Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Somewhere South: The Plots Thicken

Previously: Patrick and David's characters hired some new staff for their bar, The Grotesque Cudgel, and spotted someone tailing them. Gorble of Corg, who is also blackmailing them, says he needs them for a job, and that he will be in touch. Orchard the magic-user kills a man in the street, but the party evade consequences by turning the dead body into gingerbread and distributing it to people... Later, they magically disguise Rowntree the Elf as a gingerbread man and sneak him into the house of a rich immortal. Destroying the painting that keeps the man eternally young, they then throw him out of a window with a fake suicide note in his hand, and "rescue" a former guest at their inn.

Following a lead from a few days before, the party (Vaskin the Fighter and Rowntree the Elf) head north out of Wetham to the ruined town of Degal. They find strange signs of animals before encountering the Black Ruins, a secret society/street gang. The gang are looking for help in wiping out a rival street gang in Wetham, but are also concerned about the growing intellect and power of the Wilizards from the north - a lizard-like humanoid that seems to be growing cleverer with each passing week. A Wilizard scouting party is spotted and the Black Ruins run and hide, leaving the party to beat a hasty retreat - they wound two of the creatures (which have painted themselves with camouflage) and get away.

Back in Wetham they are contacted by Gorble of Corg, who seems to be a lecturer at an adventuring college. On the way to the Zelman College they aide a pair of corpulent opera singing brothers, who promise them free tickets. Gorble of Corg wants the party's help in obtaining a rare book, which he believes a hidden community of half-elves holds in their meeting place. The book tells of how a race of lizard-men were made as simple as animals - Gorble hopes there will be some answers explaining why the Wilizards are gaining intelligence so quickly. The party agree to break in and steal the book.

The half-elves will meet in secret conclave in three nights, but the party decide to find a way in ahead of time. The tower has no visible door, so they investigate several possibilities for accessing from the sewers (looking in Arvik Bleeve's basement at the river, purchasing sewer keys and being attacked by mucus worms) but ultimately decide to search for the entrance. They find a magical circuit that they believe will release the door, and resolve to come back later that night.

Before that, Rowntree has a date at the opera with Elsa Holmen (who was rescued in the previous week). During the intermision he is confronted by Tyrnus Von Vrogle, a friend to the late niece of Arvik Bleeve who Rowntree dissolved with a Rainbow Bolt. Tyrnus is also a half-elf, but she does not know that the party know that. She Charms Rowntree and gets him to walk back to The Grotesque Cudgel so that he can give her the Rod of Rainbow Bolts. His friends realise that something is awry, and a magical battle erupts in the street outside the bar. No-one is seriously hurt, and Tyrnus teleports away.

The party decide to throw caution to the wind and break in to the half-elf tower via the door they have discovered. If nothing else, they will have the book ahead of schedule, giving them time to see what secrets it holds. They enter successfully, and sneak up to the library. They quickly find the book, as well as evidence that as many as sixteen half-elves live secretly in Wetham. Their love of searching for rare books leads them astray though, and Rowntree triggers a trap releasing two Spellbook Golems - animates constructed from magical texts, that attack with spells on the pages of the books they are made from.

The fight spills out on to the street, and for a time it seems like the party might lose the fight and be imprisoned, but finally they get an idea: if they can't burn a golem they might be able to drown it. Quickly they run to a sewer access and are able to force the dog-like book monster down. The water drowns the paper it is made from, and it dies.

The party return to the inn with their hard-won prize...

Wilizards: Like Kelvin said, the idea of Wilizards and their evolving intelligence and tool use implicitly has story possibilities. I hope that the back story in my mind makes sense later...
Gorble: Is he good? Is he bad? He's blackmailing the PCs, but the way he presents himself suggests that he might not be evil...
XP Watch: A mere 250XP between the party for killing a Spellbook Golem. Speaking of which...
Spellbook Golems: Made up at the table, I bloody love these. I'm probably not the first person to ever come up with them, and I'm going to sit down later today and hash out stats for them properly. After last session, where the party used magic a fair bit, it was great to see them in lots of situations - like this one - where their own magic was not as immediately useful as the magic of an opponent. Their quick thinking saved them.
Post It Note Mapping: The party end up in a lot of buildings, and when they need mapping out I quickly sketch the room shape and fittings on a Post It; when they go up or down a level I keep sketching on a different Post It, then we stack them so that they're in order for the building. Quite neat.

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