The Children used the Anvil of Unmaking to destroy Menador Keep, blocking the only pass through the mountains
Back in Kintargo, they attended the Ruby Masquerade. Here the learnt what befell the former Lord Mayor. They also discovered that the Masquerade was just a ploy to frame them as Barzillai unleashed his minions upon the hapless party goers…
Full session notes:
- Following their epic battle, the Children rested and recuperated. Raiia found them and revealed that Nightswarm lived on as a phantom attached to her conscious, and was keen to continue his battle with House Thrune and the Asmodeans.
- After resting, the children approached the room where the devil guarded Lucian’s treasure. The devil called another of his kind for assistance and made it clear to the Children they would suffer should they challenge him. The Children unsurprisingly ignored this threat and proved the devil wrong, dispatching both of them. Bodeen cleverly protected them from the poisonous fumes wafting about the creatures, and Bug was nearly torn apart after bravely positioning himself between the two and being taken up in one’s talons.
- Bug disarmed a trap on the chest and the children enjoyed the fruits of their labour, then discussed how to proceed past the dwarven statues, which they had reason to believe could come to life and attack them.
- Bug sneaked past the statues, and the rest of the children moved through using invisibility provided by Aroldo and Raiia. The statues made no move to attack.
- The Children came upon a door with a warning in dwarven not to proceed without paying tribute to Torag. After a few moments of confusion, Aroldo remembered he could indeed speak and read dwarven, and then pulled from somewhere in the depths of his knowledge and appropriate prayer to the dwarven god. He placed a nearly-spent wand of magic missile in a bowl as tribute, and the door opened.
- Within were two dwarven celestial creatures guarding the Anvil of Unmaking. They demanded to know the Childrens’ intentions. Aroldo convinced that their goals were just, and the guardians allowed them to continue their mission.
- Cato turned a great wheel and the Anvil was activated. The Children fled the building as it began crumbling around them, fleeing through the courtyard and back toward Kintargo. The children walked through the pass in super slo-mo as the Keep collapsed spectacularly behind them, but they didn’t look back.
The Ruby Masquerade:
- Back in Kintargo, the Children discussed the upcoming ball, and the opportunities it would present to speak to the nobles key to the Kintargo contract. As they considered their approach to each, they realised that perhaps Marquel Aulorian would be the better Mayoral candidate than Rexus: while he had not always agreed with his father, the self-important Count Aulorian would likely support his son as Mayor, and his status as the Poison Pen could be told to any anti-Thrune members for their support. With plans in place for each of the other nobles, the Children made ready for the party.
- Bug chose his fine cummerbund to wear but wore only a small mask; Bugnelius had no need to hide his identity, there were deals to be done! He had previously had his agents find out what masks would be worn by those they would be interested in speaking with. Raiia, both inspired by the devil she had seen at the Keep and keen to have a reason to carry her whip, dressed as an Erinyes, complete with wings. Bodeen wore his fine armour with a red-and-black cape. Arolda dressed as Blackjack, the infamous vigilante of Korvosa. Aroldo brought his companions “Alana” and “Marcus” with him. Alaria was determined they should use the opportunity to assassinate Barzillai, but Aroldo convinced her otherwise.
- The Children also brought several of their other allies, notably Lentius, two of Lady Docur’s agents, Hetamon Haace, and Brother Vaelus.
- On arrival at the Opera House Aroldo payed his respects to their host for the evening, Asmodeus. Raiia was unsure what to do and followed several other revellers to a side room which contained three caged cockatrice.
- Bodeen got down to business, approaching Baroness Belcara in her sad lion mask. Without giving away specifics, he hinted that she would be able to play a direct role in ousting Barzillai. She offered any help she could give, and Bodeen arranged to visit her to discuss further at a later date.
- Aroldo and Cato took on the more intimidating task of approaching Count Geoff Tannesen. Aroldo posed as a dealer in siege engines and discussed city defences with the Count. While doing so he noted that law and order as well as military capability seemed to have suffered under Barzillai’s hand, with gangs like Black Mantis and the Red Jills (who Geoff believes killed his son) gaining traction and power in this time. Aroldo left Count Tannesen considering whether a different Lord-Mayor may be more amenable to his suggestions and influence.
- Further approaches were interrupted by the Dance of the Damned. Given that someone performing adequately was thought to be auspicious for Kintargo’s wellbeing over the next year, the Children felt they needed to perform some heroics by hitting the dance floor rather than hitting with their weapons. Aroldo and Alaria entered together, and Bug managed to gain the assistance of Lucinda, one of Lady Docur’s agents. Bodeen and Raiia entered together.
- Unfortunately for Bug, whatever graceful moves he and his partner may have been capable of came unstuck due to their vast size difference, and they were soon eliminated from contention. The others continued to perform well, the physical conditioning programme Aroldo had recently been undertaking allowing him to press on manfully despite the onset of fatigue. Alas, the lack of any high-intensity interval training to go with his steady, moderate cardiovascular exercise eventually caught up with him, and the stamina of youth allowed Bodeen and Raiia to claim the prize.
