When last we left our heroes, an attempt had been made upon Eneko the Human Bard/Cavalier’s life! Having defeated the attacker, both the Baron Eneko and Elysia, the Half-Elven Ranger, grabbed the man’s body and rushed him towards Gavriil, the Human Arcanist’s room in the inn, now named The Silver Knight Inn. Recognizing that the assassin had been poisoned, Gavriil was able to identify the poison, but not able to do anything about it, other than heal the sores and boils that were forming on his skin. Thinking quickly, the Arcanist pointed the party in the direction of Eleo Masim, their Druidic Counselor, who might be able to save the assassin for interrogation!
Arriving at Eleo’s tiny hut in but a few minutes, the Druidess was able to locate a scroll she had been keeping in reserve, and was able to remove the effects of the poison ravaging the assassin’s body. With a lack of time constraints on them, the group said their thanks to Eleo, and brought the assassin back to Gavriil’s room, where they promptly tied him up, stripped him bare, and searched his belongings. Other than a few minor possessions, the most interesting thing that they could find was a note:
“L. The time has come to strike. I have arranged for a schedule of the night watchmen rotation to be pinned to the underside of the lid of the black barrel on the corner of the Medyved villa. Use it to make your way through the streets to the Baron’s tent, and drive a sword through his heart. Make sure you finish the job– if you don’t, I’ll be sure to finish you. P.”
From here, Noruas the Human Gunslinger, as Spymaster, was woken from her own room in the inn and brought to the assassin. Taking in the situation, she left to grab her interrogative tool of choice: A zombie from the hillside surrounding the old fort. While this was happening, Eneko began by trying to reason with him– this did not prove very effective, and so he quickly switched over to a menacing interrogation, threatening the man with public humiliation and even making a few comments about possible torture. From this, Eneko was able to get the assassin’s name– Larban. He revealed that if he were to talk to the group, then his wife– Roshal Steelfire– would be killed. Realizing that his wife must have been kidnapped and was being held to ensure Larban’s survival, Gavriil set off in two directions: First to Eleo again, to check town records and find out if Larban and Roshol were citizens of the kingdom; then to Jamandi Aldori, kingdom Warden, in order to keep her informed of the situation and start the town’s guards investigating.
Eleo was able to confirm that the Steelfires were indeed citizens– though she lamented the fact that she had to keep all of her records of the two thousand inhabitants in her hut, mentioning that she’d appreciate some kind of office space for records. Along with this, Gavriil obtained their address. Upon convening with Jamandi, he relayed all of the information that he’d gathered thus far, and Jamandi agreed to send a guard detail to the house to investigate. She also expressed discontent over the guard schedule being stolen, saying that if she’d had more resources at her disposal, or even a proper barracks to house and train her men, more could have been done to avoid the near-disaster.
In the meantime, Elysia, Eneko, and Noruas continued to try and get information out of their prisoner. For the most part he was uncooperative, despite the threat of Noruas’ pet zombie which she had brought into the room. Though he was clearly afraid, he resisted their attempts to gain information….until Eneko had the brilliant idea to use a spell to converse with Larban privately, so that none could overhear. Then, he was able to get some more information out of him: Larban met the man who hired him in the inn a few days previously; His wife was threatened, and he was told that she would be killed if he told anyone about his situation. If he failed to complete the kill, he was told that his wife would die if he gave any information up. He begged Eneko to protect his wife and keep her safe.
Gavriil quickly returned, and the groups exchanged information, comparing notes. While doing this, Eneko mentioned how this mysterious man, who had been identified as having calloused hands, had threatened and kidnapped Larban’s wife. Hearing this, Larban spoke up. “Kidnapped? What do you mean? She wasn’t kidnapped!”
