This update is 3 sessions rolled into one…
Terror in Freeport (or, I Don't Really Have any Funny Title to Put Here)
As they start ‘looting’ the temple they notice that Milo’s body starts to shake and convolute and change right in front of their eyes, and turns into a snake-man. Lucious, who they free in the mean time, Is socked by this transformation as well, telling them that he never suspected. He tells them his story and how Milos almost killed him even though he knew nothing about what Milos asked. They take Lucious back to Egil, they tell him what they saw and learned, and Egil is shocked as well.
Samrock then goes with some of the others to the temple of Heronimus (he is sort-of a priest of Hieronimus), tells them about the underground temple and shows them the book that he took from there. The priest take the book and promise to study it and make sure it is taken care of, and say to Samrock that unlike where he comes from, they are not the authorities… but they will inform this tale to the authorities so that is taken care off.
The party passes some idle days, mainly resting and recovering (some of them were poisoned) and sell some of the lot. They go to check on “their” ship but find out that it is gone; they convince the dock master to tell them who too it: Cpt. Terriam of Salura (who this guy is I have no idea, I made him up on the spot); the party demanded to know why it was taken, and the man says that the Cpt. Came with all the right papers of ownership.
Swagfest arrive, and the party moves about town to observe the celebration, it does not interest them much once they learn that it celebrates murder and pillage. They do observe the speech by Cpt. Lydon, and spot the assassin trying to backstab him. With a well cast Cause Fear spell by Val, in a surprise round, and then a well placed poisoned bolt that paralyzes the assassin the threat is over before it even began. The party goes over to see what it’s all about, and soon both Lydon and his guards and the city guards arrive. The city guards take the paralyzed assassin to a holding cell, and the Cpt. thanks them for saving his life. The party is not interested in the festivities and decided to go check on the assassin, but the city guard does not let them interview her telling them it is not their business to check about it, but thank them for stopping her. They try to gather some info about Lydon, and learn that he is into politics, so this might be a reason for the assassination attempt… some of them also think that the assassin was under duress (forced, in other words) to kill the Cpt. in broad daylight, and that she is not really a trained killer (heheheh).
Leaving this alone, and wanting to investigate further about the lighthouse, the temple they uncovered and so forth, they realize they have to wait till Swagfest is over. They return to the temple of Hieronimus as some point, and are told that some nights ago a yellow sign was painted on their door, and that one of the younger clerics tried, without permission, to read from the book, and is now in a comatose state; they are having an expert come and take care of the book. They go to Egil and Lucious, wanting to know if they learned anything about the ‘Brotherhood’, but the two priests have not. Lucious looks haggard and tired and Egil says he is worried for him. Samrock wants to learn who the owner of the building (where the temple was) is and they go to the Office of Public Records. There they meet Reed and manage to be a little bit nice to him as well as offer him some money… though that was still not enough, so he promise to look into it once he is done with some other things he is doing.
They then decide to check on the assassin, and go the city watch post at the docks, only to find that: “No she is not here anymore, she has…errr… OK, that’s enough, you need to leave now.” This, of course, makes them very suspicious, but they can’t get the guard to spill out what he knows. During this time, Samrock also tries to learn about the Halfling that left him unconscious when they first arrived to Freeport, but he is not very good at talking to people, and no one seems to want to talk about that Halfling.
Several days later they all wake up to find a note pinned to the inside of their room doors. It is pinned with some sort of long and strong thorn, and says “You have a week to give me back what you took from Cpt. Bruce’s ship,” and is signed “Mr. D.” After some sniffing around by the party, they learn that Mr. D. is actually Mr. Darling, a halfing that nobody wants to mess with.
They next day Egil comes to find them, he is shaky and jumpy. He tells them that he feels that something is wrong, that he is always being followed, and that last night he noticed an unwanted intruder in Lucious’ home who took some sort of a scroll from there. He asks them to check out what’s going on… that he feels a growing sense of doom, and that the authorities aren’t really doing what they should. He also tells them that he sniffed around a bit about Milos and learned that he had another identity: a merchant by the name of Devin. Of course, he also offers to pay the party.
The party find out where Devin was staying, and go to check his room. They find the book with the lighthouse drawing, and also notice that some of the books have much less dust on them than others. Samrock figures that these are the most read/used books and takes them wit him (though they are completely different from all the other books, dealing with inane stuff, and not with architecture and masonry as most of the books on the shelf). As they leave the inn they hear a cry for help and notice 3 orcs assaulting a young messenger boy. The party confronts them and the orcs are only to happy to oblige. The boy, after a round or two in which he doesn’t see the book he is looking for, backstabs Oskar and runs away. Su and Kradak try to give chase but loose track of him.
The party then goes to investigate the building where the temple is. They notice that the scene is the same, except for 3 guards up front, and recognize that they belong to Varliene, chief advisor to Drac of the captain’s council. They talk to them, but the guards tell them to “go away, this is council business!” They party try’s to protest, but don’t want to anger the guards.
They head around back and try to pry loose some board, but make to much of a noise and hear one of the guards approaching. Kradak goes to hide in the ally, while Oskar, Su, and Samrock just sit on a barrel right there at the back of the house, as if they are just resting. “We told you to get the hell away from here!” “We’ll sit wherever we want buddy!” retorts the party (as any PC party will do, thinking they own the streets). “This is council business, leave now, and do not make a hassle!” “Or you’ll do what...” taunts the party. The guards half draws his sword, just to scare them off, but Samrock starts to draw his sword too. At that the guards shouts to his friends out front “attack!!!” and from the front the party here the sound of an alarm whistle. They smartly decide to back away… but back away only a block away.
