12 Jan 2013
Player’s Present: Scott, Johnna, David, Paul, Tod
Summary: Project Mayhem returns to Korth to meet with King Kaius. Phaedra does not arrive with us, but a new person does. His name is Ashin. King Kaius holds a feast in our honor. We announce our preferred Epic Destinies and goals for Project Mayhem. Then we teleport to Wroat, in Breland, to search for Phaedra. With the help of Gnotch, we find a secret subterranean lake with docks under House Medani’s keep that leads to a relatively vulnerable entry point.
After finishing in the Mournlands (where, incidentally, Rune helped Crusher obtain an armbow), Project Mayhem was teleporting to Korth. Somehow, yet again, the teleportation did not go as expected. Some of the group wound up in a frozen, snow-bound land and helped someone named Santa Clause. The adventurers try teleporting to Korth once more.
With a flash and a bang, some of Project Mayhem arrives on a teleportation platform at the gates of Korth. Phaedra is missing. Someone we did not teleport with is on the platform with us. The stranger is a male with grey skin and he’s wearing an outfit made for stealth, and it’s covered in daggers ready for use. He and Shanti are holding brand new red and green rings that appeared out of nowhere. Crusher asks her what it is and she says that she has no idea, but it’s very cool. Then she realizes that it’s a Ring of Greater Invisibility. She tries it out and she disappears from view.
She reappears and the new guy asks where Phaedra is. He also asks if anyone is familiar with the city in front of us. Shanti tells him that she’s very familiar with Korth since she grew up near here.
Runty asks if we should test the new guy’s mettle. The stranger says, “If you’d like to die, try.” Runty laughs heartily at that. Introductions are made. Crusher asks the new arrival what he’s doing here. He says he has no idea. Shanti says he’s stuck with us. Runty and Crusher are wary, so stay behind the stranger as he leads the way with Shanti.
The weight of age of the city is apparent even as we pass under the gates to enter Korth. Many of the stone buildings here appear thousands of years old, their crumbling edifices displaying the decorative arts of a bygone age. And the buildings are as massive as they are old. Many take up entire city blocks and stretch to fill the sky.
A zombie guard asks for our travelling papers. One of its fingers falls off when it checks our papers. A good number of the town guard and militia are hampered by the inconvenience of being undead. U’Garth finds that fact unsettling, along with the strangeness of being in such a large city.
We meet more guards as we approach the castle. They ask what our business is. Crusher and Shanti identify themselves are we are ushered into the castle and assured the King will call upon us shortly.
We go to court, outside the King’s audience chamber, and are eyed by the courtiers with barely contained hatred. They don’t know who we are, nor do they know what transpired during our adventures, or how we came to outrank most of them. They are frustrated and angered by those facts. The Warforged is especially detested due to the Last War. Crusher overhears someone say, “Why doesn’t that lousy Warforged go polish his rod.”
We are called to the King’s presence. Sauda is present. “Welcome, my excellent friends,” says King Kaius. “I see you have added to your numbers. Crusher?” Crusher and Shanti introduce the new members of Project Mayhem.
The last time Project Mayhem encountered King Kaius, he looked like a prisoner – pale and emaciated. Now he looks much more like the King of Karrnath. “I have fantastic news for you all,” Kaius says. “The farms of Karrnath thrive and grow. They provide bounty not seen for 500 years. Tonight I intend to give a great feast in your honor. Now, tell me of your latest exploits.”
Grom steps up to the King and kneels and details our adventures against the Lord of Blades in the Mournlands. Kaius reveals that his aids and councilors do not trust him, give him poor reports, and withhold the information he requires to run the kingdom. They are suspicious of Kaius’ sudden reforms and edicts. Kaius does share with Grom that the struggle against the doppelgangers is going well, as far as he knows.
Turning is attention to the new face, Kaius asks for Ashin’s story. Ashin grew up near some ruins with his family outside of the Eldeen Reaches – until they were mostly killed and scattered when raided by humans, wizards, and monsters. He’s been working as a sword for hire since then.
Kaius addresses U’Garth and says it’s unusual to see him outside of the Demon Wastes. U’Garth explains how we came into his life and how he left with us to defend the Living Flame on this side of the mountains.
Crusher takes advantage of the lull in conversation and offers Kaius Project Mayhem’s assistance in gathering information more subtly. Kaius thanks him for the offer and politely declines.
Sauda asks for the King’s attention and kneels before him. “My liege, I beg of you, our group has been able to heal Karrnath and explore the Mournlands. Release me of anything you may ask Project Mayhem to do so I can stay here to study and, possibly, find the knowledge to heal that wound.” The King agrees. He recently received envoys from New Cyre and he wishes Sauda to speak to her and work together.
