The Let's Play Archive

Realms of Arkania III: Shadows over Riva

by Bobbin Threadbare

Part 21: Session 15: Getting What You Plot (But Not What You Need)

Session 15: Getting What You Plot (But Not What You Need)

“Sorry I’m late, guys. Did I miss anything?”

“We were starting to wonder if you were ever coming back.”

“I’m here now, though. I still want to see what’s up with this plot. So what did you do before I arrived?”

“Oh, not much. Just divided the ass-loads of treasure we got from the wizard tower, that’s all.”

“What? Treasure? Did Kara get anything? I gave Bob my sheet…”

Yeah, and Kara was helpful…after a fashion. They gave you an equal share of magic items, anyway.

“Really? What did I get?”

“Hold on, I wrote it down.

Belle Fleur got a set of Magic Resisting Mirror Armor, a wristband that lowers her Acrophobia, and we repaired her broken zweihander.
“Lord” Boxter has a Girdle of Might, the Miracle Shield, and the set of super chainmail that Suzie and Bob sprung on us last week.

“Wait, the what?”

“Ask her about it later. Anyway,”

Kurzmann has the other Girdle of Might, the magic boots, and an orc hook he miraculously traded up for, even though he can’t parry worth a damn now.

“Worth it.”

William has a Skull Girdle that reduces his Necrophobia, the magic sword we found way back when, and a second amulet of Fire’s Bane that we found fighting fire elementals.
vVhorpax, I’m happy to say, found a second amulet that increased his Magic Resistance, on top of the one that lowers Superstition, and finally a magic helmet that anyone, even a magician, can wear.

“So what did I get?”

Kara was given a second Skull Girdle and a ring we identified as fire resisting. Add in the amulet, and you’re probably immune to fire right now.

“Oh, and we found a magic bread bag, so we don’t need rations, but it’s considered shared.”

“Sounds nice, but…is it really just Necrophobia and fire?”

“You weren’t here to argue, you get the scraps.”

“What about William? Sounds like he got crap, too.”

“I don’t argue even when I’m here.”

If you’re all caught up, Paul, I think we should get started.

The Holberkians are dancing with joy after hearing the magician has been bested.

I almost forgot. What happened with the mage?
Well, we killed him, then we killed him, then we killed him again, although it turns out it was mostly his shapeshifting vampire pet thing.
That doesn’t really help me out much.
Turns out he was a follower of Borbarad and was using the dogs as raw material for hideous chimera experiments. We did more than just the Holberkians a favor by killing him off.
That’s something, at least. Sorry, Bob, you were saying?

It’s fine. The Holberkians are dancing with joy after hearing the magician has been bested. You are the heroes of their clan, and they are happy to answer all of your questions. It doesn’t take long for you to realize they’re none too bright. Ordo Gulek, who made a favorable impression on you, is definitely brighter than his kin.

There’s that racism again.

Yeah, but remember that orcs really do have a limited intelligence. So Ordo has noticed your problems with communicating as starts to ask questions on your behalf. After a while, he brings over a young Holberkian girl.

Is she cute?
In a bratty kind of way, maybe.

She tells you they were gifts for the Great Orc. They make good feeling for Riva and trader Gorm.
Was that last part in English?
Ordo has picked up on your interest, and talks to the girl for some time. Then he turns back to you:

Holy shit, a clue! But not really. You’ll see.

Ordo then brings over the girl’s parents to determine when the gifts were made. It turns out to be “coincidentally” just before the orc wars started.
Is that bad?
That’s the implication, yes. We should go find this Gorm and ask him about it.
Does this have anything to do with the worm that crawled out of the head orc’s skull?
The what?
Ugh, don’t remind me.
Wasn’t that from the dwarf fortress? How do you remember stuff from that far back?
Bob wouldn’t have mentioned it if it wasn’t important.
We should probably pay that merchant a visit now.

You still don’t have a map, remember? You wouldn’t know which merchant is Gorm.

That’s not going to stop us from knocking on every single door with a sign out front until we find our man. But you know what would? If we magically knocked on his door first.


Fine, he’s the chandler who lives by the city hall. You bought torches from him earlier, as I recall.

