Monday, 3 April 2017

GURPS Free Cities Session 43: Black Star Trading Company

Locke Landen - Human Bard (265 points)
Morgan Merkle - Human Mentalist (260 points)
          Brother Maurice- Human Initiate of Avandra, the goddess of freedom and luck (127 points)
Sindri Blackshield - Tiefling Knight (267 points)
Virgil the Grim - Human Barbarian (268 points)

Day 125:
Weather: Warm, Light Clouds
Date: Peris 12th, 2526
In the morning, they dropped off the holy symbols of Melora at her statue near the lake, and a warm breeze caressed them, imparting a 10-point Bless.  Brief discussion of how to monetize this ensued ("But guys, getting blessed at a temple in town is only $10!" -Brother Maurice "Exactly, we could save tons of money in the long-run!"-Virgil).

They spent the rest of the day travelling through the Iron Forest to Heyfield, and decided to spend the night in the abandoned tower across a stream.  Sindri almost drowned crossing the stream, but was rescued and they made camp for the night.  Locke got the feeling that something was nearby on his watch, but never saw it.

Day 126:
Weather: Clear and Sunny
Date: Peris 13th, 2526
The party made it to Adusia by midday, and dropped the lockbox off to be opened at Shady Slim's Completely Morally Upstanding Lockpicking Locksmithing, then dropped off a bunch of items to be appraised/checked for magic, though Morgan and Virgil hung around to keep an eye on Slim.

The chest contained a bunch of gold and silver coins, a ring that made musical chimes when moved, glass shards, and some loose liquid.  They gave Shady Slim the (emptied) chest and a tip before selling most of the rest of their haul.  Maurice argued for a bigger cut, because roughly half of the haul was in a handful of items that got split up amongst the rest of the party.  Sindri and Virgil initially agreed, but eventually decided against it.

Locke tried to convince the rest of the party to spend their money partying at the Crimson Boot Inn, but Sindri wasn't interested, and the others were busy.  Virgil spent the rest of the day finding a swashbuckler to start his training in the lens, Morgan failed to find a psionic teacher, while Maurice spent the day hunting down some magic plate armour, a magic shield, and a bunch of healing potions.

Day 127:
Weather: Sunny and Warm
Date: Peris 14th, 2526
In the morning, the party realized that they hadn't actually reported back on their job to clear the Iron Forest of the source of the aggressive animals.  They went to the Adventurer's Guildhouse and picked up $800 each, but there were no new jobs for the time being.  Virgil spent the day training to be a swashbuckler, and the rest of the party debated whether they should hire a labourer, or buy horses or a handcart, but nothing came of it.

Virgil spent his night asking around the Crimson Boot after any noteworthy swordsmen in the area, but was informed that most adventurers had gone out west to explore newly-discovered dwarven ruins.  The only other famous swordsman "nearby" was Morthos, who had won the annual Grand Tournament of Zerakim some months ago, but even he was a week away by ship.

Day 128:
Weather: Slight Breeze
Date: Peris 15th, 2526
Locke heard a rumour that something valuable had been stolen from Tharos, one of the eight Merchant Lords of Adusia, and the party decided to go to his mansion in the Merchant's District to offer their services.  They arrived at a wrought-iron gate, Locke announced himself as Stan Lee, a specialist at recovering lost goods, and were ushered in by one of the guards.

Past a large opening hall lined with many expensive trinkets, they arrived at Lord Tharos, an overweight man wearing fine silk clothing and many pieces of jewellery, reclining on a chair in a lush garden.  He reported that a rare Arkhasian flying rug worth about $20,000 had been stolen four nights ago, and that he believed it to be the work of the DiRosso brothers, who ran a criminal organization out of the docks.

The party questioned the guards, Art and Remy, to discover that they and a maid, Matilda, had been the only ones other than Lord Tharos in the house that night.  The only thing they had seen was a brown-haired urchin girl begging for money, but that was hardly out of the ordinary.  The party then talked to Tharos about the possibility of his own people taking the rug, but he was confident that none of them would do so.

They spent the rest of the day tracking down Matilda, but once they had found her house, and Locke announced his intent to use magic to read her mind, Sindri objected.  He refused to impugn his honour by allowing a lady to be mistreated, and so the party retired to a tavern for the night instead of just talking to her nicely.