This spread panic into Gavriil– “Wait…but I just send Jamandi to her house! Are you saying that she’s still there? We have to go!” Gavriil and Noruas immediately leaped into action, realizing that by sending the Warden to the house, where Roshol was still residing and most assuredly being watched, the woman’s fate may well have been sealed. The duo hopped onto their horses and rode down their dirty streets into the housing quarters, making their way as quick as they could to the two-story house where the Steelfires lived.
Arriving there, they found two of the city guard standing watch outside the door. “If you’re looking for Jamandi, she just left,” one of them began to say as the rulers brushed past him and inside. Frantically calling out, they raced up the stairs, into the bedroom, and over to the bed– where they found Roshol, laying face-down on the sheets with a knife sticking out of her back. Noruas immediately moved to the upper floor windows, searching for signs of flight due to the recent nature of the killing blow. Fortunately, she was able to spot, just barely, a fleeing figure rounding a corner! Shouting to Gavriil, Noruas dove out of the window, landing deftly on her feet and launching herself into a full-fledged chase!
Gavriil, taking a safer but longer way down to the ground, grabbed his horse and chased after the Gunslinger, catching up after a few twists and turns through the streets, and helping to heft Noruas up onto the horse as well. The two began to gain on the shadowy figure, who led them through a trash-filled alley, and then down a short street where he began to clamber up the wall of the house he was next to! In lieu of following, Noruas opted to shoulder her double-barreled musket, aim, and fire, hoping to wound but not kill him. Unfortunately for her, she proved to be too accurate, slamming both bullets into the man’s body and sending him plummeting back down to the street, dead before hitting the ground. A cursory examination of the body revealed that the man had calloused hands…and a large bag of gold coins.
For the moment at least, the crisis was over. Reporting the death of Larban’s wife resulted in the man becoming furious, swearing that he should have killed Eneko, that he was promised his wife would be kept safe. Gavriil gave the two guards outside Roshol’s house a dressing-down, expressing his discontent at their skill as guards. Jamandi too was displeased, though not as phased at the death of Larban’s wife as with the near impossible task she believed she had been handed, to create a stable police force with so few resources and so little training available. Even with the time-sensitive matters dealt with, there was still the issue of what to do with Larban. He had attempted to assassinate Eneko, and even though he was under duress, the attempt should not be taken lightly. It was decided that, in the morning, the ruling council would be convened to discuss the matter.
And so it was that when morning broke a few short hours later, the kingdom’s leadership gathered together in The Silver Knight’s upstairs meeting room which they had taken to using for a council chamber, until more appropriate quarters were available to them. The situation was explained, and the group opened up to discussion, each member giving their opinion on the matter. Eneko wished for a system to rehabilitate Larban, so that his aid might be gained in further investigating who was behind the attack. Eleo indicated that she wasn’t sure what to make of it, but did believe that handling the problem he presented was an issue best left to the kingdom’s legal system– which, she added, had yet to be properly established.
Davik Azazeal, the kingdom’s General, fully believed that the only suitable punishment for the assassin was death. “We must deal with this man harshly– if we are to be lenient on him, others will learn that there are no consequences to personally attacking our kingdom, and then we will be naught more than a joke!” Gavriil voiced his opinion that, in the end, the safest course of action was to kill the man. Belis Sallal, High Priest, Indicated that he had no feelings one way or another on the matter, and suggested that dealing with criminals was beyond his responsibilities. Arkanus Taklo also stated a lack of opinion on the matter, but insisted that whatever the result be, it should be made public– “Hiding things from the people would be most unwise.”
Elysia, on the other hand, was much more reluctant to condemn Larban. It was her opinion that the man had been forced into a poor situation, and that he did not deserve to die for it. Chief Sootscale backed her up…kind of. “Elysia speaks wisely, and I agree with her! But killing him is good too!”
Noruas was the next to speak, and she brought a very interesting idea to the table. To begin with, she wished for the death of the assassin; beyond that, she gave a suggestion for how to deal with the kingdom’s most dangerous criminals. It was her believe that these people deemed too dangerous to live should still prove some use to society– and what better way to do so, than to kill them and raise them as mindless undead zombies! This was met with some unease (and some worrying agreements!), but ultimately shelved for later discussion.
