Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Curse of the Crimson Throne 3 & 4

This will contain spoilers.

Again, our party consists of:
Raiche - Elven Avenger (Mike)
Saturnine - Tiefling Sorcerer (Scott)
Beor Stoneblood - Dwarven Fighter (Dan)
Renn - Gnomish Wizard (Jay)
Saul - Half Elven Bard (Colin)
Kilhan - Eladrin Cleric (Rob)
Lars - Kalashtar Paladin (Jesse)
DM - Josh

All level 5. Not everyone was present for both sessions. Our next mission from Field Marshal Cressida Kroft was to track down several missing people. Our investigations uncover the fact that they were all jurors in a trial 10 years ago. In fact, all 8 surviving jurors are missing. We travel to the site of the old courthouse.

Turns out that not long after the trial the courthouse was condemned. An adjoining building had fallen into it, and it had not been used since. We split up, and Beor, Saturnine, Raiche, Renn, and Kilhan went inside.

What followed was an impossible to relate mystery/horror story. We found the jurors, and over the course of the night, they all died (save 1). We uncovered a story of corruption and murder, vindicated a wrongly convicted man, and killed a lot of undead. Or re-killed. And fought this horrific intestine/tentacle beast.

While some of us ran around trying to save doomed extras, Saul met up with our new ally, Lars, and they began running down leads outside the courthouse. They followed the judge to his bank, where he withdrew a large amount of money. He met the prosecutor and they entered the courthouse, where we had just had our climactic battle with the intestines of a juror and the intestine controlled bodies of the rest of the jurors. In the confrontation that followed, we solved the mystery, the prosecutor died for his sins, and we captured the judge so he could hang for his crimes.

After a quick prestidigitation to wipe the bile from our lips and feces from our boots, we return to miss Kroft and tell her our story.

Remarkably, she elects to send us on another errand. This time, she has a third party interested in our abilities. Vincarlo Oracini wishes us to expose the sins of the Ambassador from Chelliax. It is well known in the underworld that Darvain, the Ambassador, is a deviant, but our job was to bring evidence of it to light, harming his reputation.

Our initial information directs us to a part of town known as the Eel's End. A series of boats all owned by one man, the King of Spiders. These boats all serve as dens of sin, from prostitution to gambling, and more if you have the coin. We wandered in, and started our attempts at gaining an audience. Lars went to the card table, and after showcasing a great talent at gaming, proceeded to loose his new found wealth to the house, gracefully.

Renn challenged the gaming hall to a game of knivesies. A wrestling game with a couple twists, the diminutive old gnome was a dark horse, but the party all bet on him, and made quite a profit when he tricked the big man he was fighting into stepping off the table and losing.

Still not interest from the King of Spiders, so we shed the cloak and dagger and went straight to his personal boat. A bribe got us in, and some superb roleplaying and die rolling from our faces (bard and paladin, abc this fall...) meant that we didn't even get knifed on our way out. 1000gp of someone else's money bought a sheaf of incriminating papers.

We were sent on another errand by Marshall Kroft. The Queen had announced the name of the King's Assassin. His portrait painter, Trinia, was being accused of poisoning the King over the long period while she was painting his picture. The Marshall was worried that if the Queen's goons got to her before the guard did, that we may never know the truth of what happened. She sent us to pick her up and bring her in first.

This was a skill challenge. We found her apartment, and she was already out the window and fleeing across the rooftops. The game went like this:

The cards laid out are from the Harrow deck. It is a deck of cards made specifically for this adventure path. It can be used like a Tarot deck, or in other ways. Each card is associated with one of the 6 main abilities. To move forward, after the fleeing Trinia, you can make skill checks. The number of checks depends on the number of cards you want to advance. Each card is roughly 1 move action.

The other row represents the ground. If you fall, you move to the other track, and can make checks to get back on the roof, or follow on the ground at a slower pace.
It worked well. Josh chose skills for each ability that came up, so in one case someone had to remember a shortcut (streetwise) and then know that a certain church had a feature they could use to cut even more distance off (religion).

We caught her, and returned her to the guardhouse. We were met by a group of the Queen's men, who took her (over our objections). Field Marshall Kroft was also upset, but there was little we could do.


Good sessions, both. The courthouse mystery would have lost so much in the telling that it was not worth the effort of typing it out. We spent all of one session and the first 1/3 of the second on that one quest.

It is a good example of my love/hate opinion of published adventures. Things like the courthouse mystery are shining jewels of creativity, but there are the dark pits of garbage sometimes. So far, this one has been good. Having a very capable and creative DM helps.

Not everyone enjoyed the skill challenge. There were spots where not many had the skill trained (endurance) and falling down was tough, as it required an athletics or acrobatics roll to get back up. I applaud the method though, and hope we see it again.

Sadly, I missed the final quest in this book. It involved recovering a boy's body from an evil necromancer, and ended with the supposed assassin being rescued by a mysterious man. Next week, we resume with a DM change, Dan will run, and Josh will bring his evil demon of melee doom.


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