Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Third Party: Session 27 (GMs notes)

17 Eliasias, 1362 DR

After completing construction of the Mythal in Deckon Thar, the party (mostly Grimnir really) decided it was finally time to deal with the Council in Phlan. They hiked down the mountain from Sorrassar's cave and Mel flagged down a passing gypsy barge to give them a lift downriver.

21 Eliasias

As they neared the city, they found it in shambles. North of the river, the castle was gone. The ruins had devolved into true ruins, with narry a stone left standing and the formerly ordered markets of goblins and giants nowhere to be seen. South of the river, the new city was burning. The walls had been torn down, the docks abandoned, and mobs of slums-dwellers rioted in the streets.

The poled the boat up to the main docks uncontested and headed into town. They asked several passers by what was going on, but, other than the simple idea that their had been a revolution, most people they encountered seemed clueless. They did learn that a merchant from the slums, one Hasan  Abd-al-Bane, had taken command of the council chambers.

Between Traithe's very large sword, Kevorkian's petrifying gaze, and Ash's and Grimnir's general creepiness, they reached the Council Hall uncontested (give or take the wake of dead, petrified, frightened people behind them). A mass of spiked club and pointy-stick wielding malcontents had formed a human, three people deep, wall surrounding the entire Council Hall. Grimnir turned on his charm, er, crown, and the rabble layed down to make a path for him.

Forcing their way past yet more peasants and protesters filling the hallway, they eventually came to the council chambers, where a swarthy, slick-haired, goatee-sporting man in a fez had set up shop, using the pulled-from-their-hinges doors of the council chamber and some old boxes as a desk.

Hasan greeted the party cordially, explaining that the downtrodden residents of the Slums had finally risen up to assert their rights--with some help from the displaced priests of Xvim. Hasan explained that he and Mace, high-priest of Xvim, had previously had a friend on the council, Markos, who had helped push for democratic reforms--allowing women to hold positions of power and own property, allowing homosexuals to marry, etc.

The Council, Markos included, he said, had fled on a ship two days ago, taking most of the city's wealth (and wealthy) with them. He said he would have expected them to flee to Hillsfar, but, given the recent plagues and revolution their, that they probably diverted to Mulmaster or Sembia instead.

Grimnir quizzed Hasan about his intent, which boiled down to letting the people run out their frustration and energy with rioting and looting for a few more days, then slowly try to re-establish order and arrange for democratic election of leaders to start forming a new government for Phlan. Grimnir gave his approval, then the party headed across the square to the Temple of Tyr to look for the Bishop.

They found the temple covered in graffiti, obscene phrases in twenty languages scrawled on the walls in paint, chalk, tar, and blood. The gates had been thrown open, but were flanked by a pair of burly orcs in matte-black plate armor. Screams echoed from within.

Marching into the main sanctuary, they found four priests of Tyr and Sister Theymr, the old abbess, tied spread-eagle wagon wheels, with their arms threaded through the spokes. A mixed group of orc soldiers, human dregs, and Xvimlar acolytes stood around taking turns breaking the priests' limbs with clubs and hammers.

Grimnir enslaved the Xvimlar that appeared to be in charge and asked him to clear the room. Once the rioters were gone, he interrogated Sister Theymr, learning that the Bishop had fled with the council on their ship, most likely heading for the cathedral in Tantras for refuge. Further questioning revealed that the Tyrrans were, perhaps, amenable to his ideas of government, having a strict opposition to the idea of autocratic rule. The core of their philosophy being that laws could only be derived from the people, or their just representatives, and that Tyr was an embodiment of the laws of men, rather than a being with the right or power to pronounce laws himself.

While Grimnir and Ash questioned the prisoners, Traithe and Kevorkian headed downstairs, to look for others. First they headed down to the austere men's quarters, finding everything looted and mostly empty of people, aside from the cook who had been shoved in his own, still hot oven (long dead) and a trio of orcs in similar black armor to the ones above, who were relaxing in the quarters and explained that they were waiting for their shift to guard the doors. The orcs suggested that if they were looking for some fun, they should go over to the women's quarters, where the bulk of the force were 'questioning' some of the nuns.

They did just that, calling in Ash, Grimnir, and Dame for backup. Broken finery and the sounds of screaming greeted them as they headed down the women's hall. Kicking in the far door, they saw a great mass of orcs, nearly half a hundred, taking turns gang-raping five nude, bruised, and bloodied Tyrran priestesses.

Ash lit up the room with a lightning bolt and Traithe charged the orcs, only to find that the orcs were surprisingly tough (though not for orcs). Enraged by the interruption of their sport, the orcs rose up and charged en-masse, killing Traithe and incapacitating Kevorkian in their initial onslaught.

