Saturday, June 15, 2019

Sorcery! #4 - The Scholar

Campaign Diary

Acting as casual as they could, our heroes managed to walk past the two dock guards without arousing suspicion, but as soon as they returned to the gate to find it unlocked, they immediately gave chase.

Goncol and Glowulf scaled up the wall of a nearby building and spotted the three masked men making their getaway on the roof tops - they gave chase, while Morgana and Valerian shadowed them from the streets, ready to cut the men off.

Just when our heroes finally caught up with the masked men, the dock guards also arrived. The masked men tried to leap across a wide street from rooftop to rooftop, but stumbled and fell to the ground along with the chest. As Morgana and Valerian tried to hold the guards off, Goncol and Glowulf managed to recover the chest, leaving the masked men and the bewildered guards at the scene.

Returning to the necropolis, they found Darius and his men waiting for them. The party handed the chest over, received one of the spell lines in return, and - too tired to travel to an inn - spent the rest of the night in one of the crypts.

It was mid-morning when the heroes woke up. Having freshened themselves at one of the public fountains, they took stock of the situation.

They had one of the four spell lines needed to open the North Gate, and they had but some 36 hours to leave the city. Acting on Flanker's tip, they decided to visit Lortag the Scholar at the Artist's District.

Lortag, as it turned out, did know one of the spell lines. In exchange for the spell line, he tasked the party with stealing the very same book which Goncol had stolen from Darius! He bade the heroes to meet him for dinner later that day, while he tried to learn where Darius was keeping the book.

With several hours before dinner time, the party wandered the streets, hoping to learn where else they could find a Noble of Khare. Passing through the Temple District, they were drawn to the sermon at the chapel of Slangg, the God of Malice. At the end of the sermon, the priest made a call for a champion to represent the chapel in a contest of wits and sorcery, in return for any favour the champion asked for. The heroes asked if the priest knew one of the spell lines, and when he replied in the positive, Morgana took up the challenge. The terms of the challenge, however, required her to convert to the worship of Slangg if she did not win the contest.

Morgana entered the contest, but was defeated. She duly converted to the worship of Slangg, and the party gained their second spell line. They were halfway there.

Then Glowulf had the idea that perhaps a noble could be found at the gambling hall. Hoping to gain entrance to the upper levels at Vlada's Gambling Hall, where the rich gambled, the party first tried to have some suitable clothes tailored, but finding it beyond their means, they decided instead to lure a rich gambler outside the gambling hall to a back alley, where they proceeded to rob him of the clothes off his back, before tying him up.

Goncol dressed in the rich man's clothes, and with the others acting as his bodyguard, tried to gain admission to the upper levels. However, the ante at the tables there were too high for their coin pouches, and our heroes retreated to the ground floor, where the common folks played. Goncol played a game of swindlestones with a gambler, and during the banter learned that the seventh Noble of Khare went missing several years ago, and it was rumoured that he was blinded by the Red Eyes, a mysterious race that lived in their own enclave in Khare, after he tried to enforce the city laws on them. The party thanked the gambler, and left to meet Lortag for their appointment.

At dinner, Lortag revealed that his informers had learned the location of the book. After his own vault was broken into by a thief (actually Goncol) a few months ago, Darius decided to rebuild it. When he recovered the book from the crypt, Darius called in a favour from Vlada, and kept the book at the gambling hall's vault! The party would have to break into the vault, and steal the book again. Well, at least they knew the layout of the gambling hall by now...

Prepping and Running the Game

This session was a rather open one - I left the players the choice of where in the city to go to try to find the spell lines based on what they learned from the last game. They chose to visit Lortag, which I expected, and I in fact planned for the quest he would give them to be the game for the session after.

The encounter at the chapel of Slangg was taken from the original book - after I chose to let the PCs each worship a god, I thought it would be nice to reference it by having conversion a possibility.

The actual contest was based on a logic puzzle, which I saw here:

The players chose a sub-optimal strategy, and lost.

The visit to the tailor was unexpected, as was the idea that the gambling hall would be a good place to look for a noble. The players had the impression that *all* nobles in Khare knew one spell line - I should have made it clearer that only the major ones did. Nevertheless, it was fun watching them lure the poor minor noble to a back alley and mug him.

The next session will see them plan and pull off the heist, after which they will have about 24 more hours to find the remaining one spell line.

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