Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sharn - The Cauldron - Episode 4

The trio decides to investigate Phon's home. They travel to the block where she lives and investigate. During the search, they are interrupted by the town guard who received a report from a neighbor of intruders. Talyn easily convinces the guards that they are good guys and the guards assist. Rexton questions the neighbor who summoned the guard but gets no information. After examining Phon's room, Kal concludes that there were at least 2 attackers who kidnapped Phon. Talyn investigates the outside of the building and determines the most likely path where Phon was taken, even finding a scrap of her clothing. The party questions another neighbor (an elf) who informs them that he heard a noise, but didn't see anyone.

The trio decides to return to the Cathedral of the Cleansing Flame to further question Flamebearer Fabitor. At the party's request, the Archierophant sends a courier to find Fabitor and have him return. The party sends a scribe to Morgrave University to research the symbol on Phon's body. Finally, Rexton sends a courier to Coldflame Keep to get his equipment.

The courier sent to Coldflame returns with the equipment and informs Rexton that Mazin has important news for him. Rexton leaves Kal to wait for Fabitor and returns to Coldflame Keep. There, Mazin informs him that Phon was pregnant. The fetus didn't appear to be human, having minimal facial features and a symbol similar to the one Phon had, only larger.

Talyn asks questions around the Cathedral of the Cleansing Flame about the Archierophant and Fabitor. He finds out that she tended to focus on tending the congregation rather than on business which Fabitor was primarily involved in.

Rexton makes a copy of the symbol and heads directly to Morgrave University Library. There, he meets the head librarian who appears to be an orangutan.

The Librarian leads him to the other scribe sent to research Phon's mark. Rexton sends the scribe back to the Cathedral with an update of information. The researcher who was looking for information on Phon's mark reveals the following information:
    Phon's mark appears to be a "lesser" or "least" abbberant Dragonmark. Within the Dragonmark houses, only a small percentage of every generation manifest dragonmarks, which are marks on the body that grant abilities to those born with them. Aberrant dragonmarks are deviations from normal marks and are not recognized by the dragonmarked houses. The aberrant lords of the War of the Mark wielded terrible powers. Madness, flame, and plague were the least of their weapons. These tales inspired the superstitions that haunt the bearers of aberrant dragonmarks to this day. But in the centuries since the War of the Mark, no aberrant mark has ever bestowed the sort of powers seen in the past.

Rexton returns to the Cathedral at the same time Fabitor arrives. The group questions Fabitor about stealing money and he confesses. However, he maintains that he didn't really know Phon.

Talyn observes to the general group, "You found out about her and had to do something about it." The entire group in the room gives him a quizzical look.

The party decides to hold Fabitor to be brought to Wroat (the capital of Breland) for trial. They further decide to watch the Cathedral for the next few days to see if someone impersonating Fabitor arrives.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sharn - The Cauldron - Episode 2 & 3

After leaving Indenture Hall, Kal moves around the area trying to get any clues regarding the statues in Malleon's Gate. He remembers hearing a raspy sound just as he crossed through the gate to exit that section of town. He heads back to and starts looking around there.
Rexton follows. As he and Kal walk through town, “So…Just what are we looking for?”

Kal doesn't answer.

As Kal and Rexton proceed to the edge of Oldkeep and Malleon’s Gate, there are the sounds of someone running down an upper walkway. As you glance up you see an odd shadow of a person about 15 feet up hanging from a rope by there feet.

“Umm Kal...There's a guy hanging up there..” says Rexton as he looks at the body.

The “body” is actually breathing – so “he” seems to be alive. A flash of light from a torch (it is dark and rainy) reveals it is Sequiter (Kal, of course, recognizes him – Rexton does not because he’s never met him).

Sequiter’s eyes flutter open.

Kal looks around for a way to get Sequiter down, before he becomes "NonSequiter".

“Well nice to see you hanging around sir,” quips Rexton as he gives the dangling man a once over after Kal gets him down.

Sequiter takes a look around him, and gathers is thoughts. Then checks out how he is bound.

"Sequiter," asks Kal, "how did this come to be? Who would have done this to you?"

Sequiter looks and it appears to be a very simple loop around his feet that has been tied very quickly and clumsily. It would be easy to get himself down if he wishes. (And no, Sequiter has no memory of how he got here). It doesn’t appear to be any type of “trap”, but rather someone lifted him up there quickly and slipped an existing noose around his feet to hold him upsidedown.

“See anything interesting while you were hanging there?” asks Rexton.

Sequiter unties the knots and rights himself (hanging right side up) “I'll take a look”

Sequiter notes that the rope is lower quality and likely near the end of it’s operational life; even having had frayed areas tied back together. It is tied to an upper walkway.

“How did you get up there sir?” looks inquisitively at Sequiter.

Kal looks around to see how Sequiter would have been tied up. Looking for any place the rope would be attached to looking for any sign of a scuffle or drag marks.

Sequiter gaves the corners of his cape to slow his descent to the ground, then looks around.

Kal and Sequiter both notice that there are scratches on the wall (like some critter with sharp claws climbed up). There are no clear signs of a struggle. They conclude that Sequiter was likely unconscious when he was put there.

Kal notices a clumsy shallow mark on Sequiter’s neck (someone was getting ready to cut his throat but got distracted).

Rexton wryly grins, saying “Looks like he almost lost his head over whatever he was into.”

As Sequiter is about to make a pithy comeback, he thinks, “What is that scurrying scuttering noise?”

