Missed many sessions of notes. The TLDR for August-October
- the party is posing as a business syndicate, trying to find two missing Imperial agents
- they are in the town of Aldarsh – a liberated star fort town, with an atmosphere like the American South during reconstruction after the civil war
- to the east are mountains and the war, to the south dark forests, to the north a mist shrouded swamp, inhabited by redneck elves
- after accumulating a lot of breadcrumbs they ended up at a local ball, where the gentry are keeping up pretenses
- after which they had a job from a local noble family to clear some goblins out of mine, and deal to an old demon the Lord had bargained
- the goblins were like war boys from Mad Max Fury Road
- the demon was defeated, with two PCs down and bleeding, with the help of an Eclipse Demon, which resurrected Vitus (who had been KIA).
21 November session
Swimming in a pool of corrupted blood that a demon used to call home was never a good idea. So while the party found a bronze chest, swimming around in the muck led to Talia becoming very sick.
The chest was filled with Goblin lead coins, and a red crystal shaped like a mastery rune (the party never found out what it did). Crozane triggered the loot’s curse (this time it was just “all this stuff belongs to you now” rather than a “collect everything in the world”).
Party decides against exploring the sealed vault.
Secundus’ Might spell came in handy, for carrying the chest of lead coins, and Talia once she passed out.
The party was chased by a Gorp through the tunnels. After a few Endurance checks and fatigue points, Pyrias decided to knock Crozane out (a familiar pattern) and the party dumped both the lead coins and the red crystal (figuring it was drawing the Gorp to them).
Mechanics is not a strong skill in the party, but after several failures a 01% was rolled to activate the elevator mechanism (I ruled that the Gorp just missed the party and fell into the elevator shaft).
Leaving the mines, the party meets Rosander, their guide, as the sun starts to set outside. Choice to take shelter or push on. Party chose to push on. First aid checks are not much help when someone is unconscious and dying from disease. Discussion with players, everyone believes the Goblins will move out of the mine.
Encounter with an archaic knight in old style plate armour and horse in barding. Party declines the opportunity for chivalric combat, and the knight offers to help the damsel. Talia ends up being transported to a hag’s cave, where she is cured. Talia decides it’s a good idea to avoid debt, and gifts a spirit charm to the hag.
Back with the Maxlaces, party get their pledged POW back, along with the 15% income share, apartment and library access. They also get some explanation of what has happened – David used the Demon’s power to resist aging and cloud memories of people.
Kayla and the dance of the seven critical fails. Pyrias gives Kayla the Demon heart, and she uses it to restore her damaged eye. Pyrias resists a seduction attempt.
Vitus and Florenzia, interesting revelation about a strain of disease that ages people and creates a crystal substance in their body that can be harvested for MP regeneration.
- XP was too low, everyone can have +3 XP.
- Which breadcrumb do you want to pursue next? I would like to try and focus a bit more in getting the party to the interesting conflict/challenge, although if you want to just keep going to balls and flirting with the locals, that is fine.
5 December session
- Vitus explores the restorative properties of mana crystals harvested from dead bodies and discovers laudanum. And spends time getting to know Matron Florenzia intimately.
- Talia needs blood, so plays music in the various establishments of Aldarsh, until she scores a forgettable one night stand with a barkeeper.
- Secundus writes a good letter home to his wife Stitch.
- Pryrias is (late to gaming) recovering from wounds inflicted by the demon.
- Crozane runs errands, and receives von Schenk’s politely worded decline of their tender for bridge building at Foulbridge.
19 December session
Your local guide, Mitch, advised you of suitable gifts for the Alfandi river trade clan, and of the options for boats to take into the swamp.
You hired an undine powered boat from a couple of Vargr devotees (Ivan and Natashya) of the Cult of Danu the Pirate Queen, for 1200 silvers (including a 200 silver penalty for the ‘bad luck’ Vordar). The boat is called the Tsarina Suka. Two cabins and some storage below, but most of you will be sleeping on deck.
Some time was spent shopping for a few more gifts: Pyrias rolled a 01% critical success to find three Smith & Winifred pistols, ex-military surplus, built by the lowest bidding contractor. Crozane found Moon Snake Elixir, a proven remedy for all varieties of swamp fever. Secundus passed on the offer of some brightly coloured song birds. Talia started a long streak of unlucky dice rolls for this session and found nothing in the markets.
Pyrias managed a critical success on his repair attempt for a rapier.
Into the swamp, first stop the floating platforms and treetop dwellings of the River trade clan. Shrouded in mist, sticky with humidity. It is as fortified as a place built from twigs and string can be, and the locals have a feral look to them, with spears and bows ready to hand. Clothing is a mix of functional and gaudy – anyone with wealth wears it as bling. The River Queen’s dwelling is the most substantial of the lot, with a large enough ceremonial area for about 100 people, and some smaller private rooms. Underneath that is a set of wooden cages, the largest of which has a big crocodile in it.
