Part 25: Session 18: Thieves Vs. Vampires? Sounds Familiar…
Session 18: Thieves Vs. Vampires? Sounds Familiar…
“Boardwalk! Ha! Pay up!”
“More like boredwalk, am I right?”
“This is stupid. We should be playing DSA right now, not Monopoly again.”
“Put up or shut up, Lewis.”
“Fine. Stupid game, making me mortgage a damn railway.”
Hey guys! Sorry, had a late lunch with an old friend of mine. Is everything ready?
“About damn time. So what are we up to today?”
Well, we left off last time just after you were accused of murdering Gorm the merchant and fled for the guild headquarters. Sadly, your characters didn’t get too much rest, since as soon as you opened the main door, you were greeted by the trademaster.
The elf-vampire thing?
“Indeed. She has grown very strong and openly attacks my people, even large groups of them. I’m desperate for someone to take care of it. I guess ‘heroes’ would be the word for it!” He smiles at you imploringly.
Does he flash his puppy dog eyes?
Does he whine endearingly?
Are you objecting to my adjective use?
Whatever. Can I just assume you say yes and move on?
Hang on. What are we getting in exchange for dealing with this vampire lady?
“Food, protection from the guards, help with the conspiracy. Plus it’ll keep you safe in the sewers, too.”
Conspiracy? What conspiracy?
The one that framed us for killing Gorm, remember?
So we didn’t kill Gorm? I thought we did.
No, I just tortured him some and made him look like an ass in court. A week later, he was dead, and here we are.
It was just three days, actually. What’s the deal, guys? I thought you were paying attention last week.
Yeah. Not paying attention is my thing.
A week is a long time!
Oh, whatever. So as Lothur was saying, “The vampire’s hideout is probably north of here. Lea is going to accompany you. She has found a secret entrance. I can’t spare anything else, because if you should miraculously remember, we’re in the middle of a war with the Sorrek pirates.”
I thought you said she was a freaky old lady.
That’s just when she’s pretending to be a beggar. There’s really quite a bit of makeup that goes into it.
Still, makeup’s not really good at, you know, wrinkles.
Maybe she just squints all the time.
That’d be a great way to get wrinkles.
Seeing all your surprise, Lea suddenly realizes that you’ve never seen her out of disguise. She formally introduces herself as Eleana of Arivor. Anyway, she’s going to be coming with you to show you where the vampire’s lair is.
What about Thor—oh, right.
(I’ll bet he dropped Thorgrim just so he wouldn’t have to justify his freaky “one NPC” rule.)
Wait, that reminds me. Did we ever find out what happened to Yann?
You remember, the kid who tagged along when we were on the boat. Alex didn’t have to write a map because of him, he hid like a smart little kid when things got rough, ringing any bells?
I never mentioned? Well, basically, when you got back on dry land, he thanked you for helping him and went off on his own. Nothing too spectacular. By the way, in case you were wondering about her stats, Eleana looks like this:
13? Damn. I think that’s even higher than Thorgrim. Does she have any magic items?
One armband raises her Charisma, one lowers her Acrophobia, and she’s also got an amulet of light.
We should totally take her stuff.
She’s not sticking with us, right? So let’s take her stuff and give it to the rest of the party.
She’s not just going to give you her magic gear. Remember how much effort it took for you to get three magic items each?
Sure, and it sounds like it’s going to be pretty easy to get another three.
You guys are crazy, you know that? Fine, if it’ll make you guys happy, Eleana will give you one, one magic item. So which is it?
Which one did we not have ourselves?
I’ve got an armband of Acrophobia reduction and Boxter recently got a light amulet. We don’t have a Charisma armband, though.
So who’s got a good Charisma?
Probably me. I’ve actually put points into it.
Why? It’s a dump stat.
I dunno. It was one of the ones that had to be high for me to be an elf, so I figured it was important or something.
Well, it’s twenty now.
I’m showing this image again to explain the new options. In the guild headquarters, we can talk to the trademaster, store and retrieve items (finally!), sleep for ten hours at a time, use rest area skills like Treat Wounds and Alchemy, perform rituals or meditation, or exit. Before proceeding, the party rests until vVhorpax’s AP gets back up to full. They also have a look at what’s already in storage for them to use.
I’ll be yoinking those whirlweeds.
Let’s get going. So how far away is the vampire’s lair, anyway?
“Oh, not far.”
…We didn’t say anything.
Sorry, getting ahead of myself.
So we discovered an alcove?
Well, the other side is another secret door. Here, Alex, hand me the map and I’ll mark it for you.
Readers with keen eyes should also be able to spot the (mostly unrevealed) tunnel that runs to the vampire’s area on the larger map.
