Session 21 – The Lost District Score
Also known as Season 2 Episode 9.
The quote of the session was from Bas. He said: “Change happens one coffin at a time.”
Back in Session 4 (about a year earlier in game time), Lord Scurlock gave Veretta the following information:
“An explorer from a recent expedition to the Lost District just died from a strange fever. In her delirium she told a story of a ruined mansion half-sunken in the mire that some of her team investigated (after the fever had started) on their way back. All but one of the group that entered that mansion did not return but the one that did reported finding a hall of ancient relics. Scurlock showed what the survivor had in her possession: an old ceremonial dagger, used in certain rituals. Scurlock remembers that Hall and its owner and is willing to back another expedition there.”
Finally, the Emporium Crew have decided to follow this up.
They spent a lot of the session in a Desperate situation.
Part 1 – Between Scores
- The Emporium crew have been trying to keep a low profile. They have a large amount of gold at the Keep which will almost certainly make them a target if anyone finds out about it. They have so far managed to keep it a secret known only to the core members of the Emporium Crew.
Part 2 – Quiet Life (Hal)
- Hal has gone back to his normal job, selling sweets in the streets of the Duskwall. The Emporium shops are generating Coin again and he is doing his part.
- From time to time he think about Mercy. He was very blunt in his last dealing with her – he threatened her – and now he thinks he shouldn’t have. (He was roleplaying his Reckless Trauma) He wonders what he should do.
- Hal senses that the Greycloaks are becoming more divided than ever. There is a hardcore with Nessa at its heart that is still pursuing revenge against Lord Strangford, but many of the others identify more strongly now with the Emporium Crew. They have a pardon for their crimes and a good job – they are more interested in a peaceful life.
- Hal seeks out Eisele, the leader of the Gondoliers. He remembers that they asked for help a long time ago regarding angry ghosts in the canals. He wonders if they are still having trouble. He meets with Eisele (Consort = ‘4’) and she expresses surprise. There are still corpses turning up in the canals but there are fewer angry ghosts than there were a year ago. She thought that they had done something to tidy up the situation. (Bodies in the Canals (Gondoliers) – now 1 of 6). The consequence is that the trail has gone cold – they don’t have any leads for him.
- Thinking over what Eisele has told him, Hal suspects that the Umbra Hunters may have been involved somehow given that the number of dead bodies in the waterways decreased about the time that the Umbra Hunters were wiped out. Hal wonders about Bas’ friend Eckerd who has been known to steal corpses. He asks Bas about Eckerd but Bas has no information that Eckerd might be involved. They fill Veretta in.
- In a private moment, Hal asks Nessa why she is so bent on ruining Lord Strangford. (Consort = ‘6’ – Greater Effect). Nessa swallows and goes to retrieve a picture frame that she has been keeping safe. She shows it to Hal – it shows a younger Nessa with a young man. She says that the man in the picture was her husband, and Lord Strangford had him killed. Hal is pretty shocked by this revelation.
Part 3 – A Meeting with the Dean (Bas)
- The Dean has been leaving Bas alone, giving him a lot of the equipment and resources that he needs to further his prosthetics business idea. However, the Dean’s offer for ‘hybridisation’ sticks in his mind. It gnaws at him (he has the Trauma ‘Obsession’).
- Recalling that the body of the fishwoman is still in the Morgue (from Session 17), Bas decides to conduct an inspection of the body. He makes a Study roll (and gets a ‘4’). Hence he is successful but there is a consequence. He decides that the fishwoman is not one of The Dean’s works – there is someone else out there who is performing transformations. Parking the thought of finding them, he decides to have a further conversation with The Dean. The consequence is that The Dean is going to put him in an awkward position.
