Under the Tuscan Sun

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The public version of what happened in southern Tuscana in Spring 805 WK does NOT involve Dark Circle agents nearly subverting a Barony (County), or dubious Baronial succession. There was probably an "unfortunate hunting accident" or two. The full Scribe Notes are provided here to make campaign co-ordination between GMs easier.

Game run by Ian Wood Spring 805 WK

The Party

  • Kilroy (Dean Ellis) Human male. Rune mage, pacted to Sun god "Ra". Party Leader
  • Chevalier Roke con Sarta (Chris C) Human male. E&E mage, Warrior. Military Scientist
  • Motley (James Mitchell) Giant fighter guy. Scribe
  • Lysander Treebourne (Avette Kelly) Elf female. Namer, Healer/Ranger/Warrior, pacted to Light.
  • Darien (Errol Cavit) Human male. Celestial Shadow mage, Spy/Thief, pacted to fertility.
  • Logan Bury (Neil Davies) Human male. E&E mage.
  • Mebh (Julia McSpadden) Human female. Air mage, Warrior.

The Mission

Find the source and nature of the control on the Tuscanan Ambassador.

The Adventure

Session 1: Wednesday, 21 Sept 2005

Day 1 (Duesday 1 Thaw 805) At the guild meeting the party are briefed by the Guild for a mission into southern Tuscana. This must be a secret mission, since only “honest traders” are currently allowed into the Duchy. Guild is interested in why the Tuscanans are being so secretive, and whether the military build-up is actually happening. Travel to Tuscana will be over or through the Dark Circle (which is currently encircling Carzala), or via the slowportal to Elfenburg (currently experiencing incursions by Chaos creatures). We choose to risk the slowportal. Killroy offers to change our plane of origin, so we can use Banishment to quickly leave Tuscana. The party moves off to his house, and Lysander steps up to the plate to have her aura changed. Killroy makes his mystical passes and she disappears.

“That’s never happened before...” says the Party Leader.

Motley goes next, in case Lysander needs help. I find her still standing on the plate, but we are now in a slightly different version of the Alusian plane, and the differences become more pronounced outside the area of the plate. And speaking doesn’t work, so Lysander can’t banish us back. We can dimly see the party havering about, and eventually make them understand we need a potion of Banishment. Roke eventually joins us with a potion but gets something wrong (at least I think that is why Lysander whacked him about the head); finally Darien pops in, does stuff, and we pop back to the “normal” Alusia. 1 2

Session 2: 28 Sept 2005

Day 2 (W’ansday 2 Thaw 805) Back at the Guild we find events have out paced us, as has the Tuscanan Ambassador Sebastian of Hamburg. He has arrived and formally delivered a message that Tuscana has everything under control. Unfortunately he is also under a control. The Guild does not know the precise nature, as anyone who spends half an hour within 12 feet of him becomes under the same control, although at a slightly lower rank. The Guild has drained the Ambassador’s will and is distracting him from whatever his real mission is by parading a succession of pretty girls in front of him. The Guild pay us off for the successful mission to Killroy’s house, and re-employ us to find the source of the control.

The party looks in on some Guild flunkies who came under the Control, and Lysander notices that the source is some kind of extreme Greater Undead. Moving onto the Ambassador, various detection magics reveal the pulsing effect of an aura about to be controlled; that the control will stop when the Overlord (a Lich, and maybe the caster) is dead, or the entity is “isolated”; he was controlled 15 days ago.

The Guild believe that the intention is to isolate Tuscana, and ensure that only small groups of people enter it; we intend to enter Tuscana as a small, well armoured, group. But first Killroy has to get a good night’s sleep and ask the Ambassador some questions.

Session 3: 5 Oct 2005

Day 3 (Th’rsday 3 Thaw 805) Mebh, Roke, and Motley do research, while Logan procures many spectral weapons. Killroy plans to have another informative snooze.

Day 4 (Frysday 4 Thaw 805) We take the early slow-portal to Elfenburg, and are not ambushed by nasty chaos creatures. However Killroy and Logan have difficulty keeping up with the rest of us. I assume due to their lack of encumbrance, that they are just taking a little while to re-adjust to the adventuring life. Roke quickens them, and Killroy adjusts himself to being an ass.

