Fact-eliminating mission

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Summary

Adventure: A FACT-ELIMINATING MISSION, or, Tethys unchain'd
GM: Michael Parkinson
Session: Spring 811
Night: Monday starting at 6.30pm
Location Rosemary & Andrew's place in Avondale
Level High (shallow end)

Amelia is leading a party of hobbitses to an undisclosed location [on Purple] to remove evidence before some official busy-bodies come across it and make an unnecessary fuss. Yes, there is a smoking volcano in the vicinity, but that might involve problems with local mountain folk (who are very bad at keeping secrets!). The people who will be fussed at would rather it was either definitely destroyed in secret or taken away by its new owners — they don't care, the more nothing to do with us, the better.

The Party:

  • Amelia: outdoors gal, and faux local - Rosemary
  • Pent: the spikiest snowman around - Phil Judd
  • Wordsmith: dwarf? what dwarf - Errol Cavit
  • Sabastian: deconstruction architect - Terry Spencer
  • Faith: keen angler and fly-fisher - Andrew Withy
  • Eric: not-a-dwarf, or not-an-orc? - Mike Haycock

Introduction given to party

Alfred of HyBrasil is commissioning a party. He says:

My colleague's foreign-trade associates in the Far West [of Purple] once had a, er, ... discrete research establishment on an insignificant fishing island in the vicinity of West Capital. It was abandonned in the confusion after your lot broke our moon. Now, 15 years later, their Ministry of War is about to permanently garrison it as an outpost against the anticipated threat of invasion by the Federation ... which means a detailed survey of the island ... which means those associates need a guild party to ensure there is nothing interesting to find. Including yourselves. So, thanks and praise to your mighty heroes and powerful wizards, but this time we want ONLY innocuous peasants or hobbitses. I'm here as the contact to hire a party of about six.

  • NO illusions or necromantic magicks, NONE at all, since they will (and I quote) "dangerously attract dragons, War officers, even [shudder] Peace officers"
  • NO pacted people or things — not even allied to the Powers of Light.
  • Any mountain folk (meaning hobbits) as, quote, "obviously benevolent and auspicious creatures" can get away with a lot; but NOT too many magical or weird items please, other than what they're locally famous for: potions, brews, magical footwear, and the like.
  • If the party does have peasants (meaning "humans", preferably ugly ones), they should have ... NO expensive or magical items; NO armour or weapons other than obviously peasantish tools; as FEW colleges as possible, preferably NONE, since who ever heard of a peasant mage (other than rare Namer cases), and definitely NOT of a Noble School: Fire, Air, Water, Earth, Wood [Rune], Celestial, or Geomancer.

To help avoid fatal mistakes in party selection & equipment, Amelia Moonbreaker is acting as my consultant and has been appointed party-leader. I will pay the party 1,000 shillings' worth of gold to attempt the mission and, if you are successful, a further 10,000 shillings' worth of HyBrasil alchemical products or equipment. It is your choice whether you keep or totally destroy anything you find on the island. The former owners renounce all claim to such nonexistent property and wish it permanently removed from their region, preferably from the entire plane.


Scribe Notes

Synopsis

The party travel to West Capital and gather information about the research facility from our allies, amounts other facts they learn all the previous researches chose to have their minds wiped of their experience at the facility. The city it is attacked by a small sortie of Federation forces that are teleported into the city.

The party depart to the island as the rain season begins and located the facility. The duchess is found hiding in a bolt hole in the complex, her “Nan” was a researcher and they have been using it for years as a get hide away. An Orc raid interrupted their trip and resulted in kidnapping of “Nan” . The "music of the spheres" is been augmented and animals are changing rapidly

The Duchess is returned home and they party travel to the federation continent to rescue Nan. Avoiding the flying sharks(!) and ferocious Orcs the party break out “Nanny” from Kondor and they return to the West capital.

Nanny has learnt of an impending invasion and the party is asked to intervene in exchange for mountains of loot. The federation cities are warded against Elven and humans but not mountain folk, and due to the mix of races the party will not stand out.

The Federation is run by the Stormlord, he has gained access of a powerful artifact to allow him to enhance the infrastructure of his empire (teleport network) and support an invasion on the other continent.

The party eventually make their way to the Federation Capital and mingle with the amassing armies. Powerful rituals are begin cast from a series of pyramids and the invasion is to begin in only a few days. It is discovered the powerful artefact used by the Stormlord may be a capture titan.

