Rose and Thorn: Session 20

So, at the tail end of this session and going to the next, we’re kicking off the next sort of phase or chapter of this campaign. I tried to look at what my players liked and didn’t like about the previous phase so I could make adjustments where needed… and I kind of ended up rewriting a lot of the remainder of the campaign. I pared down my overcomplicated plot into a simpler one, more resembling what I’d initially written when I’d brainstormed this the first time around. It’s not a bad thing; some of those ideas will be trunked for other, future campaigns. Just because they’re not a good fit for this group doesn’t mean they’re not good ideas.

 

The Party:

Mordora, tiefling warlock

Alkar, elf mystic

Max, halfling bard

Serenity, half-elf rogue

Semaj, human fighter

Zavin, human paladin

Samzon, half-elf rogue-cleric

 

The Setting:

The City of Weavescore, on the Golden Plains

The City of Silverrun, home at last

 

The Story So Far:

The party had returned to Weavescore in time for their meeting (or rather, Alkar’s meeting) with Bruggen Sootbeard, the de facto leader of Suncastle Enterprise and the one who ordered the assassination of Laurel Flynn. He had previously posed as a forensic accountant and so he donned that guise again. Semaj went with him to pose as his bodyguard, while Zavin and Samzon played up their roles as members of the temples who had received large donations from Suncastle. Serenity hid in the shadows to accompany them – with her own tremendous stealth and some magical assistance from Samzon, she was nigh invisible.

The receptionist, a bubbly young human woman named Marina, asked them to please wait while she checked to confirm Mr. Sootbeard’s availability. They waited, and waited, and waited, and Marina never came back. Half an hour later, another receptionist arrived, a halfling named Stella, and she promptly brought them back to Bruggen’s office. Keeping the whereabouts of the missing secretary in the back of their minds, they turned their focus to the meeting. Serenity scouted out the rest of the building, while Alkar pulled out several huge leather ledgers to begin going through the numbers with Bruggen.

He asked about the large donations to both the Temple of the Seven-Faced God, and to the Temple of Apollo. Bruggen was able to smoothly explain the discrepancies in the numbers, much to their consternation. Samzon faded into shadows to see if he could get a better look around, but was unable to find much of anything conspicuous. Bruggen made a quick call to Keverin Kailor, the true head of the company, to confirm some facts – they all politely pretended they didn’t hear him shout “Uh, I stopped donating to them because they’re lame!” through the sending stone.

Alkar ended the meeting without much more information than he had when he’d gone in. Alkar, Semaj, and Zavin left the building, but Samzon and Serenity stayed hidden. They waited and waited until Bruggen left the office – very late at night, they saw him leave and lock the door behind him. They considered trying to steal the key from around his neck, but they weren’t confident that they could do it without being noticed. Instead, they stood well back and used Mage Hands to check for and disarm any traps. They weren’t entirely successful at this – they still took a nice bolt of lightning to the face – but eventually they managed to pick the locks.

Going inside the familiar office, they began to open up each of the desk drawers to find whatever papers or coin they could. Serenity shoved ledgers full of paper into her bag of holding, while Samzon pocketed the fine bottle of dwarven firewhiskey they found in the bottom drawer. They also spotted a hidden door against one wall – this they opened and found a stairwell leading down into the distinctive black of magical darkness. They went down as far as they could while still maintaining telepathic communication with Alkar (and thus the rest of the party). Samzon cast Daylight to dispel the magical darkness (Apollo is the lightbringer, the god of the sun, of course).

Within the small chamber, which they had to duck to enter – it had clearly been built for the dwarf – they found nothing but an altar to the Seven-Faced God. It was a miniature version of the enormous one that had been built in Silverrun. With this information relayed to the party, they took the time to pocket some gemstones from the altar, and made their way back up to the office. They made sure that everything was just as they left it – except for a gray cloak, tattered and caught in the window, because framing someone else is the first step to getting away with something.

With that settled, they decided to do some final shopping before they made their way back to Silverrun. Serenity had the enchantment on her studded leather armor boosted, and also inquired about some fancy poisons that she could have specially made and shipped to her. Semaj bought Horseshoes of Speed for Thirty-Thirty, enabling them to get back to Silverrun in record time… except that Samzon’s gilded chariot pulled by Woop-Woop the zebra couldn’t keep up. Instead, they jury-rigged an improbable but successful system where Woop-Woop rode in the wagon with the rest of the party (minus Mordora and Alkar on their brooms, and Max riding Dogstein)(my players get a natural 20 for that plan, but apparently not for naming their animal companions).

When they reached the halfway point between the two cities – conveniently marked by a large crater that they certainly had never seen before – they Sent a message to Elsa, their boss, to let her know that they were one their way back. She was glad to hear of their impending return and asked that they come to see her at their earliest possible convenience. They agreed to this, wondering what they’d missed during their long journey out of town. After all, it had been well over six weeks they’d been gone, and a lot can happen in that time.

Their return to Silverrun was marked by a distinct lack of fanfare, not being greeted as heroes as they might occasionally hope. They quickly noticed, however, that there’d been a definite change in the city guard – namely that there were far more of them than there had been. They were also a different variety of guard: they wore sky blue uniforms edged with gold, not the standard Silverrun gray and brown. They were better armed, better trained, and notably gave the party much more of a hassle than the previous city guards.

They didn’t go to Elsa straightaway, of course. They had some other business to take care of. Mordora bought a storefront to turn into Mordora’s Massages and More (“Where all the endings are happy!”). Alkar and Semaj ordered the construction of a small, blast-proof property out on the outskirts of town, where no one could hear (or smell) their continued experiments with gunpowder and projectile weapons. Zavin checked in on the magically-locked-and-trapped case that they’d dug up at the Shrine of Order – indeed, a mage had been able to open it, and had discovered an ancient, enchanted glaive.

When they spoke to Elsa, she explained what had happened. About three weeks back, Duke Rhys had announced a partnership with an external company from Pearlmouth known as the Montclair Mercenaries, who promised to bring order and peace to the city. Knowing as he did that the city was gaining a reputation for crime and disorder, he was eager for this new deal to usher in a great chapter in Silverrun history. The party was, naturally, suspicious. Knowing that they couldn’t very well ignore this and carry on with business as usual, they instead decided to get more information about this themselves. They did this by arranging for Semaj to get arrested.

Session 19

Session 21

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