Awesome, another mysteriously huge giant metal door.
Was that sarcastic or not?
Secretly, it was another Dwarf Fortress reference.
I’d like to see where the actual tunnel leads before we go in.
Just a giant cave-in.
“Och, that never stooped a good dwarf!”
You seriously want to dig through a cave-in? Alright, fine. It takes you most of the day, but under Kurzmann’s direction, you dig out the passage and put in support beams.
Cool. So what’s up the ladder?
All you can see from here are some bushes that have overgrown the manhole.
Let’s go up and take a look.
Eleana reminds you that you’ve got a feylamia to kill. Or did you want to let her down?
Oh fine, but we’re taking a look up there once we’re done.
Good enough. So you’re at the giant steel door. You enter?
In other words, there’s no getting out now until after the feylamia is defeated.
You say that as if we weren’t going to kill her anyway.
Yeah, but no stopping back at the headquarters for rest and recovery or anything. Not that you’d need it; this adventure is pretty combat-light.
Speaking of adventure, I’ve got a new graph paper sheet out. Let’s map the shit out of this bitch.
That may be a bit hard, what with the portcullis in the way.
I could try lifting it?
You’d be stuck behind. There is another way, though.
I move the lever.
You hear a clanking coming from down the hall, but as soon as you let go, the lever immediately snaps back into its original position. You’ll have to leave someone behind.
Hang on, why do I have to stay behind?! Suzie just said that she’d be fine with leaving Belle behind.
That’s because Suzie’s the only one with 25 Strength. Now we have a choice, and as you saw, we chose you.
It’ll be fine, Paul, trust me.
So, after you walk past the open portcullis and around the corner, you see another lever.
Switch the lever. Does that mean Paul can come with us?
Not exactly. You see, just after you switch the lever (this one stays in place, by the way), you suddenly hear a horrified scream from where you have left Kara. Paul, come with me for a second, I need to describe what you see.
Ooh, how exciting!
Makes me glad we picked Paul to do this. He’s a lot better than me at putting up with this kind of crap.
You mean where you actually have to act like your character and…play the role?
Yeah, that. I hate that.
So why do come to these sessions?
It beats spending a weekend with my crazy girlfriend.
How can you call her that?
I’ve met her.
We’re back! I should actually thank you guys for leaving me behind.
Was it good for you?
Shut up. So you guys race back to where you left Kara…
A long time passes, but despite listening intently, you don’t hear a thing. Suddenly, a soft rustling becomes audible, followed by soft footsteps coming closer. A figure dressed in black turns the corner, and you identify her as Mandara, whom you haven’t seen since she and the rat-catcher rescued you from the guild a few weeks back. Without paying you any attention, the feylamia disappears through the western wall. When the portcullis reopens a short time later, you run to look after Kara.
“I’ve plunged into the depths of terror. She just kept staring at me! Like a cat watching a juicy mouse.”
So how much time was spent back there describing what happened, and how much time did Paul need to compose that bit of dialogue?
About half and—hey!
Heh, heh, heh.
By the way, was that bit about the vampire going through the wall a hint about a secret passage, or a hint that Mandara can walk through solid objects?
Only one way to find out.
Ah, so we won’t have to leave anyone behind at all!
More steel doors? Did the sewer constructors have a steel door fetish or what?
I don’t know, it really doesn’t go into much detail regarding the doors of all things. So are you going to pick the lock or what?
Why would an elf vampire want to lock up a human like Bert the Rat-Catcher? …And did you say he has no pants on?
I don’t think you want those two thoughts connected.
So we can’t go any farther this way? Great, now what?
Time for you to stop bitching and hold down a switch.
What if the vampire comes again?
Then you’ll just have to win the staring contest.
Wait, I thought we already hit this switch.
No, that one was earlier. If my map is right, the portcullis nearby is the one that stopped us a little bit ago. Does the switch move the gate?
Cool, then Paul can join us again.
Did someone call for me?
I SAID YOU COULD COME BACK IN NOW. Whose idea was it for him to leave the room again?
I think he left on his own this time.
A pool of what? Ew.
We’re still in a sewer, if you’ll recall.
Not for much longer. Two passages lead from the sewer section, and they both look much more…inhabitable. The bricks are much finer, and tiles cover the floor.
How long has she been down here?
Long enough to hire a couple contractors, apparently.
This map shows the sewer portion of the level. The two yellow blobs are the straw pallets for the cells. The gate that was causing all the trouble is the gray line at the lower right, and the one I had to open to get Kara through crossed the path just to the upper right of the yellow square. (And if you were wondering what the square was for, it simply marks the center of the map, for whatever good that does.)
Now come on, guys. We’re just about to the good part.