More guards arrive, and one of them notices the broken window. 6 guards walk up to the party demanding explanation; the party rebuff the questions and leave. They all meet up at the inn, and decide to go at night.
At nigh they find three (other) guards at the building. Kradak decides to try to talk with them, but since it is night (and he failed his spot check miserably) he believes the guardsmen are actually guardswomen. This pisses-off the guardsmen, but Kradk retreats before pissing them too much. Su climbs to the roof, and manages to remove some planks in order to get inside. As Oskar climbs to join here, he makes to much noise, and two guards come to check. Kradak, Samrock and Val all hide quickly in the ally, and the guards miss them. The rest of the party climbs up to the roof, and Oskar and already down in the building… but as the last party members climbs up, he makes a lot of noise and the guards go again to check. Kradak decides not to take any chances and jumps on a lone guard, trying to subdue him. Samrock reacts quickly with a Hold Person spell, freezing one of the guards; and Val shots a Magic Missile on another, the guard that was hit blows his alarm whistle, and draws his sword. Kradak struggles with his guard, while the guards screams for help; Samrock jumps back down from the roof and uses non lethal damage to knock the paralyzed guard out. The sergeant of the guards, on the other hand, falls dead to another barrage of magic missiles. Oskar rushes to the building door, breaking it loudly, while Kradak finally manages to subdue his opponent, and they quickly drag the bodies into the building, hiding them in the cellar. They hear no alarms from the city, and decide to investigate the temple.
They find it much it was before… except empty from all possessions, and eerily quite. They make it to the main temple area, and notice that both the altar and the statue are gone, and as they investigate further, they are suddenly attack by some serpent-people and a cultist that emerge from a hidden door. The battle is short but fierce, and while none of the party members were in any real danger, almost suffered some form of injury. Going through the secret door, they find a large cavern with an underground lake and 2 tunnels exiting it.
Also, they notice a crate. The crate has some golden goblets and some strange bricks with a seam running along their middle. Kradak takes one brick and smashes it to the ground, but only notices that some of the broken pieces have a strange yellow-gold color. Samrock, on the other hand, chips away at the brick along the seam, and finds out that at the center of the brick is the Yellow Sign of the Brotherhood.
They decide to investigate the southern tunnel, and Samrock closes the main temple secret door before doing so. In that tunnel, they quickly come upon another secret door (not secret from this side) and find that it leads to the treasury... they also hear voice speaking in common in the temple. They quickly close the door, and both Kradak and Samrock go to the temple secret door to listen. Samrock manages to hear that the guards are surprised at bodies of the snake people and that they are worried of this, also, one of the guards says that they should get Lloyd. This makes Kradak angry, because it means that they killed a person (the guard above) who knew nothing of the serpent people and was not collaborating with the enemy… they gave birth to an argument, mainly with Val and Oskar, that their immediate solution to all things so far was “let’s attack them”, Kradak trying to make them understand that taking a life is not something to be done lightly.
While the guards are at the temple, the party decides to explore the other exit and starting wondering around the tunnels bellow the city, but find nothing (I ask for lots of Notice checks, and roll behind the screen a lot, but that’s just to keep them alert). Finally they decided to get back out and leave the place. The temple is empty of guards and the bodies of the serpent people were removed. As they sneak out to the cellar, Oskar sneaks ahead to the ground level room. Through the broken door he notices a large cadre lad guards, they care speaking quietly, and then most of the guards leave, leaving behind 3 guards at the front of the building, about 15 feet from the door. Kradak offers to run out and make them chase him so that the others can leave unnoticed; Val tries to convince him that it is a bad idea, and he seems to agree. So they decide to subdue the guards (again). They walk up to the main room, after waiting for the large group of guards to get away, but the guards don’t seem to notice them, standing and talking amongst themselves. The party decides to change tactics, and sneak out of the building.
Kradak is first… but kicks the door unintentionally instead. The guards turn to see him, and in that instant he bolts down a dark ally. Two guards run after him, and another starts to, but then decides to stay, although he does go to try and see into the darkness if his friends have caught the man, leaving his back to the door. And so, the party sneaks out without hurting anybody.
These were 3 sessions.
The first one was perhaps the worst I’ve ever run, in which nothing really happened.
I’ve tried to pull them into something (The Swagfest thing, even though I wasn’t sure I wanted to run this interlude), they didn’t bit and showed no interest… other than finding out about the assassin. What they did not manage to learn is that the assassin broke out while transported to another place, killing a couple of guards.
I’m going to tie her to Mr. Darling (the Halfling in straw hat), that will also be Egil’s money-lender... this will be my interlude between Terror and Madness. They’ll try to come after him (I hope), he’ll tell them that they can repay him by killing Cpt. Lydon at the Lighthouse Ball; the assassin would be there, but she will be in stoneshape after “failing” Mr. D. (I’ll give them a means to release her from the enchantment, some of them still think she was forced to kill Lydon… not hired! She’ll thank them, but try to kill them later on...) hopefully they’ll try to kill him and he will be a tough fight.
I say hopefully, because this will bring Finn into the picture and will be very mad that the party killed his cousin. He’ll come to them just before the Lighthouse Ball, and tell them they have 3 days to leave the city, or he will set everybody he has against them. This will, hopefully, make them run for their lives and leave Freeprot after the Madness climax… leading them straight to Red Hand of Doom.