Here, once more, is the party lineup:
- Mike: Tarthon, minotaur barbarian – Likes His Enemies Split in Two, Like His Pies (note: Mike couldn't make it to the first of the two sessions described below, so Rick's friend Mark pitched in to help)
- Steve: Grumhorn, a.k.a. "Grue," dwarf invoker – He Who Glows Brightly and Sinks Quickly
- Me: Graaver Stormcry, longtooth shifter druid-fighter – Fierce Combatant Who Can Scratch and Lick Places Not to be Mentioned in Polite Company
- Willie: Sebastin, githzerai ranger – Taught Legolas Everything He Knows (note: missing from both sessions, unfortunately)
- Felix: new character finally debuting this very game!
Part 1: What an Incredible Smell We Discover
Kandis arranges a private meeting with the Malhavens and escorts Stormcry, Grue, and Tarthon to the manor house. Along with the Malhavens, we meet a scowling young half-orc in scale armor named Kerrun. (The “u” is silent. Mostly. Hi, Felix!) After we grunt and mark our territory, we get down to the business of finding the missing gal, Lindsay Lohan... uh, Ardwen Toladae.
First, the Malhavens want to be sure we’re discrete. Of course, we’re discrete! These days, we leave only a few bodies in our wake, and we haven’t burned down a building in weeks! We’re given two leads: 1) Around the time of Ardwen’s disappearance, a retainer who had been keeping an eye on her dropped dead at the feet of a young trinket seller, a.k.a. “street scum” in the Malhavens’ eyes. 2) A specter or ghost has been seen in the area – we’re told we should talk to a fishmonger named Crudleman. The name alone sounds like fish bait. (“Hey, how’d you catch that bass?” “Easy – I put some crudleman on the hook!”)
We get all Sherlocky and ask about possible motivations, just in case the culprits’ main goal was to embarrass the Malhavens. The Malhavens own one of the biggest casinos around: the House of Fate. (If the blackjack dealer is named Manos, I’m leaving.) They have two big rivals: the Happarannon family, which owns the House of Luck, and the Rohamarie family, which operates the House of Fortuity.
The party later heads out for a breakfast of yogurt and falafel (doesn’t any family operate the House of Pancakes?) with new ally Kerrun, who gets the recaps of past sessions downloaded to his iPad. We then seek fishmonger Crudleman, who’ll tell us about the ghost IF we bring back the wolf’s-head belt buckle of the leader of the Crimson Dogs, a gang of thugs who have been harassing him. Okay, so to get the runes transcribed, we have to help the Malhavens. To help the Malhavens, we have to get info from a fishmonger. To get info from the fishmonger, we have to beat up a Punjar street gang. Got it. Could be worse! Stormcry buys 6 big fish – longjaws – from the guy, along with a sack of ice. Why? Why not? He might get peckish.
Crudleman does tell us where to find the street kid, so we seek out Oliver Twist who is selling daggers. Kerrun decides to haggle over prices. There’s some give-and-take via a skill challenge – the kid is a sharp seller! Kerrun buys a pendant with a raven on it – the kid says it’s a “lucky charm.” Yeah, right. So’s this rock on the street.
After more chatting, the kid tells us that the dying man mumbled something about “green creatures” and “slaughter.” After the nightmare experience in the Sargasso, this group isn’t exactly keen on green. Oliver Twist indicates that the dying man stepped out of a nearby alleyway.
Investigating the area, we see that an old sign – probably indicating the street’s name – was crossed out. Scratched in its stead are the words “Slaughterstone Alley.” A quiet street, then? At the corner, we spot an old, seemingly decrepit man sitting on the street with a bowl for donation – and a monkey. Two other guys sit slumped against the wall farther down the street, apparently drunk. Stormcry looks more closely – the “drunk” guys are faking it. He calmly walks up to one, abruptly grabs him by the throat and growls, “Tell me who you’re watchdogs for!!” Fight!
( Proceed to blood, mystery, and massive stinkiness!Collapse )