Not only was this the first session in a while to have all the players present, it also holds the honour of having the most amusing moment I’ve ever experienced in an RPG I’ve ever played in… and frankly, it’s a pretty high bar to beat going forward.
I also can’t remember the exact order of events and will try lampshade this when I’m not sure. I will endeavour to cover everything though.
- With a rather large and detailed session recap out of the way, the party proceed to their first destination- the Ethereal Cask.
- To prepare, Sam disguises himself as a burly, large man, and Dekgrad does his best guard impersonation. Weezl turns into a spider and hides in Ziggy’s hat. Ziggy, however, takes the goddamn cake with a complete disguise, and two potions- giving him a beard (that’s one), and hair that’s sky blue (and number 2 right there.) This is the prelude to the most amazing conversation I’ve ever had in a roleplaying game and DEFINITELY in my time as a DM.
- The group make their way across town and notice some structures and dark red stone at the town’s centre. They take note, and Sam states that has to be on their ‘to do/destroy’ list.’
- Being near the stockade, the party heads over to see what’s going on there. They notice people of varying age in the stocks, from quite young to mainly adults. Dekgrad approaches the people with food and tries to feed them, but he is stopped by a small group of guards. While they’re distracted, Weezl tries to feed Goodberries to some terrified teens who refuse to eat something a stranger pushes into their face.
- The guards get aggravated and Sam makes sure he’s far from this altercation, and Ziggy intervenes with a massive deception check. The group leave, frustrated and horrified with the situation. Weezl commits the men’s face to memory.
- The group take note of the eastern farmlands and vineyards, noting that they are better cared for and are actually managing a decent yield (from a distance.) It looks like a lot more effort and money is going into production here, whereas the farmlands to the west seem to suffer from a lack of supplies and care.
- Arriving at the Cask, Dekgrad enters first, scoping out the joint, and then gives the all clear, and everyone else filters in. There is a show of station and, after terrorising the staff (in a good natured, but in character, kind of way) the Lord Advisor Sunday soon enters with two Hearthsworn guards. Meanwhile, Sam plays the part of manservant and guard.
It is at about this point where the table, minus Ziggy (amazingly), collectively lose it at the introduction and continued antics of the alias: Turk Fabiene.
I seriously cannot stress how hilarious this all was, especially with the tone of the conversation and how he played that character. I almost thought I wouldn’t be able to keep it together enough to keep game running.
- Turk/Ziggy introduces himself to the lord and shares some of is wine (which is quickly refunded at the lord’s request) and then some of his own rare vintage: the Wildfire Wine from the Untamed Wilds.
- This essentially leads to business being conducted in a private room, with Dekgrad hanging out in the bar and managing to get a fresh keg of ale tapped (which leads to a large amount of drinking) and Sam eventually waiting outside the doors of the room with the two guards. Weezl rides in on Turk’s hat.
- The conversation held in the room is ridiculous and amazing and eventually leads to Sunday getting so frustrated that he almost, ALMOST, leaves- to the extent that his guards get involved. But, Ziggy/Turk turn things around and eventually let the lord know his intent, despite how tense things were previously with the mention of treason.
- They plan to meet again the next day at the same time and place and leave with their alliance.
- The group make their way back to the inn and most stick to side-streets. (I can’t recall if it was actually now when the party headed to the stockades… either way it happened, I’m just a bit cloudy as to when.) Sam however stays nearer to the centre of town where he hears a sound and notices some commotion to the south of town. The sound of a heavy canter on stone is heard, along with the clank of armor. And before long the disguised Aarakocra sees a monstrously large, armored warhorse, and upon the muscled beast is a giant of a man- nearing 8 feet tall and bedecked in copper armor. A black, iron claw, lashed across his back with strapped of darkened leather. His eyes can’t be seen beneath the darkness of his helm but he seems to command the attention of Hearthsworn from a distance. He heads towards the entertainment district not paying any mind to his surroundings.