The party sneak their way into the palace where the artefact is housed and converse with the titan. Many plans are proposed and discarded, until we settle on a way to rescue the titian and not all die. We will cut through the mountainside with an elemental to all sunlight to shine into the throne room and illuminate the coffin. Using Eric potion the titian can teleport away through the sunlight, far enough away to escape the control of the Stormlord.

Full notes

While staying with Kelvin we get some background on West Capital and the couple who actually want the work done: Lady Solace Fretwell and Josiah Fretwell. We have 'carnival clothes' made up in local materials for our sojourn in the city. Including some of the wide pointy hats which beautifully facilitate the theme of "all mountain folk look the same" to big'uns.

When we reach West Harbour Kelvin's ship berths at the dangerous goods wharf, which on the edge of the city. The ship is met by Oliver Earth-tongue as he had commisioned the cargo of gondalas. We are quickly introduced to Joziah Fretwell as he is renown for befriending mountain folk. Once the cargo is unloaded Josiah hosts a welcome dinner for us on the wharf outside his home (in this climate eating outside could be normal). Under cover of Josiah's hospitality we discuss what he wants us to achieve and why.

History
15-ish years ago a group of curious folk had a secret research base on Menhaden Island. There were about 12 people involved, including two nobles. When the sea level raised this island suffered major damage and some of the group died. The survivors abandoned their research and returned to their public lives in West Capital.

At some point not long after they agreed to have the mind mage in their group hide the memories of what the research was about. While this was mostly successful four of the group are still associates and have some idea about the lost memories.

With the up and coming military survey of Menhaden Island, this group doesn't want a potentially embarrassing secret coming to light (Lady Solace now has a position in government etc); and they want the remaining evidence destroyed.

The Research Facility
12-ish people originally. Folk still alive & known to each other: Joziah Fretwell, Master Alchemist, citizen; Lady Solace Fretwell, Ranger, citizen; Lucian Ganoderm, Mind Mage, citizen, Oliver Earth-tongue, Earth Mage, noble. Josiah thinks at least another couple survived, Lucy may know who they are.

A large part of the base was in caverns or underground.


Time Line

10 Ice 811 3-4 weeks pre-guild meeting: Alfred approached Amelia with details of pay & broad requirements. Amelia started recruiting

24 Ice 811 1 week pre-GM: Amelia visits Purple and talked to Kelvin about basics

7 Thaw 811 Leave the Guild 1 week after GM go to Purple ... 1/2 day to Gracht; portal to Slenderneck (on Purple) then airship over the 'endless ocean' to Kelvin's island (name?).

Once the whole group has talked to Kelvin we come up with a plan to arrive in West Capital a week-ish prior to the start of the rainy season, i.e. after the start of the carnival but before the last 3 festival days.

12 Thaw 811 Start of Carnival

14 Thaw 811 Stay a week-ish there, we then fly onto meet Kelvin's ship with the gondala cargo. This got us to West Capital earlier than we wanted but had the advantage of a public & innocent arrival in town on the 23rd.

27 Thaw 811 Rain arrives (approximate)

13 Seedtime - 4 Blossom torrential rain lasts 3-6 weeks then slackens to gentle rains

The Devious Federation plot

Key Points From what NAN (Hawthorn Twiglet) overheard and the party discovered:

  1. There WILL be an invasion before before the rains end ... unless their knavish tricks are somehow confounded.
  2. The President rescued some very powerful rock from the pirate island where a big chunk of moon crashed and has mastered its power. It will be used to “open a window” so that Flying/Windwalking federation crusaders can attack the heathen. [in waves? Or all at once?]
  3. Kordor “translation” crystals will be very important in avoiding/subverting W Capital's lightning defences (and possibly some other magic).
  4. Korder's Elite Guard (100-200) & some hangers-on will be portalling to the Inner Coast and up through the Federation cities to the Stormlord Force — Korder is in the Portal Network!
  5. The attack on the smugglers & kidnapping of the VIP was a diversion, with lots of false clues implicating Souther Orcoids (“... but not us”).
  6. Reading between the lines the other nations of the Federation are “more civilised” than the provincial Korderians ... all sorts of strange creatures.