At the Crimson Boot, Locke locked eyes with the troubadour playing that evening, leading to him jumping on a packed table and engaging in a Bard-Off.  Locke was the superior musician, and spent the rest of the night revelling in victory.

Day 129:
Weather: Definitely Spring
Date: Peris 16th 2526
The party went to the adventurer's guild to check for work, but there was none to be had; a guard caravan had left for Carda through the Iron Forest yesterday, but the pay was way below their grade.  Meanwhile, Locke slipped away and used his Streetwise to ask about the flying carpet in the shadier parts of Adusia, and was pointed towards Shady Slim ("What?  But he was a completely morally upstanding citizen!"-Morgan).

After a $100 bribe, Slim told Locke that the carpet would be up for sale at a midnight auction in the Black Star Trading Company warehouse, which Locke knew to be a front for the DiRosso's.  He also advised against wearing armour with the Adventurer's Guild sigil to the auction.

Locke regrouped with the rest of the party, and they went to inform Lord Tharos of this development and discuss payment.  He was somewhat pleased to hear they were making progress, but used this to his advantage; surely, if it would only be one night's work, with untrained thugs as their foes, they would need no more than $400 each?

Sadly, Locke failed to out-Merchant a Merchant Lord, and the party returned to the Crimson Boot to discuss what to do next.  They decided against tracking down the urchin girl, as it would take too much time, and went to ask an Enchanter's Guilder about flying carpets.

The wizard informed them that a carpet the size of Tharos' (6'x6') would be worth about $200,000, and that a criminal could make good use of it to break into second or third-story buildings.  When questioned about other possible uses, he replied that he had seen the energy of powerful flying carpets used to power the airships of Tybard during his training there, but that would be outside the abilities of anyone without access to their college's designs.

The party then decided to confront Lord Tharos about lying to them about the price of the flying carpet.  His normally warm and pleasant exterior dropped, and he became curt, responding that of course he didn't trust drifters, no matter how well-vetted, but realized that he had few other options.  Virgil accused him of lying to them about other things, and, insulted that they would waste their time with this nonsense, Tharos demanded they leave.

Brother Maurice cased the warehouse (somehow, he has the highest Observation), but they didn't find out anything interesting; it appeared to be a normal 2-story tall warehouse near the waterfront.

It was brought up that it's awfully suspicious to show up to a locksmith with a totally-not-stolen chest.  In-setting justification is that Adventurer's Guilders who break the rules get the hammer brought down hard, and are likely expelled.  Freelance adventurers are a LOT less trusted.

It was also noted that Enchanter's Guild wizards can make good money; $100/hr for a magic item appraisal, which is far more than most adventuring wizards will be paid (though this ignores the $20/day they make when enchanting a commissioned item).  It's assumed that adventurers make most of their money from tax-free loot, and that the money they're paid by other parties is only to cover basic expenses.

Locke managed to get 60% for their loot thanks to his Merchant skill and a bit of luck.

The items they kept were the bull-head light brigandine body armour (Fine and Fortify 2) for Morgan, two elven longswords (AKA katanas) for Virgil, the musical chiming ring for Locke, and the meteoric plate armour for Sindri.  Between them, they're worth about $90k.

The strange glass-like elven longsword was found to be a minor artifact known as Silmaris (or Starlight), made of tempered glass (+1 damage/die), a rare material made by elementals in the Elemental Chaos.  Once the blade of the elven hero Danasaer, it was stolen by demons when he died in battle centuries ago.  The six-pointed star of Corellon in the hilt will glow bright blue when wielded by a true elven hero, though the rest of its magic seems to have faded.

Locke asked how obvious his spells are.  Considering that they have the Song modifier, it's just a hair shy of walking up to somebody and saying "Hey, I'm going to cast Mind Control on you now".

It's actually funny how nobody even through to try talking to Matilda openly; it's straight into the mind-control.

There were a few different plans for getting the carpet back from the auction:
-Wait for somebody to buy it, then ambush them later and take the carpet.
-Use a siege stone to blow out the roof during the auction, throw in a handful of flash nageteppo, drop in from above, then steal the carpet in the confusion.  I am a big fan of this option.
-Locke and Morgan pose as buyers using Acting while Sindri and Virgil either wait outside a short distance away or accompany them as guards

1 for little progress
0 for combat
1 for completing a minor quest (Clearing the Forest)
2 for loot (about $16k each)
1 for Chivalry to Sindri
MVP went to Locke for getting them an extra 20% on their loot.

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