Monday, June 18, 2012

SESSION IX - PART I - On the town

In which the adventurers play the wealthy flaneur, are disrespected by a Moktar kitten, hire feline muscle, give a dime to Monty, see how the other half lives and star in a violent anti-drug after school special. This session went long due to the amount of dithering about in town and given that I am running out of old adventure material I will break it into parts - Next Monday evening for the Second 1/2 I think.

Grimgrim – Fighting priest of the fierce God of Dooms, Monstcrom! (M) Cleric 2

Lemon Jackson – An underclothed wizard with strange yellow eyes and who tattoos himself with spells and enjoys the sound of the hand cannon. (M) Magic User 2

Huxley "Hux" McTeeth  – A gaucho with a past, armed with a Rocket Man's saber and possessed with in strength disproportionate to his years and small frame. (M) F1 with henchman Graymol the Moktar Shaman (M) HT 1 and Gurgur the Moktar (M) MO 1.

“Eyestabs” Nell – A murderess, clad in ancient finery,  armed with many poison hat pins and a dead dwarf's crossbow(F) A2

Drusilla – Eleven lass of surpassing beauty (for a creepy eyed, fanged, and slit-nosed monster), disturbingly unpleasant affect, garish elven taste and taste for human babies - Pole arm and scimitar (F) Elf 1

NYC's Old Brewery, the source material for this adventure

The first thing the party decides to do after two weeks of drinking and loitering in the sun is to check out the Moktar medicine man that Huxley gave the magic robe to. Rum-Tum is an old Moktar whose tribe was wiped out except for a few survivors that fled to Denethix about 10 years ago. He is smart and canny for a Moktar and can write common, so he often acts as a broker for deals between humans  and Denethix's small permanent Moktar community.  When Huxley recently visited, Rum suggested he had some brawny Moktar lads to hire out, and flush with cash the party thinks this swell.

The adventurers head to a block of apartments that Rum may or may not own in the worst of Denethix's alien slums. Nell notices that there are several tough looking Moktars on the roof of the warehouse across the street, a murderous gleam in their eyes and their hands out of sight behind the roof coping. Hux knocks at the door while Nell tells the party to keep their hands away from their weapons. Soon a skinny young Moktar kitten peeks out and growls something. Hux nods and growls back. With a Purring Moktar laugh the kitten produces a wax slate and writes “BAD TALKER PLAINSMAN!” and then “RUM-TUM? - DEAL?” on it. Lemon explains that the party is looking for Rum-Tum at his invitation and the kitten writes “BRB” on his slate. Before dashing inside the kitten makes a hand gesture to the Moktars across the street, and one waves back with the heavy dino-skin sheathed flintlock he'd been concealing below the coping.

The Moktar guards stop glaring while the party stands stupidly waiting for the kitten's return. 10 minutes later the kitten comes back and leads the party into an office with a large slate desk. Rum-Tum sits on one side of the desk, wearing the magic robes Hux gave him, while several chairs are arrayed in front. After offering the party drinks of fermented milk (delivered by a robed/veiled Moktar dame – the first female Moktar any of the party has ever seen), Rum Tum begins a negotiation by writing in chalk on the desk surface. The party agrees to pay him 800GP to hire the Moktar youth for the next 2 months (At 200GP each plus room and board an month, and some small share of treasure - these thugs aren't cheap), and pay a bounty of 500GP in 'funeral expenses' should one or both be killed. The party gets the feeling Rum-Tum doesn't care much about Gurgur who is a warrior and expected to die in battle, but that Graymol has a great deal of promise and should return. The whole arrangement seems strangely important to Rum-Tum, but the party can't figure out why.

Rum-Tum tells the party that the two youths will also expect a portion of treasure, but not regular pay (a small portion in the manner of gifts, as they are being apprenticed to Huxley) and currently work in a  dino-hide warehouse by the Certopsian gate. The youths are named Graymol and Gurgur, from the same litter, distant relatives of Rum-Tun and both Denethix born, so they can understand common. Graymol is a really smart one who dresses “fancy”, and is learning 'strong medicine', while Gurgur a standard muscle bound lunk, and rather loyal to Graymol. They are given beaded tokens and a small bag with a paltry amount of their own coin in it to give to the Moktar forecat at the warehouse.

