton.
“I bet you it’s Neghed!” Crompton claims, none the wiser.
Leaving the Porters Arms being decorated with election bunting (Collar-necks!) they head out.
On the off-chance Mother Hobb has mysteriously gathered Mizva and Whitey to herself, they all walk over to Jane’s Bakery. There is a long queue. After – at length – drawing level with a window, Jotunn bangs vigorously and – again at length – having pulled faces at them through the glass, Betty walks outside and around to see what they want.
“She don’t know!” Betty reports after walking back inside to ask her aunt. To Crompton’s further suggestions she pulls more faces and departs.
Where Cauleigh originally found Mizva was by the Great North Gate so they all head with the traffic flowing across the bridges and by the theatre. More bunting, this time for the Ruff-necks, and big signs in favour of Senator Bernhart the Beneficent.
Near the north gate, at the same pub, they spy two familiar figures seated at the outside tables. Mizva has eight of a ten-handle pyramid piled up on the table; Whitey is nursing his beer. The Dwarves join them in hopes of moving Mizva along.
Whitey brings up the questionnaire (calling it a quiz) and they discuss prospects for gear value, and who might be leaking to the press. It’s news to their allies that the Committee meets today, and so is the time and place. This being known, Fennec gains an agreement that the spokespeople be limited to he and Cauleigh.
“And if there’s something you don’t know, just say you weren’t able to see it and don’t know,” Jotunn advises.
Mizva agrees but says that if they aren’t going to pay out he’ll have a few fucking choice words to say. Fennec looks at the burly warrior.
“Now you’ve finished your ten, Mizva, what say you have a swig of this Too Bad Toxin drink?”
“I know what you’re trying to do, but don’t worry, I’ll be fine,” Mizva responds.
He and Jotunn get up to unload their intake in the pub’s alley. Crompton begins making an even more cunning plan to de-toxify Mizva: Whitey calls him to order, saying quietly but distinctly:
“I’ll look after my friend, thanks – you look after yours”
The six eat a basic mid-morning meal there in the pub. Then five of the six walk at leisurely gait to the Merchant Guild compound, and Fennec walks to the Porters Arms, dons his replacement best Guild robe, and heads to the Committee too.
Part 2: The Committee and after
The elect, the select, and the circumspect
Again, the adventurers shed sidearms and are shown through to the hall with incredibly comfortable wooden furniture. Folk have heard that Central Perk is catering and there are already plenty of numbers around the coffee and meals. The Dwarves see some figures from last time, and some new faces.
- Regular watch captain Acusta;
- Garrison Sgt Musger;
- Tam Wigan of the Warriors Guild;
- Dwarf Borer of the Adventurers Guild; and
- Magister wizard Max Oberhelm of the Wizards Guild (who appears to have a chairperson role).
- Dainty redhead Urie, representing service industries;
- Fairy Miraina, representing fine crafts;
- Burly, dandyish Lennor representing metal-smiths; and
- Areta, representing gem-smiths
Senators Renee Finaire and Kalashtriel (both elves, but the former neutral and the latter Isildore’s) are there, along with red-locked Chani. They all notionally represent the Elves rather than a guild or senate faction.
“Ah! Chani! She trained with Ponderblade!” Cauleigh exclaims, out of nowhere, but it’s useful information for Crompton [and for me since I can use the idea].
The three religious the adventurers expect are there: Erynsi and Neghed of the Cathedral and Bowdyn of River Temple.
Fennec spots Lady Bree. She’s seated not far behind Max, side-on to the hall, rather out of sight of everyone. He warns the others to be on their best behaviour.
A certain amount of official fuss at the door: a Mercer Herald calls the arrival of senator Bernhart. He and his hulking coat-holder Drake enter, nodding around. And with a “sorry I’m late” senator Isildore wanders in, shakes hands around the hall, and stations himself near Kalashtriel.
The account of the descent
All seems ready, save for the fashionably late Sheriff von Diemar, who nods good afternoon, and finds only a dreg of coffee remaining.
Max takes over the presiding role, inviting the Committee to guide him as to how to proceed. In a choreographed manner Tam of the Warriors suggests that they do not wish to hear the same thing six times, so only one spokesperson need take the stand.
Neghed looks a little sourer.
“We certainly could. You should also remember that not everyone could see the same exact thing at the same time, being in tight confines, but we were all there,” Jotunn responds.
“Ahum… ahum… ’tain’t mah place ter say, but Ah reckon as Jotunn thar’s damn’ right. Ah bin down a tight hole ‘er two, unlike most y’all…” Borer drawls.
“You or me?” Cauleigh to Fennec
“You I think” Fennec to Cauleigh
As spokesperson Cauleigh explains the descent well [I claim his last boon to smoothly include the infuence of the mirror/whisper leading right up to Emenrah] and the means by which the great evil was defeated. It’s made clear to the Committee that challenges remain (including the Troll-Goblin market).