“At the feast tonight,” says King Kaius, “I wish to hear stories from you. I wish to hear your plans for the future so I may bestow proper gifts upon you. For, any one of you could stand for a third of my army. Now, I bid you go forth and find Lady Phaedra’s whereabouts. Please report back this evening for the grand feast.”
Shanti recalls that Phaedra received a letter that, when read, would take her to exactly where her Uncle is. Her Uncle is the one that sent Phaedra the potion that contained the tektites and poisoned crown.
We head out to the temples to look for someone who can scry at the Tower of the Twelve. Floating above the center of the lightly wooded Wollvern Park is the Tower of the Twelve, a magicians’ college where the dragonmarked houses send their best and brightest. This thirteen-floor tower (with one empty floor to memorialize the lost Mark of Death) is full of classrooms, libraries, and laboratories devoted to arcane research.
We enter and look for the information desk. We ask for someone who can scry. The receptionist directs us to House Medani. Sauda and Runty both realize that it would be a bad idea to go there and ask for information about Phaedra since that is Phaedra’s house. Sauda suggests House Orion since they are experts at teleportation and run the Lightning Rail.
We see someone sleeping at the Orien desk. Crusher knocks his hammer on the floor and the person wakes. “House Orien at your service. What do you want?”
Runty explains that we are looking for a friend who was lost during a teleportation. “What kind of teleportation magic did you use? I don’t detect any House Orien magic on you.” Sauda explains that our friend had a magic letter that teleported our friend to an unknown place and that’s who we are trying to find.
From what we can remember and relate, the Orien gentleman says that it is likely Phaedra and her uncle are at the seat of their House – the city of Wroat. Wroat is the political seat of power for the nation of Breland housing both the royal family and the royal parliament. The great walled city is built on opposing banks of the Howling River just before it flows into the Dagger River. The city also occupies a man-made island that sits in the middle of the river and it is here that Brokenblade Castle as well as the Citadel can be found.
Crusher and Runty want to leave right away. U’Garth and Sauda, being the voices of reason, point out that we would be late for the feast being given in our hone if we went after Phaedra now.
To ready for the feast, Runty finds the best tailor of Dwarven clothes he can. He acquires a magnificent Dwarven outfit and ten golden rings he’s entitled to wear as royalty in House Kundarak. A magewright grows Runty’s beard out and plaits it with intricate patterns.
Ashin readies himself by bathing and cleaning his armor. Sauda presents herself in a beautiful gown done up in her House colors, and ribbons in her hair. Shanti wears bold colors and feels a tad awkward about a large social affair. U’Garth picks the fleas off his hide armor. He also regales himself in such a way that he is an impressive, proud, and iconic representative of his tribe and culture. Crusher puts his buffing machine to use, having the servants polish him to a shine. Drawing on his experience with Dwarves, Crusher adorns himself similarly to his good friend Runty, wearing a kilt and simple adornments. Being a fighter, Crusher also cleans and polishes his weapons and puts them all on for display at the feast. In that respect, U’Garth follows suit. Of course, the weapons are peace-tied.
Entering the feasting hall, we see it is regally bedecked and metropolitan. Musicians play a Cyren tango that people dance to, with varying amounts of success. Several recognizable members of court are already present, including the King and Vedim ir’Omik. There are more than a few disdainful glances pointed our way.
Runty has himself announced by his full name and title, showing that he has all rights and entitlements bestowed upon him by his House. Ashin acquires a bottle of wine by reaching over the bar and helping himself. The bartender momentarily looks like he’s going to challenge Ashin over the act but, instead, uncorks the bottle.
While at the bar, Crusher asks for the largest drinking vessel they have. As it happens, Kaius’ grandfather had an ornate and bejeweled punch bowl that hasn’t been used in years. It surprises Crusher when they bring this out to him, filled to the brim with brew. Raising the bowl, Crusher yells, “For Kaius! For Karrnath!” He’s able to down the whole bowl in one go. Kaius seems a bit put off by the display, but some of the courtiers are pleased with this show of endurance and patriotism. Some, including Vedim ir’Omik, raise their glasses and chug as well. Turning to Ashin and saying in a quiet voice, “Keep an eye out. These affairs tend to go sideways for us very quickly.” Not thrown in the least, Ashin coolly responds, “I always do.”
U’Garth is pleased to see that there are no zombie guards present. Runty tries to talk U’Garth into giving the attendees a show of skill and combat, in the Dwarven feasting tradition. U’Garth doesn’t think it’s a good idea. Before they can begin, dinner is served.