Once in Elfenburg we visit the head of the police (who turns out to be a moonlighting Serendipity). We do a little research, learning about Liches, healing the controlled, and Sebastian of Hamburg’s movements. In the course of the researches, Lysander gains immunity to the infectious control (and Darien does not); while Mebh and Logan notice controlled people at large, and how animals become docile around them. To ensure we are not sleeping within 12 feet of a controlled person, Motley arranges to kick out the assorted Barons and Grafs staying in the hotel rooms around and above us - Roke uses money, skill, and four hours to ensure they don’t get too peeved as they go.

Day 5 (Reapsday 5 Thaw 805) We leave Elfenburg, carrying some exotic dyes that Logan has arranged for us to deliver into Tuscana.

Day 6 (Sunday 6 Thaw 805) Two days flying gets us to the border town of Sendotsi. Roke and Lysander procure horses. Day 7 (Moonday 7 Thaw 805) Cross border. Many troops (Bowcourt and Aquila) mustered on Bowcourt side. Get permit on Tuscanan side. Travel on, past Bale to camp in woods. Lysander chats with wolves - magical long lived sentient, Celestial. South is bad.

Day 8 (Duesday 8 Thaw 805) Approach Amstel. Broken down wagon with wary merchants. Stay indoors in next hamlet. Merchants gossip about searches at border, and numbers of troops.

Day 9 (W’ansday 9 Thaw 805) Stop off in Barony of Alpina Azuri#Poznen. Have had none to very few infected people. Asking questions. People believe recruitment is to invade Bowcourt. Roke finds out about a missing gem; travel restrictions in Central Campagna. Hamburg is bad.

Day 10 (Th’rsday 10 Thaw 805) Travel to Stockholm, into farmland. Spies notice gem and women searching. Noble from Hamburg has got Rk2 infection.

Day 11 (Frysday 11 Thaw 805) 3 Travel to hamlet just before Hamburg.

Day 12 (Reapsday 12 Thaw 805) Arrive Hamburg, via ferry. 100 people coming off ferry had 1xRk8 several Rk2. Magical observation as soon as we disembark.

Session 4: 19 Oct 2005

Observation cuts out once we enter an inn. At the bar, Roke gets his pouch of dyes robbed away, but it is reappears once he confronts the halfling and demands a search. Logan notices that the magical observation cuts back in a little later, and sure enough there is a wizards eye in the common room - seems to be a general observation so we don’t get too paranoid about it.

Pickup various tidbits around the city as we head to the Merchant’s quarter to deliver some dye, intrigue, favours, remaking old dresses as new sort of thing. Darien chats up a maid to the Baroness of Antico, who eventually legs it away from him. Lysander and Motley discretely follow her to a hotel in the posh bit of town - so posh that Lysander is told to move along by a very nice secret policeman. Meanwhile Roke has contacts that suggest the magical spying and rumours of stolen jewels are all a front to try and find a certain noble woman... the Baroness of Antico! The party resolve to move uptown the next day.

Day 13 (Sunday 13 Thaw 805) The party does a little more street walking before moving on to the posh hotel in the afternoon. From our new rooms we send out the wizard eyes into the lady’s rooms, and find that the maid is called Amelie (a fact Darien failed to get while talking to her) and the Baroness is immune to the infection. Favouring the direct approach, Roke sends her a painting of herself wearing her current outfit and moving from something dark towards something lightish... with some yellow. All very allegorical, but luckily he includes a note with an explanation and an invitation to meet in the salon.

Session 5: 26 Oct 2005

Party arranges itself to meet the Baroness for a quiet chat. Lysander and Darien are in the bar watching the area; Logan and Motley lurk in the room watching the streets and the salon; Mebh, Roke, and Killroy (as a dog) are waiting to meet the Baroness, who arrives with her maid.

She (Argenta, Baroness of Antico) tells us about the events 2 weeks ago when her husband started to act strangely after a hunting trip, then everyone acted strangely, then they locked her up, she was sprung by her servants, they escaped to her mother’s family’s friends. Sounds like he has been entertaining all surrounding nobles to spread the infection, and is planning a tourney in 2 weeks to infect even more.

