Tuesday, March 27, 2012
When Last We Left Our Heroes… they were sitting under the stars with Centauri, at a travelers’ stop a couple miles outside of Waterdeep. Centauri had offered to read their fortunes.
After players decided which sign they were, they asked questions of Centauri, who did his best to answer according to what he saw in the sky. Many of his answers were a bit vague, and sometimes incredibly troubling (like the message that Akara/Valarie may not have a next lifetime, which is kind of terrifying to a deva), but he made up for it with some quick-thinking and “practiced bedside manner” (like when he suggested heavier pastas to calm Art/Jenn’s inner turmoil). That night Art had another prophetic dream, this time about Krup & Vandemaar cheering and running north with some kind of Baphometish artifact in their hands. The artifact, which looked like a sphere (about softball-sized) with a maze running around it, also looked like it had their old friend Nulath trapped inside, with something dark chasing her. The next morning, as Art discussed her dream with Praxis/Lisa and Akara (who had awoken to find that her body was disease-free), Nicolai/Micah happened upon a lizardman merchant who was looking to unload a “cursed maze bauble” that conveniently matched Art’s dream. After some arcane inspection, Karath/Mike was able to determine that the item was probably a portkey of some sort, but that it was shiftable (in a rubic’s cube type fashion), and that to unlock it he’d have to spend time studying it before each move. Thinking that whatever it was, it was better to keep it out of the hands of their enemies, the party took the artifact and headed to Waterdeep.
MINOR QUEST: UNLOCK BAPHOMET’S MAZE
Each extended rest (after time spent contemplating the intricacies of it), the primary can make an Arcana check, which can be assisted, to manipulate the sphere. The total number of successes and/or failures is unknown, but you have been able to determine several things:
1. the sphere will track individual successes, and one user has to hit the required number of successes to unlock the item
2. overall success will mean opening up some kind of teleport/portal to somewhere, likely a maze, where something powerful is
3. overall failure will result in the primary being whisked away, likely into the maze, to be trapped and hunted.
In the City of Splendors, the party got rooms at the Yawning Portal and set about their actual task, delivering the body of a dead soldier to his parents. The McBride family was obviously not happy, and it took a bit of finessing, but the party did about as well as you can in such a situation, and William McBride was returned home. Afterwards the party went back to the Yawning Portal for some heavy drinking, then did a little bit of site-seeing around the city, visiting a shrine to Melora (where they got troubling news about the sample of the World Tree they’re carrying) and the City of the Dead (where Akara had some personal reflecting time to ponder the dead Deva druid’s obliterated soul). Scout also managed to get hussled into thinking he was being poorly hussled in a fiendish double-cross by a clever thieving crew.
Fast-forward to the party, where our group of heroes had six different areas to explore…
In the first segment of the party, Art/Jenn observed the outer courtyard, where members of the elite justice team the Gray Hands kept all guests from causing problems. The Gray Hands were watched by a Shade woman who was possibly a holy person of some sort.
The party left the foyer empty for part 1 of the party.
In the main hall, Karath/Mike met with Mirt himself, and seemed to get on better with him than many of the Waterdeep nobles who were actually trying to impress the birthday man. Karath then spoke briefly with Mirt’s attendant, the deva Elanna Mirtdaughter, who answered some of his questions about a deva reincarnation. She also shared what memories she had of the warforged, which wasn’t much.
The balcony area was where Praxis/Lisa followed Centauri. Out there, under the night sky, Centauri went on about stars to anyone who’d listen, until his conversation was interrupted by a human male with a black staff (apparently an old friend), who was eager to discuss the thaumaturgical possibilities put forth in a paper he’d just read (the IT Crowd’s paper about the arcane/divinity matrix theory that is, in fact, manifest around Kyone right now). This blackstaffed man seemed to understand far more of the concepts than anyone listening, and Praxis got the sense that if anyone could recreate that effect, it would be this man. Apart from that, there was a scantily-clad drow woman who had no qualms about speaking ill of the Spider Queen, even openly using her name and insulting her. General feelings were that this lady was either very strong, or very stupid.
The kitchen/prep area is where Akara/Valarie and Nicolai/Micah chose to go. They observed an altercation between the dessert mistress, a Halfling Chocolatier named Sweetness, and several men dressed in overalls. It was later learned that they had been members of a cattle ranchers union, and were arguing with Sweetness over milk prices. She would not budge, though, and they vaguely threatened that she’d “be sorry” before they stormed off. Nicolai then spoke with a Halfling boy who looked to be a “special helper” in this area. The boy’s name was Halfpint, and he spoke about how Mirt had adopted him after his dad had to sell him to pay off some gambling debts. But Halfpint was determined to make lots of money doing legitimate work so that he could help his dad stop being the criminal head of the bandit group Tantalus. Neither Nicolai nor Akara had the heart to tell the boy that his father was, in fact, dead… but I’m sure that won’t ever come back to bite them. Halfpint also hinted to Nicolai that they should stick around for a big chocolate surprise later on, because there would be, in his words, a “chocolate dragon.” The only other excitement in this area was the arrival of several well-groomed humans who off-handedly told a human server that they were just “getting some food that hadn’t been contaminated by any lesser races.” These guys were from Pax Humana, and neither Nicolai nor Akara tried to engage them.
The dance floor was the final area, and Scout/Johny decided to make this his home. There he observed the antics of No-Flute Harry, a sound-effects Halfling bard who would occasionally add instruments to the orchestral arrangement with his voice. The conductor, a human referred to as “the Dude”, recovered nicely, though. On the dance floor, Scout found himself in the midst of a literal storm of dwarves: wildly raging dancing dwarves from Clan Sturmhammer. The tempest of dwarves was kept in check by a female dwarf who looked like a cleric of sorts, and seemed to be directing the dwarves like the clouds of a storm so that they didn’t hurt anyone. At the end of the dance, she had caught Scout’s eye, and struck his raised chalice with a superficial lightning bolt, as he was clearly the highest point in this thunderstorm. The dwarves then left to drink, and Scout considered following.
Part 1 of the party ended with Mirt on the main stage, thanking everyone for coming, and beginning to talk about old times… until he was effectively heckled off the stage by the senile old archmage Vangerdahast.
As it was approaching midnight, and many folks were less than fully conscious, we called game at that point, so we’ll begin our next game mid-party.
Accepted minor quest: Unlock Baphomet’s Maze
Research done into major quest: Revive the World Tree
XP, Treasure, & Whatnot: We’ll wait till the party actually finishes before we deal with this.