So I had some health issues and as such I've stepped aside as DM for a few sessions. The player that is playing Weir has graciously accepted interim being DM for a few sessions. This means we are doing a module but in the game world we created. So it's a side-mission so to speak. Also, this means that the setups may not be as elaborate as he doesn't have the time I do to set everything up. Also, my details may not be as strong as I'm not the one that is doing the story for the time being, I have to remember it and type it here instead.
The party decides to pay a visit to Lam's family to see how they are doing and just to verify none of the rest of the family is infected. As far as they know, they don't know about his death yet. Dante and Almaris decide to head there alone and leave the rest of the party with Ventia just out of view. As they approach, they hear yells of "Uncle Dante! Aunt Almaris!" as two small kids run up. The kids proceed to pester them with questions like "When's Dad coming home?" to which they nervously shrug off. They knock on the door and Lam's wife answers. They ask about his whereabouts and she says that he and Ventia went off to the undercity a while ago and she expected him back by now. She hasn't seen him. The players, not knowing exactly what the right course of action is with Lam's kids there, decide to say they will keep an eye out for him and leave.
The party decides to visit the Sapient Consensus as they need to find a place to put Ventia. Weir seems to be a good pick to go visit the guild; he disguises himself and goes to the recruitment hall the PCs visited much earlier in the campaign. He speaks with the barkeep, gives the passphrase, and proceeds down to the Awakened portion of the guild. He approaches the main desk and finds a familiar girl there, the same he saw last time he was here. He asks for Egaris Findler and says he has a matter of important business, to which she says she will go get him. She heads off to his office and eventually Weir hears Egaris blow up at the girl, saying he's busy and to have people leave him alone. He comes charging out and says it had better be good, as he's only got a few minutes. Weir goes with him into his office. Weir then proceeds to inform Egaris of Ventia (remember, she's 2nd in command of the Delvers) and her plans with kidnapping people, putting parasites in their heads, and trying to kill his friends. Egaris finds this dubious due to Ventia's rank, but says he's willing to listen further. He agrees to send a Peacekeeper to where they are keeping Ventia to see if Weir is telling the truth. Weir accepts and leaves, but not before also stating that the search for this blue Gnome that supposedly killed people in some building should be re-evaluated and Egaris broods on it. During this time, Almaris has been trying to keep Ventia from trying anything by playing along with her ramblings and feigning interest in The Masters.
That evening, as the group is sitting in a specified building waiting, a knock comes at the door. An 8-foot tall figure clad in full-plate stands at the door. He states he is here from the Sapient Consensus to see about Ventia. Weir lets him in and Ashe hides so as not to be arrested. He states he'll be taking her. Ventia protests and is surprised when Almaris gives her up. Ventia feels the pangs of betrayal as Almaris just shrugs at Ventia's cries. The peacekeeper tires of this, picks up Ventia with one hand and punches Ventia alongside the head with the other. She goes limp. He carries her out of the room and is gone. The party doesn't know how to feel but at least she's not their problem anymore. (End of my DMing for the night.)
Later that evening, the party is in the lakefront district, walking down the street when they hear a scream, then a whistle, then another scream. They hurry to investigate. They arrive to see Kressle (the small mundane shopkeeper girl from earlier that has already died once) attacking a floating corpse surrounded by mist and bodies. A body flies past them as the corpse throws/punches a guard and he lands in a pile across the street. The corpse is attacking a another city guard while Kressle tries to manage the situation and seems actually pretty competent in a street fight. (This is my character I'm playing in the side-mission) The party joins in the fray and eventually shatters the corpse's aura and the body falls in a pile on top of other bodes that were being dragged in its wake. Maka notices the corpse looks familiar. The lone guard remaining is at this point almost hysterical as he has never seen anything like this in his life, floating corpses, people using magic to kill it, etc. The party is deciding how to handle this when Kressle just punches the guard to knock him out and he falls to the ground. A few minutes later, a patrol of guards approach and most seem aghast at the sight in front of them. Their commander sends them off and says he'll manage this group of people and find out what went on with the bodies in the street. The guards leave and the commander gives a sign that Maka recognizes is one identifying the man as an Awakened. He asks what happened here and Maka proceeds to inform him. The guard says they should probably speak with the Magistrate of the area, Magister Drune and report this as they have guards injured and/or dead, along with a large amount of unidentified bodies.
They arrive at Magister Drune's residence around 4AM and knock on the door. Kressle and Ashe hide outside. Strangely it appears Drune is awake, though appears very tired. He invites them in. Kressle hurries to the servants' quarters and asks for one of her contacts, Bartolemew. Bartolemew is asleep so Kressle wakes him up. She states that she needs him to do a job for her and asks her to spy on what's going on in his master's house right now as he has guests and Kressle needs to know what's being said. Bartolemew says he's just a scribe, to which Kressle says she doesn't care, just go say he came in to get a sandwich or something. He hurries and leaves.