During Cauleigh’s description, Fennec notices a reaction from Lady Bree – just a slight one [makes L3 CHR on a second chance] but enough to suggest something to him.
Individual members of the elect and select question Cauleigh on particular matters: he hands over to Fennec on any arcane matter. But they make these enquiries in a friendly way. Neghed is clearly upset at the way things have gone.
[Based on individual LK or CHR SRs from the four Dwarves, I hand out 200AP]
Max sums up. While not everything has been valued, the adventurers are to be immediately awarded the balance of reward, and those items valued already can be dealt with today.
“Tomorrow we’ll deal with the orneriest of the items, and I don’t allow as how we need y’all to turn up,” he concludes, nodding at the members. There’s general nodding in response. Except from Neghed, who stands, walks into the centre of the hall, and snarls:
“Waal I reckon as how this goddam’ thing’s aimin’ ter run me out on a rail! I know whut’s goin on! But – we in th’ Temple of th’ Father got th’ last say – and don’t fergit – only one temple defendin’ this hyar city! I’ll be seein’ yez!”
The immediate payouts of reward outstanding, share of the gold physically gathered in the descent, award from the armourers’ on the chitinous scales (dragon scale) and mithril coin, are dealt with. So is confirmation that the adventurers can keep the potions of truthfulness, invisibility and giant strength.
Emerging from the guildhall, late that night, Mizva rubs his hands:
“Money! Where do we go to celebrate boys?”
Then, he’s accosted by reporters! As is Jotunn! But to his credit Jotunn insists that since proceedings aren’t finished he has “no comment.”
Agreeing that they’ll meet up before the next convening, the Dwarves part ways with their allies. Cauleigh hears Whitey speaking to a woman, off in the dark. He shrugs and leads his three fellows to the Suckling Pig [or to be accurate, the Drunken Nixie] where they enjoy a fine repast, without being extravagant.
During the evening a series of folk drop by, shake hands, and make offers. They realise that some lines of income have opened up!
As Max indicated, few Committee members are needed. The armourers and gemsmiths are represented.
Final valuations of the more magical of the treasures has come through. Now that Neghed has given up on the idea of removing the treasure for next-to-no money, some are very high.
There now intervenes a complicated session where the adventurers are provided valuations on spell scroll, Trollbane sword, dagg-pistolet, and spiked targe. They accept the price on the dagg, and after some hard thinking, the scroll.
Crompton buys out everyone on the Trollbane sword. This is generous and leaves him bereft of coin for buying spells or gadgets.
Cauleigh decides that since the targe is about the same as his madhu, and is worth a small fortune, he’ll leave it. But Jotunn asks for it, buys out Mizva and Whitey’s share, and persuades the others to take a smaller compensation since he also needs to afford armour.
Looking forward to Winter
Crompton keeps his appointment with Chani. He is unclear on what he has in mind: Chani uses her expertise to suggest some possibilities. Things like not fumbling, or mobility, or raw power… then the blade itself can be enhanced with things like breaking. Crompton plumps for Double Double on DEX, if it can be configured into something he can afford.
Jotunn and Cauleigh, of course, keep their appointment with Eric Nordigar and pay off the balances on their armour.
The four Restorers are free to follow up the lines of income that have been advertised to them. Jotunn is a popular subject for endorsements; and Cauleigh has the offer of speaking engagements. Crompton already has an offer of work along the warehouses, and Fennec has spell-writing. They fall to discussing the important thing: how they ought to be referred to by the press!
Saviours of Sarnas! …or maybe…
“Really, Sleuths doesn’t really tell people what we did. I think “Saviours of Sarnas” sounds waaay better.”
“Well, I think Descenders ought to play its part in out titles…”
“Discoverers of the Descent? Good yarn in that one…”
And so the debate looks fit to continue over to the next season, as our heroes undertake work around town. Until that time, here are the attributes the “Saviours” have at end of season:
Fennec: STR24 IQ40 LK27 CON27 DEX24 CHR26 SPD25 WIZ38. Lvl 4 wizard, specialist in Combat and Curative schools, wanderer background, novice delver
Cauleigh: STR41 IQ19 LK39 CON44 DEX38 CHR30 SPD41 WIZ28. Lvl 4 warrior, townsman background, novice delver
Jotunn: STR40 IQ18 LK32 CON61 DEX32 CHR20 SPD32 WIZ21. Lvl 6 warrior, hunter background and tracking talent, novice delver
Crompton: STR28 IQ26 LK33 CON32 DEX32 CHR20 SPD30 WIZ30. Lvl 3 rogue, apprentice roguery and Runebearer