Tuesday, 30 August 2016

GURPS Free Cities Session 19

Arc Sol - Human Cleric of Pelor, the god of the sun (322 points)
Aurum Red-Brand - Human Wizard (318 points)
Zaxod - Half-Orc Knight (316 points)

Player Absent:
Mor'ath Enanqua - Elven Swashbuckler/Thief (298 points)

Day 44 (Cont.)
Weather: Sunny
Aurum, suddenly and mysteriously back from the nega-zone, asked Andreas Spiros if there was anything he could do for the tournament.  After being told that there were already trusted people who would take care of refereeing and gambling, he got desperate and almost offered to sell snacks.  Thankfully, he remembered that he Hates Merchants and decided not to become one.

While they were walking around, Arc noticed a man in a blue robe, rudely (and obviously) ran through the crowd to catch up to him, and asked if he was, by chance, part of a group looking into large magical metal slabs.  The man replied nervously that, no, he wasn't, so Arc let him go and apologised.  

Just as shops were closing, Zaxod bought some raw silver to edge his axe, and with that done, the rest of the day was spent helping heal the injured in the streets/playing knife games in the Blue Pheasant inn.

Day 45
Weather: Cloudy, Windy
With 5 days to go until the tournament, the party lazed around.  Arc continued helping the downtrodden, while Zaxod and Aurum hung out in the inn.  Aurum tried to find out some local rumours, but everyone was too busy talking about the tournament.  Eventually, Zaxod was forced to leave out of embarrassment after some of the attractive female tournament competitors tried to talk to him.

Day 46
Weather: Cloudy, Rainy
With 4 more days until the tournament, and too many attractive women in the tavern (stupid sexy elves...), Zaxod badgered the rest of the party into getting some work.  They went to the local Adventurer's Guild, where Zaxod introduced himself as "the Leader of Team Chimera for the tournament" while proudly wearing his red tabard, and they accepted a job to find a missing nobleman named Leonidas Marinos for 20 gold coins ($2,000).

As the party made their way to the noble district, they noticed that the number of tieflings increased until they were about as common as humans.  There were also many more guards, though few on patrol, and nearly all wore the heraldry of some noble house or another.  Most of the noble estates were designed similarly: a 9' wall made from the same red stone as everything else, and an inner estate, with many open-air rooms.  Eventually, they made it to the Marinos estate, where they met Leonidas' wife, Katerina, and her brother, Photios Lezarios, who was comforting her. 

She explained that the guards had seen her husband leave the night before to play cards with some friends, including Photios, at the Emerald Alehouse, but  had never returned home.  They questioned Katerina (who turned out to be surprisingly accepting of half-orcs) about jealous rivals, disowned children seeking inheritance, and various other common reasons for someone to be kidnapped, but came up dry.

The party left, along with Photios, to investigate the Emerald Alehouse.  On the way, Photios told them that he knew where Leonidas had gone, but that he could not tell Katerina, because she had a tendency to over-react (such as putting out a $2,000 reward to find someone who had been missing for less than a day).  Lymia, an old mistress of Leonidas', had came to the Alehouse the night before and ran into him after years away from Zerakim.  The two left late into the night, and the rest of the group had been too drunk/focused on the cards to care.

At the Alehouse, Arc questioned the innkeeper, and then a serving girl about Lymia and Leonidas.  The girl mentioned that Lymia had rented a room here with a man in a blue robe, but that neither had been staying there.  After a description of the man in blue, it seemed likely that he was the same person they had run into near the arena two days prior.

The serving girl also mentioned that she had overheard Lymia and the man talking about work for "Asilos", which Zaxod figured probably meant the noble house of Asilos thanks to Heraldry.  Photios confirmed that house Asilos were trade rivals with house Marinos, but their relationship wasn't considered so negative as to warrant violence.

Arc successfully persuaded the girl to let them see the rented room, and the party found that there were indeed no signs of it being lived in for the last week.  With new intelligence, the party asked Photios to lead them to the Asilos estate, but he declined, explaining that if he went with him, they would be barred entry.

So, without noble influence, the group went to the Asilos estate, and managed to talk their way into a meeting with Lord Riffin Asilos, the lord of the house.  They were brought to a pleasant outdoor sitting room where a fat man, Lord Riffin, relaxed on a recliner drinking wine.  Arc was frustratingly Honest during their discussion, and upon hearing that they were here looking for Leonidas, Lord Riffin threw them out.  While the guards forced them towards the exit, Zaxod shouted "DO YOU KNOW ANYBODY NAMED LYMIA OR A GUY WHO WEARS A BLUE CLOAK?", but Riffin didn't react in any perceivable way.

With that botched, the party struggled to figure out what to do next.  They came up with a plan to get the Asilos guards drunk, and found out that a lot of guards drink at the Greasy Spigot after work, but shelved that for later.

Eventually, Arc realised that the man in blue had likely been on his way back from the Grand Library of Bazionax on the eastern side of town when they first came across him, and the party headed over there to ask around.  At the Grand Library, they found a hunched old clerk who had helped the man in blue find several books on "history and whatnot".  After complaining that more wizards these days should learn about that kind of thing, he lead them into the library to find the books the man in blue had requested.

