Gypsy Smugglers Wanted

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Summary

Adventure:   Gypsy Smugglers Wanted — On Purple
GM: Michael Parkinson
Session: Summer 816
Night: Wednesday
Location: Smith's Forge, Mangere Bridge
Level: Top end of medium, after an artificially low start

Party: Party must be genuinely human since illusions/disguises will not always work; 6 or 7 strong, although one or two hobbits may substitute for human. You will be infiltrating a treacherous smuggling conspiracy in the new Human empire (the one with the aerium aerships) — thus subject to DA, Telepathy, and other forms of high-level professional scrutiny, etc.
At the start of the mission, you will be in disguise as unsuspiciously low-level smugglers -- high ranks in skills/spells/weapons, weird high stuff, also (to an extent) memories, knowledge or attitudes/emotions you don’t want falling into the wrong hands or showing up on telepathy ... all will be safely packed away in almost indestructible "lockets" to be delivered to you later, a bit like soul-jars but not so On/Off.
It only takes seconds to reintegrate yourselves when you open your locket (and it only happens when you do it); although, obviously, it may take the Dwarves a few hours to get the lockets and your normal equipment to you depending on the circumstances.

Don't Panic: you will be given cover equipment and skills, including your native languages, and even a few fallacious memories, etc. Furthermore you may retain some of your personal, highly suspect, bizarre "talents" -- that is an expected tradition among the Gypsy-folk, not just guild-members.

No necromancers (It's Purple, duh!); no demon-worshippers, etc. Being a [pacted?] follower of Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, or Uriel might even sell your cover: If you can't even hid that shameful fact, what other secrets could you possibly possess?


Characters & Players


The Job

Employer: Alfred of Hy-Brasil & flunkeys thereof

THE MISSION:
Quote: Thanks for helping us save the world. The Temple of Hyperion is getting a little less fussy on cultural pollution, allowing Dwarven Syndicates to trade more openly with other cultures on Purple (but probably still not the two Human empires). We have won the main share of the Dragon-folk's Spice monopoly — unfortunately in our Due Diligence Checks, i.e. spying on our honest trade partners-to-be, we have discovered that they are haemorrhaging valuable stock to smugglers. The stream to the Drow is an acceptable loss, not worth staunching; but the quantity entering the Human requires, um, "correction" ... and we don't yet know enough information. You are being paid to get all relevant information

Pay

For the Attempt: Guarantee of a top-up, should your private acquisitions not already exceed 30,000 Seagate sp

And if you succeed:

  • 15 Arcane Points
  • Bonuses & gifts commensurate with good to better-than-expected information.

Scribe Notes

I hadn't been on a Guild mission in some time, what with helping out King Kierl in Pasifika and keeping him company, at least until Princess Ariel got back, as well as keeping an eye on the situation in the Southern areas - most of which had to be abandoned because of the Horrors that were still roaming about. As far as we could figure out, they were coming from the Deep, the chasm between the plateaus of Pasifika and Zeylandia. Anyway, I digress.

As a change from being in a watery environment as a mermaid, I decided to join an adventure that involved gypsies and smuggling on the plane of Purple. Maybe a chance to stretch my entertaining skills. As far as I could tell the job involved finding out who was smuggling spices and interfering with the trade the local dwarves had set up. Part of it involved going undercover with a band of gypsies and, to avoid suspicion, our true personalities would be sealed away in lockets as to avoid detection, a Chameleon Arch I think they called them. The dwarves would hang on to most of our stuff and deliver them to us when we needed them. I guess I'd better get this mermaid belt off.

My fellow adventurers turned out to be:

  • Mayhem - a rather obnoxious male hobbit who's a shadow-weaver and very sneaky. Very good with dagger, climbing and traps. And likely to be receiving a new orifice if he keeps up with the sexual innuendos - besides, he's not my type.
  • Rodrego - another not so obnoxious male hobbit who was dressed rather richly. This resulted in the suggestion that he should be our pimp. He told us he had a lot of business interests. He's an E&E with Rank 11 Greater Enchantments.
  • Thorn - A Warrior Healer woman with a touch of Mind Magics.
  • Veor - Nordic blonde ice mage. Also a spirit shaman, Trollkin and Shapeshifter. Was male but turned female after something Sir Christopher was responsible for.
  • Brigetta - redhaired female sharmanistic bard from Caledonia
  • And me, Aqualina, dark skinned water mage from Pasifika, specialising in underwater magics and skills.

Our party employer was a dwarf with close cropped hair and beard, and introduced himself as Alfred of Hy-Brazil (a Dwarvwish Stronghold on the Plane of Purple). He told us, as part of our assignment, he's be teaching us Rom (the local gypsy language) and Lalange. We'd be meeting up with a bunch of gypsies in Dowland. The job was to find out who was smuggling spices and we just had to merge in and not draw attention to ourselves - hence the lockets.

So, after getting Greaters and Lessers, as well as making six packs of Waters of Healing and Strength we were discretely taken to Purple ....


Hi, I'm Hinemoana, or in the elvish, Aqualina. I'm a wandering gypsy who is a performer of exotic dances as well as specialising in contortions and escaping from restraints (a rare act in these parts), hence my stage name of the "Amazing Aqualina". My companions and myself, some fellow performers, others of more mundane skills recently arrived in Dowland and managed to meet up with a gypsy caravan that was heading across the land on a rather large, lizard drawn cart. I'm also usually our group's record keeper which is why I'm maintaining this diary. Dunno who wrote the stuff in the top though, I can't read it, but, if it's in this book, I guess it's important. Anyway, we met up with Nan, whose militia camp was maybe 25 miles outside Dowland (the City). Dancaire and his valiant and merry band also turned up there. On the way here, they were attacked by lizards when they went through the forest, which is why they're a bit short handed. Excluding the wounded there are nine men, fourteen women and two boys.

Once we had integrated ourselves with the gypsies. we set off across the plains, pulled by the two lizards, Dorothy and Prosper. Tyrannosaurs I was told. Certainly they were rather large and rather fearsome. I spent most of the trip inside, getting to know people, helping with the cooking, and practicing my act. I did notice that some of the plants, like the bluebells, seemed a bit out of place but, apparently that's normal around here.

