Bronson Ford, fighter, mercenary
Travers Sløt, barbarian
Grelf, poet and burglar, and...
...Pickles! a VERY good dog
Tawny Thunderthicc, Drowned Wizard
Bromund Sowfield, philosopher & gentleman farmer
Old Nan, Thief, grandmother, bridge playe
Tain the 14th:
Grelf & Bronson are justifiably outraged when Volo confesses to them that the money he was going to pay them for rescuing Floon hasn't come through. Travers would likely be outraged as well, but he's still in the hospital having his wounds treated. Volo assures them however that he can offer something else 'which I'm sure will satisfy you as being worth far more indeed than a paltry 500 silver coins.' He presents them with the deed for a building, called Trollskull Manor.
They agree to take a look. They find the building run-down, but immediately get very excited, running around picking rooms for themselves. Volo is happy, assuming this means they'll accept his offer, however Tawny, introducing herself as their 'financial agent,' expresses their outrage. As a Drowned Wizard, she has the power to detect gold and other precious metals, and she can see Volo has a gold ring, and a shield-shaped broach of precious metals, and she demands these as part of the payment. After some back and forth with the group, it comes out that Travers lost a limb. Volo is aghast at this, and promptly offers up his ring as payment.
Satisfied with this deal, the team begins brainstorming business ideas for their new space. They quickly decide to rename the tavern 'the Unquenchable Thirst' and turn it into some kind of a sex club/hideout. Because of course they do.
They visit the magistrate to have the deal finalized. Renaer shows up, and pays the 20-gold worth of fees and taxes. Old Nana is surprised and somewhat disappointed to see him, as after the escapades the day before, she had stashed him on the Bridge Club's 'Party Boat' for safekeeping (and in juuuust in case there was some ransom money in it, maybe?) A constant touring around the bay had gotten too much for him, and at one point when they made a stop at shore to pick up more party supplies, he'd given the elderly ladies the slip.
Renaer, Floon, and Nalza come back to the Thirst for a proper thank-you party. Renaer says if there's ever anything he can do in retrun for rescuing him and Floon, he'll happily oblige. The party drinks the night away, along with Volo, who brings some wine ("Champagne du Corbeaux") to christian their new venture. Grelf seduces Floon and Nalxa into a threesome, which ends in a three-way argument, which each side thinks they decisively won
Travers is fitted with a proper pegleg, and some special salve for his burns. He won't be in fighting shape for awhile, but at least after a couple days he's able to move around. It's an expensive treatment, but the gold ring just about covers it.
While carting Travers back from the hospital to the party's new business venture, Old Nana decides to make a pit stop to raid the wine warehouse (the one she discovered next to the Zhentarim safe house where they rescued Renaer). On the wall, in large white letters: Stontie & (blank). Leaving Travers in the wheelbarrow, she takes her broom and nonchalantly sweeps her way down the front walk, and in through the door- where she is confronted by a now fully-awake dwarf, along with two drinking companions, staring at her bemusedly.
"Oh my!" cries Old Nana. "I must've been sweeping up the wrong yard, by mistake! Me in my old age..."
"That's quite alright, grandmother" says the handsome, colourfully-dressed stranger sitting at the table next to the barefoot dwarf. "Why don't you come in and have a spot of tea, and rest your old bones awhile?"
|Alain, I've had it on my computer so long I have no idea the artist|
|Stonty, by Rémi Jacquot|
"that's quite right" haruumphs the dwarf. "Get in a good day's work, and stop your walking in on other people's houses."
"I'll do that!" promises Nana, and she turns to leave.
"Lovely boots, by the way, Grandmother" Says the handsome stranger, sitting back in his chair and sipping his tea.
The dwarf shoots out of his chair, nearly spilling the teapot, which the stranger deftly rights. Outrage! Cries the dwarf. Scandal!
Nana tried to demure, but there is no placating the old hobnail. Apparently these sturdy dwarven made boots are an heirloom, passed down from his father. The young dwarf who has so far been sitting silently stands up, stretches, and cracks his stubby fingers. Relenting, Old Nana pulls off the now sewer-stained boots, and passes them back to Stonetie, who pulls them on with a bit of a squish.
