This post contains spoilers.
As mentioned before, I missed the 5th session. In it, the party located the body of some tribal people. It had been taken by a necromancer (or necromancer's apprentice?) and they had to delve into some catacombs to retrieve it. In a post game email, Josh narrated the near hanging of Trinia. At the last moment she was saved by a vigilante known as Blackjack.
For this session we were 6th level:
Raiche - Elven Avenger (Mike)
Saturnine - Tiefling Sorcerer (Scott)
Veegor - Longtooth Shifter Barbarian (Josh)
Renn - Gnomish Wizard (Jay)
Saul - Half Elven Bard (Colin)
Kilhan - Eladrin Cleric (Rob)
Lars - Kalashtar Paladin (Jesse)
DM - Dan
Dan's first session as DM for this new book began two weeks after the last one ended. We each had time to do as we pleased, and had agreed to meet at the Inn where Renn worked and Beor drank. As we sit to discuss recent goings on, Saul is possessed by the Harrow deck. It does a reading, through Saul, and it seems to center on yet more drama surrounding the party. One particular note is that Saul's card is the Survivor, and the first card drawn mentions a sickness in the city.
Veegor, in typical PC fashion, insinuates himself into our conversation. He is there when an old acquaintance of Beor's approaches us. His name is Grau, and he is looking for some help with a sick niece. Since we are heroes, we agree to help and we follow him to her home.
Her name is Brianna. The church has agreed to help her, for the low low price of 150 gp. We know that there is no way on earth that her family can come up with that, and besides, Kilhan, Saul, and Renn all have the Cure Disease ritual. While Kilhan goes upstairs to perform his ritual, and Veegor goes outside to perform *his* ritual (carving native runes around the perimeter of the house), some of the party chat with the priest who was at the house.
His name is Ishanni, and he is the temple's best expert on diseases. He was stumped by this one, and amazed at the divine power that Kilhan used to cure it. In gratitude for our help, Brianna's mother invites us to stay for dinner, and we all have a nice visit.
Afterwards, we each go to our respective hideouts for the evening. Saturnine stops by the guardhouse at the north shore on his way home. We had heard a rumor that the night before Brianna got sick (last night), a singe ship was sunk as it tried to enter the harbor. Saturnine asks around, and finds that the ship was lit with only 1 lantern, and refused to answer hails. The guard sank the ship despite the known convention of lighting a ship with only 1 lantern when there is plague aboard.
Saturnine tells the guard captain that he suspects a plague is loose in the city, and then goes home. The next day, plague is loose in the city. Coughing and other symptoms that we saw in Brianna are everywhere, and we go to Field Marshall Kroft to see what we can do to help.
There we meet Dr Davaulos, head of the Queen's physicians. He is Chellaxian, like all or most of the Queen's cronies, and was somehow summoned the day before from Chelliax, many hundreds of miles away, and arrived just that morning. The morning the plague broke out. He and his assistants all have faintly magical masks they wear that identify them as physicians, and they spread out to combat the spread of the disease.
Marshall Kroft, as always, has news for us. She gives us a letter from Vincarlo Oracini, the man who had hired us to find the Queen's 'assassin'. He would like to meet us later. In the interim, we have some errands to run. We stop by Brianna's house to see how her recovery is going, and to ask some questions. She is coming along nicely, and Kilhan is able to make a breakthrough in our investigation.
In an effort to determine where she contracted the disease, he asks her about her day before she got sick. She hesitantly tells him about finding a chest washed up on the shore, filled with silver. Kilhan buys the chest and it's contents from her, and we take it with us. Disturbingly, the chest is radiating some faint magic, as if it once held an enchantment.
Our next stop is the temple, to speak with Ishanni. As a disease expert, he might be able to shed some light on the transmission of this plague. As he ushers us back, we notice in the light of the temple that several members of the party are showing signs of the disease. Now our search is more than altruistic or mercenary, it is for survival.
Ishanni carefully takes one of the coins from the chest, and promises to do his best. We are now able to make our appointment with Vincarlo Oracini. We travel to the appointed location, and he surreptitiously lets us into his training studio. He wants us to get rid of someone for him.
Not what you think. Apparently Blackjack thought that Mr Oracini would be willing to house the woman convicted of regicide in his studio. He has been doing so, but is unsure of his ability to hold off the guard forever. They would very much like to search his place, having reason to believe that he is harboring a fugitive, and he would like us to fix things before the whole mess gets ugly. He has arranged a place for Trinia in the country, and needs us to escort her past the guard and out of town. We agree.
Our plan is for Renn to cast invisibility on her and sustain it as we leave. While being invisible does not make one hidden, the heavy fog this night should make our mission simple. One snag, of course, is that Trinia does not wish to go to this safe house. She does not entirely trust Vincarlo Oracini's motives, and has arranged her own way out. We bend to her wishes, and escort her to the docks. Once the spell is allowed to end, she walks into the mist, and disappears again. Raiche is able to follow enough to catch a glimpse of her in a small boat as it pulls from the dock.
We have been going all day, but we stop in to see Field Marshall Kroft anyhow. She has a couple of things for us to investigate. She is curious about reports of immune people, but her most pressing concern is Rackers Alley.
The disease is fast acting, and the city has already begun the process of carting away the dead. One route has been mishandled, however, and the bodies are being dumped in Rackers Alley instead of taken to Gray with the rest. We are to investigate this.
Sure enough, when we find the alley there is a pile of bodies up against one wall. We are surprised when figures leap down from the rooftops, but Renn quickly pegs them as vampires and we do what we do best.
Saturnine had been sneaking around to the opposite end of the alley, and was caught away from the group by the lead vampire. Veegor charged over to help him, leaving the rest of us with the handful of regular vampire spawn. They try dominating us, which is less effective. The leader gets a lot of mileage out of draining Veegor's blood when she knocks him down past bloodied, but they were over matched to begin with. As they start to fall, instead of dying they transmute into a silvery mist that blends with the ambient fog and drifts away. We are left with no answers.
That was most of it. After I left they did some detective work in the adjoining building, but I have not gotten the scoop on what, if anything, they found.
It felt like a first session. A lot of talking and running around, and a throw away fight at the end to sate our blood lust.
I have yet to be present at a fight that really tested us. The session I missed had a couple moments, I was told, where the big bad trapped our two defenders in a web. Low magic means thrown weapons run out pretty quick, and they were removing their gear to throw as improvised weapons.
This was our first session with what Josh is calling 'unlockables'. Powers that we get to level the playing field, or make up for the lack of magic. Interestingly, if I remember right I was the only one who tried his, and mine failed, so the impact of these powers is still up in the air.
This disease plot point warranted a warning email before the session. Dan wanted us to all know that things may combine to kill our character in ways we could not prevent, and wanted us to be prepared with a backup. This scares me. I really enjoy my character, but he is weak. Any checks along a disease track will almost certainly end in my death.
Another missed session next week. My luck will ensure that it is the session when I die of a horrible wasting disease.