About a day or so later. we reached the swamp which, according to the stories I was collecting, had appeared recently - something to do with the hand of a sea monkey. For some reason, that caused Mayhem some alarm. Here, we had to meet up with a sea captain who could turn up anywhere in the swamp he could get his rather stealthy boat to and would be doing so sometime in the next four days. Talk about looking for a needle in a haystack, especially if one doesn't even know if the needle has appeared yet or even if the needle wants to be found. There were quite a few spots that he could appear so the gypsies split up into four groups, of which we were one.

We decided to check out the centre of the swamp which was marked by a small hill. The story was that something had been lobbed into the area and the swamp had spread from there. Even now, cliffs on both sides were still rapidly crumbling away into the swamp. Forest trees were still surviving in there, but maybe not for too much longer, so the whole area was shrouded in a leafy canopy.

So, we decided to build a raft and float downstream. On the way, we encountered a rather large 'floating log' that was actually heading upstream towards us. Veor shot at it a couple of times, then, Rodrigo attempted to put it to sleep. I'm not sure he succeeded completely but it did seem rather lethargic in it's attacked as we hacked at it with our daggers and stuff. Mayhem and I even went in the water to attack it from below. We then had to evacuate the water in a hurry when the little flesh eating fish with the big sharp teeth and voracious appetites turned up. Piranha I think they're called. Mayhem managed to get a bit more interesting when he said he was a very skilled swimmer. Anyway, once they had devoured the insides, we hauled what was left on board the raft. Thorn identified it as a Platycarpus (she's smart like that) and, even though it was 30 ft long, she said it was 'small'. And here I was wondering if I could get a five foot long one and wrestle it underwater but I'd need some sort of display tank to do that in and I rather doubt it would be easy to get one. She then told us about the flying lizards, which had a membrane spreading along their bodies that they glided on, not to be confused with Chiroptera, commonly known as bats, some of which are nearly as large.

An hour and a half later, we were in roughly the right area. We landed the raft and walked in the direction of the hillock making sure to stand on firm footing. Some of the insects we saw were rather large, especially the dragonflies with the thirty inch wingspan. I was wondering how big the butterflies would get but I didn't see any.

Finally reached the grassy knoll which was strangely barren, forming a clearing in the canopy. On top was a small fort and one of the walls had been damaged by a high speed impact. Near the wall lay a brass shell. Had it been fired from the river by a cannon? And had it contained some sort of magical curse or spell within it? A spirit could be detected within the brass container so, while Veor turned into a gargoyle to see if he could find the Captain, Brigetta attempted to find out more. What she got was the Ballad of Drevan the Misfortunate, being the story of a dwarf who was separated from his clan and set upon by Unspeakable Evil. He managed to survive that and cursed the area he had been evicted from to be 'dragged into the depths'. Hmm .. I thought the water had been a bit salty. Probably explains the rapidly crumbling cliffs as well. I wondered how much more this land was going to sink.

By the time Veor got back, without sighting the Captain, we had come to the conclusion that this may be the box containing the 'sea monkey hand'. Veor then did some sort of strange plant effect which also may have the consequence of convincing the Captain NOT to come this way. Apparently this swamp is weird enough as it is.

There was no aura on the box and it was not locked. The top unscrewed, being a cylindrical box, and when someone finally decided to open it, we discovered a shrivelled up hand inside. Thorn identified it as dwarven and it was barely living. A Soul was trapped inside it which was seeking revenge. It had evoked the curse which was dragging the land downwards. The Hand (and Soul) was obviously Drevan's and we were also able to discover that he was a priest of Oceanus - the local equivalent of Tangaroa. Since a Conspiracy of Evil had been mentioned, Mayhem was openly speculating if there was a Conspiracy of Good. Maybe there is, in order to deal with and counteract the Evil.

There was quite a bit of discussion of whether or not we should take the box with us. I didn't think it was a good idea but Veor was insisting otherwise. Anyway, with, or without, the Hand of Drevan, (I wasn't sure) we left the swamp and reported back. None of the other groups had seen the Captain either, so we planned to go down the northern most branch of the river to check out a 'pool' that Veor had spotted from the air, theorising that may be another likely spot for the Captain to go.

That night there was a storm at sea, so we were wondering if the Captain was using that to disguise his approach.

Next morning there was delicious fresh bread for breakfast but I wasn't feeling in the mood. I had been rebuked for saying something I shouldn't of .. seriously, I knew what I meant but somehow it didn't come out right. So, after one serious bollocking from both Veor and Mayhem, I was feeling a bit 'out of sorts'. Plus it looks like I'm not going to be doing any performing at all. After breakfast, we headed out of camp and Veor went for a fly. When she came back she reported she saw a boat that should arrive at the swamp late this afternoon or early evening. So we spent the rest of the day back in the swamp collecting herbs. It was near dusk by the time we returned to the gypsy camp.

That evening, we all went in to meet the Captain. I was staying close to Veor and was determined to keep my mouth shut, eyes and ears open and stay out of trouble. According to the scouts he was located at that pool that I had been interested in. Not sure I'm going to get any chance to check it out though. The ship looked like a pleasure yacht and there were orange ape like creatures dancing in the rigging. We were told they were called 'Horangutans' and they were intelligent enough to serve as crew. Apparently they get paid in bananas. The Captain turned out to be a man wearing a lot of 'bling', a turban thing on his head and a 'beaky' nose. Another guy with him was a man wearing a stove type hat, a belt with a lot of tools dangling from it, presumably a mechanician, who was introduced as "Mr Cabbage".

