Part 14: Session 11: Goin' on a Plot Train
Session 11: Goin' on a Plot Train
So, are we all ready to go?
“I’ll say. We left off just when things were finally getting started last time.”
“What were we up to again?”
You found out an elf had died from blood loss, and that there’s a secret trap door in her cellar that leads to the sewers.
Right. So where’s the nearest sewer entrance?
Can’t we use the one in the house?
The guards are still there. They’d kick you out.
But don’t worry, the nearest grate is still pretty close.
We use it.
Something has changed between the last two images. See if you can figure out what.
You find the other side of the secret door, but not much else.
Well, what about the rest of the sewer system?
You can’t tell from where you are.
What do you mean, we’re in a dead end?! How does this make any sense at all?!
Let’s just go back to the other part of the sewers. Maybe that closed door thingy works now, for some reason.
So you seriously want us to climb out of the sewers, find a different grate, then climb back down?
You want to read the map? Here, see for yourself.
What the hell.
So, I assume you travel down into the sewers using a working grate, which happens to be the one over by the front gate.
Does the door work now?
No. But you do find something…
You are sure this part of the passage wasn’t there when you searched the sewers last time. William?
You check the side walls, then look up. There, two narrow seams give a clue to where the wall that used to block this passage went.
What’s the point of doing that? According to my map, it couldn’t even be a very long passage. Is there anything interesting in the extra-long passage?
Not really. However, when you turn around from investigating,
I stab it!
But why? Like I said, it’s probably just one of the city’s poor.
Yeah, but it isn’t. I mean, come on, we find an elf-vampire tomb, a dead elf with a passage to the sewers, and now there’s an inhumanly gaunt figure with pointy ears wandering around. Maybe I’d believe you if we’d seen anything else alive down here aside from monsters and rat-catchers, but dropping a random gaunt dude in front of us just after a murder isn’t very smart.
He’s right, Bob. Plus my character would know how to identify a feylamia.
Couldn’t you guys at least pretend like the person is friendly and helpless?
Didn’t we hear from somewhere that we needed moonlight to kill the vampire?
Yes, I almost forgot. Moonlight will be problematic to get a hold of if the vampire is sticking to the sewers.
I still say we stab it while we have the chance. Even if it won’t die, it shouldn’t do too much if we cut its head off.
I’m not trying to ram a cock up your ass, I’m trying to advance the plot. Just go with it.
*After the laughter subsides*
Well, if no one else wants to, I’ll act nice to the poor vampire.
Thank you. You slowly approach the stranger, so as not to frighten him away. With suspicious looks from eyes buried deep within their sockets, the being watches Belle’s every move. You stop three paces away. The wretch looks scared, but doesn’t run. Maybe you could try offering something?
I’ll give it some food.
You realize feylamias only drink elf blood, right?
You’re an elf, William.
Oh yeah. You think it’d think I was offering myself?
Too late. You offer the food and tell it your name as a gesture of friendship. In response, she takes the offered gift and says “Mandara!” as a reply.
It is a woman, as it turns out. She’s so gaunt that she appears totally sexless, and the cloth wrapped tightly around her body makes her look more like a mummy than a woman, but it is a she.
Still seems a bit thin for me, though.
“Aye! We dwarves loove our lasses with bet o’ meat on their bones, och aye!”
Apparently, in spite of Hal’s outburst, Mandara has become more trusting by now and comes closer again to William.
Does she want to eat me? I don’t want her getting closer to me.
Fine, you hide behind the rest of the party like a baby.
So now what?
Oh yeah, we were trying to make the secret door work. Maybe we can get the vampire to do it.
Mandara is perfectly willing to follow you.
I thought you said you’d only let us have one follower at a time?
Yeah, I did.
So how can she follow us with Thorgrim around?
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention. Thorgrim left you guys back when you entered the sewers earlier.
WHAT?! Why the hell have you only told us now?!
I forgot, sorry. You can pick him back up when you finish exploring down here.
It’s still a stupid rule.
I’m sorry, sweetie, but I have to agree with them on this one.
It doesn’t even matter. You probably won’t fight anything today anyway.
Yeah, but Thorgrim’s awesome! He went whoring with us and everything.
Ugh, don’t remind me. Can we just move on, please? Thank you.
You lead Mandara to the mysterious bridge. Suddenly, she stops and fiddles around on the wall. Next, part of it slides aside and frees the way into another passage.
So she can find it in a second even though we didn’t even have a chance?
She’s been down here longer, and she probably saw someone using it correctly. So you hear voices coming from down the passage. You listen carefully and try to avoid making any noise. Suddenly, you notice Mandara is missing. While you look around for her, several armed men sneak up on you. Within seconds, you are completely surrounded. Any attempt at resistance would be doomed from the start.