At this point some armed men wander up to the hotel. A few are carrying a palanquin. They rush towards the hotel, and take a little bow fire. Inside the hotel they meet a pair of rune walls. Unfortunately Darien, Lysander, Roke, Killroy, and the Baroness meet a Lich child on the stairs. More unfortunately they have left most of their weapons in the room, as you do... even so, Lysander manages to fear, then banish the Lich child. Then she, Roke, and Killroy engage the palanquin outside which seems to actually be a large evil elf. People take a lot of damage from Whirlwind vortex and Tk Rage before Lysander kills the elf. Motley, Darien, and Mebh escort the ladies to safety, and once Lysander and Roke bring Killroy’s dead body to the room, we all use the rune stick to return to Killroy’s house.

Session 6: 9 Nov 2005

Eventually Killroy is resurrected, and the Guild healers remove Motley’s magical poison (as well as Greaters and most other magics). Roke has dragged the dead elf’s chair back, and the Guild identifies it as the once priceless possession of Ugi Montara, a Greater Summoner who once owned all of Tuscana, back when it was an elven hunting reserve. The chair is a relic from about 20,000 years ago and was completely immune to all natural conditions - now it is slightly charred and belongs to Roke.

Leaving the Baroness in Killroy’s house outside Seagate, the party return to the hotel, and quickly portal away to the riverside stables for our horses.

Day 14 (Moonday 14 Thaw 805) We travel south towards Antico, in the same direction as the dust from the dead Lich child.

4 Day 15 (Duesday 15 Thaw 805) At the end of the day we arrive in Lubeck, baronial capital of Antico. During the long hours on horseback, Roke and Logan entertain the party with a lively discussion about how many out-of-collage spells one can have and still claim to be a “pure” E&E mage.

The Baron’s castle is 12 miles south of the town. The town runs from the Clearwater River through the swampy poor quarter and up the hills to the noble houses. We go half way uphill to drop off more dyes. The city has many more crook’d people then in the north, and it appears the whole of the guard are crook’d - they are harassing people in very strange ways, and using a new curfew to crack down on “normal folk”. They are questioning people about icons and similar religious stuff. Meanwhile the local priest has gone missing...

Day 16 (W’ansday 16 Thaw 805) Before leaving Lubek we look in on the church with no priest. It looks normal, though Lysander (who has a sense about these things) says it has been deconsecrated. We have a look around. After Roke kills a snake (which luckily isn’t a skin changed priest), Lysander and Killroy do some divinating and Motley has a look into a mirror. We find/see that 11 days ago thirteen hooded men (allies of the undead) entered the church (killing an innocent to get past the magical barrier). They tortured the priest to death over a day, catching his blood in a black chalice and spreading it around the church. Then they looted relics from the crypt.

We leave Lubek.

Across the river, on the edge of the forest with the hunting grounds where the Baron was first infected, we stop for lunch. Ten miles further in is a lodge, and the forest is pretty dense with patrols. Killroy, Roke, and Motley fly off to scout while the party rangers wait.

Session 7: 16 Nov 2005

The scouts notice a 20 foot wide hole in the rear wall and outer wall of the hunting lodge, the debris indicates the huge thing burst out of the lodge.

After rejoining the rest of the party, hiding/sleeping the horses, and avoiding a patrol, the party flies in to investigate the lodge fully. We land and Roke detects 1 Greater Undead, and 5 Lesser Undead - Motley’s sword is glowing and making music, so that confirms it. While Roke throws a wizard’s eye into the room ahead (we have of course landed as close as possible to the Undead), Logan triggers a tunnelling through the wall - so we can all see the skeletal knight and 5 skeletons who are chanting in a deconsecrated chapel, with an ominous black chalice.

Prudently the party tries ranged magics before entering into hand-to-hand with the Undead. Even better, Darien manages to randomly cast RK20 Geysers which fill the chapel, while Killroy casts a solar flare into the same area; making a sort of combination death from above and below. As the skeletons start to explode, we pat each other on the back about a brilliant and well executed plan. One skeleton manages to struggle out of the maelstrom of fire, water, mud and steam - but Logan sends it back in. It explodes, leaving just the Knight.

At this point, a small blunder. We fire on the Knight and knock it out of the catatonic fear it felt for Lysander. It now manages to inflict some damage on Lysander and the party, and breaks out of the chapel. Logan sends it back in. It explodes. Feeling slightly left out of things, Roke uses a necrosis to messily kill a number of slowed guards who have wandered over to see what the fuss was. It seems to make him happier...