I tell him about the Holberkians.
As soon as hears about the gifts, he interrupts you. “Lies! I never made any gifts, and least of all to the orcs!”
Well, that sure sounds like he’s hiding something. We should interrogate him for information.
You sure this is your first roleplaying group?
Yeah, why?
Interrogating and torture are two surprisingly common standbys for most adventure groups.
And none of you have any problems with this?
There’s still no alignment system, right?
Then we’re good. Or whatever.
Seeing you all looking at each other and nodding, Gorm shouts, “Leave me alone, or I’ll call the guards.”
Belle will walk to the exit.
…And flip his sign to “Closed.” Oh, and I lock the door if the key is nearby, too.
Gorm’s getting pretty nervous now.
Good. I leap back over to the merchant and grab him by the lapels. Then I say, “Out with it!” right into his face.
Gorm collapses. “I don’t know anything! Nothing!”
We should probably tie him up now. This is a general store, right? I’ll just use what’s on hand.
The chandler doesn’t even try to resist as you bind him with leather thongs. You also gag him with a piece of cloth.
Heh heh, “thongs.”
I should probably search his house for stuff.
You don’t turn up any clues.
Very well. Mind if I take over, Suzie? I’d like to try my approach now.
Go ahead.
I pick up the bound merchant and deposit him on a table in a back room. I carefully look through his stock of knives, pick out a particularly big knife, and say, “Now ve vill conduct a professional interrogation!”
Nice German accent.
I did spend a year there, if you’ll recall.
Shouldn’t we remove the gag first?
Oh, no, no need. “Time enough for zhat if he doesn’t answer in ze next half hour!” I run my knife across various parts of his anatomy.
The merchant is pretty much squirming in fear at this point.
“Ruhe!” For good measure, I nail his right ear to the table with the blade.
Gorm’s eyes are bugging, but he dares not move his head.
I pull my knife free and…hmm, clean the point with his gag, after I pull it out of his mouth. “Oh, und vone peep out of you, und your neck vill be next.”

“Do not vorry about vhat may not be in your more distant future.” I balance the knife on his nose to remind him. “Who from ze castle do you mean?”
“The judge—Bosper Jarnug—and some guardsman, I don’t know his name.”
“Gut, gut.” Well, it looks like we’ve finally got a trail to follow.
About time.
I think that’s all we’ll be getting out of him. I loosen his ties and put the knife back in its display. Oh yes, and as we leave, I’ll flip the sign back to “Open” and wish him a “Guten tag.”
Damn, Lewis, that was mean.
Sorry, I was just getting rather into it.

Go figure the one time everyone wants to roleplay is the torture scene. How come you didn’t join in, Paul?

Kara’s a bit squeamish. Not about killing animals, though, since that’s a part of hunting, but about torturing people, yeah, it’s not really her sort of thing.
Sounds like Kara’s not the only squeamish one.

Here’s a side note: it turns out that there’s a journal which you can reach by clicking on the game title in the upper right corner. However, I keep forgetting about it because it’s mostly useless, since the game prefers to rely on events that go off who knows when rather than actually letting you reveal events through your own effort. Like now, for instance. After talking to Gorm, I need to start asking around about the judge, and after visiting no one in particular, I have to wait a few days and then I’ll be contacted, starting the next series of events. But since that hasn’t happened yet, we’re going with the random stuff I did while waiting.

So what do we do now?
We could ask around about Bosper now that we know about his involvement.
I say we start part two of our “investigation.”

You know you wouldn’t be able to get away with that, right? Riva’s justice system doesn’t have a trial by jury, and even if you kill Bosper, his successor isn’t going to regard you very highly.

Why not? We just got him a promotion.
What about the sewers? Have we been down there yet?
We spent two sessions crawling around down there, remember?
No, I mean the other sewers. The ones the informant guy was talking about.

That’s right, I don’t think you have been there. I’d have remembered you asking the priests.

Why’d we ask the priests?
That’s right, he told us to talk to the priests about the sewers! Let’s do that.

Very well. You approach the temple of Phex in the marketplace.

I still say magic hobo is an apt description.

The priest gives a quick nod when he sees the armband, then he leads you to a dark side room and lights a small lantern standing next to a large oval disk. The disk is hanging at an angle between the wall and the ceiling, and the lantern casts a perfectly round shadow on the ground. You notice the Madamal traced in softly glowing lines within the shadow. “It takes about a minute,” states Eran Dorgan.

Whatever that’s supposed to mean.

A short time later, a round stone section swings out from the shadowed floor. “To open the entrance from underneath, you just give the cover a light push,” the priest explains.

This seems awfully professional.
If all the priests are in on it like this, it probably means that they think the trademaster’s cause is just. Particularly since the judge who sentenced him is probably corrupt, we are most likely on the right side of things.
Yes, damn it. I just wish the power in charge wasn’t corrupt for once.

I know I’ve thrown at least a couple of goodly kings into my campaigns.

But they’re always fighting other, corrupt kings. Would it really be that hard to have a setting with average rulers where the people don’t care too much about the government? That’s how it usually works, after all.