There was an incredibly wide range of fruits to try and I was getting engrossed in doing that. I still felt though that there was something 'off' about the Captain, especially when I discovered that his highest ranked spell was 'Dehydration'. That made me feel a bit ... icky. There was also some consternation when an airship came overhead, with a rather large lump of ice suspended underneath it, but it was soon apparent anyone on board hadn't seen anything odd down here. The Captain was also carrying a rather interesting sword which seemed to be attracting Rodrigo's attention like a lodestone would pick up a nail. He discovered that there was a spell of innocence on it, which made the sword register as "mostly harmless" and it had a barely living aura, as if a spirit was bound within. The blade was rainbow hued and seemed to be some sort of gold alloy and the hilt was made of silver. Rodrigo was trying to handle the weapon when one of the crew basically "Harangued" him off the boat with physical force. We figured we had overstayed our welcome and followed him off.

Several barrels of "fruit juice" were brought back to camp and the plan was to head off first thing in the morning, to continue our northward journey.

A bit later on, there were rumours of charcoal burners in the forest ahead and they seemed to be 'misplaced'. Spies perhaps? Or undercover guards watching for illicit goods coming into Gleve? So we went in to check. Rodrigo and Mayhem snuck ahead with the rest of us hanging back. What they saw were carts but no animals. They then saw six people lounging about with longbows roughly half a mile from where the kiln was. So, the two hobbits went in on the offensive, followed by one of Veor's arrows, followed by Veor and the rest of us. I'm not sure why we had decided to fight but the conflict itself was short and basically we beat them up before the alarm was raised for reinforcements.

All but one were dead, that one had been slept so he was propped up against a tree and made comfortable. The dead were then checked to see if any of them had been pacted (if they had been, I think we would have found out by now). No other archers were found so we went to have a look at the charcoal burners. There were six of them and they certainly looked genuine so we left them alone.

Back to the 'prisoner' and Rodrigo woke him up and 'charmed' him. His name was Gavin but we didn't get much more out of him as Rodrigo was convinced his honour had been stained and coup-de-grased him. Definitely that makes Rodrigo … or “Rod the Ego” as Brigetta was now calling him … the ultimate conversation killer. Could they have been from Gleve? There was some mention of his boss being called 'Bob' but that was about it. Basically we had nothing so Rodrigo decided to try another way of speaking to the corpse. We decided to leave him to it as it seemed to be … rather nasty. Certainly Mayhem didn't want anything to do with it.

As we left the area – just in case - Rodrigo changed his mind so we reported back to the gypsies. Dancaire wasn't very happy with this result and I was really glad it wasn't me that was his target this time. He sent out a 'clean-up' squad and hopefully there wouldn't be any major fallout for the gypsies from this incident, although I got the feeling this wasn't the first time this sort of thing had happened. We did discover that Bob (locally known as Bob the Bastard – cause he was, in every meaning of the word) was one of the local guard sergeants who was in charge of twelve men - six of whom were now recently deceased - and there could be great cheering if he was to 'mysteriously disappear'. The mayor was a man called Sir Jean Hardyman and the local spymaster was some nasty foreigner (Pythius Osscurantu). Impressive walls had been built around Gleve to keep out the local velociraptors. The caravan then stopped for a bit so the gypsies could do a deal with the charcoal burners.

Two days later, we arrived in the vicinity of Gleve. Some of the gypsies decided to go in for some performing and Brigetta and I went to join them. Mayhem's objective was to find a 'patsy' to take the blame (or credit) for killing Bob and Rodrigo went to help. I don't think they got far as I heard they were seen climbing on the guard building and their excuse of wanting a close look at the rather interesting local architecture was taken with a rather large amount of scepticism.

Meanwhile the rest of us were doing rather well. I was trying to do some of my 'rope tricks' but, for some reason, the act wasn't going down well. Maybe they didn't go for that sort of stuff. So, Brigetta and I started doing a song and dance act which was rather more appreciated.

Next morning, it was raining. Brigetta and I went to check out the local markets in order to spend some of our last night's takings. I spent most of mine on local clothes and souvenir 'knick-nacks'. Afternoon, we stayed with the caravan. That evening, I found a 'friend' and ended up taking part in one of Mayhem's entrepreneur enterprises. I hope he gave me a decent cut – but I'm not complaining.

The weather delayed us for a couple of days and at one point we sighted the foreign spymaster. What we were able to learn was that he was a 'long lived human', highest ranked magic was Curse and his primary defensive magic was 'Dance of Swords'.

The dino's got fed and it took us another week to get to Guildhalls. All the rain had forced us to use a different route than normal. Crude roadways cut through the forest. When we finally got there it was obvious that this place had been 'swapped' in from somewhere. The town was circular and even had a bridge to nowhere.

We came to a very nice tavern, near the local barracks, ran by a man called Lily. Apparently all male names are short, one or two syllables while female names are longer. The person receiving the spices that the gypsies had brought were going to a man who ran the cigar factory. There were a lot of wealthy merchants here but there was also a lot of poor and a lot of crime around the poor. Goods were rather expensive here too. Our two hobbits were very interested in a certain addictive tobacco, which Carmencita also smoked. It was more suited for fire-aspected people.

Anyway, this was the top of the line and, after this, we will be heading back down to Dowland. Veor thinks we may have to come back here later. Spies were set up here to find out where the spices went on to from here.

The trip back was relatively uneventful. One thing I did notice that there were a couple of strange stars in the sky, both of which were blue/white in colour and moving. Upon our arrival we met up with Nan again who had been talking to a person called Henry. We also noticed there was a lot of unseasonal cloud cover here.

The dwarves were quite happy with the information that we were able to give them. We even did a quick run back up the portal network to consult with our 'spies' who gave us some information such as where the spices went. Also, the person in the cigar factory does business with those in the criminal line, but is not a criminal himself. There was even the possibility that some members of the New Church were involved as well.

The dwarves also had a surprise for us. Each of us had a package of supplies with a locket perched on top. Mine contained a couple of tridents and there was a note on the locket itself that said “Open Me”. So I did.

Once I had recovered from the shock of all those memories, etc, that had been placed in the locket, being reintegrated with my mind I was actually slightly appalled at myself. Maybe I had folded too much of myself in the locket as I had been behaving as the naive adventurer I had been at the beginning of my career instead of the hardened and cynical person I am now.

