Rose and Thorn: Session 17

I can’t say that DMing on three or four hours of sleep is a particular strong suit of mine, but I’m pretty sure I made it work this time around. Do I recommend it, though? Absolutely not, especially if it’s not a home game. I’m considering myself lucky that I didn’t have a full set of players; seven or eight is a lot to manage under the best of circumstances. I’ve heard of other DMs bringing in “co-DMs” to manage large numbers of players (primarily in combat, but in other circumstances too) and that just boggles my mind.

 

The Party:

Samzin, half-elf rogue-cleric

Alkar, elf mystic

Semaj, human fighter

Zavin, human paladin

Mordora, tiefling warlock

 

The Setting:

The City of Weavescore, on the Golden Plains

The Temple of the Seven-Faced God and environs

The Painted Lady brothel and environs

 

The Story So Far:

With new information about the upcoming election of a new church leader for the Faith of the Seven-Faced God, the group decided to stick around and see if there wasn’t something they could do about that. They learned that the eligible voters were anyone who had been a member of the church in good standing for the past year, so they made a plan to make themselves members in good-standing, at least for now.

Zavin, still posing as a faithful acolyte from out of town, admitted Samzin into the temple and showed him into the office. The paladin went and got the priest on duty, to let him know that there was a visitor from another local temple, while Samzin got a huge stack of paperwork ready for him. When the priest came downstairs, he was surprised to see the cleric of “Apollo”, with a hefty sheaf of papers “Waiting for you to fill them out, sir!” The priest, seeing how much work was here, demurred and said he’d have to pass it on to his superior the next day. They agreed to that, and Samzin agreed to see himself out, to allow the priest to get back to his meditation.

Of course he didn’t see himself out, and instead picked the locks on the desk drawers to get to their contents. He pocketed some quills and ink for himself – always good to stock up on office supplies – and a stack of mixed papers, including things like lists of church membership and receipts for supplies. He used his forgery kit to add the names of the whole party, making it appear that they had been attending this church for at least a year. He also made sure to forge some information that would make Laurel and Carina look much less appealing as candidates – they wanted Rayjin to win this race. He set the papers back into the drawer, re-locked it, and went on his merry way.

Meanwhile, Alkar and Semaj were out on the streets, gathering dirt and spreading rumors. They wanted to make sure that whoever was going to be voting would be voting for their man. They were met with moderate success – they got a few people talking, but maybe not quite enough to win the race for them. They’d have to go more drastic. They worked together to set up documents indicating that Laurel (the current front-runner) was a member of the evil, Tiamat-worshipping Cult of the Dragon, and that Carina was embezzling money from the church. They left the documents where Rayjin might find them first, certain that this would tip the scales in their favor.

The next day, the last day before the election, Rayjin summoned a meeting of temple members, saying that he had important information to disclose. Everyone attended, including the entire party, to hear what he had to say. “My friends,” he said to those gathered, “I have dire news for you all. I’m afraid that someone in our congregation is attempting to frame my esteemed colleagues, Laurel and Carina, for dreadful crimes. I have known these women for years and I will vouch my own honor for theirs. This information is undeniably false. I urge you all to vote with what was in your hearts before you heard these vile rumors. Thank you all.” At once, the party member’s faces fell. Apparently they’d gone a little too far in the other direction in making their accusations. They reconvened as they heard the rest of the crowd talking all around them.

Zavin decided to meet up with Levrand, who would be coming in from Silverrun to cast his vote in the election. He played the part of the overexcited acolyte, eager to know all about the election and the candidates and the voting procedure, which Levrand gladly described for him. Each eligible voter would report to the church at some point during the day, between sun-up and sun-down. They would each receive a piece of enchanted quartz that was linked to each person’s identity. One by one, they would all go into a back room at the church and drop their quartz in an opaque glass jar bearing the candidate’s name, which was also divinely blessed to prevent tampering. The next morning, the votes would be announced.

Unable to find a good way of truly swaying the vote, each of them simply cast their false votes for Rayjin, with those in the group able to adequately disguise themselves going back for multiple votes. That night, not wanting to waste time while they were here in Weavescore, they set out to gather more information on Suncastle Enterprise, their other foe located here. They determined that the former president of the company had passed away, and his son had taken over. Before that, the company had been viewed fairly neutrally. Now, public opinion was shifting – the son was a useless layabout, wasting the company’s money on liquor, whores, and gaudy clothing. In this, the party could both relate, and find several things to exploit.

In the morning, the church bells rang once more and the winner was announced: Laurel Flynn had only narrowly beaten out Rayjin Weaver and Carina Rootbalm as the new leader of the Faith of the Seven-Faced God. She accepted her win gracefully, congratulating her opponents on a race well run. With this settled, Samzin began looking into prices for assassins, or at least the ingredients for a good poison to do it himself. To his surprise, no assassin in town would accept the job – after all, they wouldn’t take a hit out on someone who already had a hit on them. That would just be bad dealing for the local esteemed Assassins’ Guild. Instead he spent a few thousand gold on ingredients for exactly the right poison to do the trick. He enlisted Alkar to see if he could telepathically find out who had the contract out to kill Laurel already, but the low-level grunts they were meeting with would not know such information themselves.

Disgruntled, but unsurprised, the group instead decided to investigate Suncastle and the wayward Keverin Kailor, their mark. They located his preferred brothel, and Mordora disguised herself… as Alkar, in order to pose as a patron (after failing to get hired there herself). She bound and gagged one of the most popular girls there and hid her away in the closer, promising to split whatever she earned with her. She assumed the girl’s appearance, looking for all intents and purposes like Soraya. Then, she just had to wait until Keverin showed up. She used her own telepathic abilities to discourage an elderly dwarven customer (“Don’t do it, she’s got diseases!”), and before long, the Suncastle chief arrived.

She decided to play a little trick to see what type of information she could get from him – she made herself look exactly like Soraya… but pregnant. Unfortunately, this did not have the intended effect, and he walked out without saying another word to her. In a last-ditch effort, Mordora shifted her appearance to be that of the brothel madame, and she ran after him to see if he would, in the future, be interested in having girls sent right to his house rather than having to come all the way out here. He agreed to discuss this in the future, but still left without giving up any information regarding Suncastle Enterprise.

With all their attempts feeling a little fruitless, the group retired that night at the Streaking Priest tavern, hoping tomorrow would be better. Indeed, they heard the unexpected clanging of the church bells early in the morning and decided to see what was going on. When they arrived, they found the place swarming with city guards, and they soon learned what had caused the clamor: Laurel Flynn had been found dead in the river that morning. While the guards would not release any information, Alkar used his telepathy to determine that she’d been stabbed, likely quite a few times. He shared this information with the group and they began to ponder what they would do about this.

Session 16

Session 18

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