Ashe goes and peeks in the window of the house to see what's happening, but gets too enraptured in looking inside and everyone inside the house notices the blue gnome peeking in the window. Drune tells the party that he fears what they were fighting is related to a strange plague in the district. There is a cult active in the area called the Brotherhood of the Spider that is poisoning wells and have cornered the “Shiver” market, a drug that people take to escape from the pressures of daily life as it causes sleep and vivid dreams. It also seems to cause some people to go crazy when they are under its influence. The poison that the Brotherhood has been putting in the wells has the effect of causing people to be unable to sleep easily. Over the past two weeks there have been several Shiver users that have turned up dead. Last week, 7 people were found dead hanging in spider webs, covered in bites. The deceased were Shiver users. The cover up given by the authorities was it was a mass suicide hanging. 3 other people were found partially devoured in another area and 3 more were found in a narrow channel of water called The Narrows between the City lighthouse and the docks. Again they were all Shiver users and he calls them all “hogslop.” No one knows what he's referring to. After discussing the current incident, they party discovers that the corpse they were fighting was Maka's 2nd cousin Garrick Taine. Drune wants the party to find a link between Garrick's death and the Brotherhood and to find the Shiver dealer within the group. He offers them a large amount of gold to solve the problem for the community. At this point, Bartolemew knocks as the door and says he's left his sandwich in the room. Drune is outraged and asks why on earth he would have left a sandwich in the room and to leave. The party takes this opportunity to excuse themselves and Bartolemew tries to meet and greet each of them on their way out so he can get their names. Almaris catches on and tells him to say hi to Kressle for her. Bartolemew gulps and nods his head. He reports what happened back to Kressle who chews him out for not understanding to say he was GOING for a sandwich, not that he left one. Frustrated she got no information besides something about Shiver and who was there (which she already knew), Kressle figures that she's going to have to go approach the party to get info. Kressle doesn't work in the Shiver trade much, but if there's someone cornering the market, she needs to know.
Kressle meets up with the rest of the group and Ashe and they fill her in on the proceedings and she informs them that she knows of two Shiver Dens closeby, the Soiled Sow and the Rooks Roost. She also says that she knows the term “hogslop” refers to people that die while under the influence of Shiver; they are typically fed to pigs to dispose of the bodies. The party decides to head to the Rook's Roost to see what a local Shiver Den is like and to try to glean any information. Upon arriving at the property, they notice a stinky smell and behind the establishment is indeed a pig farm. The party knocks on the door of the Rook's Roost; they are asked for the password but are turned away despite multiple attempts and reasoning with the guard. Kressle investigates the area but doesn't find much. Dante summons a hound who finds in a pile of refuse at the pig farm a disembodied finger and a scrap of red clothing that looks suspiciously like the clothes that the corpse they fought was wearing the night before. Almaris transforms into a cat and waits by the front door to try to glean the password. A patron eventually comes up and knocks, is asked for the password, and he doesn't answer. The door opens and he is escorted in. The party attempts the same password and is allowed in but asked for payment for facility use; Maka pays the guard 5g. Kressle enters the establishment and asks where all the Shiver is to which the guard gives a disapproving look. This is just a place where people can enjoy Shiver; they don't sell it. The guard attempts to show Kressle the door when Maka casts a Hypnotic Pattern to distract the guard. Kressle trips another incoming guard to snapped into action when he saw the strange pattern swirling in the air. While this is going on, Dante and Almaris investigate the adjoining rooms and discover crammed into rooms like sardines, sleeping and whimpering. Several people have Shiver vials in their hands. At this point, an old man appears at the top of the stairs at the entrance and demands the party stop attacking his guards and asks what they want. The party states they want to know why it appears Maka's cousin was likely dumped in the pig farm behind the den (they show the finger and cloth) and want to know if he came here and why something odd happened to him last night. He says the body was dumped here last night but he doesn't know anything else and he suggests talking to Garrick's friends in Fever Dream Alley; that's where he likely got the Shiver. (And also where the 7 people were hanged recently.)
The PC's head to Fever Dream Alley; it is covered in people shambling around, plenty of merchants and people bustling about. The area they enter is called the Night Market. They notice a strangely large amount of coffee vendors. As they enter the area further, suddenly Almaris has no clothes on. Then the clothes reappear a second later. Everyone is suddenly on edge, wondering what's going on. They remember that Drune said the Brotherhood was poisoning the wells in the area, so Ashe goes to check on one. She is stopped by a lady who tells her to stay away! The wells are POISONED! The Brotherhood has poisoned them! Dante is suspicious and he discreetly casts Detect Magic and looks around. The area where Almaris was during “the incident” has an aura of conjuration magic and there is a large fountain in the Market that has a trace of magic. Dante gets the feeling the fountain is somehow tied to some ritualistic magic.
To be continued!
106 Resin and 159 Dwarvenite Sets/Packs Owned