Giant doors open and the second largest table we’ve ever seen is brought in and set for dinner. We are seated near the King. Count Vedim is next to Crusher. The finest Karrnath steaks are served and we dig in to the great feast.
Count Vedim turns to Crusher and says, “So, how are you enjoying my job title? I, incidentally, appear to be doing all of the real work.” Crusher chuckles, but in a good-natured way and he hopes he’s not offending Count Vedim. “I was thinking about this, as a matter of fact. You deserve the title, the pay, and the recognition,” Crusher says as he stands.
Dinging a spoon on the side of a glass, Crusher asks for everyone’s attention. He raises his glass and toasts King Kaius III and for all the growth and healing he’s bringing to the good people of Karrnath. Crusher also brings attention to Count Vedim by acknowledging the work he has done for the good people of Karrnath and requests that he be reinstated as General of the Karrnathi Armies, to which the King agrees. Count Vedim is obviously pleased and the nasty glances have become less hostile.
Runty finds himself sitting next to Lady Fairchild. At first, the Lady is rather cold towards Runty. Intending to lighten the mood and be charming, he says, “This is a fine evening. I am so lucky to be seated next to someone equally fine.”
Lady Fairchild’s attitude immediately warms. “Why thank you!” she says. “I must have been misinformed about Dwarves. In fact, you hardly smell at all!”
Runty responds, “And you are wearing the highest fashion and an alluring perfume.”
“Before this goes any further,” she says, “is it true what they say about Dwarves being hung like a can of tuna?”
“I can not vouch for any other Dwarf, but, for myself,” says Runty, “we shall see.”
Lady Fairchild is smitten.
Dinner is finished and the plates cleared away. King Kaius calls for balladeers for background music, and he announces that he wishes to hear speeches about Project Mayhem’s plans for the future – both as a group and their individual destinies.
Ashin plans on seeing where he can go now that he’s had to start his life over again. He wants to track down his family, and see the streets flow with the blood of those who betrayed his family.
U’Garth wishes to be an Indomitable Champion. He talks about his tribe in the Demon Wastes and wishes to keep darkness at bay with his current tribe, gain more skill, keep great dangers in check, and to bring honor to him and his tribe members.
“A well told tale and an excellent goal,” responds King Kaius.
Crusher says, “From questionable beginnings to having some influence in helping Karrnath becoming a healthier, happier, and even greater nation, my horizons have been opened. I wish to become an Eternal Seeker and have a planar ship in order to vanquish evil at its origins.”
Runty stands and declares that he will be a misfortune to his foes, to any nation that wishes to outreach its destiny and to rain doom upon them as a Harbinger of Doom. He feels that is very Project Mayhem. He thinks he will travel beyond Eberron and come back when he is needed.
Sauda says that she is devoted to her deity and she wants to become the best healer she can and heal the world where she can.
The King and all the court are impressed by our goals and lofty ideals. The feast concludes and is a huge success.
Our business concluded, we visit the quartermaster to equip ourselves for the trip to Breland where we will look for Phaedra. While equipping ourselves, Runty fills Ashin in on the doppelganger situation in his House, Kundarak. A situation we hope to rectify after finding Phaedra.
Once outfitted, we go back to the Tower of the Twelve and are teleported (for 300gp each, except Runty who tips the teleportation operator an extra 300gp to ensure we arrive where we want to go) to Wroat in Breland, the seat of House Medani.
The city of Wroat is the political seat of power for the nation of Breland housing both the royal family and the royal parliament. The great walled city is built on opposing banks of the Howling River just before it flows into the Dagger River. The city also occupies a man-made island that sits in the middle of the river and it is here that Brokenblade Castle as well as the Citadel can be found. Wroat has a more ‘modern’ feel than Korth, more sophisticated, metropolitan, and highly magical. Something that does not sit well with the people is that the head of House Medani has a very close relationship with the king of Breland.
Some members of Project Mayhem have been to Wroat before. Phaedra had been pressed into service by King Boranel ir’Wynarn and Project Mayhem put down a vampire who had been an ambassador of Karrnath who caused some ‘issues.’
We seek out some of the larger alehouses to see if anyone has seen or is talking about someone fitting Phaedra’s description. It doesn’t take long for Sauda and Runty to discover that Phaedra’s uncle Trelib has not been seen in the city for a long time. The talk of the town is the odd fact the House Medani has shut its doors. All of their house hands and guards were called home, to their keep. No one is allowed in our out. Something strange has definitely happened in House Medani as this behavior is unheard of. Even their business has stopped, and that just never happens.