Assumptions

  1. Invaders will have cold-iron weapons and assault devices.
  2. Invaders will be immune to lightning and perhaps other defences.
  3. The Federation portals & much of their cities have Wards/defences against Elves & humans.
  4. The Fanes, i.e. godling-kings of the various tribes/regions, are each extremely powerful in their region [like demons, but can cast at whim; possibly even with multiple targets] but are much weaker, except in rank, outside their individual realm
  5. None of the Fane will probably be in the force; but possibly “emissaries” (low-level avatars) and heroes will be.
  6. There is a fanatical hatred of the Elves, Dragons, & their human underlings; and a lust for the treasures and knowledge they have selfishly hoarded.

Unknowns

  1. The size of the Invasion force: tens of thousands? More?
  2. Who or what is Stormlord? A person, or just a code-name?
  3. The multi-nation Invasion force — a mixture of orcoid and gnolloid cultires; perhaps even giants and saurians?

Deeper/Darker Forces(?)
The magic that has been “uplifting” many fish species has been happening for a couple of generations; but the very powerful rock has only been possessed by the Federation since the moon was broken.

People & Places

Geography

The adventure is set in Purple. We have a map and key for the West Capital, and a rough map of the Secret Island.

Dwarves

Note that for Dwarves from Hy-Brasil, one's House or family name is naturally important … but more significant is the name of one's Association (trading company, in effect), especially if one has an important position.

Alfred FAIN (our employer) is of House FAIN (a well-connected family of Hy-Brasil), personal name Wiseman, called Æthelbrecht, nicknamed Alfred (i.e., "one who takes council from the Drow"). He is Master of Miracle Holdings, a listed Association that trades in high-end mechanician devices, especially aeirships. Miracle Holdings is one of only a few companies licensed to trade off-plane and, in the guild, Alfred called himself Hy-Brasil's "trade liaison" with Alusia … which Amelia knows to be code for the fact that Miracle has monopoly rights to the plane of Alusia. No Hy-brasilian may trade with Alusians except through him. Alfred personally is one of the few traders permitted to arrange sales of Diamond weapons to outsiders. Alfred is closely associated with the Temple, but not a priest of Hyperion; married to Constance RED, a diamond and jewellery designer. Alfred is cunning, even devious, except when his pride gets in the way. You get the impression he lost out on the licence to trade with the Dragonfolk, because he did not deign to hide his temple connections.

Kelvin, formally Sigebercht TALL, Master of Abundant Trading (a recently listed Association) which used to specialise in legitimate entertainment, but has diversified into the Spice trade, and herbalist/alchemical raw materials. Kelvin is Alfred's occasional rival in business & sport. Kelvin likes to play up to his "street-thug" rogue reputation, the bastard son of a low-class "entertainer", so that other merchants under-estimate him. He exports gondola carriages to West Capital in return for spices & alchemical/herbal raw materials.

Sylvia RED, Treasurer of Abundant Trading — eldest daughter of well-known Diamond merchant, Ægiros of House RED (well-know, but not particularly rich or influential); met only in passing. No-nonsense, pragmatic.

The ex-Researchers

From West Capital. Nobles are short-lived sentients, GTN: elf. Citizens are human. All look similar, like tall white-skinned (not pale, white) skinny angular humans with elven features.

Joziah Fretwell [citizen, i.e. human], Master Alchemist/Herbalist, no college. He was renamed Joziah, a Hobbit name, after the person who save him from drowning as a child. Joziah exports alchemical & herbal materials to Kelvin.

Lady Solace [human], Joziah's wife, not yet met because currently at the Parliament of Houses as Junior knight for the House of Life, a Ranger, Herbalist, and Healer. She was a Colonel of Rangers — the word "ranger" as used locally seems to have both outdoorsy & military implications (Scout, spy, even assassin)

Oliver Earth-tongue [noble, i.e. Elf], real name Olive Earth-tongue. Earth mage, quarter-owner of the carriage-making business neighbouring Joziah's Godown.

Lucy [human], real name Lucian Ganoderm, Mind mage, not yet met.

Mountainfolk

Others

LOOT & PAY

LOOT:

  1. Left-overs from the abandoned Lab (as per previous hand-out)
  2. any unused potions & invested magic advanced to you variously by
  • Alfred, for the only mission he knew about
  • The Duchess & Lady Solace for the rescue of Hawthorn Twiglet (a.k.a. "Nan")
  • Finally, through Nan, Solace & the Phoenix guards, the super-outfitting for the Federation investigation


... including six top-of-the-line Rank-20 Crystals of vision (features include permanently Rk 20 Durability)

  1. 17 Transduction crystals stolen from Cawdor
  2. 5 unused Garpy Depth-charges (1½ pints of mostly-beer Rk20 Restorative [-22End,+44 fat] with a gill of Rk20 Whisky-of healing that restores [D-5]+20 pts, firstly End, then Fat)
  3. 2 charges of Rank20 Tunnelling.

