Chris (Tiberium), Jeff (Amathar), Brian (Pyrcival), Leah (Ahira) and Dean (Thic Duc) are returning cast members.
We left the party having been near-witnesses to the murder of the Duke on the night of his wedding. They captured a fleeing servant, gained access to the crime scene, and interrogated the Princess before being herded into a room to wait for the council to figure out what to do. Barron took advantage of the confusion to slip away, leabing a note.
"Leah and I are following a lead involving the immediate danger of an innocent soul. We did not have time to gather forces, and will regroup as soon as able to The Exemption."
While waiting, Thic Duc returned to the group and shared his knowledge of the evidence. The group made some discreet inquiries among the musicians present and learned that the golden lute string was a trademark of a bard named Balmarrow from the nearby town of Garotten. Strangely, the group remembered the town well; it was where they had found the Princess after defeating the slavers. Later, after volunteering their services, they were called to an audience with the council.
The Princess was there, looking distraught, and saying little. Wallace (“the Walrus”), a short, balding man with impressive moustaches who held the position of high priest, led the proceedings. The wizard, Jim, was the third member of the council.
By examination, the party determined that the ruby radiated a faint aura of divine magic; not as if it was itself enchanted. Tiberium speculated, and confirmed by examination, that this was consistent with the ruby having once been part of a holy symbol. The ruby did not radiate evil. The council’s investigators did determine that a man had been seen with a similar ruby: the high priest of Garrotten, a man named Harper, had a holy symbol consisting of a silver whale with ruby eyes. He had been seen wearing that symbol entering the southern gate of Highport at 6pm on Saturday.
The red leather button belonged to a man named Abraham, who had entered via the southern gate at 8pm on Saturday and arranged for a substantial purchase of wine from a local merchant (who noted the red buttons and remembered the man’s name). Abraham runs a tavern and inn, “Abraham’s House”, in Garrotten.
With so many threads leading to Garotten and multiple suspects, the council proposed that the Band of Heroic Misfits travel to Garotten themselves and attempt to discover the culprit. The council would run the investigation in Highport and forward any further clues via Sending. The party gathered aboard The Exemption and set sail for the nearest port to Garrotten.
Garotten itself is a few miles inland from a small port town, near a lake. The lake is both fed and drained via a river eventually running into the Nyr Dyv, but The Exemption is too large to safely traverse the river. The party traveled by land, with Tiberium’s Strider getting quite a lot of attention.
Arriving at Garrotten, the party split into three groups: Pyrcival and Ahira, Tiberium and Warrin, and Thic Duc with Amathar. All took rooms at Abraham’s inn, one for each group. However, prior to approaching the inn, Amathar spoke with a vagrant sleeping under a bush, seeking to cast Charm Person on him. The spell’s success wasn’t immediately apparent as the man was asleep, but when Amathar woke him to ask questions about the town, he was helpful and friendly enough. Amathar gave him three silver pieces to make inquiries on his behalf:
Where is Balmarrow's current location? Where is Harper in town? What is Abraham's disposition? Is he a good man or not? Can a contact be made with the assassin's guild?
Amathar received the following answers when he inquired later:
He lives in a house near the theater, with the rest of his regular cast members. He canceled the usual performance Friday, was not seen in Garrotten Saturday, but was seen Sunday. Harper lives on the church grounds, though he rarely interacts with townsfolk except when his more powerful spells are needed. He has been increasingly eccentric lately. Abraham seems to be a good man, but seems strangely unenthusiastic about Garrotten's recent economic boom. Rumor has it one of the residents of Abraham's inn is connected to the guild, but I don't know which one. I also don't know if Abraham knows.
Upon entering their rooms, Amathar immediately detected a secret trapdoor. Similar doors were discovered in the other rooms, leading to a tiny (half-height) underground passage connecting all the rooms. The group took steps to block the doors from opening into their rooms, and left Ahira guarding one of the rooms which they planned to use for everyone. It is worth noting the doors open downwards.
Tiberium, Warrin, and (separately) Thic Duc traveled to the temple of Osphrem. The paladin and priest spoke with the groundskeeper and briefly toured the vinyards before asking about a meeting with Harper. They spoke with Thyme and Samster and made an appointment to speak to Harmin the next day in the early afternoon.