- Sam relays this information to the party back at the inn and they share their unease with one another. They then contact Akali to talk about support and going forward with their plans. They share their information, not really learning anything new, aside from asking about the mysterious Lev. They keep hearing about this right-hand man of the duke but know nothing about him. Akali describes the man, which is met with surprise that he sounds rather… normal? That is until she mentions that he has six fingers on each hand.
- This leads to a flurry of Nature (with Weezl scoring a nat 20), Arcana and Religion checks… with Dekgrad recalling some information (after the DM prompted him with the question: “How much would Dekgrad know about demons?”) He, knowing of some of the darker aspects of the underdark races, recalled that some worship demons, and he remembers that the demon prince Graz’zt (The Dark Prince) has six fingers. This does not instil then with confidence.
- Akali reiterates that she will be there when needed. They just need to call.
Akali also briefly gets to meet with Turk but soon after Weezl helps dispel the facial hair and Ziggy removes the prosthetics he’s wearing. Dekgrad does offer a prayer for the death of the beard and the facial hair hopefully goes to a better place.
- The group then head out that night in various levels of disguise and Sam drops off Spider-Weezl atop the Masques warehouse, with their plan to leave their pouch of pixie dust, with a message that it is the last that Korran will be getting from Sunday until the job is done.
- Thanks to the use of Pass Without a Trace this is made a lot easier with some TRULY ridiculous stealth rolls.
- With some scouting, the gnome eventually gets stuck in a corridor with trapped and locked doors on either side. With no other option she ties up the dust to a door handle and then turns into a spider to leave.
At this point I also allowed a bunch of light meta-gaming as the group freak out about where to leave their package and the logistics of doors opening in or out. Honestly, it was worth it.
- On the way out, Weezl goes to convey her message to Korran who is flanked by a couple Masque agents (one of which, the druid had caught a lift with previously.) When she starts speaking to him telepathically, the man doesn’t respond at first, but then starts talking to his dagger. When the gnome starts to get confused at his incoherent responses he starts looking for the source of the disembodied voice, concentrating over and over in her general direction… and when she responds to his own telepathic message of “where are you?” he focuses in her direction directly.
- He quickly loses his composure causing the druid to quickly leave her comfort zone, especially when he responds to some of her statements with genuine(?) confusion, leaving her out in the deep end.
- The conversation ends with a flurry of slashes at the wall while screaming into her mind “come out!” And hoping she had done enough but not wishing to stay a second longer, Weezl rushes out of the building, crying out for Sam when she gets to the roof.
- The monk collects her and they meet up with the dwarf and half elf sharing stories. They start to talk about what happened when the doors to the warehouse are thrown open and thugs and agents rush out into the night with torches. Weezl again casts Pass Without a Trace which thankfully negates a lot of the nat 20 Survival checks the pursuers roll and they manage to get back to the inn.
- The group try to get a restful night’s sleep with the small druid being troubled by her encounter with the unhinged (lord of the edge.)
… And with that, the session comes to a close.
Again, I have to stress how amazing Ziggy’s player was in this session. Just straight up phenomenal. I do have to work on making content a bit more applicable to everyone as I’m feeling guilty about some players having less to do than others. But, with things ramping up, I’m sure they’ll all get to find something to do. And, things are definitely ramping up.
This arc has been likened to a Guy Ritchie film and I take that as a great compliment. Hopefully it’s just as much of a beautiful mess at the end of things.
I’ve also been made aware of how dark things consistently are in my games… so, I’ll try be a little more conscious of that. Though, honestly, this IS my own little take on a Ravenloft campaign. Things will be high adventure again soon enough. So, hang in there, y’all! I can guarantee your kindness and heroism will pay off!
But, that being said… what will happen next? Will the Black Claw really taste like crab? Will Korran actually take the words of that disembodied voice to heart? Will he quit it with the eyeliner and black nail polish? Is it all just a phase? Will Akali ever get easy access to a decent shower? And, gods help us all, will Turk Fabiene be making his appointment with Lord Advisor Sunday?! Find out next time!