Soon Graymol and Gugur are party henchmen, and the barkeep at the Toothless Gear grumbles about barbarians and “cat pee smells”.  Given that the party are his best and scariest customers (now with fancy armor and added catman muscle) who have just returned from the wilds with magic gear and new intimidating scars, he doesn't push it too hard.

Both Gurgur and Graymol are young tabbies, Graymol is a it small for a Moktar and ginger in color while Gugur is the standard browns and grays. Gurgur is a big cat, wearing a heavy studded triceratops leather warehouse harness with massive dinosaur scale shoulder pads for settling heavy loads. A hide shield, ill fitting iron cap and cheap stamped out Scimitar complete his adventuring gear. Graymol's idea of “fancy “ is leather strap armor with a leather top hat and the armless tattered remnants of a fat man's morning coat, a dingy silk cravat over it.

After a round of scale brandy Graymol indicates that he has some magical skills, being able to “cloud the minds of men” with some kind of plains' hoodoo involving a ball of holy string.  He also admits it works best on Moktars, and only adequately on humans. Should his magic fail he carries a hide shield and a wicked triceratops horn mace. 

The Moktars are decent drinking buddies, though the language barrier is hard at first, and seem happy to have a job that involves sitting around and boozing with dangerous looking adventurers. After a few drinks they admit they're in trouble on the Street of the Alien for getting in a tussle with “some pushy dwarves” and the Rum-Tum wants to get them out of the neighborhood for a while.

A few days later, the party still dithering and boozing, the Moktar brothers are happily curled up near the kitchen stove for a midday nap, when Mr. Mud wraps on the parties' door.  He states that some fancy looking toughs are at the door, from Joohanssanville presumably, and have heard the PC's are back in town.

A carriage with unmatched horses and filled with six swaggering dandies has pulled up outside. The gang contains two of the men that the party evicted from the apartment. To make matters worse, one rake in the carriage has a massive bell-mouthed coach gun braced nonchalantly on the window frame and dialed in to the apartment doorway. The other five stand aside with hands inside their coats or on their rapier hilts.

Huxley and Grimgrim step out – facing the dandies down, and while the dandies don't seem ready to run, Huxley's scarred face, fancy new plate armor and ancient sword give them a pause. When the Moktars step out as well, followed by Nell in her royal copper finery toying effortlessly with a tomahawk, the dandies have decided talk is better without roughing the party up first.  The dandies even failed to notice Drusilla and Lemon stepping in behind ready to drop sleep spells on them. The dandy leader says “So there's been a misunderstanding, a special friend of the exalted brother had some trouble with you folks and his excellency wants you to understand he might overlook the slight for an indemnity of 2,000 GP.” Nell laughs, and Huxley loosens his sword. The Dandy continues, “well it was for the girl's belongings you understand, an apology between 'gentlemen', but I see you aren't gentlemen.” “Perhaps you can work this out with the exalted brother himself, come by, but leave the cats and the goblin-spawn outside.” He hands Huxley a calling card for an Upright Living address, and the dandies pile aboard the coach with a shout of “Oh this street is so dreadful! Picturesque! <snicker-snicker> Plebeian!”

The PC's aren't ready to walk into an ambush, and refuse the invitation, instead canvassing bars and hearing nothing but a tired rumor about a Wizard with an army of sword wielding apes dressed in gray uniforms that have been pirating ships from an island fortress far West of Denethix. (Chimp Nazis, I really wish the players had wanted to end the twelve-year simian reich.)

The next morning, before Drusilla's day drinking hour (11AM?) the party has another visitor. It's a dandy that the party evicted and he's come in a bad disguise, holding his slightly shabby top hat in his hands. He introduces himself as Monty, and says that he holds nothing against the party, as they treated him fair. He's aware they could have absolutely slaughtered him and his pal, along with Ms. Piddles (the 7th mistress). He claims he was an adventurer himself once - something about a lost bunker filed with talking jewels and metal zombies, but that he got a sweet gig with the exalted brother and the PC's could to. He's checked up on them and realizes they're talented, and he wants to help them get on Joohanssanville's good side so he and his pals don't all end as smears on the adventurers' boots.

