Chapter 01: A Fallen Knight's Artefacts

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Session Number: 3
Date: Monday 23 October 2017
Venue: Densial's
PCs & Players:

Grolg Wiz1 (Tom absent) (kills: none)
Lanthus Rog1 (Ash) (kills: none)
Orgie Drd1 (Max) (kills: none)
Trinn Rog1 (Craig) (kills: none)

XP Awarded: 40 each

We return after a lengthy absence. Unfortunately, with one less player: Matt has decided not to continue. We'll miss you, Matt.

Look for Tilly in the alley where they first met. She is not there. An ear to the ground gives a clue: look for her in the Wounded Dragon inn.

The group go to the inn. Tilly is there. She tells the group to meet her again here tomorrow morning.

The next morning at the inn, Tilly leads the group on a circuitous route to one of Korvosa's more seedy areas. Trinn spots a couple of heavies notice them and peel off in their direction, but when they notice Tilly, they break off, almost apologetically.

Tilly leads the group into an abattoir. The floor is slippery with animal blood. Towards the rear they enter a freezing compartment and head towards a glow at the back. As they get closer, they see Galdren sitting next to a lamp. It is unnaturally warm in its glow.

"Private place for business," Galdren explains. "I hear you're ready for your next job…"

Lady Ellisha Galloway, a patron of the arts, hospitals and oprhanages in Korvosa and a friend of Galdren's, has gone missing. She was due to attend the opening of a new wing at the City Library last night, but failed to show. The wing was dedicated to the Undead Crusade, an event 100 years ago in Korvosa's history. The historians record it as an unsuccessful attack on the city by an undead army, followed by a retaliative strike by the city's army which crushed the undead army and killed its lich leader. Recent excavations in swampland east of Korvosa has revealed artefacts and relics of that fabled battle - items to have been put on public display at the City Museum.

Several items in the collection belonged to the rich and powerful Stavross family. They wanted the items returned. Lady Ellisha reportedly struck a bargain with the family to put the items on public display for a time, on the understanding that they would then be returned to the Stavross family. The items include a suit of armour, a sword and a shield; each inscribed with a tankard heraldric insignia. They are said to have belonged to Sir Kevith Stavross, who was lost in battle during the Undead Crusades. There is a somewhat bawdy song "Brave, Brave Sir Kevith, who bravely turned and fled…" (The Stavross name was somehow omitted from the song.)

The City Library wing remains unopened while Lady Ellisha remains unaccounted for. Considerable resource is being used to try and track her down; all plausible leads are being followed up.

Galdren has a somewhat implausible lead he would like the group to investigate. He has good reason to believe that the same three items that were to be displayed in the new City Library wing are also in the Stavross family collection housed on their estate. But how can the same items be in two places? Surely this means one of the sets is counterfeit. Galdren believes that the City Library artefacts are legitimate, but would like harder evidence. To this end, he produces a clear crystalline orb around 5 inches in diameter. When brought within five feet of the items, it will allow Galdren to inspect them further. A minute is all he says he needs.

"What is there in the way of security?" Trinn asks. Galdren says that the building itself has mundane security - latches and locks… but the collection is protected by arcane magic.

Galdren provides professionally crafted drawings of the objects, the address of the Stavross estate, and identifies the building that houses the Stavross family collection (the smaller building in front of the right wing of the manor).

galdren_background.jpg

The group decide to gather information during the day, and act upon it after nightfall. First, they make a nonchalant reconnoitre of the estate.

The Stavross estate is huge, a square area approaching 40 acres. It is surrounded by ten foot high stone walls, topped with spikes and razor wire. Interestingly, the spikes point inward

stavross_estate_walls.jpg

There appears to be one entrance, a gate with two guards on the street side and four more inside the grounds. Besides the street frontage, the other three sides of the estate border farmland and orchards.

The party then decide to spend the rest of the day finding out what can about the owners of this estate.

The Stavross family are wealthy, and have a reputation of treating their servants poorly. One ex-servant, an elderly woman named Velda, speaks of considerable employee churn as a result. A drunk dwarven stonemason talks of a job at the manor some 3-4 years prior: a section of wall on the left border suffered considerable damage, as if something very large and powerful broke out. It was after this was repaired that the spikes and razor wire were added. Others believe that the Stavross family are cursed werewolves, as evidenced by the howling heard at night emanating from their manor.

Trinn climbs an apple tree that adjoins the right-hand border of the Stavross estate, and settles in to observe the guards' routines. She helps herself to an apple or two, and scrumps a good half dozen more that end up in her backpack. Lanthus and Orgie keep watch on the gate.