PAY OR REWARD from …

Alfred: 132,000 sp worth of HyBrasil alchemical products or equipment

WestCap (skills): Taught, for free, one level at Rank 8+ in any available skill (provided you've met the criteria yourself).

WestCap (magic): Taught, for free, two spells/rituals of your college or non-colleged Remove Curse. [Warning: the guild WILL tax you as if you have been paid what it would have charged you to learn it (or at its quest value) as per [1]]. Remember that they do not have all spells (e.g., no Curse). Unfortunately although they have variant versions, especially Mind & Rune, there is nothing useful for party-members — even Sebastian… although they consider 3 branches of celestial to be the same, he knows better. For each of you without a real college (Pent & Amelia) they will either substitute an extra master-level's training in any available skill, or teach a college to a friend or relation.

WestCap (equipment): a non-metallic weapon of your choice, PLUS an armoured tabard/poncho/bedroll, PLUS a bow/crossbow of your choice with a virtually unbreakable, inelastic, weightless bowstring. This effectively DOUBLES the weaponsmith bonus, and increases the range by 25%. They will also give you a couple of quivers of "stealth" arrows. Such arrows don't need flight-feathers, and there is no arrowhead, because all the weight (and then some) is concentrated just a fraction behind the tip. Because of their sleek lines, they penetrate more effectively (+2 damage for normal weight arrow/bolts; or +3 for heavier arrows/bolts) — unfortunately arrows which do endurance-damage may be easily withdrawn from the wound. BTW, the bowstring does NOT twang, hence the name (although crossbows do "cough" slightly when fired).

Tethys: 1 spell and 1 talent each from either of her colleges (Wicca, Water), at Rank 6. In fact the spell will probably be slightly better than the normal write-up, thanks to the principle of "Magical Regress" (as opposed to "technological progress" that we players are more familiar with). If you learn one of her general knowledge spells, it become part of your GK; similarly her SK becomes your SK — however the spell may be countered by an counterspell appropriate for EITHER your college or hers. There is some leeway with this gift from Tethys … but she would prefer to surprise you, rather than bore you with tedious discussions of hypothetical details or technicalities; after all, it *is* a gift, not a demonic contract. [Housekeeping point: you received these gifts instantaneously before the invasion of Westcap]

Kelvin: cannot officially pay you since, by HyBrasil law, you are not free to enter into a contract (being someone else's monopoly). However he soon confirms that the Temple, as a gift of thanks, will arrange to have you trained for free in any skill available at HyBrasil for either One master rank (Rk8+) OR two ranks under Rank-8. He hopes to put the screws on them for just a couple of thing of more appreciable value … but that may take some months to organise.

Finally the Duchess and her fiancé have a surprise they want to give you before their wedding — what do you get a party of hobbitses (or "mountain folk") that have everything? No need to drop hints … Fortunately they found something suitable.


Buffs

Magic Rk Effects Dur Caster Amelia Pent WS Sabn Faith Eric
Witchsight 14 12 ½ hr Sab N Y ? Y N ?
Weapon of Ice 20 +21 SC +7 DM 10 ½ hrs Pent N 3/9 ? ? 2 ?
Weapon of Flames 12 +13 SC +6 DM 17 min WS N ? ? ? ? ?
Enchant Armour 11 +24% +1AP 11 hrs Faith N Y ? ? Y ?
Water Breathing 7 15 hrs Amelia Y Y ? ? Y ?
spell rk notes duration caster - - - - - -
Wordsmith Mil Sci
Melee Only: +8IV +8Def
Faith
Non-buff magics include Enhance Enchant Rk 10 during buffs. Greater +12 on Snowflake. Quickness (5 targets), Location, Sleep, TK, Concealed Cast. Usually has Rune of Truth (no lying) on except in cities.
Amelia
Highlands Bonus for the whole party only in effect when in a highlands terrain type
+10Def & +10IV vs melee or missiles; +10SC with melee weapons; +10 Perception
Cooking: Hot meals +4 FT; Rose Hip Tea +5 FT
Ranged EN healing in combat as unengaged pass action
Sabastian
SoDarkness Rk 5 (PS+4, 1 hr), Walk Unseen Rk 6; Wings Rk 7 (7.5hr, 270mile range).