"You came here to rob us again, didn't you!?" says the dwarf, as he struggles with the buckles.
"I never!" gasps Nana. "I'm a businesswoman, I am. Came here before to find the owner asleep, very unprofessional mind, but age is a burden as I says, and as my boot was giving me a blister I tried on this pair I found here by the door, and thought I would borrow them. I just come back to return 'em, and perchance to see if I could find some legitimate business in the wine-selling trade." She glares accusingly at the trio.
"Well, perhaps we can still talk business" says the man. "Alain Van York, at your service." (at this point several long-term players are freaking out, since this is, as they suspected, a PC from a recent campaign- and they have no idea how he got here, since last time he appeared he was several months distant by sea voyage on the Isle of Dread, exploring the city of Omu. For this campaign, I've given him part of the role of Captain Zord, as well as some other elements from the module.)
Nana stays and talks for awhile, and reveals she's just come in to property, Trollskull manor (now renamed). Alain has heard of it, and confesses he has been looking for investment opportunities since he arrived back in town. He invites her to bring her business partners to meet with him on his ship, the Eyecatcher, later that afternoon. She agrees, and before leaving, swipes a pair of unopened bottles, 'as a sample.' The label identifies this as a 'Caer Garrion white.'
Nana and Travers arrive back at the Thirst to find Davil Starsong chatting with Bronson. "I heard you sorted out your business with Volo rather nicely. I thought we could discuss our other opportunity." He lays out the problem: a series of killings, all targeting elves, all decapitations. "The Network feels the Watch could use a little help on this one." Upon finding out the job pays a hefty 1,000 silver, the group agrees. "Make the problem go away, however you can, and the money is yours." They find out that there have been four murders, that all the killing have been happening around the harbour, either in the Merchant District or in Shadowshore.
Davil also provides them a list of the names of the victims:
Before they start such an investigation, they make their business visit to the Sea Maiden's Faire. The carnival is set up on one of the piers, with two ships flanking it, and a third vessel anchored a short distance away out in the harbour. Various carnival workers are unloading the ships, setting up for the evening's performance.
Intrigued at the man's business acumen, Grelf asks for his name- "Dibbler, that's me!" - and tells him
Asking around, they discover that Alain spends most of his time on his private ship, the Eyecatcher, out in the harbour. "I've never seen him come or go on the water, though," comments the sailor they've accosted. "Just... appears. Always expecting him to walk up behind me out've nowhere, I am."
about their grand opening, being planned for during the Twin Parades, Grelf asks if he'll set up his food cart outside the venue, to which he agrees. Before they leave, Dibbler offers Pickles a bun to go with the sausage he just scarfed down, and while he's ruffling the dogs ears, whispers to him -"here boy, you bring me a couple've juicy rats, if you can catch 'em, and there's more where that came from, eh?"
On queue, Alain saunters over, and the startled sailor makes his exit. Alain is accompanied by a short, blonde woman with an enormous brass pistol holstered at her waist. "My lieutenant" he explains, "Someone needs to take care of the whole 'sailing a ship' thing."
He invites them to follow, and stepping into the shadows cast by a pile of crates, the party finds themselves in a richly appointed ship's interior. Tawny, near the rear of the group, can just about make out a shape like a door in space, framing the shadows- being a wizard, she knows where to look.
Once comfortably settled, they get down to business. They are initially just looking for someone to supply them with wine, but Alain offers them something more-25% if the business, in return for providing 1,000 silver in investment up front. They agree, as long as he doesn't mind being a silent partner, which he says he actually prefers, being occupied with "the affairs of running a successful circus, and other ventures."
He also offers to provide wine for the opening, so long as the profits for those sales go to him, and if the opening can take place during the Twin Parades that kick off the festival season. They agree, after making sure they can still sell hard alcohol themselves- visions flash through Tawny's head of using her desiccate spell to turn a quantity of the wine into brandy, ripping Alain off while still technically keeping up the deal.