Well, Monty has tried to explain to his buddies and Ms. Piddles that the PC's played fair, and really Joohanssanville's offer is sincere. He wants Ms. Piddles back, along with the baby, as he's discovered that the baby is unmarked by some kind of psychic taint and the hideous features that seem to afflict most of his children (who are locked in a special asylum out of town). The problem is that Ms. Piddles managed to get herself a nasty drug habit in the past few weeks and needs to be rescued from a really, really bad part of town.

Monty suggested the PC's and Joohanssanville like the idea as they're to blame in the first place. Of course he'll pay them a stipend to return the baby and the girl. Monty personally would also really like to get his friend and meal-ticket back.

With this information the party agrees to follow Monty, dressing up in their most adventurous garb and hiring a coach to take them uptown for tea. A cavalry patrol of Fist soon begins to follow the hired coach, and only Monty's intervention and a hefty tip to the driver get the party to their destination. Joohanssanville's mansion is huge, right on the water, and surrounded by a tall iron fence despite its indigenous guard force and the numerous Fist cavalry patrols in the neighborhood.

Monty introduces them to the guards, who suggest that the Moktars and Drusilla should join them for lunch, (The guard force having a couple of Moktars, a dwarf and an elf in it). The barracks are in a pleasant sunny spot off to the side of the carriage garage. Drusilla agrees grumpily, only after the guard elf compliments her on her style. The Moktars follow happily, relived that they don't have to go anywhere posh.

Joohanssanville meets the party personally, though they get a sense that he's more amused than interested. The exalted brother is a normal looking man, except for teeth filed to points and eyes that are more reptilian than human. He offers tea made of rare Lanathide Waste herbs, brandy, tiny blood sausages (blood worms he casually mentions), and absurd pastries. The snacks are good so Hux digs in happily, while Joohanssanville watches the party, chit-chats about his duty to his constituents (such as the party) and appears to be eying Lemon's tattoos while talking. Joohanssanville soon gets around to telling the players about a missing “young lady of a good family" who has been drugged and kidnapped, along with her “child of high birth” by a gang of “degenerates, consorting with elves” and spirited away to a “debauched palace” located in an abandoned brewery located along the river off the Street of Tormented Flesh. Recovering “the soiled dove” and “blameless babe” would show “civic responsibility” and make up for the parties “prior transgressions” by showing that these were only the result of their being new to town.

The party is not amused, but holds their tongues, except Lemon who states that they are in the service of the god Monstcrom, and really couldn't do work for someone else without afterwards having some money to properly celebrate the deity. The Exalted Brother smiles, and agrees to give the party a note for 2,000GP should they return the girl and the baby. Monty looks relieved. Before the party leaves Joohanssanville asks Lemon if he is a “prestidigitator” and offers that in his youth the Exalted Brother aslo toyed with the art. Joohanssanville is interested in the spell on Lemon's arm as he still collects 'oddities'. He would love to copy the Hell-bolt spell and would exchange something from his own collection for it. Lemon agrees, and the party leaves the Mansion with a rescue mission and a new spell - False Gold (with a hastily scrawled note on the scroll “for a shrewd negotiator”).

Asking around at the Cog the party learns the the Old Brewery was originally owned by a fellow named Weedstone, once made great beer and brandy, and that the Scientists had a mission there once, but all the missionaries disappeared and are presumed murdered.  More interesting rumors are that "There is treasure stored in the Brewery, that the reason the Vizer has not flattened it as part of his urban renewal program is that some high level exalted Brother has concealed a fortune in gold leaf in that was embezzled from the redecoration of the Palis Public in the ruins' cellars. Captain Tyro suspects, and wishes to seize the loot himself for another expansion of the Fist, but can't get at it" - The speaker then rambles off, ascribing sinister reasons for everything and blaming "Those sneaky Elves". Still, one thing is clear the Old Brewery has several cases (200 lb each) of gold leaf hidden somewhere within.(Also this is untrue!)

The party determines the location of the Brewery and prepares to visit just after dawn the next day, figuring drug gangs to be most active at night. They plan to smash in, rescue the girl and then explore the rest of the place once the gangsters are put to the sword.