While the party is initially greeted warmly by Prince Danton-Claude (DC) – intimately so in the case of Mitch – things take a serious turn when Secundus the Vordar is revealed. Secundus is stripped, bound, hooded, and marched off to be placed in a water filled cave. Ancient history leaves the Alfandi prejudiced about Vordar. So the negotiations are both for toleration of Secundus and guides to escort you deeper into the swamps. DC is buff, handsome, and friendly. Possibly too friendly.
Some slight eye-popping when I made the initial influence check Herculean, but the locals are very suspicious of anyone bringing one of the murderous Vordar into their village. Gifts help, as do an explanation of the party’s reason for the swamp voyage – to kill the “Demon” Darnash – and the offer of three pistols and firepowder, plus five crates of steel weapons from Anander Rotrant, clinches the deal. A twist revelation – the Alfandi state that Darnash is in fact a sleeping power, so a bit more than just a demon. At some stage you should really talk to Anander about exactly what her family’s relationship with Darnash is.
I was trying to portray the Queen as an elven version of Jabba the Hutt. Old, obese, cunning and greedy. Her bodyguard (Tijean) is a giant of an elf with a long spear who never speaks.
While most of the party was negotiating, Secundus got an interrogation from what turned out to be the Queen’s daughter Anne-Collette (AC). Unlike the other Alfandi, AC has blue eyes, not brown/black. AC is lithe, long-haired and suspicious. Secundus had mixed success on his Deceit checks, so you can be sure that AC thinks there is more to this Sapphire Sword Syndicate, than just another group of greedy adventurers.
Note – the clans deeper into the swamp will not be so flexible about the presence of a Vordar. You should anticipate extreme reactions.
With success in the negotiations, a celebration is held. The Queen has promised an escort of guides with the skills and experience needed to get the party alive to the old mound in the centre of the swamp, where Old Mother Marnash, the immortal Dreaming Hunger, can be found, along with her mortal cult, dire crocodiles, sting wings, and the legendary Rangarou monster.
Pyrias spends the party largely in close company to the Queen, sitting on the same comfy divan as her. In private conversation, the old Queen points out that while any of her children can attempt the trials to become clan leader after her, only one of them can come home again afterwards.
Secundus spends most of the evening with the Queen’s flabby legs resting on his body.
Anander repeats her past feat with a new drinking contest with the Alfandi.
Crozane’s blonde hair goes down well with the dark haired Alfandi, and a critical success in party mode has several women competing for his attention. DC spends some time flirting with various characters, and Crozane reciprocates, spending a Luck Point on a Deceit check (leading to the question “…but did I want to fail?”).
Vitus mostly dances with Florenzia. Florenzia thinks DC is creepy. QOTD was “but can he dissect a child?”
Talia ends up in private conversation with AC over a bottle of Ildresh (the local equivalent of Purple Death), but mutual suspicion prevents any useful exchange of occult information or potential friendship. As has become usual, Talia ends up watching everyone else have a good time, sleeping on the deck of the boat alone.
Based on the sum of the conversations, the Alfandi are not especially trustworthy, are still holding onto a lot of information, and there is a power play in progress between AC and DC for the succession to clan leadership.
For a change with dream visions on failed leeching earth checks, I got you to start with the descriptions. I will be doing more of this as you get deeper into the swamps. Pyrias dreamed of Miranda, and dark tunnels, so I added tentacles. Crozane dreamed of the deep swamp, and AC and DC standing together, so I asked which of them stabbed the other first, and he chose AC. Whether this has any real prophetic meaning is yet to be revealed.
The clan blesses some idols, using blood supplied by Secundus (-1 HP to left arm). The idols closely resemble something from a bad dream Talia had a few sessions back.
9 January Session
13 Jade coins, strung together with copper wire through a central hole, the coins are decorated in forbidden glyphs from before the dawn, and can be determined to be magic (Vitus with mystic hearing, the coins are screaming in fear): AC later claims these are coins which ensure passage to the other side (death) and back again.
1,242 Bronze coins, green with age (value is uncertain)
1 Blue Sapphire ~1,200 silvers, 1 smaller Blue Sapphire ~1,100 silvers, Alexandrite ~500 silver, Carnelian ~20 silver, Chrysophase ~40 silver, Hematite ~12 silvers (approximate values)
A hexagonal tile, made from gold, and enchanted as a Sentry Warding. (Vitus – it sounds like it is drawing a breath in).
A Bone Scroll case, containing a scroll written in an unknown tongue.
81 modern silver coins of the Lunar Realms
A vibrating dagger (magic hum/flicker) – the party assumed Crozane was appropriating this
A small obsidian state of a frog with claws, dominating a writhing serpent. The base contains ancient pre-dawn runes.
A square cube of a glass like material, that contains a clear liquid, and a small air bubble.
An artists book, half filled with sketches of swamp creatures, and annotations in a Silent Legion cypher (will take several days to completely decode). Author’s name was just M.