Aurum began reading and quickly established a pattern connecting the books.  They all contained sections about the Athaeneum, an ancient group of wizards that devised many different summoning rituals for devils, one of whom had founded the Grand Library.  Of worrying frequency was a ritual to summon a War Devil, which required a human sacrifice and specific planetary alignment that would occur in two days.  With that knowledge, the party asked if the clerk knew of any diviners, and were directed to Aegert the Green, who they hired to help confirm Leonidas was being held hostage before they made their move.

With Aegert in tow, Arc returned to the Marinos estate near sunset to grab a personal object to aid in the scrying, and ended up taking Leonidas' signet ring.  Meanwhile Zaxod and Aurum found an inn near to the Asilos estate, and rented a room.  The party regrouped in the inn, and Aegert attempted to cast Seeker, but failed.  He then suggested waiting until slightly later at night, so that he could cast Wizard Eye with less chance of being noticed.

While the rest of the party waited, Mor'ath and Aurum went to the Greasy Spigot, where Mor'ath successfully chatted up some guards and confirmed that both Lymia and the man in blue were working for Lord Riffin on some "secret wizard bullshit".  Around midnight, Aurum and Mor'ath returned to the inn, and Aegert cast Wizard Eye and infiltrated the compound.  Through sheer luck, he managed to find his way through several open doors, and observed the man in blue and Lymia readying a ritual space in the basement, which matched those Aurum had seen in the books earlier.

To get a better look at the inside of the compound, Mor'ath went in, with Zaxod as backup.  Mor'ath easily scaled the walls and attached a rope, but Zaxod struggled, yelled at the wall due to his Bad Temper, and eventually made it over.  Mor'ath then stealthily avoided the guards, maneuvered into the main building, and found a guest room with various books full of arcane gobbledegook (later confirmed to match the rituals from the library), a closed door with three faint voices from the room beyond (an older male, a younger male, and a woman), and lastly, a locked room containing an unconscious man matching the appearance of Leonidas Marinos inside of a locked cell.

Mor'ath noticed that Leonidas had been drugged and put to sleep, and tried picking the lock several times, but eventually gave up and headed back out, again without incident.  Zaxod again struggled over the wall and this time attracted the attention of a halberd-wielding guard.  After two more failed attempts, the guard had closed and was yelling for backup and for Zaxod to stay down, but Mor'ath climbed back up and over the wall and grappled the guard before he could swing.

The guard broke free, but Mor'ath put him in a choke hold and Zaxod punched him unconscious, just as more guards were rounding the corner.  Zaxod ran around the estate, past a group of guards (one of whom hit him with a halberd), out the main gate, and off into the night.

Another almost entirely roleplaying session, with only one combat, which doesn't even really count.

Aurum almost missed out on roleplaying XP by trying to get a job as a snack vendor (aka a merchant, which he hates) during the tournament.  His plan was to try to approach nobles to bankroll his dream of building a flying golden castle/wizard school while disguised.

The skill to gamble during the tournament is Games (Combat Sports) rather than Gambling.  Success picks out the likely winner, while Failure means you are unsure.  Crit Failure means I lie.

Detect Lies came up a lot today, but nobody has it.  Arc has Per 14, but even then he's rolling against 8.

Zaxod's Fear of Romance, negative Appearance, and Social Stigma all came up a lot today.

Mor'ath is the one who usually keeps notes, so the party had a fun time recording all the names and relationships.

A lot of the names are hard to remember, which lead to fun pronunciations.  People were referred to as "Brother-Man" or "The Assloads".

Clerics are not usually recognised in Zerakim, and when they are, they're frowned upon for causing more trouble than they solve.  Arc, however, has started to chisel out a positive reputation amongst the poor of the city.

Arc tried to figure out why an entire city might be Low Sanctity, but came up dry.  He took a sample of the red stone to see if it might be the culprit.

Aurum crit a Research roll, so they know almost exactly what they're going up against, and how much time they have left.

Aegert is a human wizard in his mid-twenties, as so many adventurers are. He wears green robes, is almost worthless in combat, and often says "I knew you'd say that!" while talking to people.

It took a lot of time to find exactly what spell they needed to cast in order to find Leonidas, and then it failed anyway.  Oh well.

Forgot the Choke Hold rules, but it didn't matter anyway.

Zaxod was actually a hindrance on the stealth mission due to his natural enemy: the slightly-too-high to climb with ST-based Climbing wall.  Meanwhile, Mor'ath has Climbing-18, and can easily climb just about anything.

A big part of the session was verifying that they had the right information, so Arc could be 100% certain that they were morally correct in attacking a noble house.

The halbardier did 11 damage after armour, but that's nothing to Zaxod.  It doesn't even cause a knockdown check.

1 for general progress
1 for roleplaying
0 for the hardest fight (2v1 against a terribly under-powered opponent)
0 for loot
0 for quests (they're not done yet)
MVP went to Arc for filling in as the face

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