  • At 6pm, Trinn observes two guards and two dogs patrol right to left, between the wall and the inside the right-hand wall.
  • At 8pm, the guards at the gate are changed.
  • At 9pm, Trinn sees two guards and two dogs on the same path again, and again about forty minutes later.
  • At 12am, Trinn sees the guards and dogs again, and the others see the gate guard being changed again.

Trinn climbs down and signals for the others to break away for a chat. "I reckon now's our chance," she says. "At worst, those guards come back in around 30 minutes. At best, we've got nearly three hours."

"Where do we get in?"

"Over the wall, right next to the museum building. It's away from the gate, and the building gives us some cover."

"I've got rope," Orgie offers.

"And my blanket should take care of that sharp stuff up there," adds Trinn.

Trinn goes first, looping the rope over a spike, laying her blanket over the razor wire and scaling down the other side. Orgie follows, then Lanthus. On his way down, Lanthus tears the rope in two. Panicking, he grabs the blanket. A spike rips it in two and he falls to the ground heavily with half a blanket in each hand. Part of the rope lands inside the wall, part of it outside.

Trinn uses the length of rope to climb up and out, retrieve the remainder of the rope and her blanket. But she too misses a handhold on the descent and falls, injuring her leg.

Orgie casts Mending on the two pieces of his rope, repairing it.

"Can you do that with my blanket?" Trinn asks.

"No, the rip is too large."

"Lan," says Trinn, "you owe me a blanket."

Trinn tries unlocking the window but cannot. Lanthus tries and succeeds.

stavross_collection_building.jpg

The group quietly steal inside. Directly in front stand two huge statues of humanoids. Another pair stand opposite. Nine wooden cabinets with drawers stand in three rows, each topped with glass cabinets. Orgie's darkvision spots items of the kind they are looking for, in one of the cabinets at the centre of the room - right in front of the main entrance.

Orgie wants to cast a ritual to detect the presence of magic. Trinn reluctantly agrees. Orgie starts. Part way through, there is the sound and light of someone approaching the door.

"Stop!" hisses Trinn. "Now!" Orgie stops murmuring the incantation.

Younger man, elderly man. Lantern. Lanthus spies in horror the open window and scrambles to close it. He manages to do so, surprisingly quietly.

The pair walk straight up to the glass case containing the armour, sword and shield. The group manoeuvre out of sight. The younger man refers to his "untamed" grandfather.

"When was the armour last checked for residual evil?" the younger man asks.

"A month ago, sir," replies the older man.

"Check it again. Have they found the lady yet?"

"Not yet, sir."

"Make sure the sword still does what it's supposed to do."

The pair leave.

Orgie starts casting his spell again. Ten minutes later, the spell is complete. The drawers and glass cabinets radiate necromantic energy.

"No touchy touchy!" Trinn says to her brother. An unnecessary command; Lanthus is staying well clear of the display cabinets.

Orgie retrieves the orb and peers into its crystalline depths. Galdren's face appears out of smoky mist. He instructs Orgie to get close to the objects. Orgie approaches the sword.

Galdren mutters an incantation. "Interesting…" he says. "Move me over to the armour." Another incantation. "Strange… And the shield?" Orgie obliges. Another incantation. There is a pause. "Take me back to the sword."

Back in range of the sword, Galdren is heard uttering another incantation. There is a moment's silence, then a single word from Galdren: "F#¢&!" The orb then explodes. Moments later, there is the sound of activity outside.

Orgie casts Mending on the hundreds of glass fragments scattered over the floor, but the damage is beyond the cantrip's ability to repair.

"We're leaving!" Trinn says. "NOW!"

"What about the orb?" says Orgie.

"No time!"

The three escape through the window. Trinn briefly considers relocking it, then concludes that the effort would be pointless… They have already left behind evidence of their presence.

Lanthus helps Orgie up the rope, then follows. He hears and sees guards converging on the building they were just in, and panics, jumping down the other side. His injured leg protests again. Trinn follows, collecting the rope and the halves of her blanket. They dash off into the orchard, gaining cover from the trees before pealing off towards the road. They gather their wits.

"Where to?" Trinn asks. "Galdren?"

"The orb could be traced to him," Orgie replies. "Plus, we don't even know if he is alive."

"The dump," Lanthus replies. "Should be safe there."

The group make it to the dump. Handfuls other urchins are there, as always: some trying to get rest under makeshift shelters, some quietly sifting through the refuse for anything edible or otherwise of use. Lanthus is right, this place should give them the cover they need.

Morning breaks.

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