- There was some thought that the prize presentation would afford the two an excellent opportunity to do away with the Lord-Mayor, but the nature of game mechanics made this seem far too risky an undertaking. Bodeen claimed his crown but was happy to leave the limelight to Raiia, who was happy to take it as she was presented with her tiara. There was perhaps some irony in the fact that one of her reasons for hating Barzillai was him killing her acting career by taking over the Opera House, and that now by joining the Children to defeat him the Lord-Mayor had now afforded her a dream debut on stage. Regardless, the tiara did nothing to lessen her distaste for the man, even though it was so very sparkly and now probably her most prized possession.
- Barzillai also announce the end of curfew and the lifting of the Bleakbridge toll.
- With the brief period of frivolity over, it was back to work. Bug approached Sendi’s heir Marial in an attempt to ascertain whether she still held loyalty to Iomedae, or whether her time in the capital has forced her to see the “error” of her ways. Raiia attempted to read the young woman’s thoughts as the halfling spoke to her about his involvement with Sendi on a business venture, and his clever questioning allowed Raiia to discover that Marial was still very much anti-Cheliax. Raiia then joined the conversation, explaining that she has also lost her father in the sinking of the Scourge, but suggesting that from what she’d heard they had more in common than that, hinting that they both followed Iomedae. Marial got the hint and was glad to have allies in the city, as Bugnelius would help her resolve her father’s debt and she had like-minded individuals around her. The Children were very happy with the outcome, and Raiia felt she had made a new BFF.
- Bug now turned his attention to Archbaroness Melodia Delronge. Recognising that he knew little about horses, her main passion, he was pleased to discover that Lucinda could claim some expertise in the topic. The two approached the Archbaroness, who was initially cold to Bug’s talk of shared mercantile interests but warmed as Lucinda spoke horses with her. Delronge warmed far more to Lucinda than to Bug (who at least amused her, and was able to ascertain that Delonge’s loyalty was toward Cheliax rather than Barzillai), and Raiia was confused trying to understand her surface thoughts while Lucinda made references to thoroughbreds and stayers. Eventually Lucinda left with the Archbaroness – later they found Lucinda had discovered some further information that could be of use during her stay at the Delronge Estate.
- This all got a bit much for Cato, who decided to take a nap in an adjoining room.
- Deciding their schmoozing was done, the Children turned their attention to their other task: recovering the final fragment of the Song of Silver.
- Alaria gave rough directions to where the Opera House library was located, and the children sneaked out of the crowd and down the stairs. Nightswarm was sent to do some scouting and noted there was something “wrong” with the orchestra, with Aroldo realising it sounded like they were illusory. Why would there be and illusory orchestra? The Children decided it probably had to do with the half-dozen hellhounds roaming the area that included the orchestra pit.
- Deciding that fighting the hounds would create too much noise, the Children managed to sneak past them into the library. Here they discovered that well-known plays were marked with red paint, while less famous ones were not so marked. Unsure why, they were more reassured by Bug discovering a secret door, and made their way through it and downstairs further.
- Here they discovered the interned original Silver Ravens in a corridor leading to a defaced shrine to the “good” gods. Except that Jackdaw’s coffin contained no body, only her armour and items. Aroldo and Bug wanted to loot the items, Bodeen and Raiia felt this was wrong. Aroldo managed to convince them that Jackdaw probably would have been happy for them to borrow the items to fight for Kintargo.
- Down the corridor, the Children found more Silver Rave loot, and put the capacity of the handy haversack to the test. Among it was the last piece of the Song of Silver.
- Job done, the Children decided to continue exploring in the hunt for loot and xp…er, anything else important to the Rebellion. Instead they found an exceptionally large Hellhound. It threw off Aroldo’s attempts to lull it to sleep with magic, instead turning the corridor into an inferno. Bug skilfully dodged the flames, as did Bodeen already making the most of some of that sweet Silver Raven magic item stash. The others burned, but survived, and the Hellhound was taken down.
- Pressing on, the Children found an exit via the lake in Aria Park. Then they found the previous Mayor, asleep in her coffin. Aroldo was adamant that all vampires were evil and awakened the sleeping beauty with a fireball. Bodeen, Bug and Nightswarm followed up by stabbing and bludgeoning her, and she went down quickly before they staked her through the heart with a piece of her own coffin and someone (let’s face it, probably Bug) cut off her head. Swarms of rats had also come to her call, but Aroldo did what Aroldo does, and they were all roasted.
- Some questions were raised about how she came to be here, as a vampire. And was the Hellhound there to guard her of keep her here? The DM smugly threw in that it wasn’t like the PCs hadn’t been speaking to other vampires throughout the campaign, so why did they find it such a big deal?
- Leaving the questions unanswered, the Children followed the final direction which led to an equally perplexing problem. The room they found had a strong animal stench and the walls showed lines of scorching and claw gouges. Aroldo’s instinct that a dragon was kept here seemed confirmed by the blue scale Bug found. But why had it been kept here? And where was it now? As with the other questions, it seemed unlikely the answers would be good for the Children.
- The Children considered leaving through the lake, but decided to head back for the end of the Masquerade. Barzillai announced that things would change on the morrow as the true villains of Kintargo, the Children of the Ash, were revealed, and as the doors were sealed thanked those gathered for their sacrifice.
- A woman dressed in black feathers (Little Black Swan) appeared floating in the air and radiating dread, while a Flying Halfling sailed across the room, felling people with foul magics. Meanwhile on the ground, several men wearing Nightswarm masks drew their weapons as they waded through the crowd…
- The Ruby Massacre had begun.