Further scouting reveals a body of men protecting the Baron and his son, inside the lodge. Calls for their surrender are ignored, as are calls to repent, to cast out evil, and to embrace the spirit of Mickey-ness. Eventually the party fall back on the familiar, over produced extravaganza, as Killroy floods the room with blinding light, deep voices call for repentance, and Lysander enters with feathery wings spread wide. However even this fails to awe the men-at-arms (or at least most of them) - and just provides cover for the son to knife his dad.

At last the pure E&E sleeps everyone in the room.

Several forensic DAs later, we find the son is immune to the infection. The crooks of those infected is different from our “normal” crooks, and we find they have all been directly infected by a RK18 Lich child. On 5 the plus side, Lysander seems to be able to cure the infection by repeating “I forgive you” in an increasingly hoarse whisper.

Session 8: 23 Nov 2005

That evening a raid was mounted on the baronial castle. The castle had a large number of troops under canvas, together with 12 Lesser Undead and 4 Greater Undead lurking in the chapel. Exits from the chapel were covered with Rune Walls, then the chapel was filled with flickering, vengeful fire. The Lesser Undead fizzled, and most of the Skeletal Lords teleported out - although one managed to walk through the Walls without damage. The Party expressed itself fully until it too teleported away.

A Locate shows the Skeletal Lord is some 10 miles to the south.

Session 9: 30 Nov 2005

Back at the hunting lodge to, the Locate now has him a little to the east, and moving away. We regather ourselves and launch into the air after him.

The long day and night of combat has dulled our thoughts, and suddenly we realise we have pursued the Skeletal Lord into the Dark Circle. Rising towards us is our prey, riding a Nightmare accompanied by 6 Greater Undead wolf Wights. We turn and flee for the edge of the Dark Circle.

The Skeletal Lord disappears as mana wooshes past us. A magical disturbance appears ahead, but angling away from it takes us into a dark area - it is full of small insects, biting, burrowing; until Killroy fries them with a spell. Then Killroy and Logan send a barrage of spells against the Skeletal Lord, the Nightmare, and anything else in the area.

Motley’s passengers are thrown off into the dark by a Wind Blast. Roke and Motley peel off the recover them before the wolves can catch up, leaving Lysander and Killroy with the Skeletal Lord. Lysander is now glowing a brilliant white. The Skeletal Lord is un-glowing a deep black. A lighting cloud appears between Lysander and the Skeletal Lord, she flies straight through and her Rune Shield pops. Killroy flies around it. Lysander engages the Skeletal Lord and he looks unhappy - she is bitten by the Nightmare which then pops. The Skeletal Lord hits back. Now Killroy pours a potion over the Skeletal Lord and drops onto him. Perhaps it is the draining, but Killroy immediately drops off again, falling uncontrolled through the air until a shaft of moonlight pierces the clouds, lighting his body. As he flies back the Skeletal Lord is burning.

We fly very fast for the edge of the Dark Circle.

Day 17 (Th’rsday 17 Thaw 805) Dawn breaks as we get to an inn in Konenburg, and sleep the sleep of the just...

Day 18 (Frysday 18 Thaw 805) We return to the hunting lodge near Lubek. Things are returning to normal and the crooks have gone from auras.

Two days later a Bishop arrives to look at the Lubek church, he says words. He also has pictures of the lost icons, which allows a Locate to determine that the Lich Lord is 85 miles south-east of Lubek, sitting in the Dark Circle.

The new Baron cancels the planned tournament, but uses the next week to travel about looking at nobles and removing crooks from auras.

Day 28 ( 28 Thaw 805) And so, finally the party follows its course back up country - away from the darkness and towards Seagate.

Information

Some things we think we know after gossipping to people.

