Lighthouse for the Blind

20/5 Report

Awesome session tonight (27/5)! This is mainly a placeholder for the session report for the 20/5, covering the aftermath of the raid/bombing and the final preparations for the great dinner party.

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Session 32 A Defiler's life in pieces and a defiled High Priestess

After Dahloy is caught defiling in the Black Market, the town guard take him away. Snowy attempts to be diplomatic, but the Shadow Guard have hearts like Pharaoh.

Dath learns of intrigue in the Noble houses. Celeste informs him that there’s gonna be a hit around the time of a big party, and we all like to party. Then he goes to the Templars to find out about Dahloy’s fate.

Meanwhile, Nizhoni has been chained up in a dungeon by the High Priestess of the Temple of Forbidden Pleasures (T o’ FP). He rages against the brass chains, breaking free in time to fight the Priestesses magical tentacles. What the Priestess didn’t bargain for is Nizhoni absorbing the energy of the snakes and blasting it back her. Fiery death occurred.

Scarlet discovers Tamini’s dark history in the T o’ FP and shares this with the Blue Mage. That’s when everyone loses their shit about Nizhoni blowing the High Priestess.

Nizhoni escapes through a door that she STRed like an MF, only to find a fiery lake of blood in front of her, and an angry mob breaking down a door behind her. She grabs one of the corpses lying around the fiery lake of blood and places it where the High Priestess’es corpsse had been. Fearing a resurrected nemesis, Nizhoni took the High Priestesss’ corpse. She forgot the brass chains. You can buy a lot of nice things with brass.

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Session 31 Special Sidequest
Death is commonplace in Nibenay's gladiatorial arena...but murder!?

PREVIOUSLY

The adventuring troupe returned to Nibenay, staying at the Vichet noble house.


INTRODUCTION

(This special sidequest is a mystery involving half the party in a one-off session.)

Dath of House Vichet invited Janstine the slavetrader (with her servants as valets), Nebes the stoneguard, and Rymyr the scholar to watch Nibenay’s gladiatorial games. As a military nobleman, he had an honourary position as a “Steward”, a sort of arbitrator to ensure fair fights. The title offered little actual power, but it did provide the party with a private function room with a view. Little did they know they would be more than spectators…


THE UNUSUAL SUSPECTS

The arena, particularly the Stewards’ area, was as much a place of sports entertainment as it was for networking. Other important figures, who mostly despised one another, engaged in polite social conversation.

Voluntary manslaughter

Templar Havisham, Templar Estella, Announcer Jaggers

The Templars Havisham and Estella exchanged words with Dath, encouraging him to bet on their sponsored gladiators. Templars seldom got involved with gladiators, but this was likely a political feud, a popularity contest.

Another nobleman, Jaggers, kicked off the day of fights, explaining this was a day of inter-city bouts (to demonstrate the superiority of Nibenay). As the master of ceremonies, he likely picked the fight cards himself.

There were a variety of matches before the main events…

Slide6

Byron “the Bear” (a.k.a. Byron “the Iron”)

Byron “the Bear” was a famous gladiator from Tyr. Known for his special claw weapons, it is rumoured his fingers were amputated to fit them. Once a slave, he was freed, but chose to continue his gladiatorial career.

As a themed fight, Byron was pitted against half a dozen slaves. If they were able to get past him, they would be freed as he had been. He cut through them all with incredible strength, all but one…a simple human girl.

Slide7

The Omnipotent Receiver

A half-giant tall even for his kind, the Omnipotent Reciver was a gimmick based on the famous statues known as the Omniscient Receivers. A crowd favourite, he was pitted against convicted criminals, whom he crushed.


THE MAIN EVENT

The Omnipotent Receiver, victorious from his last fight, was pitted against a mysterious opponent. The audience went wild, betting on this seemingly unbeatable titan. Jaggers unveiled the secret fighter…

Byron “the Bear”, who simply leapt at the half-giant, then dashed out his eyes.

The Omnipotent Reciver’s last act was to give a strange scream before being then garroted.

Whereas most fights lasted for 30 minutes, this barely lasted 30 seconds.


A COLLOSEIUM IN CHAOS

As their favourite gladiator fell dead, the crowd fell dead silent. However, it was just the calm before the storm before they cried out in outrage. Sensing trouble, Dath asked the party to accompany him to the gladiator stables.

En route, they saw the Templars Havisham and Estella in a polite argument. As they reached Byron’s stable, Jaggers was banging on its door, shouting something about “breaking their arrangement.”

Jaggers explained sheepishly, Byron’s barred the door from the inside. He won’t come out.”

Examining the door and perceiving nothing out of the ordinary, Dath used his limited authourity as a Steward and asked Nebes to knock it down. He advised he and Janstine to quickly search the room.

The room was locked, with no windows or grates, yet there was no one inside.

Janstine checked the bleachers, while her slaves the floor, as Nebes combed the weapon lockers. Only the latter found something: Byron’s famous claws…or rather, a very convincing replica to an untrained eye.

However, it happened that Nebes was a master weaponscrafter, so not only was he able to see the claws as a copy, but that they had intentional structure weaknesses. Its talons were designed to shatter spectacularly.

Something was afoot, but Janstine deduced if anyone would know what was really going on, she wouldn’t ask the people at the top. It’d be the people at the bottom, the slaves…which was her expertise.


THE INTERROGATIONS INTERVIEWS

Janstine wanted to ask some questions of the arena’s gatekeeper, the ones who let the gladiators out…and back in. There was a possibility whoever opened the gate for Byron after the fight was an accomplice.

The gatekeeper, thoroughly intimidated, explained he was doing his job. He became defensive; the deceased Receiver was his friend. It was that anger that convinced Janstine he spoke the truth.

Janstine did find a lead…the gatekeeper revealed Byron had stayed at the Open Doors Inn.

Janstine cleverly suggested there was another choice for an accomplice…the simple human girl Byron let walk by to her freedom. She asked Nebes, a towering giant Tarek-kin, to scare the truth out of her.

Janstine and Nebes were correct…but perhaps too much so. The stoneguard was so terrifying that the recently-freed slave became defensive and revealed little more than she was put in the arena unfairly.

The sun was setting, the leads were growing cold, so the party decided to visit the Inn fast.


THE OPEN DOORS INN

Janstine asked the innkeeper where Byron stayed at his establishment. He told them he wasn’t in, but his room was upstairs with his lady friend. Then, he asked a particular question, “Are you with that noble?”

He was referring to Jaggers, who arrived shortly before the party.

Accompanied by his guards, Jaggers and a woman were arguing, but only Nebes could make the words out, “Where is he? I know you have the money!” Then the party heard a hit to the skull and a body fall to the floor.

As the party approached, they could see one of his guards standing over a prone woman.

It was a tense stand-off, but Janstine craftily bluffed that the Templars were on the way. Jaggers did not totally buy into it, but a man of his station could not afford a scandal, so he lead his retinue out.


THE FINAL PIECES OF THE PUZZLE

It was the end of the line for this mystery, but fortunately, it lead to the prize.

Slide3

Jaclyn the Jackal, a notorious slaver

Janstine recognized the woman on the floor. It was a slaver, Jaclyn the Jackal, infamous in the industry. A shrewd dealmaker, she sold at high prices, but over time other traders came to distrust her.

Jaclyn also had one other vice…she was reputed to bed her slaves, a business taboo.

The woman had drawn her weapon, a wooden shortsword (a style popular in Nibenay). Moreover, she had betting chits on Byron worth thousands of tenpieces stashed, along with addresses of known illegal gambling joints.

Janstine deduced that Byron needed a savvy business manager like Jaclyn to arrange the fight with a gladiator as highly rated as the Omnipotent Receiver. As such, she probably could manipulate Byron as well.

They found something else: a map with many scrawls, as if Jaclyn was planning a getaway.

Soon after, city guards arrived not because of party’s investigation, but simply because a fight had broken out in a public house. In that sense, Janstine’s threat was right. They carried away the unconscious Jaclyn.


THE TRUTH (ACCORDING TO THE PARTY)

The party deduced the big fight between Byron and the Omnipotent Receiver was a setup.

Byron was not so much “the Bear” as he was “the Underdog”, with the odds massively against him. Anyone betting on him would get a major payoff…if he won. However, evidence shows he was meant to lose.

Nebes found the irrefutable proof: the fake claw weapons in the locker room. They were made especially for the fight, inefficient for combat, yet would have had dramatic value breaking against the Receiver.

With every intentional crime, the question is: who benefits? The answer: Jaclyn, at least.

It was Janstine who noticed Jaclyn not being in Byron’s corner, which was highly suspicious considering how much effort it’d have taken her to arrange him being in the Main Event. She wanted to leave the city fast.

The gambling markers and her map for a fast exit from the city suggested Jaclyn wanted to cash them in and get out of Nibenay before the Bear returned. It was very likely she would go, alone, a very rich woman.

The conclusion: Byron was a patsy, played by Jaclyn, the mastermind behind this scheme.


AFTERMATH

Early the next day, Dath went to the arena again in formal robes, but this time it was to deliver testimony in a closed hearing on the party’s findings. He returned smugly, holding something(s) behind his back:

“The Stewards and Templars agreed with your findings. Your evidence, combined with my account, convinced them. Sadly, they had to take in the fake claw weapon and the gambling chits as per due process.

“The Templars Havisham and Estella, did give us something, which I hope you’ll accept.”

He brandished two wooden fans, each depicting flowers from a chestnut tree.

“Chestnut flowers. A symbol of…justice, in recognition of that which you delivered.

“Of course, I find it ironic. I believe perhaps one or both of them were in on this betting scheme. Most likely, Jagger’s ‘arrangement’ as well…but he may have merely meant organizing the fight.

“The judgment was that all the guilt lies with Jaclyn. Even though she’s now comatose, it was because she drew a blade at Jaggers. Just a thought…what do you think happened to Byron? He’s still somewhere out there.

“What’s more interesting is why the Templars Havisham and Estella let us freely look into the issue. They could have detained us as possible witnesses. Or held us for disturbing the scene of a ‘crime’.

“Do you think it’s because they see House Vichet as harmless…useless? That we’re just a clan of muscleheads? I would probably be wrong to disagree with them, but they never accounted for Good Intentions, eh?

“Or perhaps we are now wrapped up in their little games of intrigue, just pawns on their political chessboard? Well, this is life in Nibenay’s noble circles, and thus…I can now truly welcome you to the City of Spires.”

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28th Session
Mystery of the Beetle Cavity

No one is coming out of this battle unscathed. One isn’t coming out at all.


PREVIOUSLY

Ambushed by the drow, the Good Intentions adventuring troupe fought valiantly, reducing the dark elves to half strength. However, most of its own members were down, with only the following still standing:

Rhymyr: summoning a mystical mist, she attempted negotiations with the drow

Nebes: many drow were dead at his hands, but his strength was starting to fade

Aeislun: scalped by an Umber Hulk, his head was bloodied but unbowed

And in the distance, the march of drow reinforcements could be heard…


THE NEGOTIATION

Rhymyr had barely come out of unconsciousness, in the midst of a melee. Seeing her party members fall, she attempted a final attempt at a truce. She knew that time was growing short, with her friends bleeding out.

It was then that she perceived something crucial: the drow reinforcements were not warriors at all. Their footfalls did not sound like the disciplined march of soldiers. It sounded more like the shambling steps of slaves.

With the mist and her robes billowing behind like the wings of a vengeful sorcerer king, she proclaimed, “We both know those are not your reinforcements,” offering her party’s loot. After all, a corpse would have no need of it.

Slowly, the remaining drow hunters agreed to her terms.


THE STANDOFF & A SPOT OF SELF-SURGERY

Nebes had been felling drow left and right, which actually probably helped the negotiation process, as even though the dark elves spoke Gulgan, the only language they understood was force. The Stone Guard stood down.

The drow did likewise, lowering their crossbows…but only so far as to point them at the prone party members, Nizhoni and Drenn. It was a tense, temporary standoff that could be set off at any moment.

Nebes stood at the ready, but his strength was subsiding. The dark elves had injected some sort of mysterious bug in him. Taking his steel dagger, with critical precision, he stabbed his arm and flicked out the parasite.

Meanwhile, the Umber Hulks started collecting the group’s treasure.


THE ROAD TO HELL IS PAVED

Aeislun was on the other side, up to his neck in trouble…literally. An Umber Hulk had buried him in the sand earlier. As the towering bugs finished taking the loot he carried away, he was digging himself out.

Cleverly using his powers to alter his body density, he floated to the top of the sand like a skimmer on the Sea of Silt. To help his comrades, he ran down the tunnels to their position, shouting a warning.

Although it was meant to help, the sound set off the drow. One slit Nizhoni’s throat. Another shot Drenn through the heart. Rhymyr used her mystical powers to prevent Nizhoni’s death…but it was far too late for Drenn.

The trio exploded into action, slaying the drow, but the Umber Hulks were gone with the loot.


AFTERMATH

Rhymyr, as if demonstrating the written word was indeed mightier than the sword, repeatedly bashed a dark elf’s head with her iron-bound tome. Thick red fluid and grey matter mixed with the dark sands below.

The pounding only stopped once Nizhoni laid a hand on her shoulder, as if gently guiding her back to reality. Rhymyr then went to Drenn, holding his body, stroking his hair like a mother to a child.

Nebes and Aeislun cut down the drow, then sought the reinforcements: a dozen slaves with two winged drow slavers. Fleeing before their wrath, the drow fliers impaled themselves on ceiling spikes, leaving the slaves.

Good Intentions won, but it was a pyrrhic victory, with a member dead and their treasure gone.


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26th Session
Mystery of the Beetle Cavity

Began with the drow standing over the party. Ended with Rymyr and Nizhoni unconscious, Aeislun unconscious and dying, two dead Ankhegs, one retreating Drow Hunter, and one dead Drow Slaver. The battle continues, outcome uncertain.

Character Points:
(awaiting awards from players)

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25th Session
Mystery of the Beetle Cavity

Begins with the players regrouping in the central chamber before setting out to explore again. Ends with the party awakening to the sight of Drow standing over them.

Character Points:
(can’t find notes, will update)

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24th Session
Mystery of the Beetle Cavity
Theme Song:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMY1Ho8mwTA

Summary:

With the many legged horror dispatched (hacked into a pile of what mostly resembled knees) the party pushes on into the seemingly endless maze of twisting caverns and tunnels.

Rymyr is visibly shaken and whilst Drenn, as ever, remains keen to push on along through the dark.

The party falls into a pattern of daily routine as they journey on into the blanket of darkness. Night sees guard duties set and after lean meals the party hunkers down onto thin blankets to troubled sleep. While most rest fitfully at best the two refugees seem to struggle the most. Conor, often walking in his sleep, ever wandering deep in the caverns with no memory of his journey there, fairs better than Drenn. He spends nights deep in night fevers, often crying out to some unseen phantom from his past or some terror lurking in an imagined future.

Morning sees Drenn hurriedly assemble trappings and ready for the road ahead. Aeislun studies him closely, with psionic assistance on occasion, his study like that of a collector of bugs noticing some unusual behavior in a particular specimen. Eventually curiosity becomes concern and the Elf suggests the man-child try to rest further. Drenn is unconcerned, instead focusing on the journey and the goal ahead.

The rest of the party wake slowly and set about established routines. Nizhoni, having slept in her feline soulmelds, stretches and growls, as sinewy muscles stretch and bulge below the cat’s sleek form. Whilst the party cooks trail rations the totemist of lioness likeness bounds away in search of a more challenging quarry on which to break her fast. Rymyr and Dahloy both rise slowly and spend time in study before packing away camps. Dahloy straps on his complicated armored kilt as a series of well-oiled buckles and clips fall into place. Rymyr’s travel preparations are less regular but require no less time, many days seeing her with a strange symbol painted on her skin or cloak, and on occasion her cloak made to cover her face and head, the shadow within curiously dark and hard edged.

Nebes packs away his heavy woolen blanket and heads into a quiet cavern corner. He often sits and contemplates the sigils and markings on his blade, tracing his finger over the patterns as he forms the rune names with his dry cracked lips, mouthing the ancient names in still contemplative silence. On occasion he will find some vegetation or loose rock to test the great blade. Often taking but a few controlled swings before sitting again and considering the results. The power of the blade remains hidden and Nebes is desperate to see both its, and his own potential, realized…

Scarlett sleeps lightly and rouses quickly. Meticulously checking weapons and poisons as she readies herself for the day. Small animal traps left overnight are surveyed for food, and with this complete and weapons stowed she spends the last minutes reviewing her journal and making notes on the weapons and preparations she has readied for the day ahead.

Aeislun spends the morning cooking and in general elvish mischief; his offerings surprisingly tasty given the meager supplies. The party have learned not to ask too many questions on contents however.

The group tracks on through the drudgery of the caverns. Someone cracks a joke to break the mood. Drenn and Rymyr often fall into step chatting and on occasion arguing, but never too heated a display. Connor flits between the groups members ears ever alert for tales of the overworld, keen to know of gods, men and the great cities of the Sorcerer Kings. Nizhoni and Scarlett often leave the body of the party, disappearing to hunt and explore, mostly separately and occasionally together.

Aeislun spends his time between scouting ahead and teasing / pushing and generally getting under the feet of Nebes, the strange friendship between the pair strengthened daily through their strange mixture of jest and torment. The massive stone guard showing seemingly endless patience for antics of the elf as he does his best to keep upright, all the while a close eye on his employer Rymyr, the incident with the many legged beast never far from his thoughts.

Someone provides musical entertainment and all the while the backbeat to the party’s steady march is the constant thump of Hrungo: marked by the great turtle’s plodding gate and the occasional growl of hunger or frustration. Nizhoni comforts the creature best she can but the trial is taking its toll on even his immense constitution.

The end of one particular day sees the party at the entrance to cave with six lengthy passages leaving a large central area and a deep well at its apex, with torrents of hot yellow sand cascading from holes above. The air below is hot and heavy.

The party is on edge, as well as strange humming beetles along the path to the cavern a trial of blood and traces of spice has marked the way, Aeislun spending time sampling both. Watches are set and the heavy fey air in the cavern and the hum of the beetles means watches are often broken as sleep assailed the weary travelers. Difficulty waking means Scarlett and Aeislun nearly come to blows, the elf once again overstepping Scarlett’s boundary and the half drow reaching instinctively for her weapon. The rest of the night passes calmly enough, though its clear in the morning that magic has been at play here, in some form or other.

Inspection of the well and shaft shows the way up to be fruitless and the party are left with a choice to scale the shaft, following the incessant cascade of hot sand. Aeislun ,as ever, favors advancement over patience and is first to make the descent, closely followed by Nizhoni who leaps to find herself surfing down a steep wave of sand, to a cavern below. The center of which sees a humanoid body laying face down. Dead for perhaps a week, it appears to be that of a slave, its back marked by the licking tongue of its owners whips.

As Nebes surveys the cavern above for one last time before descending the shaft he realizes that the cave configuration forms the shape of a giant scarab or other beetle, the lengthy passageways its spindly legs, the main cavern the massive carapace, with the well and shaft the head of the creature. Whether entombed in the sandy rock and eroded by salt and wind or sculpted by the denizens of the caverns, to be in the midst of this gigantic form sends a chill through all the party. There are powers and events here that have clearly yet to become fully apparent.

Again the party finds itself in sculpted caverns. This time with fresh water pools surrounding a central white sandy island. Heavy fungus grows across one wall and the clear water appears to be washing through the dense fungal curtain.

Nebes, at Aeislun’s boyish request, picks up the elf and hurls him bodily through the air across the fresh water. The fungus curtain’s sides recede but this time the elf’s luck runs out as he strikes the rocky face of an outcrop between the two previously covered passageways. Reddened by both the impact and his poor fortune, the elf lands in the water and swims across to cut through the fungal screen.

The party follows. Scarlett nervously eyeing the fresh water, needs continuous encouragement from Rymyr to cross in front of the mossy screens. Again Nebes takes point position, tracing the gusts of wind that circulate through the cavern system, estimating rakes of cavern floors in calculated assessment of the best direction in which to travel. As ever Aeislun is never too far from the massive stone guards side but a moment of mischief leads to disaster as the elf trips the stone guard, who in turn is swept away by a tornado strength gust of air, giant hands unable to arrest his fall as he his pushed through the rocky tunnels and into a shaft below. Aeislun quick to help his struggling friend jumps after him and the two find themselves floating atop a rocky island in vast pools of steaming magma, the stone guard unhampered by the piercing height but the elf left stricken by the intense crash. Frantic cries and yells for help alert the rest of the party and some deft rope works sees the two adventures lifted from the hot volcanic flow, charred and blackened but unscathed from their brush with the hot molten lake below.

The party reunite and set to exploring the rest of the twisting passageways below the scarab’s form. Nibenay must be getting close now and all long for the sight of sunlight and respite from the toil of the hot twisting tunnels.

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23rd Session
The Road to Nibenay
Theme Song:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=61lnbfEE1wA

Summary:

Starts with the meeting with the Rae-Jsha and ends with the death of the many-legged horror.

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22nd Session
The Road to Nibenay
Theme Song:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUgC6215Gko

Summary:

Starts with remembrance of Zwaithe and ends with meeting the Rae-Jsha.

(To be continued)

1 Conor
5 Dren
3 Nebes
1 Aeislun
3 Dahloy
2 Rhymyr
3 Nizhoni

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21st Session
The Sunless Citadel
Theme Song:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qrzNABqN420

Summary:

Starts with the death of Belak and ends with the party escaping the Sunless Citadel.

(To be continued)

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