I imagine we have a good seven more magic items than they do.
Magic spells, as well.
There’s only room for one or two people across on the platform, right? We could turn this into a bloodbath.
Yes, but then you’ll have the guild trying to kill you, which would both be very bad for continuing the plot and continuing to live. They’re quite good at ambushes, you know.
Fine, then, Kara surrenders.
If it gets things moving, I will too.
If you say so, I’ll do it.
Do the rest of you want to fight without backup?
Fine, but it still pisses me off. I think there’s only been one RPG I played where you didn’t have to get captured at some point.
Seriously! Think about it. Baldur’s Gate, Baldur’s Gate 2, Planescape: Torment, Neverwinter Nights 1 and 2, Knights of the Old Republic 1 and 2, pretty much all the Final Fantasies, Dragon Quest 8, Shadow Hearts…I could keep going. The only one I recall that didn’t have an automatic capture is Mass Effect, and even that one has your ship get impounded for a while. That and maybe Neverwinter Nights 1. It’s been a while since I played that piece of crap.
So what’s your point?
Stop being so derivative! …But since it’s too late, carry on.
Oh, as you wish.
Was that a challenge?
No. The beggaress orders the armed men, “Wait here!” and then she draws the man away to the far end of the room where she talks to him with some agitation. He appears unwilling to change his mind, though. You catch a few snatches of his voice: “…too great a risk…gambling with the lives of our men…”
I’ll say he is, trying to threaten us.
Wait, did the rat-catcher just save us from the thieves’ guild?
Sounds like it.
Sadly, you also take some bites from the rats. Roll against disease…oh, sorry Suzie, but it looks like you failed again.
Oh, come on!
Better hope it’s not tetanus again.
I thought this was why I was writing down that map earlier.
I listen to her.
Ooh, too late!
We totally called that, you know.
Yes, I know. Now shut up and listen.
Without a second look, the feylamia turns and charges your pursuers. They retreat slowly at first, then speed to panicked flight. Even the trademaster, who holds his ground for a few moments of indecision, finally runs away.
Finally, something we can all agree on.
I told you guys that the sewer levels always suck. I didn’t expect it to be an underground railroad, but it still kinda sucked.
If it helps, that exchange is about as bitchy as the module gets. I mean, it accounts for you guys trying to do something else, but all the other options would make everything end early, and I didn’t want to see that happen.
Finally. *Rolls* Damn, couldn’t get Paralyze up. At least I increased my Combat spells.
How come I’m still level 6?
Because your first character sucked and died, remember?
Can we do anything about my disease, please?
Yes, I can handle that.
So what was it?
Well, it wasn’t caused by undead, so it’s not battlefield fever or paralysitis; we didn’t need a joruga root, so it’s not rabies; and it wasn’t mysteriously incurable, so it’s not tetanus; and it’s probably not frostbite, so I’d go with numskull. Good thing we had those belmart leaves, or it might have developed into the Blue Cough.
Why is that important?
Blue Cough can only be cured with plenty of rest and recuperation. It would have taken forever.
So can we go get Thorgrim again?
Awesome. Now let’s go back down there and kick some guild ass.
I do not approve of this decision.
Relax, there’s no one there anymore.
So where do we go from here?
I want to ask that rat-catcher what he was doing down there.
Me too. I still want to know where he’s keeping those rats in between rescuing adventurers.
You all take…oh, ouch.
Fuck! I go and kill those assholes!
Sadly, the barely visible figures disappear under cover of darkness. Within seconds, they are nowhere to be found. You stop to listen, but other than the beat of your own heart you hear nothing.
Dick move, Bob. Dick move.
Just a taste of what would have happened if you had tried to fight earlier.
You reach the rat-catcher’s house, but he’s apparently not home. What do you do?
Wait for him, obviously.
…Alright. After some minutes, a trapdoor opens in one corner of the room, and the rat-catcher climbs out. He looks at you somewhat surprised, but then he nods a greeting and closes the trapdoor.
I thought you said he had a convenient grate in front of his house. Where does the trapdoor lead?
Not the same place, in fact. You can go down if you want; the rat-catcher doesn’t mind if you do.
Let’s go, then.
A giant metal door?
Sounds like this area is the old sewer. The giant corridors without the moving water is a lot more like what they used for medieval sewage.
Yeah, the giant locked door is pretty much why the rat-catcher doesn’t mind people knowing about the door.
Assuming you’re not going to let us break down the door, I guess we should head back out.
You do so. Oh, and the rat-catcher is not in his hut again. Are you sure you just want to leave without, say, searching the place?
Why? Rat-catcher’s a cool dude.
…You might find his flamethrower.
Done and done. What do we find?
What’s it do?
That’s not very helpful.
You’ll figure it out when you get to the right place.
