These posts will have spoilers.
We all started with a connection to Gaedren Lamm (as suggested by the adventure path). Due to that connection, we all began the session in the Grey (the graveyard district. . .) having risen from the dead to seek revenge on our killer. So, like zombies, but with more cognition, we follow conspicuously placed notes from our pockets to meet at the home of a fortune teller.
Mike - Raiche the Elven Avenger
Scott - Saturnine the mysterious Sorcerer (Tiefling)
Dan - Beor Stoneblood the Dwarven Fighter
Jay - Renn the Gnome Wizard
Colin - Saul the Half Elven Bard
Josh - DMing, also running an Invoker/Shaman NPC
We are joined in the next several adventures by:
Rob - Kilhan the Eladrin Cleric
Jesse - Lars the Kalashtar Paladin
This party meeting is awkward. Everyone is roleplaying their characters well, and as such there is less in the way of "Hey, you are a PC, we get along!", and more "Hey, I don't have time for small talk, my world has recently come to an end!". After we all arrived, the fortune teller came to the front room and told us our fortunes.
It was one of those moments where you can tell that the game designer (and the DM) had good intentions, but where the venue just didn't suit the great new idea. We all took turns getting our fortunes told by Josh. Fun times, when you were up, but downtime while you were waiting.
We all get to know that Gaedren Lamm is behind our individual miseries. Raiche, who was wronged grievously (and is murderous. Never piss of a murderous person) leaves the shop to confront this guy. We all follow, and end up outside a fishery in a bad part of town.
Through Raiche's mysterious knowledge of the interior of the place, we know what to expect. Renn's familiar scouts out the front room, and we enter. Things slide back to killing pretty quickly, and we hack our way to the floor of the processing plant. There, Gaedren's two lackeys fight us, surrounded by kidnapped children. We prevail, but our quarrel was not with his lackeys, so we press on. We find the entrance to the lower level of the fishery through a decrepit old boat filled with spiders. It is then that the Spiderman trap gets sprung on us:
Crappy labelling courtesy of MS paint, since I am at work. We enter from the bottom left door, and Gaedren has a child suspended over a pit. Inside the pit is a crocodile. If we leave, kid will be fine (just a slave is all). If we enter, kid becomes croc chow.
Predictably, we enter and kick his ass. Raiche has a key part in this fight, as he is able to teleport the crocodile out of it's pit and onto the walkway, where Beor keeps it busy. Saul pretty much solos Gaedren at first, but we mop the floor with him and his silly crocodile. The boy is fished from the water, but before we can interrogate the slime, he leaps into the water. The shark infested water.
Session two began with the end of the world. All hell was breaking loose, and Saul, as a loyal servant of the crown, felt that he was needed at the castle. As we ran there, we learned that the king had died, and that magic was returning to the world. Our quest to aid the king was interrupted by an otyugh and some rats that had burst free of the sewer. Again, we had little trouble defeating them, but a couple of us contracted some foul disease in the process. We decided to call it a day, and spend the evening recovering in an Inn. Our ears to the ground find us a place where we can get some possible cures for the diseases, and after we take care of that we head to the castle for a meeting with the queen.
During the night one member of our party let slip that he recognized some of our treasure as belonging to the queen. Thinking to use this as a way to gain an audience with her, we easily get into the castle, and are soon standing before her. She is happy to have her property back, and in addition to paying us, sets us up with a guard captain in the city. This captain has a lot to handle with the recent chaos, and even with the Queen calling in the Hellknights it is too much for her to keep the peace in her part of the city.
And so we meet Field Marshal Cressida Kroft. She does indeed need our help, and our first assignment is to root out a former guard causing dissent in another part of the city. He had taken over an old butcher shop (All the World's Meat) and was handing out free food to citizens and swaying them to his way of thinking. He hated the Queen. On top of that, he financed this operation by hiring his men out as mercenaries. Both destabilizing influences had to go.
After some halfhearted information gathering, we entered the front pretending to be customers. Little did we know that the men had seen us approaching, and loitering, and had a funny feeling that the heavily armed and armored men he saw did not need mercenaries.
The fights could have been short and straightforward. Some guards, some boars, and some caged otyughs. Instead, we managed to alert the guards, Saturnine ran through the boar pen, and Saul and Renn opened the door keeping the otyughs locked up.
Luckily Saturnine is tougher than he should be, and Renn burned a daily to knock the monsters down so the door could be shut. That just left the big boss and his two henchmen at the top of a narrow staircase. It took all or our collective battlefield control to get past the impromptu barricade and into melee with them. We prevailed, and returned to the Field Marshall to report our victory and collect our reward.
A lot more happened. Raiche headbutted a bum and got filth fever. Of course, he swore his oath on the bum first, so he could roll twice. We learned a ton about the backstory and nature of the city that I will be omitting. We had a spat about how much time we were spending investigating rumors. Saul became a Bard, after starting as a Rogue.
The big thing was the head of the fortune teller we found under the former fishmonger/gangster's hideout. Discovering that she had been decapitated for several days, we deduced that the deck of cards she had used to tell our fortunes, the Harrow Deck, was very powerfully enchanted. The only enchanted item we have encountered in the world, so far. It kind of helped to mitigate that feeling I sometimes have. You know it, after a key event you wonder what is motivating your character to stay with this group of miscreants if their goal is accomplished. The Harrow deck has touched us, raised us from the dead, and we are bound to it.
Of course, that means that new arrivals and character death just got a little stickier. Josh has threatened us with death quite a bit so far, and has not followed through with it yet. I imagine it will only be a couple more sessions before he starts pushing the boundaries of what we are capable of handling. It works out well this way, since without magic items we are a little underpowered.
Parts 2 & 3 to follow. . .