Meanwhile, Pyrcival investigated the theater where Balmarrow hosts his plays. After picking several locks, he viewed the stage, the ticket booth, and the dressing areas. None of them had equipment for full disguises, though there were many costumes. No one was home, so he left a note: “The Duke was murdered. You’re implicated. – A friend (PS: You don’t know me)”
As Thic Duc and Warrin were exhausted the party agreed to retire early. They gathered together in room number 1, leaving the other rooms with telltales to detect if they were investigated. The night passed without incident in their room. When they checked the telltales, room 3 had been disturbed; room 4 was not.
Pyrcival investigated the theater in the morning, but they were not yet open when he arrived. He picked the locks again, took two tickets, left 2 gold, and another note: “You need to open earlier. 2 gold for 2 tickets. See you tonight, looking forward to the show.”
Tiberium, Warrin, and Thic Duc took a brief tour of the town in the morning, noting an armorer run by a half-orc. Hearing loud swearing in orcish, they knocked and were (eventually) greeted by the armorer himself, a half-orc named Krak suffering from a vicious hangover. He seemed amenable enough until Tiberium healed him with a touch, and admitted to being a paladin of Pelor. At that, Krak immediately yelled out in fury and attacked with the hammer he carried, striking a severe blow despite Tiberium’s armor. A moment later, Warrin’s Hold Person took effect. A moment later Tiberum grasped the handle of the hammer, trying to disarm the half-orc; it nearly burned his hand through his gauntlet, and the dent it left in his breastplate smelt of sulfur and brimstone.
At almost the same moment, a town patrol cried out from outside.
The whole group (the still-held Krak, the party members, and the patrol) traveled to the temple of Osphrem to figure out what had happened and whether any laws had been violated.
Amathar is maintaining a list of clues.
From the Journal of Pyrzival
Well, since Tiberian has been handling himself so well, it’s been feeling like a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders. My studies into locks and mechanisms has been progressing well, and I’ve been working on my other life skills as well. I’ve realized, here in this large town, how much of life I’ve been missing, and am resolved to take advantage of it and start having a bit of fun.
But enough about me. Tragically, the Duke was murdered on his wedding night, right after the wedding’s consummation (luckily enough for the princess). We did warn him, but he didn’t seem to take our warning seriously. Well, so it goes. It turns out that three clues were left with the body, however they were so sloppily left that I can’t imagine they’re anything but the crudest of plants meant to draw attention to the town of Garrotten, which, just so happens to be where we apprehended the princess before the wedding. Co-incidence? Perhaps, but perhaps not. The council of regents seems to think we can be of use in the investigation, and we get tasked with heading to Garrotten and investigating it.
The three clues, implicating a clergyman, the owner of the inn, and the owner of the theater, are shown to us, and we set sail.
As we approach town, we device a strategy. A town full of assassins will watch the clergy closely, but might not do the same with some scholars, or traveling mercenaries. So we split into three groups: Tib and Warren, Ahera and myself, and Amathar and Thic Duc. We take rooms at the inn, and find a trapdoor in the floor of each of our rooms. Interesting.
The clergy investigated the cleric, the magician and monk investigated the innkeeper, so I sent out to investigate the lutist. I enter the theater, and poke around a little, but find nothing really very useful for making disguises for the three people implicated. I decide I’ll leave a not for the owner, and do so warning him that he’s being framed for murder. I figure he’ll come looking for me, and I can explain the easiest way would be for him to head to highport and clear his name.
We spend the night in the rooms, and start out again in the morning. Ahera expresses an interest in going to the show tonight, but the box office is not open, so I go in and buy two tickets. The others can get their own. She and I head to the baker and enjoy a breakfast of bread and a pitcher of farmhouse ale.
I hear a disturbance on the other side of town… What is that kid getting himself into NOW? From the Journal of Tiberium
“Time is short, and events moving quickly. After the Duke’s murder, Baron, whom we’re reasonably sure is uninvolved, has gone off with Leah, leaving only a short note. He says he’s making something right, and helping the innocent, but I truthfully ask: Does he recognize innocence any longer? My confidence in him has greatly waned, of late.