So what else do we have? Any other leads or people to ask?
I think we should go report what we’ve seen to the authorities. I imagine they’d want to hear about the vampire running loose in the sewers.
Actually, before you can reach the building…
Haven’t we done this bit before?
“…or even a small coin, for old Lea?” the beggar woman continues undeterred.
“What do you want, beggaress?”
“I’ve been able to persuade Lothur to stop hunting you,” she whispers this when you’re out of earshot of any passersby. “He wants to talk to you!”
Is that what she was talking to him earlier about? So why the song-and-dance earlier with the vampire and the rats?
C’mon, at least the rats were cool! Lea continues, “Be at the warehouse directly south of Efferd’s temple at midnight tonight.”
Alright, I give her some bread.
She’s still a beggar, right? This way we won’t blow her cover. It’s the least we can do considering she got us a second chance with the trademaster.
That seems fair. “Hah hah! My thanks, noble gentlefolk!” Lea shrieks, when some more people approach, and performs a curtsy, though it isn’t as deep as before.
Just trying to be descriptive. Old Lea shrieks again, then dances away laughing.
I could go for some of that about now.
Dancing. Sorry, it’s been a while for me.
You don’t want to know. So, unless someone wants to do something else first, will you head to the warehouse?
We should probably rest until we’re fully healed before we keep going.
Fine. Just pay out the money, I’ll mark the days passed…there.
This is the short warehouse directly south from the temple by the docks.
Should we secure the area first?
Nah, let’s just bust in and surprise ‘em.
Seriously, we’re here to talk.
Well, my dwarf talks better with his axe out. No, wait, “Och, any tru and proper dwarf talks with his axe, lad!”
Either way, before you get halfway towards the figure, you hear a loud crash of glass behind you. Thorgrim looks down at the shards on the ground in wonder, until things start to blur in front of his eyes. “Poison fumes!” he croaks, then darkness engulfs you all.
At least I have a reason for why you can’t act this time.
I won’t say it’s not funny to listen to you try and talk to yourself, but maybe you’d like one of us to do the talking?
Okay, fair enough. The trademaster turns to the rest of you and says, “You can probably guess that I don’t like people poking their noses into other people’s affairs and asking questions all over town—unless they’re working for me. Now, I’d be very interested to know what exactly you are looking for.”
What are we looking for?
I thought we were looking for him.
Yeah, but why?
I figured we were supposed to capture him and turn him in to the guards, but based on all the railroading I guess that’s not it.
You guys don’t remember why you were at Travia’s temple earlier? You know, when we started the campaign?
Yeah, but we dealt with the graveyard.
Yes, but she also asked you to look into something for her. You don’t remember what it was?
I remember having to deal with a pair of demons with only a single magic weapon between us.
Come on, guys. Suzie, I was telling you about it just the other day. Don’t you remember? I was hinting at how the orcs becoming smart might have something to do with the worm that crawled out of the orc boss’s head?
Oh yeah! And something about how everyone’s been acting weird or something? Should I tell him that?
Yes! The trademaster listens to your story, then gestures to Old Lea and says, “Wait here, it’ll take a while.” Without waiting for any special orders, the guards return your weapons, then they sit back down and patiently wait for their leader to return. It takes several hours; so what do your characters get up to in the meantime?
Kara examines and performs maintenance on her bow. She also examines the area to determine the best way to get out if Lothur comes back with bad news.
I believe vVorpax will simply meditate on his spells in a corner, keeping the combat denial spells ready in his mind.
I think Belle would like to try gambling with the guards.
“Ljord Boxter would like in on that!”
Kurzmann attempts to go into a strange mood and claim a workshop.
Ha, ha. What about you, William?
What about me?
What does your character do while Lothur is away?
Come on, man, try to think of something.
Fine. I count the bricks in the wall.
Good enough. When he comes back, the trademaster says…
You actively have to take them all, although only one character needs to be wearing an armband for the right events to trigger.
Sounds a lot like gang symbols. I suppose using color as a ranking system makes sense when you’re the only gang in town, though.
I thought you weren’t in Organized Crime.
I’m not, but a few of my friends are in that division. Plus we all deal with the gangs from time to time on the street patrols.
“There are secret passages connecting all the town’s temples running underneath the sewers. Some even run along the ancient sewer system. If you show them your armbands, the priests will show you the entrances to the temples. As soon as you have found out anything about the pirates, go and talk to Tarik. That way, I’ll be sure to hear about it.” At this, the guild members say goodbye and leave.
“I see—Tarik is part of all this, too! I get the feeling that there’s a lot more to this business than we know about as yet.”
…We know. Didn’t the rat-catcher say he was working both sides?
I’m just glad we’re finally fighting pirates! I know just what to bring next time.