“What is that noise?” Rexton asks, looking around trying to find the source of the skittering…“I hope I dont loose my head too.”

Rat creatures attack, but are quickly dispatched by our heroes. They leave one alive and question him about the attack. He responds that "Lady Death is coming".

Kal continues back to Malleon's Gate where he asks about the statues more. After doing some more looking around, Rexton leaves to go back to Coldflame Keep. Kal and Sequiter encounter Gasslak - a Medusa who is blindfolded and apparently uses the snakes on his(?) head to see.

He shows them the body of a young girl who'd been left there and asks them to track down the culprits lest unwanted attention and demihuman purges be focused on Malleon's Gate. They look at the body and notice that she had been beaten and strangled. She is dressed in nice clothes, like that of a clerk in a nice district and has an pendant of the "Church of the Silver Flame".

They take the body back to Coldflame Keep and examine it. There they notice an odd "birthmark" on her back. They continue examining the body but cannot determine anything else. Mazin says he will summon someone to examine her more closely.

That evening, they return to Indenture Hall. Gast shows them his "special merchandise" which turns out to be the group of missing children. They attempt to bargain and are able to become the main bidders, but are about to fight them when a Mind Flayer enters. He takes one of the children and leaves the rest to them and leaves. The trio grabs Gast and threatens to kill him unless his guards drop their weapons. One guard looks around and indicates that he really doesn't care - he was not interested in dealing with slaves and thinks that Gast should be taken away.

They take Gast to the local City Guard station where they are given a reward and Gast is taken into custody. Rexton says that there are others who are also responsible for the slave trade. The guards come back with two more employees of Indenture Hall and indicate that the head of the Hall has turned over everyone who is responsible.

The trio takes the children back to the Lantern Way Orphanage. And go to sleep for the night.

METAGAME: I run the first level of my D&D/Pathfinder games as a pilot and permit total character redefinition on level 2. The story follows the player, not the character so if there is a rename-the person has always had that name. The changes are as follows:
  • Kal'Torak is changed from a "Duskblade" to a "Magus" - forthcoming Pathfinder class, still in "beta". He is much more intimidating. 
  • Rexton is changed from a "Cleric" to an "Inquisitor" from the Pathfinder Advanced Players Handbook. He is less flippant and more direct. 
  • Sequiter Cross has become Talyn Nichec. He is a "Manipulator" Wizard from the Pathfinder Advanced Players Handbook with a penchant for being charismatic and baking cookies.


The heroes proceed to the Cathedral to research the murdered girl. Rexton bursts in on a wedding wanting to talk to the high priestess. Flamebearer Fabitor pulls him aside and tries to help him with the information he is looking for. Fabitor doesn't remember the girl but indicates she is somewhat familiar. Rexton still wants to talk to the high priestess, Archheirophant Morr.

Kal runs to a nearby store and purchases a gem encrusted falcon as a wedding gift (from a human seller named Lorre) to try to make up for Rexton's bluntness. Talyn turns on the charm, apologizes and offers everyone cookies, indicating he was invited by "Bob and Carol". The wedding proceeds without incident.

After the wedding, Rexton asks Morr about the girl. Morr says she doesn't recall the girl but will ask her acolytes and give him an answer the next day. Talyn asks the bridesmaids about where he can "find a certain store employee who was helpful". He is directed to "Smithwicks".

Kal dances with Archheirophant Morr while Talyn is thanked by Bob for showing up.

Later that day, the trio goes to "Smithwicks". There they discover that the girls name was "Phon Quartermain"; that she and her friend, Annabell (another clerk) both attended the Cathedral; and that Phon had had a "boyfriend" who's description matched Fabitor. Talyn buys a very cool hat.

The trio returns to the Cathedral to follow Fabitor that evening. Fabitor leaves the church and they follow him (he apparently doesn't notice). He goes and has dinner at The Noble Wyvern in Lyrander Tower. The group observes him having a very expensive meal. Talyn casts an illusion of Phon (complete with bruises) to gauge a reaction. Fabitor is initially troubled and follows the image.

He encounters Rexton (pretending not to see the illusion) who questions him about Phon and indicates that there are witnesses placing the two of them together. Fabitor finally agrees to come down and look at the body.

That evening, Talyn goes back to the Cathedral to ask around. He speaks to a temple guard named Aliatis who says that Fabitor does occasionally speak to members of the congegration who seem to be less well off. He does indicate that Phon sounds familiar and he'd seen her with Fabitor. He also indicates that Fabitor does seems to have a great deal of wealth, but he doesn't know where it comes from and speculates that it could be due to family money.

The next day Fabitor comes down to Coldflame Keep to examine the body. He is troubled but claims to have no knowledge of the murder. Rexton thinks that he may be telling the truth. Fabitor also tells Rexton that Archhierophant Morr wants to speak with him about something, but he doesn't know about what.

The trio goes to Cathedral to speak with Archeirophant Morr. She tells them that acolytes have seen the two of them together and she presents evidence that he may be skimming money from the church coffers. She offers to let them search his quarters and his office. They also ask her about the mark on Phon's back. She suspects it may be some type of Dragonmark, but not like any she knows about and recommends they investigate at the library of Morgrave University.

In his quarters, they discover a bag of money and a small notebook containing, among other things, addresses. After searching his office, they find a note mailed to one of the addresses.

They proceed to the address, a nice apartment in the Mithral Towers district. There they find a bottle of perfume which Kal remembers is a scent he'd smelled when around Phon's body.