  1. from the Guild briefing
    1. Tuscana has closed its borders to all except traders.
    2. Tuscana has not joined the other Baronies to repel the Dark Circle.
    3. Tuscana is having its own military build-up.
    4. Dark Circle has enclosed and isolated Carzala.
    5. A senior commander in the Dark Circle has been killed, slowing or stopping their expansion.
    6. People in the slow-portal are being ambushed by Chaos creatures.
  2. from the next Guild briefing
    1. Tuscanan Ambassador has delivered message that softens but reiterates the border controls.
    2. Tuscanan Ambassador is under an infectious form of control.
    3. Ambassador was first controlled 15 days ago.
  3. investigating the Ambassador and control magic
    1. the control affects people (not animals) who stay within 12 feet of a controlled person for 30 minutes.
    2. the controlled person has no visible aura until you are within 12 feet.
    3. the aura of a controlled person has a distinctive “crook” shape in it.
    4. the auras of the controlled and soon to be controlled start to pulse together at around 20 minutes. Mana is visible between the two, but does not seem to link back to a third party.
    5. the control is a ritual (named “Welcome”), and the evidence fades over a few minutes - so cannot be divinated.
    6. the rank of the ritual drops for each “step away” from the original ritual.
    7. the magic is aligned with Mind, and a Mind special counter gives a small increase in time to infect.
    8. Sebastian has no scent.
    9. the magic has a duration of rank days.
    10. people are re-infected, and the effect stacks (prolonging the duration).
    11. resisting the control makes one a carrier without symptoms.
    12. really good resistance grants immunity.
    13. major effect is similar to Bind Will.
    14. useful counters are “sort of Mind” special counter.
    15. college is “sort of Mind”.
    16. amulets provide no special protection.
    17. Mebh’s air spirit claims infected people are partly dead.
  4. Killroy asks the Ambassador questions in dreams.
    1. Are you aware you are under control? No
    2. Do you know who or what controlled you? N/A
    3. Have you been given orders to follow? Yes
    4. Do you know where you where when you were controlled? N/A
    5. Are you aware you are spreading a control type magic? No
    6. Are you aware you have no scent? No
    7. Are you going to report to anyone in the next week? Yes
    8. Have you been asked to visit certain people in Seagate? Yes
    9. Were you in Tuscana 15 days ago? Yes
    10. Were you meeting with anyone unusal 15 days ago? No
    11. Did something strange happen to you 15 days ago? No
    12. Do you have any pink fishnet stockings? N/A
    13. Do you want to be free from your control? N/A
    14. Are you aware that people are suspicious about you? Yes
    15. Were you meeting with any usual people 16 days ago? Yes Todo: Confirm whether this should be 16 or 15 days. See
    16. Are you doing anything outside your normal scope of roll on this visit? Yes
    17. Are you doing anything which you believe is not in the best interests of Tuscana? Yes
    18. Has your world view changed recently? Yes
    19. Do you have to be back in Tuscana within a certain period? Yes
  5. Killroy asks the Ambassador followup questions in dreams.
    1. 17 days ago, he was in Antico; not meeting the Duke; did meet with his staff; not meeting other diplomats; did (sort of) meet with bueracrats-ish; did meet with non-buerocrats.
    2. He does not know the Overlord Lich.
    3. His world view did not change when the Dark Circle went through Tuscana.
    4. There were no large gatherings of nobles 17 days ago.
    5. Nobody has asked him outside of normal diplomatic channels to do anything.
  6. Stuff about a Lich
    1. If they are killed and turned to dust, the dust will indicate the direction to the closest soul jar.
    2. They have a nasty stare. Lysander may survive this.
    3. They suck the life force from the ground they walk on. Keep off!
  7. Elfenburg information
    1. Infection here is at rank 2-10 level
    2. Sebastian flew here from Bowcourt; his papers are issued from Hamburg.
    3. Consecrated ground has a chance of healing a controlled person, although they will take damage during the process.
  8. Baroness Argenta of Antico
    1. Officials are using a false rumour of stolen jewels to find her.
    2. She is immune to the infection.
    3. Two weeks ago her husband became infected on a hunting trip.
    4. Her husband is planning a large tournament to entice nobles to Antico for infection.
  9. The Undead
    1. They are looking for religious icons and artifacts.
    2. A black chalice filled with the blood from victims is used to deconsecrate an area, then consecrated it to another power.

The People and Places

Duchy of Tuscana Independent Duchy, directly to the north-east of Carzala. Refer to Duchy_of_Tuscana

Lich The term lich means corpse; an alternative spelling is liche. A lich is a spellcaster who seeks to defy death by magical means. They convert themselves into an undead state by means of black magic and necromancy, storing their souls in magical receptacles called phylacteries. As a consequence, the only permanent way to kill a lich is to destroy its phylactery; otherwise, it will be able to recreate a new body for itself. Occasionally, this metamorphosis occurs by accident as a result of life-prolonging magic. A lich retains the abilities that it possessed in life, but it has a virtual eternity to hone its skills and inevitably becomes quite powerful. Some argue that liches are the most powerful of the undead.

Sebastian of Hamburg Tuscanan Ambassador. Under a type of control, which “infects” those close to him.