We then started making a list of things we wanted to do. It was basically

  • Kill Bob
  • Retrieve the Captain's sword (Rodrigo was adamant this was a really really good idea)
  • Kill Bob (it seemed so important to the two hobbits it was worth mentioning twice)
  • Find dinosaur egg (We couldn't agree whether to raise it or create Alusia's biggest omelette)
  • Do something with the Hand, which had been in Veor's backpack all this time. Could it be used to find the rest of him?

While we were still arguing discussing our options, Nan arrived and told us that there was something unpleasant in the garden. So we were led down the garden path, which turned out to be some sort of dimensional shortcut which led us to a large tangled bank with guards telling people they shouldn't be here. Something had destroyed some of the plants in the garden and to access it, we had to really really want to be in there. My technique was to imagine a chocolate bush with edible chocolate just waiting for me to harvest and eat them. Once we got through the bank, we found a garden of lots of strange exotic plants in a hidden valley, through which, a river ran through. Turning around, it looked like we had come through a vine curtain wall. Sometimes spores would fall into the river and strange plants would appear in that new marsh downriver.

The plants that had been vandalised looked like red sunflowers with large seeds, the same seeds that Nan had given to Mayhem and Veor at the start of our mission. She told us that they protected against necromantic magic and, upon checking, Veor discovered that two of her seeds had turned to dust. When that had happened, we had no idea but the most likely time we could deduce was when we were in Gleve as the seeds had sacrificed themselves to protect us. Now this was a rather worrying occurrence as the only people who would be throwing around that sort of magic was the big “N” (known as either “the Necromancer” or “He Who's Name Must Not Be Spoken”) and his minions. The plant had been poisoned with some sort of synthetic poison (Waters of Healing didn't fix it) and hobbit footprints were found nearby. Six of the plants were already dead but one of Veor's rune spells were able to cure the rest. Brigetta found some hair which told her the story of a thief in the night that had deliberately poisoned the plant. The GTN on the hair was hobbit, but there was some sort of variant.

Veor managed to convince some Nightwings (some sort of flying lizards that were active at night) to watch with us. During the night, some entities tried to windwalk in but were spooked by our presence.

It looked like that we were going to ascend into the hills to see where they came from. The complication with that though was that anyone who was taller than a hobbit, who ascended beyond a certain height would be driven mad by the Music of the Spheres. Fortunately Nan had a solution for that. She produced a berry from a plant called 'Celestial Silence' that, when consumed, would protect us from it for three days.

Thus protected, we flew up into the mountains and with a bit of trepidation, ascended above the critical altitude. Sure, we could hear music, but the berry was doing it's job and we weren't entranced., Soon we found an abandoned camp and searches revealed that whoever had been here had been eating roast hobbit and fruit, probably accompanied by some fava beans and a nice chianti. Hobbits had a reputation of being gourmets. Skulls circled the camp and the magic within them was of a type that should not be mentioned … i.e. from the College of “N” - and we don't mean Namer.

Veor was able to speak to the spirits of the two dead hobbits who were named Archbald Rocket and Arthur Sneezewort. They were originally from Prometheopolis and were eaten by entities that looked like hobbits. We decided to call them 'Nobbits' mainly to distinguish them from 'proper hobbits' – such as Mayhem and Rodrigo, who were rather annoyed by this turn of events. More divinations on the hair told us that it was more skin than hair and may give a Nobbit the ability on surviving on just light.

Archbald and Arthur were coming up here to see what was growing in the garden and happened to recognize someone called 'Bendict Goosefoot'. They noticed that some of the nobbits, (there was a group of six to eight) had odd coloured brownish hair, and one of them had green hair. (NOTE: possibly spies, or former spies, of Megaera Fell, see Land_of_the_Mislaid, a former party-employer, noble elf of The Great Wood; a Magistrate of Justice and Retribution). The two hobbits had been killed by 'Hand of Death' and the nobbits had looked like that they were doing well. They had abandoned this camp about twenty four hours ago. It was beginning to look obvious that they were minions of the big “N” and he was taking subtle steps to remove anything that could be a threat to his power. He couldn't work openly though as there were six Titans who would stomp on him if they found out. Unfortunately, they weren't allowed to stomp until there was irrevocable proof he was up to something.

There were no sign of invading nobbits that night so we concluded that they had been spooked so, after informing Nan of what we had discovered we went off looking for clues. In the nearby town of Minehead, we discovered that Benedict Goosefoot had worked in Minehead for Merrol the Cleanser – a lay preacher in the new religion. They are a 'self actualization' type of religion, who claimed to help you become a 'better person'.

So we went looking for Merrol and discovered that he had disappeared a week or so ago. James the Lesser is now looking after the Minehead circuit. James the Lesser is of the Third Circle of Enlightenment – at least according to the tattoo on his forehead. The more circles, the more 'enlightened' the person is. Apparently five is the highest Circle. Merrol's entire inner circle had also disappeared at the same time and all we could find out was that they went on some sort of Great Work somewhere else questing for a better future. Merrol had also been on recruiting more hobbits, three of whom were: Bennet Speedwell; Edmund Eyebright; and Edwin Hedgerow.

The New Religion was more concentrated in Port'Abena and Guildhalls and we were wondering if the whole thing was a front for some sort of scam or evil plot.

That night I had a dream of a chocolate rabbit that contained bitter sweets.

The next morning we went to see an information broker. This cost us 10,000sp but we had already been paid 30,000sp each by the dwarves.

Veor did a blood sacrifice ritual, which usually involves a rabbit, but instead was a rather agile small lizard with would give us increased agility for the day. Cool. I had been looking for ways to get more agile. This train of through led me to wonder if Nan had ingredients to make better Waters of Healing or Strength, or even to make things like Waters of Agility or Waters of Willpower for instance. Now those would be cool.

Our plan for today was to head up to Quextown, an iron producing town run by Colonel Lord Quex, a known supporter of the New Religion and also involved in smuggling the spices onwards. We were looking for information although I get the feeling that moat of the others were more interested in looting and causing as much mayhem and chaos as possible. The foundaries in Quexton were water powered and Quex Hall was located near the outgoing canal.