Leaving the ship, this time by rowboat, they note that the figurehead is shaped like a fox- (something which causes several players to freak out again, because of Alan's close association with Foxes, as a servant of Sageshi, the God of No Foxes. At this point they're trying to estimate the time it would take to sail back from the Isle of Dread, and trying to decide how possible it could actually be Alain, and how that would work--for some context, the character had an interaction with the Deck of Many Things which ruined all his wealth and potentially added a powerful unpredictable magic factor, so players are also speculating about that)
|the Docks of the Merchant District|
Since they're down at the harbour anyway, they decide to start looking into the whole 'serial killer' situation- avoiding Shadowshore for now, because it sounds like a real rough neighbourhood. They split up- Bronson and Tawny head to 'the fanciest bar where elves hang out,' a green, triangular building called the Zondervoze. Travers takes Pickles the dog to scope out some slummy bars, looking for anything suspicious, or maybe drunk elves they can question, and end up back at the Skewered Dragon. Nana and Bromund head to the the Pikers, the local Watch detachment, to see if they can shakedown any leads.
|Brian Blood (I think)|
At the Zondervose they find the menu to be less expensive than they feared, and order a couple of coffees. They strike up a conversation with an elderly gentleman sitting next to them at the bar drinking absinthe, who introduces himself as Sir Ambrose Everdawn.
Tawny gives a bit of a sob story about having lost a dear friend, Rilxxxx, to the spat of murders. Ambrose says he's been patrolling the graveyard, after a spat of 'necromancer activity,' and that he saw several of the funerals, if they want to know where their friend was buried. Upon their request, he tells them of some of his experience of elves, encountered in his many adventures, including tales of the Drow ('roses. Always, the smell of roses' and Sir Ambrose shudders), and the Bone Elves, who appear alive but have a skull for a face.
Sir Ambrose encourages them to join him at Ancestor Island one of these nights, to aid him in his vigil.
Heldar doesn't seem to concerned about the spat of murders, but he admits he'll feel more comfortable walking around with Travers by his side, and agrees to come back for another drink at the Thirst.
Nana and Bromund find a watchman, half-asleep leaning on his pike outside the garrison. Nana does her tried-and-true sweeping routine, and tries to sweep right passed him into the courtyard, but he wakes up and hails her. After an intervention by Bromund, however, they are invited in.
They meet the sergeant on duty, named Pynia, and although she seems reluctant to help she invites Bromund to speak in her office. In the hall, they overhear a loud, muffled argument coming from behind a door at the far end of the passage- the door is marked 'Captain Staget.' Bromund is ushered into the office, but Nana, quite overcome with tears, elects to wait outside and collect herself on a bench- and coincidentally she overhears some of the argument.
Inside the office, Bromund is somewhat stonewalled by the sergeant, who refuses to give them much information on an active investigation. Bromund brings up an old law, which allows for citizenry to be deputized in times of need- "indeed" he expounds "this is where the original charters for the various district Watches largely came from!"- but Sergeant Pynia points out that they have not been deputized in such a way.
Outside, the argument has grown louder, and all of a sudden the door to the captain's office is thrown open. The opener pauses to shout back- "Your methods are as archaic as your necktie, Staget!"- and then he sweeps down the hall and almost passes Nana, before something in her countenance makes him pause in his step.
"Can you help me, dear boy?" she croaks through her tears.
A handkerchief is produced, and the whole story is brought out. Not the real story of course, but a whole one! Victor Saint-Demain, for that is the investigator's name, explains that he has been looking into the murders, and promises to visit Nana as soon as he has any leads.
When Heldar, Travers, and Pickles arrive back at the Thirst before anyone else- and they find the place trashed. The tables and chairs they had lovingly assembled are scattered around, bottles are smashed, and written on the floor, the wine stains form the words 'CLOSING TIME'
"Hey Heldar, buddy" says Travers. "You're an elf, right? Can you tell if there's some magic shit here?"