- The Dean still views Bas as a trusted ally (thanks to a Critical success in a previous session) and when Bas asks him about hybridisation, The Dean tells him all about his viewpoint on the Church of Ecstasy and also the perfection of ‘demons’ (who are also without the evils of the ‘spirit’). The Dean talks about hybridisation being a stepping stone to demonhood and he encourages Bas to think about it. Bas remains curious and interested. He asks The Dean how hybridisation is actually conducted and whether it is a surgical procedure. The Dean laughs and says that he will introduce Bas to Shuluth, one Setarra’s loyal servants. The Dean says that Shuluth has a quantity of vials of dark purple ink which trigger the transformation process.
Part 4 – Keep An Eye Out (Nia)
- Nia keeps a low profile, keeping an eye out for any whisper that word of the recovered gold may have leaked out. She visits Volaris at the Veil (in Nightmarket) and keeps up the pretence that they are storing ‘special candies’ in the Veil’s basement.
- A Fortune roll is made (it is a ‘6’) and nothing untoward has happened. Nia gets to know Volaris a little better, and makes sure that she will be notified if Clan Vulk returns (or escapes from Ironhook Prison)
Part 5 – Acquiring Silver (Leander)
- Leander has been very busy running the Centuralia Club (and running a little business on the side). Some of the Club members are still cool towards him but most have accepted his presence.
- In the background, Leander has calculated the amount of silver and tin that he will need to acquire and is making arrangements to purchase it. (which requires a significant amount of Coin to be spent…. quietly. He makes a Sway check to do this and gets a ‘Critical’ so it is extremely quiet. No one has a clue what Leander is doing)
- In terms of what is happening to Nyryx, a Fortune roll was made and again, a ‘Critical’ was achieved (on two dice – far out!). So, everything seems to be going her way for now – that means that Malista has introduced Nyryx to others of the ‘faithful’ – those who worship her as the ‘right hand’ of the Shining One. There are only five of them, but they will follow her. With a Critical, I think I’d also suggest that Malista has found a willing, more permanent host for Nyryx to inhabit but the transition hasn’t happened yet. Leander is just getting used to Nyryx walking around in Malista’s form. (Note that Bas still hasn’t realised that Malista is back. She is his Negative contact.)
Part 6 – A Visit to Lord Scurlock (Veretta)
- Figuring that Lord Scurlock might allow them to use the forge in North Port if they do him a service, Veretta goes to see Lord Scurlock to see if he still wants items recovered from the Lost District.
- A Fortune roll is made (again it is a ‘6’) and Veretta is made to feel welcome. Oskar offers him hot chocolate, and there is a warm fire in the fireplace. Lord Scurlock is prompt in his appearance. He comments that Veretta’s crew has been ‘very busy of late’, and he asks after the artefacts of Kotar that they recovered. Veretta attempts a Consort and the result is a ‘3’, which drops him into a Risky situation. Lord Scurlock is not happy with Veretta when it is implied that the Circle of Flame have acquired the two items. Scurlock remarks that he may have to prioritise the whereabouts of the Hand of Kotar (which he has previously indicated is in a place behind a door that cannot be opened).
- Veretta tries to negotiate with Scurlock (now Risky situation, and the result is a ‘5’). As such, Scurlock pressures Veretta that he wants at least one of the Artefacts recovered and if he is not able to recover either the Heart or the Eye, Scurlock will ‘insist’ that Veretta head into the Deathlands to recover the Hand.
- The conversation turns to the Lost District. Lord Scurlock confirms that he would like some of the items recovered from the mansion that is being slowly swallowed by the marshlands. It has been some time since he asked for this task to be carried out – he remarks that two other groups of experienced parties have been sent and neither has returned. He asks Veretta to be careful and warns him that many of the ways into the Deathlands are being watched by the Spirit Wardens. If and when he returns with the recovered artefacts, Lord Scurlock would like to inspect them and decide which he wishes to keep.
- Veretta asks about the one who survived the last trip to the mansion and brought back the dagger. Scurlock gives him her name (Agatha) and says that she is still alive. Veretta asks to see the dagger that was recovered and Scurlock offers to loan it to him – but he warns him that the dagger is ‘very sharp’.