So we went up the canal, underwater, then exited the water in the bushes near the hall. Even with all the precautions we took as to not be spotted, something must have spooked the guards as they started fanning out from the estate beating the bushes in all directions.

Still, that actually made it easier for us to gain entry. The two hobbits snuck ahead and discovered four more guards inside. It didn't take them long to dispatch those and hide the bodies.

Once inside Quex Hall, we headed along a corridor and up a staircase that led up a tower. A Hands of Earth ward was set off, which I nimbly avoided then helped get those out who got stuck. The door at the top was trapped with a rock deadfall which Veor basically froze in place.

Inside that room was what we called a 'plotting' chamber. It had map tables with pins stuck in the maps and some sort of flat communication crystal as well as a nice cushion and duvet. So I started trying to memorise the maps, notes, and the positions of the pins then storing those memories in the memory crystal. That was when it was obvious that the guards were on to us as we heard someone say “Come down quietly and we may not kill you”.

The next tower was 75ft away across open space, so Rodrigo used his flight ability to get over there trailing a rope behind him. Through the window, he could see silvered weapons and a bed with cold iron chains attached. Veor then went over and turned the glass into snow, allowing Rodrigo to open the window. We deduced this room was set up to restrain and guard a shapechanger.

We crossed the gap, using the rope, had a look around then headed down deliberately setting off the trap in order to slow down any pursuit. There were sounds of guards coming up so Veor iced the steps and I filled the stairwell with fog. During the resulting confusion, we slipped away.

We discovered, from a 'helpful' servant, that the strongroom is downstairs in the cellar. So we went down there and got some loot, including a gilded bowl from the dining room. We then made our way out leaving a hue and cry behind us. Veor's first ice construction must have wore off at that point setting off the first deadfall trap, as the hue and cry suddenly changed tone.

We retired back to Dowland to a safehouse, Nan had prepared for us. On the way, Rodrigo claimed his bacon and small-goods could not be surpassed. I intend to test that at my earliest opportunity.

Our contact, El Gordo, told us about some sort of affair at Reaverbrook Park in about seven or eight days time. Sounded like it was some sort of formal event. We also learnt that there was quite a few disruptions in the cities as some every strong questions were being asked. Him and his contacts had been checking with preachers and stuff, and discovered that they are all good rangers and mechanicians. They seem to be 'self-improving' in skills and DAs revealed that their highest rank stat was all of them and their lowest rank stat was the maximum possible.

We headed off to Portabina after sending the gilded bowl to the gypsies. We knew that some of the taverns there were frequented by the Brotherhood so we headed to one of them. We found a three ringer old guy with two to three helpers. Our first attempt to 'capture' him resulted in him falling back through the wall, into the tavern, as if the wall wasn't there. By the time we were in pursuit, he had got up, and went through the kitchen. He then attempted to change his appearance but Rodrigo saw him doing that.

We went after him, and two more 'disguises' later, Veor went into the attack. Our target tried to hide by dropping a vial of Darkness but Veor managed to get him down and dragged him out. We then retired to a safe place to 'talk' to him. A divination told us that he was under the effect of a malleable disguise, a whole pile of illusions, wall walk, heroism, deep pockets, petit mort, a disguise illusion, wraithcloak, and an illusional aura. The original aura was avatar and was now currently long lived sentient. He was a Hero of sorts, then was a little too successful and found himself over committed.

He told us his name was Wyster. He was a human and was a member of a drow pirate group that survived the moon being dropped on them. He then found a flask and opened it and became the servant to someone who can't be named. He had only just worked his way up to third circle and he can't cast his spells above rank 16. He a man of many skills, namely all of them except warrior. Fourth circle believers get up to rank 18, and the fifth achieve rank 20. The affair at Reaverbrook Park was either a recruiting drive or a blood bath. They were also turning hobbits into flesh golems … scooping the bits out that aren't needed any more.

We went to talk to a lady called Melissa and told her about the New Church preachers, them being pacted to “N” and that Wyster has a titan fragment within him. There were a lot of catastrophes dangers associated with removing it but her, and her team were successful in getting it out without exploding the surrounding countryside. Unfortunately we got the feeling that … something … was aware of what was going on. There was some sort of loud crash, a black flash, some sort of decay then some aggressive plants which Veor and I dealt to with our ranged magic. The result was that he is still pacted but no longer controlled. Was 'N' trying to reinforce his minion with titanic magic to defeat Melissa's efforts? After some discussion about 'eating his brains' which my precog vision said was a really bad idea, some of us retreated to what we thought was a safe distance (think of how far we should be to be relatively safe, then double it). Rodrigo tried to bite Wyster then stabbed him. Mayhem joined in by slashing Wyster's shadow and the entire area got enveloped in darkness. Six sunflower seeds vanished, and we felt rather nauseous – I guess we should have doubled the distance again although even that may not have been far enough. Veor came to the conclusion that Wyster's spirit has been dragged away to some place dark so we completely destroyed the body – as best we could – then we beat a hasty retreat left. We suspect this valley is going to be 'tainted' for a while.

To get to Reaverbrook, the idea was to go down the aquaduct, at night, but the water path was closed and a smaller bore than we thought. Travelling along the top would be possible but we could be seen. So the two hobbits sneaked down while invisible. To complicate matters, iron spikes ringed the aquaduct and watchtowers were spaced along the aquaduct, designed to stop creatures and people doing exactly what we were attempting to do. That was when I noticed that there was, what I considered to be a bad omen in the sky, being a treble-tailed comet. The hobbits took out the watchmen while the rest of us carefully made our way down. I was trying not to think of the drop down to the ground below.

“And the softened light brings down a bevy of girls down the aquaduct. Unfortunately they're maidens of death, destruction and horror.”

Finally we made our entry into the hall itself through a maintenance door, Mayhem boobytrapped the double doors to the guard chambers and we sneaked through the kitchens. Incidentally the hobbits had retrieved a couple of guard uniforms on the way down so Brigetta and I ended up wearing them.

