Session 8: The Taking of Platform 1-2-3Before we like to start, I would like to point out two things in my defense: First, I needed to reintroduce a PC to the campaign tonight, and second, during sessions 6 and 7 I was specifically asked to give more direction. That said, there's definitely a long list of things I could have done better.
Denzai and Shamus went back to the apartment to get some much-needed sleep, Mara went back home, and Gerard, Creig, and Amusel made their way to the upper levels to investigate Lady Borafont. After unsuccessfully asking the guards for information, they learned from a particularly stuck-up news vendor that Lady Borafont would be hosting a gala that night. While they searched around for more information, they entered an item shop. As is typical of the upper and innermost circle of Tel Phonen, the store's wares were so expensive that the party's combined resources might be able to purchase a few square inches of the material the price list was printed on.
Inside the store, they saw none other than Lady Borafont herself. She personally invited them to the gala, stating that having the unlikely heroes who saved Sanctum there would be excellent publicity. After she left, a halfling approached the party and told them that Okerzale wanted to see them at their apartment.
On the way back home, a man jumped off the wall and landed on the party's platform. He was clad in pitch black armor with a blue glow visible through the seams and slits. Without a word, the mysterious assailant drew an enormous greatsword and began to take the party apart. Gerard was brought to the brink of death, and only survived thanks to quick intervention from Amusel. Still, they gave as good as they got, and eventually did enough damage that the man in black armor had to teleport to a platform heading the opposite direction to escape.
As his platform receded into the distance, the man's helmet dissolved into shadow as he downed a health potion. Unfortunately, the party was too far away to get a good look at his face.
When they got back to their apartment, they found Okerzale sitting at their kitchen table sharing a very expensive bottle of wine with Denzai and Shamus. Okerzale informed them that he'd found out they were invited to the gala and had prepped formalwear with armor built in.
"My coat is the height of pirate fashion," protested Creig.
"Yes, because clearly people at a well-to-do high society gala are going to welcome a pirate with open arms." replied Okerzale.
"Well to doers can shove it," snapped Creig.
Okerzale glared at the pirate for a moment before gesturing slightly. An instant later, Creig slammed against the ceiling and was pinned there. Okerzale walked underneath him and calmly said,
"That tongue of yours is going to get you killed one of these days. I'd be more than happy to preempt that by cutting it out for you. Look, I understand that I asked for your help. But I know how this city works, and it's painfully obvious that in that specific area you have no idea what the fuck you're doing. You want to do anything in this city, you've got to play by the rules, and I'm the only one in this room that knows what they are. So, we clear?"
Creig actually shut up for a moment before grudingly responding, "Yeah, we're clear."
Okerzale returned to his usual friendly demeanor as he let Creig down slowly and left the apartment. The party all got changed, with the exception of Shamus, who protested the focus on superficiality and appearance that galas like this promoted.
Now that they'd suited up, the party made their way to the gala. They were treated to an awe-inspiring display of wealth that bordered on decadence. After several minutes of attempting to schmooze with guests, they noticed Lady Borafont quietly duck through an out-of-the-way door. Once it had closed, a guard stepped directly in front of it. The party decided to ignore this and continue chatting up guests, and soon found a young elf named Sigurt Mairsu.
Despite an imperfect command of the Common tongue, Sigurt was extremely amiable and quickly bonded with the group. He explained that he was a low-level diplomat, and that the purpose of the gala was to celebrate the arrival of a group of envoys from Mornbar that Lady Borafont had known growing up as a political hostage, and that he didn't trust Lady Borafont any further than he could throw her. He recommended that they investigate whatever was going on behind that door, which the party promptly decided to do.
Gerard first managed to bribe the guard to throw a certain object behind the door. This object turned out to be a floating eye, which Gerard maneuvered around until he found a skylight looking over a secret chamber. Inside, Lady Borafont was speaking with a group of people including a hooded figure, two of the diplomats from the Mornbarian delegation, and a mysterious bald man who appeared to be from the desert.
The table in the center of the room displayed a particularly complex illusion spell - a three-dimensional map of Sanctum, focused on something in the Marshland. The group in the chamber was having a conversation, but because Gerard hadn't thought to send back a floating ear along with the eye, they couldn't make any of it out.
The party decided that they'd need to get to the skylight themselves. They approached the guard again. Denzai, Creig, and Amusel formed a barrier around Gerard while he attacked the guard and covered his mouth so he wouldn't scream. They quickly slipped though the door. Once on the other side, Creig used a strip of the guard's uniform to hogtie him and keep him gagged. Denzai stayed at the entrance to keep watch while the other three moved forward.
