Thursday, June 20, 2019

More were-rats, fewer regrets

Our DM essentially decreed that we got a room at an inn after our fight with the were-rats; we started this session by waking up after a variety of nightmares. Since most of us are elves, and therefore trance instead of sleep, these were clearly some sort of magical attack. Clearly, we needed to hunt down the Blessed One that the were-rat leader Squim mentioned when we questioned him after the last battle, and we needed to murder him to death.

Only... we were waking up in an inn. So we went downstairs for breakfast, ate, and tried to gather some information and get our bearings.

Reverend Mercy (our cleric, the apostolic snake handler) approached a couple of elderly elves at a table and began asking them if they knew of the healing love of Artemis. Upon realizing that the older man was staring at his mouth, he began talking louder.

Marshall Mercy doesn't speak Elvish.

So he dragged the wizard over to translate for him, which the kid did... after a fashion. Except that the elderly couple were both deaf. So Martini did the translating instead, albeit not completely accurately. Mercy prepared a blessing for the older couple and managed to apply it before they politely ran off.

The wizard wandered off and talked to a few other people. It seemed the Baron was due to give a speech tomorrow. Also, Captain Merduc Forum was missing, and had been since just before the beginning of the festival.

Azrael (the wizard) came back to Ruin to say that we should find the Baron and make sure he supports our cause. Ruin was more cautious; he'd been assigned to gather information about how the populace regarded the return of the True King and return that intelligence to the True Elves. Still... maybe.

In talking to a few people, Ruin learned of a local smith, Shuma, who was both respected and plugged into the community and might be able to provide some halfway reliable information.

Martini, meanwhile, went to talk to the bartender and heard a fairly solid rumor that there had been a number of murders -- or at least bloody crime scenes lacking bodies -- in Southspur. She did a really good impression of being upset and possibly about to faint at the mention of all that blood.

Keeping with our original mission, we tried to go see the Baron. His keep was locked up tight, and even after passing liquor through the gate all we learned from the guards was that it had been locked down since the attack in the market yesterday -- presumably the same attack that we'd defeated.

With the Baron unavailable, we went to the blacksmith. She was a dwarf and a skilled craftswoman, housed in a quaint smithy that fit the local architecture. (We'd also run into her son in the market last session; he's... prone to taking credit for her work when he's trying to make a sale.)

Ruin stepped up, speaking Dwarvish, and charmed her. (Just charisma, not magic or any sort of domination.) He opened by asking about the Baron. The Baron, it turned out, had never been that popular, but just lately there had been a lot more crime on the streets and the act of locking down the Baron's Keep was unusual to the point of unprecedented. Things were starting to get bad, and they were only going to get worse. Shuma thought that the rise in crime and the appearance of the were-rats might be connected.

There's a belltower in the middle of town, and it's said to be overrun by rats. We didn't go there immediately, of course; instead, we let the cleric wander around asking questions like the missing guard captain apparently had.

A pair of were-rats attacked him. We jumped in, and eventually defeated them: barely, sort of. I will note for the record that damage reduction is a helluva drug. The surviving were-rat (thoroughly intimidated) directed us to the bell tower, but we went back to the smith to re-equip with silvered weapons first.

So when we reached the bell tower, Martini had a silvered rapier and a silvered shortsword, while Ruin was wearing his falchion and a silvered greatsword in an X across his back.

The Keeper of the Belltower didn't want to let us in. We.... broke in anyway. Then we fought our way up the tower, facing were-rats and dire rats. Mercy is supplementing his melee with spells to increase his attacks; Martini is angling for flanking positions where she can add Sneak Attack damage, Ruin is basically beating things down and trying to help with flanking, and Azrael is mainly exercising battlefield control spells -- blinding our enemies, or hitting them with Stinking Cloud, or like that. With silvered weapons, things go much more our way, and we move up the tower clearing out one floor at a time.

Eventually, we reach the fourth floor, where Squim -- the were-rat leader that we released last session -- is lying on the floor being wildly sick, while two other were-rats and the bell keeper are up in the rafters. Azrael hits the ones in the rafters with Stinking Cloud, and Mercy sets fire to the rafters. Ruin and Martini try to question Squim... and succeed.

There is a bookshop in the West Hill district, where Squim meets with the Blessed One in a back room. Identities are secret; Squim only knows the Blessed One as a hooded figure who delivers instructions from the Speaker In His Dreams. Squim is of the opinion that the Speaker is in control, and may be controlling the Baron as well.

Our cleric is running a kind of DC Comics Two-Face vibe, drawing snakes from his pouch at random to express the judgement of Artem-hiss on our enemies. (His snake-pouch holds three snakes; one of them is venomous, the other two harmless.) The bell-keeper (human, as far as I know) didn't survive this test, but one of the were-rats did. Mercy pronounced the goddess satisfied and turned it loose.

At this point, we think the Speaker In Dreams is the real threat, but the Blessed One is the only way we have to find it.

After that? We murder the Speaker to death, of course. At least, that's Ruin's plan right now.

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