A bit later on, we found the rather ornate black staircase going down and up We decided to go down. Some sort of faint magical field was detected and we deduced it was some sort of illusion. Down below was some sort of dining hall. We then discovered a four circle preacher, preaching to some servants and their 'boss', the third footman, in a side room. All of them seemed rather fascinated by what was being said, and it must have affected Brigetta too, as she decided to get closer to investigate. So Mayhem tripped her.

In total, there were nine servants and the preacher. Two of the servants went to open the door to see what the crash was. As soon as that happened, the two hobbits, Thorn, and Veor barrelled straight in and went for the New Church preacher, who we discovered was Maxim the Adored. I stayed by the door to stop the servants leaving. The first round of combat left Max unconscious and paralysed while the servants ran for it. I managed to stop a few but got bowled over by the rest. Poor Brigetta was looking rather grief stricken at this point. Rodrigo back-stabbed the third footman as he was trying to digest what was happening. Then there's a crash as several objects suddenly appeared and fell down (the Deep Pockets spell dissipated when Maxim died) Only one broke, but that was enough to have a thick, black, roiling cloud of inky darkness pouring forth and filling much of the room. The rest of the surviving servants had fled and Mayhem went for the window and took to the air. Basically total chaos ruled. Mayhem then saw a flying serpent thing in the sky and went to hide in a watchtower.

A little while later, Mayhem recovered and came back on the balcony. Meanwhile Brigetta had recovered a bit and collided with me in the pitch darkness as I was attempting to find her. So I pushed her through the door, went through myself, and barricaded the door. Veor beheaded Maxim's corpse just as Thorn's undead detecting swords flickered with light then went out. Veor then burned the body … and I'm beginning to wonder if I should quest for the Dehydration spell to aid in body disposal.

That was when we heard guard whistles. A short man in a tatty dressing gown one floor up and two balconies over emerged and began shouting orders to the guards. Rodrigo shot him with a sleep arrow while Veor dropped a freezing wind in the area and we scarped out the opposite door.

On the other side was a small staircase which we were about to use when someone discovered the hatch for a dumb waiter. So the hobbits went up the dumb waiter and the rest of us followed, one at a time. Once out, we discovered ourselves in a ladies bed chamber. Of course, the others started looting the room while I went for the door in order to listen for approaching guards.

Also in this room was a hobbit sized and shaped golem, who identified herself as Cassandra, and warned us that we were in danger. Since I could see the 'spectral serpent' coming closer, I suspected that she was right.

  “Someone is going to die tonight” - Cassandra. 
  “Someone already has” - Aqualina.  
  “I got a lucky number, 144”. - Cassandra
  “That's gross.” - Mayhem

The 'serpent' turned out to be a swarm of Nightwings so Veor let loose a freezing wind. At the same time, Rodrigo disappeared and dropped out of mindspeech. We were then exiting the room, as a Locate sort of indicated he was below us so we exited the room just as three guards went past us and into the bedroom.

The stairs we were going down were smaller and plainer so it looked like we were heading into servant territory. So we turned around and we headed back up again, just after Rodrigo had shadow walked back up from the hole he had found himself in – and was attacked by those three guards. So he headed for the balcony where the nightwings were congregating. Brigetta blasted them with a thunderclap but something seemed to be protecting them as neither the cold or the sound were affecting them.

Rodrigo climbed up to the next level and two balconies over. We followed by climbing up Mayhem's shadow rope. We found Lord Reaverbrook on his bed being tended to by a Namer removing the sleep spell. There were no circles on his forehead so he was probably a House Mage. The hobbits were the first in, and promptly got stuck in, with their weapons. The guards were quickly taken out, followed by the Namer but Lord Reaverbrook was rendered unconscious by Mayhem. While the looting was going, I peeked under the bed, expecting to see nothing but dust bunnies. What I found was a solid gold chamberpot.

Cassandra turned up a bit later, so Brigetta asked her to take us to the best loot. I suspected we would end up in the music room. That was when some more guards arrived, and got murderised. I think one 'accidentally' ran into my dagger.

Rodrigo charmed Reaverbrook who, among other things, told us that this building was built on a magical hill that had holes in it, which people can be thrown in. Presumably where Rodrigo ended up. We then entered a hall where we were confronted by a rather large shaggy orangutan creature, wielding an extremely large crossbow, alongside a lady in some rather fetching armour. “Excuse me gentlefolk.”, said the large shaggy beast, “but I believe you are in possession of someone who does not belong to you”. The woman, who I got a rather odd look from, was Lady Beatriche, a Justicar and one of the Three-Score. We told her what we were up to, and she let us go on our way.

[...]

In another room, we found someone involved into some sort of ritual, possibly summoning, so Mayhem gave him a good seeing to, as some sort of insectoid warrior went for Thorn. Thorn gave it a good swatting but got walloped back and rendered paralysed by the poison. I started administering a Waters of Healing but it had no effect. Tip for the Times - “Put Waterbreathing on people so you can't drown them while forcing a healing potion down their throat”. Meanwhile Brigetta finished the creature off.

The 'summoner' decided to abandon the ritual and used the ritual dagger to attack Mayhem. While I tended to Thorn, the rest piled in to the 'summoner'. The poison was causing Thorn to perceive the rest of us as moving very very fast. It did not take long for the 'summoner' to be rendered unconscious, and placed on the bed. This allowed the objects in the Deep Pockets to fall out safely before Veor decapitated the body. There were no circles on his forehead but there were traces of ink there.

The other two priests in the building managed to escape from us so we beat a very discrete retreat.

Once we were back at our 'hideout', we took stock of our situation. Divinations had revealed that we had picked up Dooms. Most of us only had two, but Veor and Thorn had the entire trifecta. Basically we were Doomed to turn into undead if we used any of our major skills, undead would prefer to attack us and would do extra damage as well as being extra scary. For the trifecta, if they backfired any of their most powerful spells, they would immediately die and not be resurrectable until the next full moon. I didn't really like the first one and the second one would be really annoying. To make it worse, Dooms were really difficult to get rid of.