As the party approaches the Brewery the realize just how massive it is, Three tall stories and encompassing tens of thousands of square feet. No lights are visible within and the windows appear shuttered or boarded up. At what was once the brewery gate, slumped against a statute missing everything above knees is a small man. Nell figures him for a guard and sneaks up, a poisoned dagger in hand. She isn't noticed by the 'guard' who turns out to be asleep, reeking of cheap booze, a derelict of some kind. Feeling foolish Nell drags the vile smelling man back to the rest of the party.  While he is cooperative when roused, the interrogation is unsuccessful as the fellow has had his tongue torn out. He makes some gestures at the party, though all they understand is that he wants some money. Lemon gives him a few silvers and makes a shushing motion. With a wink to show he understands the tongueless vagrant wanders off.

A curious encounter behind them, the band steps past the low wall surrounding the brewery and immediately feel a bit depressed, so ramshackle is the building and overgrown grounds.  Thinking to sneak in a window Nell checks one and realizes it's been covered over with sturdy boards and would take a few minutes to break down, making a great deal of noise.

Instead the part goes to the main doors (a 10' tall double affair clad in rusted iron), and finds a smaller access door inset.  Huxley tries the small door and it creaks open.  A gruff voice from within says "A bit early for you lot - you best be moving, we've got you covered."  Lemon has been prepared for this and sends his wave of slumber magic towards the voice. When Huxley throws back the door a tomahawk glances off the chest of his plate armor.  The light reveals and evil looking dwarf flanked by two groggy looking men in studded leather.  Nell's crossbow bolt catches one of the men in the arm, but he doesn't go down, and instead runs to a door at the far side of the small makeshift room.

The party barrels in at the cursing Dwarf, who is mumbling about a raid.  Nell leaps to the man by the door, braining him with her crossbow's stock (1D4 +2 for strength - ouch) rather than using her poisoned scimitar. The dwarf deflects attacks by  Hux and Grimgrim, but both he and his other guard are too startled to land an effective blow.  Drusilla kills the 2nd guard, and the dwarf, now blocked from the exit and surrounded, looks despondent.  The dwarf and Hux simultaneously land blows on each other and both are staggered.  Nell moves behind the distracted Dwarf with a falchion from man she just killed in her hand.  Grimgrim misses and Drusilla is still busy dispatching the man she just stabbed. The dwarf takes another swing, but even his military pick can't penetrate Huxley's new armor and Huxley's overhand blow shatter's the Dwarf's bone splint mail.  The Dwarf, his shield arm broken shouts "Ransom" and throws down his weapon.

The party drags the dwarf back outside and interrogates him.  He says he doesn't know much, hasn't seen any rich girl, but that posh types come around often.  The drug den is on the 2nd floor in a loft, down a long hall and the really he doesn't know much more.  At this point the dwarf faints from blood loss (actually he was faking).  The party returns inside and finds four more men in studded leather collapsed in the vestibule chamber. They take the men's weapons and armor and prod them before the party into the next room where they are meet by a cacophany of unwashed poverty.

Beyond the rickety door of the guard post, itself made by crudely partitioning the area around the door off from a larger space with trash wood, is an expansive chamber clearly once the Brewery's main distribution storage and working floor.  Now it is a sooty room packed with dozens of beings, mostly human and all reeking of booze, filth, decay, smoke and disease.  Several small fires provide only shadows and acrid smoke.  The rear of the cavernous room is lost in darkness and haze, but the party can barely make out a 20' wide ramp heading down, a doorway on the right wall and some kind of loft 20' off the floor.

The inhabitants of the room begin to howl and shout, obviously terrifying the captured swordsmen.  It is hard to make out what the multitude of rag clad figures is shouting, though a few threats and demands for alms can be heard above the general din.

What's next, will are adventurers plunge into another combat?  Can a deal be reached with the impoverished masses?  Where are the gangsters?  Part II is on the way and will both reveal and obscure much...


  1. I need to go back and catch up! You've got a way with after-action reports, truly.

  2. Thanks Jayson, I enjoy writing them and try very hard to keep them from being too dry - given that I write dry prose (which I am trying to make less stilted) all day long for work. Every time you see a word like "Furthermore" or phrase like "The said dwarf" you know I've failed a little bit.

  3. Ah, stilted can have a charm all its own.