We think we need to get into House Medani’s keep to find out what’s going on. The only problem is that they are they house of observation and intelligence gathering. the Mark of Detection. Their dragonmark even allows them to detect threats.
We start looking for someone who has been in the keep before, hoping they can tell us a way to get into the house. Word of a local excoriate finds us, a person named Gnoch. Word is that he used to be a fairly high ranking member of the House.
Without too much difficulty, we find his house in the slums. The rickety building of sticks reeks. Huge holes puncture broken windows. People have made sport of casting rocks at the house. This is obviously the house of disgraced person. Shanti is hesitant to talk to an excoriate.
A holler from inside, “Go away!”
“Gnoch?” asks Ashin.
“What do you want,” says the gruff voice.
“Your help,” says Runty. “To speak to you. Do you have the time?” says Ashin.
“You have some food?”
“A bottle of wine. And Everlasting Provisions.”
“Show me the food.” An eye peeks out of a missing piece of the door. The voice behind the door asks, “You aren’t here to cause more trouble for ol’ Gnotch, have you?”
Ashin says, “No. We’re here just to talk to you…about the fall of House Medani.”
“The fall of House Medani? Has something glorious happened that I haven’t heard about?”
“We have some news to share, if you let us in.” says U’Garth.
“It soon will, if you help us.” says Runty.
“Alright. What do I have to lose?” The door creaks open. We see a room with a bed, table, and a broken chair.
Ashin begins, “Your former employer has had a bad time since letting you go. House Medani is closed for business.”
Gnotch seems shocked. He mouths the word ‘closed’ as if it were a secret one dared not utter.
Runty continues, “They’ve brought everyone behind doors, and locked them. They’re not letting anyone in or out.”
Gnoch surprises everyone by cackling, hoarse at first after long years of not laughing, then louder. “The heir has returned!” he shouts.
“Oh, yes she has.” says Runty.
“She has? She’s still alive?”
“Is she still a Tiefling?”
“She’s a half-elf?”
“Are you helping us?” asks Runty.
Gnotch gives us another surprise. “I’m the one who hid her. Clearly, you know the story. But, what do you need from me?”
“We need in,” says Ashin. “Are you aware of any less than obvious ways into the house?”
“Go through the sewers. There’s an old delivery system for…unreported trading…during the War…items were delivered to a subterranean dock. It won’t be easy. If they’re on lock-down, it will be heavily guarded. But it’s your best way in. It’s the most vulnerable ingress. Only the House members are aware of it.”
U’Garth presses for more information. “Where would be the most likely place for us to find Phaedra?”
“If they captured the heir, she’ll be in the prisons. They’ll kill her shortly, especially if she went by herself. The prisons, though, are close to the docks.”
Gnotch give us two warnings before Ashin, U’Garth and Runty depart. He tells Ashin that, although he’s surely skilled, he does not have a dragonmark. He says that if Ashin gets caught by two Inquisitives, he’s done for. He also warns them against the creature on the seal of House Medani, a basilisk. If its left eye blinks, we’re in trouble.
On the way out, U’Garth turns back to Gnotch and asks one last question, “As someone who is also currently unable to return to return to their tribe, I would like to ask, why are you excoriate?”
Gnotch answers, “During the Last War, there was a very greedy man named Trelib. He aspired for power and murdered the rightful heads of House Medani. He was going to murder their baby, as well. That’s Phaedra. I took her and hid her away. Trelib was going to kill me, then, but he couldn’t because I was the only one who knew where Phaedra was. But being excoriate has been a fate pretty much worse than death. Death almost seems like a blessed relief. My only hope is if Phaedra survives.”
Runty marks a random image on parchment and hands it to Gnotch. “Keep this,” he says.
Project Mayhem regroups and trades information. Ashin and U’Garth are decided upon to reconnoiter as the stealthiest among the group. Shanti loans U’Garth her Ring of Greater Invisibility, even though she believes there’s no way they can sneak past the Inquisitives.
Entering the sewers does not impede us in the least. Our way to the docks through the sewers turns out to be a little harder than we expected. Sloshing our way through the dark, twisting pipes confuses us and we wander aimlessly for a bit. We walk into a pocket of methane, mired in the muck, and set on by a huge Feymire crocodile. We dispatch him with little difficulty. Runty skins it, saving the leather for use later.
We reach the underground lake beneath the House Medani keep. Ashin, with his Dark Vision, tells us we are on a sandy beach. He can see, across the lake, a few piers and the movement of people. He and Shanti also notice a rickety raft nearby.
2450 xp total
Sound files are here! Prefix for this session’s files are 20130112