So we spoke to Nan who suggested we should talk to the dwarves and some of the Titans in order to see if they could modify the Dooms somewhat, maybe magically obtain a really high ranked artisan skill that we were very unlikely to use. Basically we should go to Hy-brasil.

To get there, we took a dwarven airship but, there was a bit of a problem on boarding as they wouldn't let us take that sacrificial dagger on board. So we left it with Lady Variola. We also had to take berry paste to deal with the altitude as well. Still, it was a peaceful trip, especially since our bard couldn't sing or play instruments. I shouldn't laugh though as I had the same problem. We were also informed, before we left, that the Titan Tethys might be able to help deal with the Hand the Veor was still carrying.

When we arrived at Hy-brasil, we were paraded through the place, mainly because we were …. interesting. We then met Hyperion who suggested that we see Tethys about one of the Dooms first so he could further tweak it but he was able to tweak the undead Doom from being terrified to be wary as well as allowing us to deal extra damage to the undead in retaliation to the damage that they could do to us. He also added in the artisan skills which had us trying to think of something that we would be least likely to be doing. In my case, it looked like I was going to be a lumberjack, but I'll be darned if I'd go leaping from tree to tree. In fact I should be okay as long as I don't have anything to do with trees – including planting them. I had originally thought of beekeeping, but Veor reminded me that included working with honey, and one of my best friends was already an apiarist. Meanwhile Brigetta went for glass blowing on the general basis, that it required a hot fire and lots of equipment. As for Veor and Thorn, he was able to put in a time expiry clause so it would go away later.

Next stop was Tethys. I found her really interesting as her domain was the shallow seas, rivers, lakes etc – most of the areas I was interested in too. While she worked with the others, I explored her coral gardens as well as trying to figure out how she grew coral dwellings – something I would love to do. If I get a chance, I'll have to find out. Anyway, she managed to add some extra perception and also that hands will never be hurt, neither would faces. Our flesh would be poison to any undead trying to eat us and the artisan skills already implanted were boosted up another level.

For our next visit, to a power called Odile, we cashed in the gold chamberpot for some impressive jewellery. She was in a rather strange looking place, a pillar that was 500 yards tall and 15 yards wide. It looked like it was dangling upwards. Anyway she added legs to the list of things not to be harmed – unfortunately that didn't include my merform tail. Also we couldn't be drained if we hit an undead with our hands and feet. I was starting to see interesting possibilities.

Finally we visited the dwarves so that the dwarven hand can be repatriated. We then realised that, if we had used the sacrificial dagger to kill the preachers, that would be counted as a sacrifice – hence no doom. We were also down to five seeds though so decided that going after any more could be too risky – better to quit while we were still ahead. I also discovered that these dwarves were good with underwater weapons and combat so might have to take some tricks back to the Pasifikan mer-kingdom.



People Met So far

Dwarves

Alfred of Hy-Brasil is of House Fain deLight, called Aethelbrecht, but known as Alfred (Elf-Rede), because he is so devious he could council the Elves. He is in charge of Miracle Holdings, a listed Association.

Honey of Hy-Brasil, who is a scholar and something at the Temple of Hyperion; has access to powerful magic (eg, planting ranks of skills & languages directly into your head. A.k.a. Melissa

Sundry residents and curious onlookers of Hy-Brasil, mostly at the temple.

Drevan the Misfortunate — didn't actually meet him, but did shake his hand (inside its box).

Representatives of the Dwarves of Okeanopolis (fairly hush hush).

Humans in the (first-encountered) Human Empire, The Imperial Union of Duchies

Generic Dowlanders: For the most part, Dowlanders are non-patriarchal non-hierarchical individuals united only in suspicion of the Imperial/Federal government and the rightness of their quasi-anarchic republic. These Pre-Raphealite look-alikes celebrate their aesthetic harmony with the land; have famous skills in poetry, paint, & the plastic arts: Wiccan is the college of choice. They are also excellent herbalists/alchemists. Apart from the capital, their dwellings are scattered and low-key. Technically the Head of state is "DD" (the designated Duchess) but, unofficially, a few level-headed individuals wearing sensible shoes take it upon themselves to do what ought to be done.

NAN for Short (Not Actual Name) of Dowland. Officially the "Keeper of the Garden"; has an arrangement to infiltrate dwarvish agents (the party) in amongst the gypsy smugglers, with whom she also has an arrangement. The Gypsies transport Knightshade leaves & other pipe-weed to the Principality, with export certificates and everything.

In & around Gleve

The Mayor, Sir Jean Hardyman has risen in the world since Guildmembers last met him (pity they couldn't remember at the time) ... Solidly-built, looking like a former brigand made good (well good-enough). Sir Jean played an unspecified but integral part in arranging the marriage of Prince Jean to Julia, heiress to the Duchy of Zulia (Hulia de Zulia). Sir Jean is estimated to be a Rank 8 Merchant (Magical Items & Human resources); Rank 5 Courtier (+5 intimidation; Carousing, bribery) despite the obvious PB penalty. The Mayor arranges jobs & contracts for destitute Humans & freedmen (a.k.a. Sub-humans, who're like the Harrang but even stronger and bigger) ... contracts off-world and elsewhere — eg, within the Pale (Drow territories across the oceans).

Pythius Osscurantu The mayor's astrologer, spymaster, namer. Clearly a foreigner.

Bob the bastard and other town guards.

Gypsies

Mostly born on Alusia like you, the gypsies (like many other predator species on Purple) wear flamboyant colours. The band has common skills, but also specialists. Excluding the wounded, there are 9 men, 14 women, two boys; the other children are hostages safely under the care of the Dowlanders . BANDLEADER Dancaire is currently the only mage in the Gypsy band by the time the party arrive: (Purple Earth-mage) and not overly powerful. Over half of the rest do have a spell or two, some have useful Talents, but all are technically non-mages.

Patches Dancaire's #1/deputy/XO. An [E&]E & spymaster, currently on sick-leave in Dowland (with the broken pelvis & other bones, the result of a panicked stampede a few days before you arrived.