Maia Prang, kingdom Treasurer, agreed with Eneko– a way to make these criminals more useful and profitable to society was the better solution. Finally Jamandi voiced her own opinion, which was a simple statement to kill him and be done with it. With a reasonably split council, a bit more discussion was had before Eneko switched his opinion to that of killing off the assassin, issuing a great speech about how Choral the Conqueror treated his own enemies. As such, the majority of the council favored execution as an appropriate punishment for Larban. Eleo assented to the measure for the moment, but promised that the next month when they met, she would bring for discussion the foundations of a legal system for the protection of the kingdom’s citizens.
The session ended with the players completing the next month’s Kingdom Turn, so that they would be ready to talk turkey come next session!
Tolemac, Month Four:
Size: 4 Cities: 1 Control DC: 25
Loyalty: 19 Stability: 18 Economy: 20
Unrest: 0 BP: 54 Consumption: 1
Buildings: The Silver Knight Inn, House, Shrine to Nethys, Grove to the Green Faith, Noble Villa for House Medvyed, Noble Villa for house Lodovka, Shrine to Erastil
PLAYERS, DO NOT READ!
This was a reasonably interesting session for me– for one, I found myself on gameday woefully unprepared, having taken no time that morning to prepare anything, despite knowing that I had a dangling plot thread that would need to be resolved. Thus, when I arrived home from work with three and a half hours before game time, I went into a writing frenzy to prepare for the night. What I came up with was a three-tiered mystery with at least two red herrings that could keep them running around investigating for a full session should they choose!
Then…the session started, and I realized my mistake: The mystery that I laid out was based upon the idea that the assassin would die of his injuries and the poison he had taken, which dealt not only a point of Con damage, but also 2d12 HP. While the party could heal the physical damage, none of them had anything to stop the constitution drain, which would eventually kill him, leaving the various avenues I had planned in order to find out more. That was quickly thrown out the window when I was reminded that the party had a Druid in their party, for whom the spell Neutralize Poison was available. Well– that was that! I rolled with the punches reasonably well, though had to change a bit of the story I had planned out.
One of the best parts that came of the adventure in my opinion, was when the party assumed, upon hearing that someone had threatened Larban’s wife with death, that she had been kidnapped and taken away somewhere. Larban had never indicated as much, and they never mentioned it to him, but just assumed and worked off that assumption! Thus when the pin dropped not long afterwards, and he informed them that no, she wasn’t kidnapped, they then came to the correct conclusion that she was instead being watched…and they had just sent guards to her house!
The chase that resulted from Gavriil and Noraus arriving at the house was also improvised completely– I had figured that when they arrived they would have been just a little too late to catch the culprit, allowing them to fall back upon my previously prepared investigative lines to gain more information. Instead, Noruas rolled a natural 20 perception check to see if anyone was around, and well…it’s hard to argue with a nat 20. The scene was still fresh, so…she caught a glimpse of the fleeing attacker! Due to her hard-hitting guns, when Noruas did fire at the man while he climbed to safety, she killed him with the damage she did– having a low number of NPC Commoner levels tends not to lend you a large pool of HP to soak up damage. The two bullets took a total of 27 HP off her target, sending him to five below his negative Con score….and thus ended this portion of the mystery.
So for next session, I’ll be giving Noruas, as Spymaster, a report from her various contacts about the identity of the man she shot who threatened Larban into doing his dirty work– who himself was only a middle-man for Akiros Ismort, one of the bandit leaders from the Stag Lord’s fort who ran away after the Stag Lord’s death. Akiros, resenting the pc’s for bringing law and order to the area, will be attempting to destabilize the kingdom in a myriad of ways I do believe– and he’s off to a good start!
For those who are interested, here are the original mystery notes I wrote down to run through the session– you may notice a few differences in what I had planned, and what I played out with the group!