Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Terrinoth #19 - Blood of Malar

Fight at The Golden Lion
Campaign Diary

Therion Lakemane was closing up his store ('Lakemane's Luxries') for the day when he heard a knocking on his door. Looking through the glass of his door, Therion saw a bald, middle-aged man with a salt-and-pepper moustache, dressed in the clothes of a merchant.

Therion opened the door, and the man introduced himself as Weiss, a shipping merchant, and asked if he could enter the shop and speak with Therion. He had found Therion through the blacksmith to whom Therion had sold the good-quality chains he recovered from the ruined keep in Blackwing Swamp a month ago. The chains, he said, were stolen off his barges, presumably by his rival, one Aris, and he had hoped to learn more about the circumstances of their recovery, so he could bring a formal complaint to the merchant's guild.

Therion played dumb and claimed that the chains were recovered by his employees, and that he himself did not know where they were found. Weiss then offered to buy Therion and his employees a round of drink the next evening at The Golden Lion tavern, as a means to thank them, and also to learn how the chains were recovered from them.

The next evening found Therion, Giso, Whisper, and Risvir at The Golden Lion. Tom, busy with tending to a new wave of red mist victims and the temple, was unable to join the party.

(Click here for PC profiles)

Therion related his encounter to the party. The name Weiss immediately stood out for Whisper, who recalled coming across it when the party investigated traffickers of the drug red mist, under the employment of one Lazar. The name Weiss was a common one in Terrinoth, and Therion had not managed to find any more information on his visitor, but our heroes decided to continue to play dumb in the hope of making Weiss reveal more about himself.

Weiss arrived at the appointed time and began to politely ask our heroes about the chains, but was met with feigned ignorance. Just then, Whisper noticed a carriage coming to a stop on the street outside the tavern - it resembled Lazar's carriage. Moments later four tough-looking men entered through the tavern's door, scanned the room, and then started to move towards the table where our heroes were seated.

Therion bade Weiss to move to a table further away from the front door, and signaled for the others to move to block the new arrivals. As our heroes sought to distract the men, they heard a cry, followed by a clatter, behind them. Turning around, they see that the serving girl had left a dagger in Weiss' back, and was drawing another dagger from inside the folds of her clothes. Whisper and Giso leapt into attack, driving the assassin away, while Therion and Risvir blinded the men with a combination of mind tricks and enchanted fog to cover the party's escape.

Leaving with the gravely wounded Weiss through the side door, the party soon realised that the snow on the ground would make it easy for their enemies to track them. Summoning what remaining strength he had, Weiss asked them to enter the sewers, and from there make their way to the outlet to the river, where he had a boat stowed for just such an eventuality. With no other option, the party entered the next manhole they found, and entered the sewers.

Now the old city of Tamalir was built upon the old city that was devastated during the Dragon Wars, and its old streets now served as the sewer channels of the new city. Risvir summoned up a magical platform formed of shadow, that floated a few feet off the ground. Onto this they placed the now-unconscious Weiss, whose wound would not stop bleeding despite the healing spells our heroes cast upon him. Desperate, they eventually took the risk and removed the dagger and cauterised the wound with a heated dagger. The bleeding slowed to an ooze. Therion examined the dagger - it had a triangular profile, and upon its blade were carved arcane runes. Was it a cursed blade?

With Weiss seemingly stabilised, the party followed the flow of the sewage towards the river, Therion opting to ride upon the floating disk so as to avoid soiling his shoes. For a while it seemed that they were alone in the sewers apart from some rats, but half an hour after they started their journey, they could hear footsteps echoing though the tunnels behind them.

Then they came upon a channel in the sewers which was too wide for them to cross easily. While they pondered over how to cross the span with the aid of the floater disk, a giant lamprey broke the surface of the foetid water and attacked them. Our heroes drove the beast off with steel and spells, but the din of battle had drawn the attention of their pursuers - there was need for haste now.