Well, if it helps, it’s not…wait, I probably shouldn’t say yet. Let me just say that the situation is both more and less realistic than you think.


You’ll understand. But you’re in the old sewers now, right?

Like William said, this place is a great deal more like the Catacombs of Paris, although it’s mostly empty and dry now thanks to the city switching over to the new system.

You mention three holes like it should mean something.

Do me a favor and check your inventory again, would you?

Armor…sword…arm guard…leg guard… “rat catcher’s thing?” Is that what we need it for?

Yes! Finally, yes. You remember the short bit of old sewer you found under the rat catcher’s hut? When you use the device on these holes, the wall opens up and lets you access that part of the sewer.

What else do we find down here, besides the temple exits?

There’s a section of the sewer that’s bent down into the water, and now it’s completely flooded. Thankfully, the water is at least clean enough to swim in.

Should we swim through?

I think you should probably wait on that until you finish exploring. You’ll understand why once Alex finishes his map.

The blue section in the upper left of the big map is the flooded area. The rat catcher’s area is the section on the right off by itself. Oh, and every T is a temple exit.

Ah, I see.

Yeah, and since swimming down there requires a check, you guys are better off just going around unless there’s an emergency or something.

Will there be an emergency?

Maybe, maybe not. I’m not saying.

If we’re done down here, we should go ask around about the judge now.

Like with the informant. What does he have to say?
Tarik takes two silver, then tells you this story: “Well, as I’m sure you’ve heard by now, officially I work for him. The judge likes to get another man into his bed on occasion, but he hasn’t enticed me. Most of the arrests here in Riva are probably due to his want of sexual diversion. Mind you, his behavior has changed quite remarkably in that regard as well since his severe illness some years ago.”
So he’s gay?
“Not really; he’s had women share his bed as well. No one is entirely safe from his lust, but like I said, it hasn’t come up more recently.”
“What about his illness changed him? And what was the disease, for that matter?”
“The strange thing about it was, it wasn’t really a disease. First, Jarnug almost died of it, then he suddenly recovered. For quite some time, the herbalists were just as baffled as the magicians.”
“But he changed afterwards?”
“Yep. That’s about all I know about it, however!”
Let’s go check with the herbalists, then.

“Did you know what caused him to be sick?”
“I was called to his bedside, but I failed just like all the other healers. The judge was feverish and shook with muscle spasms, but it was impossible to tell the cause of it.”
Damn it, why is this another dead end?!

Well, now that people know you’re asking around about the judge, maybe someone will come to you.

That sounds like it would take too long. We should go raid the castle. The merchant dude mentioned the castle, right?

Well, yes, but it is kind of a castle, so you’d have a hard time getting in…

There was that grating in the sewers. The new ones, I mean.

How do you people remember these things?

Magic. I say we try William’s idea.

Alright, fine, you’re at the grate. And guess what? It’s locked.

I could help with that.

Oh yeah? Well,

So now what?

Now what? We kick their asses, that’s what.

Would it kill you guys to just give in for once?

Probably, depending on who’s trying to capture us.
“I told ye befoar, ye cannae’ capture a proopar dwarf without a fight!”

You know what? Fine. You attack the guards. Good luck.

Special feature: a guard who absolutely refuses to stay stone. Also includes one bonus prize at the end!

Yes, finally! Now you can’t say I don’t deserve to get this one.
Nah, we both got ours, after all.
Twenty four strength! Mua ha ha ha ha!

You didn’t expect us to win, so you gave one of the captains a belt, didn’t you?


So anyway, I was picking the lock, right?

Yes, you were. Oh, and you don’t actually have to; you find a big iron key on one of the captains that fits the lock on the trellis perfectly. You turn the key and push, then pull, but it just won’t move, what with being a heavy iron trellis.

Let me and my twenty four strength give it a try.

…Oh, and some seconds later, two guardsmen approach from the other side of the trellis. When they see you, they are startled for a moment, then one of them runs back while the other retreats just far enough to keep an eye on you.

So we’re trapped now?

No, you could always make a run for it.

Yeah, we run for it.

At this point, the game takes over and makes you run for the grate by the north gate. As far as I can tell, this encounter is optional, since it can happen anytime between now and several events in the future.

Twenty five! Now I can beat all of you at arm wrestling!
I thought you could do that before, seeing as you were the only one who dumped your points into strength.

Suzie, if you wouldn’t mind, you should probably level your character on your own. It’s getting late tonight.

No it’s not! …Oh right, the overnighter was just a one-time deal. Well, see you punks later.