Rose and Thorn: Session 1

So, here we go, first session of a brand new campaign! An evil campaign, a homebrew campaign! It’s a big day for new things. I’m super excited for this, and admittedly a little nervous too. But if this first session is any indication, I don’t need to be too nervous after all. We started things off with character creation, and a brief preliminary adventure to give everyone a chance to get a feel for their characters and the party as a whole.

 

The Party:

Mordora, tiefling warlock

Danyar, gnome rogue

Semaj, human fighter

Serenity, half-elf rogue

Zavin, human paladin

Alkar, elf mystic

 

The Setting:

The City of Silverrun, in the Wayride Mountains

 

The Story So Far:

As the afternoon faded into evening, our group found themselves summoned by their handler, Nico Maren, a ranking member of the Thorn, the most powerful crime syndicate in the city of Silverrun. With no doubt that this would lead to a paying job, the group went eagerly. Nico, sitting at his desk, informed them that a higher-up in their allied organization, the Rose, had hired them for some work that very night. Lord Anders Varisk was throwing a grand ball this evening, and this anonymous Rose wanted to humiliate him, for reasons as yet unknown.

They were to infiltrate the party, disguising themselves as guests, so that they could dig up whatever incriminating evidence they would find in Lord Varisk’s vaults, and spread it to the other partygoers. Sensing a good bit of fun in this particular assignment, the group gladly accepted. Nico produced forged invitations for them, and if they needed it, some fine clothing (admittedly, rather worn and out-of-date, but still fine). Alkar already had very fine clothing (including the mask he perpetually wore), as did Serenity, Danyar, and Mordora. Semaj borrowed some of the clothes that Nico could provide, while Zavin chose to go plain-clothes and pose as Alkar’s bodyguard or valet.

The evening grew darker, and they waited until they could see the other nobles and rich men of the city approaching the Varisk estate. They mingled with them, making their way in along with the real guests of the party. The butlers stationed at the doors inspected their invitations, and did not seem to pick them out as forgeries. They were admitted into a grand foyer, filled with the rich and powerful, all doing their best to get as drunk and debauched as possible. Alkar began promoting his business, the Argent Mask antiquities shop. Zavin took up an inconspicuous spot nearby, watching, playing the role of Alkar’s guard. Semaj quickly made his way to the food tables, scooping large quantities of delicacies onto his plate. Mordora and Danyar mingled with the nobles in the nearby smoking room, while Serenity almost immediately snuck upstairs, taking one of the two grand staircases from the foyer.

Alkar asked one of the nearby servants some information about the house and its master, and while the faithful servant was initially reluctant to volunteer the answers to his questions, a bribe soon loosened his lips. Of course, as soon as the servant gave up the answers, Danyar snuck up behind him and took the money right back out of his pocket. Zavin made his way through the kitchens and the servants’ quarters to the small back stairway that lead up to the second floor. Meanwhile, Alkar and Semaj joined Serenity upstairs. Danyar focused on “fixing” a window latch on the ground floor, putting his “repair” skills to good work to make sure they could easily return here if they ever needed to.

Upstairs, the group found little of interest in the master bedroom. The servants door was locked, so Zavin returned downstairs to discuss the household with the butlers and maids, trying to glean what information he could. Serenity opened up the lady of the house’s jewelry box, and found a necklace that had four keys on it. Figuring this might come in handy with a vault, she passed that to Alkar, and stole two rings for herself – they weren’t as nice as she might have expected from a noble family, but perhaps she could pass them off as better than they really were. The other four doors on the upper floor lead to guest quarters and the children’s bedrooms, which they chose not to disturb.

As they explored the upper level, Danyar and Mordora continued their search in the smoking room. Mordora caused a… rather seductive distraction, while Danyar made his way into the library. He examined the bookshelves for secret doors or trap triggers, and found a section of books that, when moved, revealed a hidden stairwell down to the basement. As he descended, he found himself faced with the door to a safe, with four keyholes in a straight line. He contemplated whether or not to try and pick the locks, or just try to blow the hinges off and get the door open that way.

Alkar convinced a maid to show the rest of the group down to the wine cellar, pretending that Lord Varisk himself had sent them to fetch more of the vintage they’d been drinking. While Alkar and Zavin went down into the cellar, Semaj distracted the maid, hoping to get her to forget that they were down there and leave them alone and unsupervised. His constant, ceaseless chatter did indeed drive her off, and the party had free run of the cellar and basement. With a quick inspection inside the keyholes, they found that each one was numbered – 4 – 3 – 1 – 2. Unfortunately, the four keys they’d stolen from the master bedroom were not so conveniently numbered.

Rather than risk setting off some kind of trap or alarm if they inserted the keys in the wrong order, Danyar simply reworked the hinges to allow them to open the safe door from the opposite edge. Inside, they found an assortment of ledgers that indicated all kinds of sketchy business activities, from cheating partners on profits to embezzling from supposed charitable works. Serenity quickly made a forged copy which they deposited back into the safe, taking the real copies with them. Danyar reconfigured the door so that the next time anyone tried to open it, it would just fall off on them.

Returning to the party upstairs, the group spread the word of Lord Varisk’s secrets, to varying reactions – some were disbelieving, some were appalled, some were downright gleeful at seeing a social rival embarrassed in this way. By the end of the night, the entire party was talking about it, much to Varisk’s shame, and by morning, it was the talk of the town. Nico called them back to his offices that morning, very pleased with their work. He indicated that their success here may mean more future opportunities to work among the noble classes of the city, with fewer petty street theft assignments. And moreover, he paid them their due for taking the job, and let them go until they were called for the next caper.

Session 2

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