Once the three got to the skylight, they saw that a panel on it was slightly ajar. If they got close enough to it, they could barely hear what was being said. Unfortunately, they found that the group below was rotating languages. They were starting to get discouraged when they heard Lady Borafont switch to Common and say,
"No, we're not doing that again. I know that's the blueprint he laid out, but look how well it worked for him! We can't focus on active destruction; that hasn't worked and it's not going to. I don't see why we should bother when we can just keep doing what we've been doing and watch things play right into our hands."
The party looked at each other, confused. Gerard leaned in closer to the skylight to hear better when disaster struck.
The glass cracked.
Everyone in the room immediately looked up at the party. Lady Borafont recovered first and smiled. "Speak of the Wyrms," she muttered as she raised her hand. The party was pulled through the skylight and landed amidst a group of glass shards on the table. Amusel hit at a bad angle and landed on his back, but was able to roll out of the way as one of the hooded figures brought a knife down right where his head had just been. Lady Borafont and the bald man fled, while everyone else readied weapons for battle.
Guards quickly poured into the room. Gerard saw this and, thinking quickly, grabbed one of the diplomats and held a knife to his throat, threatening that if a diplomat under Lady Borafont's care was killed, it could spark a war. Both the guards and the diplomat called his bluff, with the latter stating that Lady Borafont's plans were more important than his life and that they both viewed him as expendable. Upon hearing this, Gerard slit the man's throat.
As the battle went on, more and more knights swarmed into the room. After killing six or seven of them and blinding the remaining diplomat, the party was finally overrun and knocked out.
When they woke up, they were in a strange set of catacombs beneath the city. Bodies and bones littered the room, and corpses in various states of decomposition were chained on the wall. Denzai and Shamus had also been caught and thrown in. Their weapons had been confiscated, but Denzai was nice enough to make replicas for everyone.
As they were discussing their next move, they noticed that one of the chained up bodies was still alive. As they went over to investigate, the man on the wall raised his head and gasped.
"Ger...ard? That you?"
Suddenly, everyone came to a realization. Gerard moved in on the man and cautiously asked,
Tropes from this session:
- Ambadassador: The elvin diplomats are more than willing and able to do serious damage to the party.
- Ass in Ambassador: See above.
- Atop a Mountain of Corpses: See Refuge in Audacity below.
- Badass in a Nice Suit: Everyone during the gala battle.
- The Bus Came Back
- Camp Straight: The news vendor.
- Eloquent In My Native Tongue: Sigurt is either this trope or really, horrifically bad at his job.
- Eunuchs Are Evil: This one was.
- Groin Attack: Courtesy of Creig to one of the diplomats. Fortunately (?), the guy was a eunuch.
- Killer Game Master: Towards the end, the plot required the party to get captured, they were aware of this, and they weren't cooperating. I hadn't planned for there to be a fight at all (the guards come in, they knock you out, you wake up in the dungeon), but the party decided to have it out.
- Last Stand: I'll say this much, this one was pretty badass. Avoidable, but badass.
- Nice Guy: Sigurt.
- Omniglot: Lady Borafont and the people she was meeting with periodically switched the language the conversation was taking place in. Speaking every language in the world is less impressive when you remember that there are only six or seven languages.
- The Omniscient Council of Vagueness: Lady Borafont is apparently a member.
- Railroading: As noted above, I had to reintroduce Aisling tonight. Otherwise, I would have been a lot more forgiving.
- The Red Mage: Amusel has graduated to this now that his Elementalist track has kicked in. He still heavily gravitates towards healing, though.
- Refuge in Audacity: Creig suggesting that they use the increasingly large pile of knight corpses to climb out of the chamber's skylight. If I hadn't had to reintroduce Aisling, I would have been completely OK with this.
- Rule Zero: The Legend player's guide is currently curled up under a bed and crying due to my abuse of this.
- Serendipity Writes The Plot: Or at least works wonders for the pacing. The absence of Shamus and Denzai ended up making the encounter with the mysterious assailant much more even (yes, really), while the hour I had to spend dealing with the fact that my router spontaneously committed seppuku ended up causing us to cut the session off in a better place than would have otherwise been practical.
- Traintop Battle: Well, platform-top at any rate. The ability to have these was the entire point of giving Tel Phonen a rapid transit system in the first place.
- Zerg Rush: One of the many applications of Legend's Myriad-class Mooks. Put to good use during the gala fight.