This isn’t the time to dwell on Barron, however. We’ve been directed to Garrotten, a town near Bone Hill and Restenford, to which clues have led following the assassination. While exploring, we wandered upon an armorsmith. Passing by, I was able to make out moans of pain from inside. We knocked and an enormous half-orc came to the door. While we browsed his wares, Warren offered to heal the man, but I could tell the priest was struggling with helping. I lightly touched the smith, removing his pain. He started, and asked what I’d done. I informed him that as a paladin, I’d channeled Pelor’s grace, removing the head pain. He reared up in rage, and promptly swung his massive hammer at my chest! The blow landed, knocking me back, just as Warrin cast a spell to hold the Hal-orc in place. The guard appeared at this time, and believing that the hammer is driving the hateful attack, we’re now taking the held smith to the local temple, for further examination.” From Barron’s Journal
In our adventures going undercover to stop a slave ring, I may have turned a man into a uniduck. This was a man who I believed to be a slaver. He was keeping guard in a room with documents that supported slave activity and at the time I believed him to be part of this operation. In the moment I turned him into the first thing that came to mind for more two reasons…1)to keep what just happened a secret, and 2) he seemed like a good cover to take the place of. Event’s following ended in the sale of said uniduck which I believed to be a slaver himself…it seemed like solid justice. Evidence has since been brought to my attention that I in fact sold an innocent man into slavery. Well not illegally on a technicality, this is a problem for me. I hate slavers and inadvertently became one. I could never admit my folly to this group, but me and Leah have discussed this at length. I believe we must help this man escape this town least he get deeper into this web of treachery we find at every corner. Tragically the duke was murdered, despite our warnings to him. This complicates matters worse as I believe the man I intend to smuggle out might be in even more danger. Me and Leah left under the cover of chaos to find this man, with no time to spare I left a note for the group and headed out. We found him at one of the slightly seedy watering holes, I think he shit himself when I sat down next to him also. After coaxing him with many beers, he finally calmed down enough to hear us out in our plan to help get him away from this slave web. He agreed to come along, but under the condition that there will be absolutely no uniducks or transmorphing magic at all(some people just have no sense of adventure I guess). We managed to successfully smuggle him aboard “the Exemption”, with no issues. We set sail for a undisclosed(witness protection program takes it job seriously) near by city. I’d like to say this went of with out any snags, however this man could not handle life at sea and threw up all over the ships deck. We also had a brief incident with an angry flock of sea gulls, the crew managed to deal with by throwing some chum overboard. Upon arrival we met with a contact from the old days, set the innocent man up with a solid legit job. I also gave him the full amount of gold given upon his sale, and left him an extra 100 gold for his troubles. It isn’t much, but hopefully this will help balance the scales from a unjust action alittle. Still not going to tell anyone other than Leah that I’m not completely heartless. We set sail back to meet up with the party and hopefully solve the murder of the duke.
To be continued…
For reference: 200 cp = 20 sp = 2 ep = 1 gp = 1/5 pp I’m deducting 5 gold from everyone for various incurred expenses (meals, lodging, tickets) without updating totals Treasure: 0gp (-5gp each)
Base xp for showing up: 100xp each Journal entries, sketches, or baked goods (Pyrcival, Tiberium, Barron): 500xp (individually) Clue: One of the residents at the inn may have a connection to the assassin's guild (500xp) Clue: Trapdoor discovery within the inn (500xp) Pyrcival: Stunningly successful solo operation (100xp) Group Total: 1500xp (300xp each)
A ruby was found under the body of the Duke A red leather button was found clutched in the Duke's grasp A golden lute string was found near the entrance to a secret passage leading to the Princess Bride's rooms The Princess claimed she saw a figure fading into blue mist The Princess's wedding dress was torn
Roleplaying moments and quotables
Dangling Threads of Fate
The Duke of Highport is dead, killed on his wedding night, in a locked room alone with the Princess Purity (Tiberium's sword) has mentioned some sort of centuries-old prophecy The Princess seems to want more adventure, and told Barron a few things that might be important... Pyro has fallen in battle... How to invest your ill-gotten gains...