Zorch healed Kevorkian, who immediately hid himself with a sanctuary spell and dragged Traithe to safety. Ash then raised a wall of force between the orc horde and the door through which the party had entered the women's quarters. Dame enlarged, animated, and awakened a few potted plants in the room, setting them to entangling the orcs, while Grimnir opened an arcane gate and began extracting the priestesses through it.

Once everyone was relatively safe, Ash sent Zorch back into the room, where he flew around next to the ceiling, carpet-bombing the orcs with his Bell of Blasting and Bell of Treachery.

Once the army of orc rapists had been dealt with, Kevorkian raised Traithe and Grimnir ported the party and the ten Tyrran prisoners to the last battered ship in the docks, which they quickly commandeered to pursue the Council.

22 Eliasias

Ash used control water to guide the stolen ship.

Dame and Kevorkian healed the rescued priests, then Grimnir continued to question them on their theology and their view of the law, looking for which ones might be turned away from Tyr. They seemed surprisingly unfazed by their Bishop having left them behind to be tortured, raped, and killed, all except one who called himself Brother Rant.

While the questioning was going on, Kevorkian decided that the ship was not traveling fast enough. He called to Mog for a planar ally, conjuring a Rakshasa. In exchange for propelling the ship faster, the Rakshasa first demanded one of the priestesses. Kevorkian refused. Then the cat low-balled, asking for the youngest priestess to simply be tortured (tied to the mast and flayed slowly), even offering to let Kevorkian do it himself. Kevorkian refused and counter-offered, offering to allow himself to be tortured in any way the Rakshasa chose (save severing limbs or removing jewelry) for thirty minutes. They finally settled on 45 minutes of torture for Kevorkian and a bottle of fine cognac.

The sails swelled with the wind of Kevorkian's screams as the Rakshasa played with his entrails and the ship sped along at a breakneck pace. As they sailed, Grimnir projected horrific dreams into the mind of Markos Mondaviak, using the Rakshasa's games as inspiration. Despite the two day headstart, they overtook the Council's vessel just as it was docking in Mulmaster.

The party watched, from a safe distance, as the entire Council, sans-Bishop, including most of the Training Hall professors, the Clerk, and other dignitaries, disembarked. The ship remained outfitted for travel, and, after unloading its passengers, soon put back out to sea and turned south with the Bishop still aboard. Deciding they could come back for Markos (and unwilling to throw down with Markos's wife just yet), they turned their boat, ran up the jolly roger, and gave chase to the Bishop.

The Bishop had, wisely, laid a forbiddance over the ship to guard against extraplanar attacks, so they simply rammed the ship with their boat and boarded it. Kevorkian petrified three-quarters of the crew on the first glance, and the rest quickly went below to bring the Bishop out as ransom for their safety. Grimnir hexed and then enslaved the Bishop, forced the Bishop and Kevorkian to un-petrify the crew, then they took control of the much nicer ship and turned it back towards Mulmaster.

Under Grimnir's control, the Bishop went ashore, unloaded all of his worldly goods, and immeadiately began to liquidate all of it. Auctions were arranged to sell off all of his parochial holdings: every temple, every shrine, every monastery, every parish church in the woods, every house, farm, mine, or serfdom that had been acquired by the Moonsea Diocese under Braccio's reign as bishop.


Highharvestide

The party worked for months, bankrupting the church of Tyr to raise a mercenary army to restore order to Phlan and buying up ships and stores to equip them and rebuild the city. Grimnir never strayed more than a few hundred yards from the enslaved Bishop, manipulating the fat old man like a puppet. At night, he continued to assault Markos Mondaviak with dreams, terrifying the young nobleman to the point of insomnia and exhaustion.

The party used some small portions of the massive funds being generated by the liquidation of the church to fund their own interests. Kevorkian bought a unicorn, named Banana Fluff, from a shady merchant, though the animal quickly teleported away once Kevorkian removed its collar and leash. Grimnir funded scholars to research how to imbue his staff with powers of darkness. Ash researched the nature and location of various elf-blades. Dame went shopping for knives. And Grimnir raised the bounty on the Amazons (delivered alive, blue, naked, and trussed to the steps of Kryptgarten) to fifty thousand gold crowns.

Finally, on the 29th of Eleint, it was announced throughout Mulmaster that Markos Mondaviak had died of fear and weariness. His young widow through a great state funeral for the fallen councilman, presided over by the same Bishop who was so determinedly spending every last cent of his fortune to reclaim the city that Markos held so dear.

On the night of Highharvestide, graverobbers (paid by Grimnir) exhumed the body of Markos Mondaviak and skinned it. Grimnir had the skin made into a lovely pair of gloves...

Markos' wife, immediately set out to settle the score against the man who would so desecrate her husband's grave.