Whisper noticed a thieves' sign marked upon a wall - they were near the river now. As they continued south there was a change in the air, and light coming from ahead.

Whisper scouted ahead. Not far from where they were the sewer tunnels widened and opened into the river, and there two boats were moored. Here the ceilings were taller. Several ruined houses had new doors on them, and standing outside these, as if on guard, were a few armed persons... one of whom was the serving girl from The Golden Lion! The area was lit by a few torches set on brackets on the walls, and the moonlight reflected off the surface of the river.

With pursuers not far behind them, the party decided to launch an assault on the guards and seize one of the boats. Whisper led the attack, shooting off arrows from her bow and then rushing out from the tunnel... only to be ambushed by an attacker she had not seen hiding just around the corner. Giso moved forward to aid Whisper, but the other guards also moved forward, trapping the party at the mouth of the tunnel. Missiles and magical energies were exchanged. The party could not break through. Behind them the pursuers were getting closer. Risvir cast an enchantment upon his dagger, whereupon it became a spinning cloud of blades that blocked off the passage - but the spell would only last one minute...

In the sewers of Tamalir

One by one their enemies fell, and the serving girl from the tavern abandoned her comrades and fled in one of the boats. The party rushed forward to seize the remaining boat, with Risvir carrying Weiss on his back.

But as they were passing by one of the room, Weiss moved himself off Risvir's back, grabbed a torch from its bracket on the wall, opened one of the doors, and threw it in. Inside the room was crates and boxes, which quickly caught alight. Before the surprised eyes of the heroes, Weiss calmly walked to the remaining boat, and asked them to join him.

The party rowed out into the river, and was soon taken outside the city walls by its flow. Not long afterwards, Weiss pointed out a spot on the south bank where they could land. Our heroes accused Weiss of being less than honest in his dealings with them, and he wryly replied that they had been less than honest with him regarding the circumstances of the discovery of his chains. Now seemingly completely well, Weiss stepped off the boat, and disappeared into the nearby woods.

The next day a sum of 200 Gros was delivered to Lakemane's Luxuries, which Therion split equally with the others.

Prepping and Running the Game

This session was a natural follow-on to the last B Team game - my players came up with the idea of investigating the origins of the chains which they found on the beings at the ruined keep, and I reasoned that the person who had the chains made would likewise try to find those who took the chains via the same means. The sewer-crawl idea came from the module Blood of Malar, which involved the party escorting a merchant through the sewers while he was being hunted.

I will not yet reveal the true identities and purposes of Weiss and Lazar, but it is now obvious to the players and PCs that they have been employed/used by both sides in a conflict, and that the drug red mist was somehow in the middle of all this.

In the post-game talk they speculated that Weiss was perhaps an undead - maybe even a vampire - and that red mist was perhaps made from vampire blood. To prove this hypothesis, they wanted to find someone who knew more about undead and vampires, someone who could put their hypothesis to the test.

At the same time, they also asked to investigate Lazar, and to track down the serving girl-assassin who had twice eluded them.

This gives me fodder for at least three more sessions. The players are now so determined to get to the bottom of the mystery they are not asking about reward for what they are going to do next. On my part I have promised that the truth will be revealed in the future. But for now, I shall not spoil it for them or for my readers here.

This was again a light-prep session - light to the point that once I had the basic ideas and the maps chosen for the session, I had little else to do on game day.

The maps that you see in the photos above are from Loke Battle Mats. These are A3 sized spiral-bound books with gridded battle mats which can be laid open to form an A2 size playing area, or even an A1 size area with two books. There are around 60 different designs per book - I got two of their fantasy ones and a sci-fi one off kickstarter.

You can find a place to buy a copy by googling "giant book of battle mats".

The glossy surface of the maps are a bit too reflective for photography, but they are dry-erase, and durable. They are not as flexible as the Heroic Maps tiles which I buy and print myself, but they are a lot more convenient, especially if you are a traveling GM.

No comments: