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January 6, 2009

Beware of the Dog

Astrid's Journal

14 Lamashan 4709 AR
Absalom

We were shown a locket with a picture of Lucinda and told she was “standoffish” with interests in falconry and gnomish poetry (I did not even know there was such a thing). We were told that our inside man is a carriage coachman called Rathas that would be taking Lucinda to her family once we rescued her. If she didn’t come willingly, we were supplied with a white powder to add to her drink to knock her out.

Our new personas for the evening are as follows:

Zandu: Alexandru Romantis, a silk merchant
Salma: Tatiana, wife of Alexandru
Tythe: Varuna Elendar, an emissary from Kyonin
Astrid: Astrid, Linnorm bodyguard of Varuna.

Hmph. Obviously, someone assumes I can not act. At least my dress clothes allowed for my claymore this way.

The ball was very interesting. We were announced as we arrived, as if we were royalty. We opted to split up, so Tythe and I went to the bar while Zandu and Salma went off to mingle or whatever. I noticed that there were huge windows that looked out on to a garden, a rather nice orchestra, and a buffet beyond the bar. Tythe and I just listened to the gossip around us, and did manage to hear that some local nobles had been disappearing and a rumor of ghostly figures in the Puddles before our target arrived: Antione Toresco and Lady Lucinda were announced, followed by someone called Marlis, who looked exactly like Nessiam. At that point I mentally decided I would add a task to our evening’s business and Tythe and I moved closer to where Nessiam was headed. He was at the bar asking a man called Ilias how his trip had been when we purposely bumped into them; while Tythe managed to distract Ilias, I swooped in on “Marlis” and managed to get him to the dance floor. I got very little information out of him, learning that he dealt in “antiquities” and lived locally. I steered him towards some semi-private seating briefly after the dance was over, and was able to get close enough for a kiss, but I was and am still not sure that he was the same man— had there been an easy way to rip one of his sleeves off to look for tattoos, I would have done so. I was just about to suggest we go somewhere alone so I could do just that, when he abruptly kissed my hand and apologized for having to depart so early!

Several other men left the ballroom at that time, including Antoine Toresco, which at least meant there was an opportunity to get Lucinda away from him. We eventually lured her to the “ladies’” bathroom (with Zandru even) to talk her into going with us, pointing out her fiancÚ was involved in some shady dealings. Somehow Zandru had a glass of alcohol with him (spiked with the white powder) which she absentmindedly took from him and drank. As soon as she was knocked out, the plan was to swap her clothes with Tythe’s (even though she’s a good foot taller), and Tythe would sneak out of the bathroom at a later time, while Salma and Zandru pretended to be taking the Kyonin emissary to her carriage. I opted to keep people in the ballroom by getting the orchestra to let me join them in song. I was actually keeping a pretty good crowd enthralled with a tune when Tythe came into the room naked and shrieking that she’d been robbed (at which point the orchestra abruptly stopped, the entire room’s attention turning to the unclothed elf). The Master of Ceremonies quickly found clothing for her and called a carriage, which we quickly and indignantly boarded. We headed off to the Golden Griffin, assured that Salma and Zandru had our quarry with them as their carriage headed to the Salty Dog.

Posted by Kristin at 16:52 | Astrid’s Journal

January 15, 2009

Deaglan's Bio

Deaglan's Journal ~PC Bios~

I was born on Sarenith 4th in the little town of Hobbs End in Ustalav.

At the age of 14 I was wandering through a forest when I saw an ogre. So quietly I tried to sneak past it. Then I noticed that there was a bow and arrow on the ground. I picked them up and killed the ogre. At the age of 18 I was mocked and laughed at by human kids in Hobbs End, because I was not aging at the same rate they were. At the age of 20 I was abandoned and had to live on my own.

As an adult, I would go from pub to pub, looking for my family and beer. One day in a pub I noticed someone looking at me oddly, so I walked over and said “Hey buddy, you have a staring problem?” He said “No...” And before he could finish I was ready to swing at his head. Right before I was about to hit him he revealed a secret. Whispering quietly he said “I am your uncle... and you are in grave danger.”

So happy to meet a relative I started jumping and dancing. I started to sing something about ‘Berries and Cream.’ He said to me “Keep it down! The man standing next to the bartender... that’s not a man. It’s a lady. That lady kidnapped your parents.” he said. After a while of talking he explained how I wasn’t abandoned: my parents were kidnapped. He then proceeded to tell me the secret location. They were trapped in a dungeon surrounded by a hellhound, a medusa, an ice dragon, and 20 orcs.

So now, at the age of 22, I’ve been watching a group of people in this tavern. I plan to ask them if they could join me in a quest to find my parents. Perhaps a bribe of gold will pique their interest.

Character sheet: Deaglan [Half-elf ranger from Ustalav]

Posted by Brendan at 16:37 | Deaglan’s Journal | ~PC Bios~

January 17, 2009

Take Two

Adventures, DM's Notes & Maps

Kristin’s character art based on little more than the original descriptions of the PCs, updated with new character.


January 20, 2009

No, not thinking at all.

Salma's Journal

There were several people in the room besides the Lady’s dead brother and ourselves, and of course, they were not friendly. They attacked Zandu and me; all I could think of was to get the Lady out of there! I was stabbed several times as I dragged her back into the main room. Zandu didn’t follow. I’m afraid he died almost instantly.

I didn’t have a moment to spare to mourn; I was certain that I was next! Screaming for help as loud as I could (I knew it was almost useless in the Coins, but hoped someone might be curious), I healed myself a little bit and wrestled with the masked men over the still-sleeping Lady. They won. Worse yet, the man holding her suddenly disappeared!

As the others stabbed at me, I wrenched the front door open and ran screaming into the night.

Bloody and exhausted, I actually reached the Golden Griffon without being attacked again. Tythe and Astrid sat happily at the bar, drinking. They asked me how things went, but were more interested in telling me about the fun they’d had getting out of the ball. I told them that Zandu was dead, the Lady’s brother was dead, the Lady was kidnapped... and they were too drunk to take me seriously. Miserably, I went upstairs to tend to my wounds.

While I was changing into my own clothes, someone started to thump on the door. Before I could answer it, they began shouting, “Town guard!” ..I panicked. I grabbed all of my things and climbed out the second-story window. Dropping to the ground and listening to confused shouting behind me, I decided to walk back to the girls’ school to spend the night.

I was walking up the street when I heard a sound, and turned to see one of the men from the bar shooting at a shadowy figure. Great, the assassins are on MY trail, now! I turned back to help my defender, dropping one of the masked men with my staff. The second man twisted a ring on his hand and disappeared - again, the disappearing act!

While I thanked him, the man quickly searched the other’s body, taking his longsword and pouch of gold and some vials, while I grabbed a strange cloth-wrapped dagger and a ring from his hand. Back to the bar we went, and I was determined to get Tythe and Astrid to talk seriously about what was going on. We are in danger! Of course, they were still too drunk to care, even when I flat out asked if they were going to let me die?

I showed them the ring, which had a skull face on it. Tythe took it from me, and instead of looking at it she put it on and twisted it, disappearing instantly!

Now what?

Perhaps Zandu’s dog could help us, again. We had left the dog at the Griffon; showing it Tythe’s scent, we headed out into the night. Our new friend, Deaglan, said he knew how to handle the dog; I hope it works. If nothing else, we’d be attacked again and perhaps survive to get more rings.

On a whim, we went back to where I had almost been mugged. The town guard was already there, working the “murder” scene. Astrid took the dog with her as she walked into the middle of things to ask what had happened, only to be turned away - but the dog had a scent!

The dog took us right back to the Golden Griffon. I groaned, but no - it led us next door, to Goodwife Thestra’s house. Of course, the cellar mystery! We knocked on the front door, so she wouldn’t think demons were infesting her home again, and an old man answered. He said it was all right for us to go around back, so we did, wondering if he was a butler or a “friend” ...

The door was unlocked, and the tunnel had been boarded over but the boards were broken open. This time, we climbed right into the tunnel, following the dog as it took a right turn at the T. Astrid noted that the tunnel was actually newly dug; it eventually widened out into an older chamber full of rubble. There was a chuckling sound and a faint glow ahead, which the dog didn’t like!

The glow disappeared while we talked over our options, and we eventually kept going. It looked like an old cellar, left over from a fire and collapse of a building. As we moved across the room, we saw another low tunnel that the dog seemed interested in. We were startled by a glowing, chuckling figure that came out of one wall and faded into another, but the ghost was nothing compared to the horror of three sets of undead hands coming out of the rubble to grab at us!

I turned the creatures; two fled, the third we had to kill. Into the tunnel before the others come back, and I really hope Tythe is actually down here somewhere!

Posted by Kate at 13:52 | Salma’s Journal

January 22, 2009

The One That Got Away

Astrid's Journal

15 Lamashan 4709 AR
Absalom

Tythe and I got changed back into more familiar attire and headed back down to the Griffin’s tavern area. We were quite pleased with our performance for the evening and decided to get started on some serious drinking while we waited for Zandu and Salma to return. We did not have too long to wait— moments later Salma stumbled in, bloody and angry, adding that Zandu was dead, our patron was dead, and our delivery had been kidnapped. The part of me that had been consuming way too much dwarven ale suggested that we would likely not be getting paid if our patron was dead, and with a look of incredulity on her face, she pointed out her disheveled look and repeated that Zandu was dead. I used a small trick I’d learned from my clan’s skald to clean her clothes, but that seemed to upset her more and she stomped off to our room. A tall, lanky redhead at the next table over (who had been, as near as we could tell, carving his initials into the top of a wooden table with the end of a flail) offered his assistance. Not wanting to face Salma’s wrath till we’d had another round, we told him which room was ours and handed him a mug of ale to take up to her.

A moment later we heard what sounded like some crashing around and the call of the town guard above us… ? in a variety of confusing accents. Running upstairs, we found that the fellow had tried to coax her to open the door by announcing himself as the local constabulary, with the result that she had jumped out a window. Tythe and I were going to attempt to follow her, but the redhead, who we eventually learned goes by the name of Deaglan, is an expert tracker and offered to go collect her. We figured that sounded pretty good (and it would give me some time to sober up while Tythe finished her rum).

They came back soon after, Deaglan had shot one of two men that were stalking Salma (and been poisoned in the process). The other stalker had disappeared after twisting a ring, which Salma said was how the people that had kidnapped Lucinda and killed Zandu had made their getaway. They showed Tythe and me the ring they pulled off the dead stalker— it was silver with a skull on it. Tythe tried it on, and said “did they twist it like this?” and disappeared!

We stood there stunned for a moment, and then I asked where Zandu’s dog was. Luckily for us, the innkeeper had been watching it and was quite happy to turn the animal over to us. I gave the dog one of Tythe’s garments to smell, hoping it could track her, but without a starting point, it was too confused. Then I thought we could have the dog smell the body of the slain stalker and go back from wherever he’d come from, hoping that the ring would have teleported Tythe there. We got close enough to the crime scene to discover it was a crime scene— the dog and I got close enough to ask a town guard what had happened, and learned that they were examining the fletching on the arrows sticking out of the dead body. I could not get the dog any closer, but it was able to pick up the scent and follow it. As we walked, I reached over and used one of those skald tricks to change the color of the fletching on Deaglan’s arrows— I figure I am saving the town guard some time and lives by not having them get mixed up with this network of teleporting, kidnapping, murdering thugs, and Deaglan, who seems good at tracking, but a bit confused on how to cover tracks.

The dog did a good job of tracking the assailant’s route in reverse. Still, we were quite surprised to find ourselves standing at the basement door to Goodwife Thestra’s home again. We decided to let her know we were back rather than sneaking in, and the elderly gentleman that answered the door and after we explained what we were doing said he’d let Goodwife Thestra know that we were poking around down there again.

The town guard had apparently boarded up the tunnel we had found yesterday, and the thugs had removed the boards in turn. We let the dog lead the way, wandering through tunnels and rubble. Eventually we stopped, hearing chuckling ahead of us and seeing a glowing figure passing by, seemingly unaware of us. Moments later though, we found some undead that were aware of us; I sang and pulled out my claymore and the three of us quickly dispatched the zombies….

Posted by Kristin at 18:48 | Astrid’s Journal