The working girls include:

  • Frasquita: The Prima Donna, widow of the former leader ("widowed at a very young age" she says, whenever the topic comes up): has a few Life (ie, witch) and * Enchanter (ie, Bardic) spells. She is still a good-looking bonne vivante with a suspiciously ageless beauty. The Star of the Show, a "triple threat" as they say in the Gypsy world: Singer, Dancer, Assassin.
  • Carmencita — a young widow, dancer and good-time girl: Seductively dangerous, tempestuous, with occasional burst of knife-related violence. Unprofessional, in that she falls in love too easily; probably cursed.
  • Mercédès — their plain, but much more accessible, friend.
  • Violetta — clearly a delicate flower ... more of a courtesan rather than a hardened piece-worker.
  • Taillessa (or some such name)?

The Gypsies' acting Military Scientist, Deserter Joe, was a minor officer of gentle but impoverished birth. He was seduced and turned from Duty by Carmencita and an accidental murder, now somewhat morose, frequently drunk ... not ideal in a MilSci. Believes that Carmencita no longer cares (probably has reason).

Smugglers that work with the Gypsies

  • Cap'n D (DROSOFILIO DRAGOMANO) Captain of the "Alias", Water mage, small, beaky-nosed, Cloak trimmed with feathers (from water birds! not from around here); has an unimportant apprentice. Rk18 dehydrate; Rk12 Waters of Strength.
  • HENSON a.k.a. Mr Cabbage (with pet golem Stringfellow), collaborator & mil-sci/mechanician (specialties: Catapaults; siege engines; hydrofoils)
  • The Crew -- 2 Harangs called Abel, Bodie, & Cimon.

Plants

Titanic Sunflowers: (Helianthus x Eliotropus) Allegedly exceptionally tall, looming, mysterious, possible a hidden force for good against evil (maybe even Necromancy and related wickedness). Veor & Mayhem have each been given a silk purse of 13 seeds by NAN.

Knightshade (Solanum) a pipeweed species, however the leaves are primarily turned in to cigars. This version is noticeable in the fact that local (copper-blooded) reptiles, find it repulsive; its berries can be converted in to a blade-venom that gives them chemical burns and is mildly poisonous to humans.

Worrywort (Bryophyta): a small, green, flowerless wetland herb that engenders anxiety on those that eat or tread on it. Its airborne spores are the active ingredients, which can panic most animals, especially the local dinosaurs and sometimes humans. It is found naturally in The Marais, and the Gypsies sometimes add powdered spores to the smudge-pot smoke. Coincidentally, your told it grows in the Garden.

Buffs

Buffs listed in the table don't need to be detailed, other buffs not on the table must be mentioned at the time they are cast.
Y means always on, N/- means never on, 'Sit.' means when the party has time for buffs before a fight.
Weapon Spells which weapon/s it is going on normally should be noted also.

Normal Buffs; Long Duration

Magic Rk Effects Dur Ro Ma Aq Br Th Ve
Witchsight (Ma) 6 See through darkness and Rk 6 or less invis etc 3½ hrs - Sit Sit - Sit Tal
Resist Cold (Ve) 20 +6 Gauge, 6 Pt Cold Resist. 21 hours. Green-tick.gif Green-tick.gif Green-tick.gif Green-tick.gif Green-tick.gif Tal
Greater Heart Rune (Ve) 7 Heal 7 EN when EN damage taken 8 days Green-tick.gif Green-tick.gif Green-tick.gif Green-tick.gif Green-tick.gif Green-tick.gif
Mind Shield (Th) 12 +34 vs Mental Attack, mind cannot be read 25 hrs ? Green-tick.gif Green-tick.gif ? Green-tick.gif Green-tick.gif
Waterbreathing (Aq) 20 Breath water, see through fog 21 hours - - Green-tick.gif - - Green-tick.gif
Sacrifice (Rabbit) 8 +8 Agility 12 hrs Sit Sit Sit Sit Sit Sit
xxxx xx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx x hrs x min - - - - - -


Normal Buffs; Short Duration

Magic Rk Effects Dur Ro Ma Aq Br Th Ve
Weapon of cold (Ve) 9 SC 10%, +3 DM 14 min - Sit - - Sit Staff
Force shield (Th) 12 +17 defence 2 hrs 10 min - - - - Green-tick.gif -
xxxx xx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx x hrs x min - - - - - -
xxxx xx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx x hrs x min - - - - - -
xxxx xx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx x hrs x min - - - - - -
xxxx xx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx x hrs x min - - - - - -

Map

Loot

Items

Gifts

Calendar

Summer: Meadow (1) 816wk
Moonday Duesday W'ansday Th'rsday Frysday Reapsday Sunday
Moon0.jpg Beltane Full Moon 1 Guild Meeting 2 Travel to Purple 3 4 Reached swamp 5 Met boat 6
Moon1.jpg 7 8 9 10 11 12 Gleve 13
Moon2.jpg 14 15 Left Gleve 16 17 18 19 20
Moon3.jpg 21 Reached Guildhalls 22 23 24 25 26 27
Moon0.jpg 28 Full Moon 29 30 1 2 3 4
Summer: Heat (2) 816wk
Moonday Duesday W'ansday Th'rsday Frysday Reapsday Sunday
Moon1.jpg 5 Dowland 6 Garden 7 Hobbit camp 8 Minehead 9 Quextown Ironworks 10 11 Port Abena
Moon2.jpg 12 13 Reaverbrook Manor 14 Midsummer Eve (Faerie Day) Divinations 15 Solstice Titans 16 Odile 17 Other dwarves 18
Moon3.jpg 19 20 21 22 23 24 25
Moon0.jpg 26 Full Moon 27 28 29 30 1 2
Summer: Breeze (3) 816wk
Moonday Duesday W'ansday Th'rsday Frysday Reapsday Sunday
Moon1.jpg 3 Day of Death 4 5 6 7 8 9
Moon2.jpg 10 11 12 13 14 15 16
Moon3.jpg 17 18 19 20 21 22 23
Moon0.jpg 24 Full Moon 25 26 27 28 29 30