- When asked about North Port, Scurlock is not particularly happy with Veretta asking about access to the forge but he tells Veretta that he’ll consider it. Scurlock also comments that Veretta will find the mansion ‘fascinating’. Veretta wonders if the mansion has a connection to the Penderyn family (this later turns out to be true).
Part 7 – Further Preparations (Veretta, Bas, Hal)
- A parcel arrives the next day, hand-delivered by Oskar (who had to hunt for it amongst the relics in the basement). Veretta takes it back to the Keep for inspection. The dagger looks like it is made of carved bone. It’s very ornate, and exceedingly sharp. It will cut through flesh, bone, even iron as if the substance was nothing. Impressed, the crew look into the ghost field (Attune = ‘6’) and note that this dagger is invisible in the ghost field and cuts through items leaves no residue or trace. None of them have seen anything like this – it is almost as if this has come from another world.
- Guessing that they will need a narrow boat to reach the ancient gate more easily, Hal meets with Eisele from the gondoliers in order to borrow a boat. He makes a Consort roll (and gets a ‘5’) with the result that they gondoliers will loan him a boat, but on the condition that Syra goes with him to make sure the boat is returned.
- Meanwhile, the Emporium’s Rovers (Elite Deathlands Rovers) figure out another way to reach the Lost District. It’s too problematic to exit via the Ancient Gate to the south, cross the Dosk River and then approach the Lost District from the south. Instead, they suggest using the aqueduct which crosses The Mist (the river that borders Duskwall to the east). Normally this route from Redfog Tower would be watched by the Spirit Wardens but they believe that this presents the best route out given that a storm is imminent.
- With the information regarding Agatha, Veretta easily tracks her down (Fortune = ‘6’). She lives in Brightstone and he is able to engineer a chance meeting with her at the local tea shop. Veretta makes a Consort roll and gets a ‘6’. She is a sprightly old woman with sharp eyes. She immediately picks him as a Penderyn (because of his birdlike eyes) and they sit down for tea and crumpets. Veretta asks her about the venture out into the Lost District when she recovered a bone dagger for Lord Scurlock. She explains that the fever which wiped out her companions was probably that of a Plagueblighter’s curse – she was very sick at the time but she survived. She mentions that it is probably out there somewhere. She knows of no curse for the fever except time. She makes a gesture which Veretta recognises – it is the same sign language that the Spirit Wardens use. She is trying to figure out whether Veretta is a Spirit Warden.
- Recognising the signals but unable to respond in kind, the conversation shifts abruptly. Agatha wishes him well and tells him to be careful – she politely ends the conversation and excuses herself. Veretta is left surprised and a little shocked that Lord Scurlock may have associations with the Spirit Wardens.
Part 8 – The Score Begins – Across the Aqueduct (Veretta, Leander, Bas, Hal, Nia)
- They wait for the storm to break. The heavens explode and rain pours down.
- An engagement roll is made (2D) and the Dice Gods are not happy. The Emporium Crew begins the score in a Desperate situation.
- The venture consists of Veretta, Leander, Bas, Hal, Nia and six members of their Deathlands Rovers (led by Ruskin). Half of the Cohort is going with them. (No one was prepared to trust Leander and leave him behind with easy access to the gold)
- Scaling Redfog Tower, they then make their way along the slippery aqueduct in the pouring rain. A Group Prowl results in a ‘6’ and the group crosses The Mist (river) without incident and they reach the Lightning Barrier.
- Veretta then uses his Fine Lightning Hooks to open a breach in the barrier and lets them through. (He succeeds with a ‘6’ on his Attune)
- Continuing along the aqueduct high above the Lost District, they find that there is much more damage on this side. Another Group Prowl results in a ‘6’ and they reach one of the old towers which supports the structure. They climb down (another Group Prowl with a ‘6’) and make the descent safely.
- As a result of the many successes, the situation is now Risky rather than Desperate.
Part 9 – The Lost District – the Drowned Quarter (Veretta, Leander, Bas, Hal, Nia)
- The streets are like rivers and many of the buildings in the southern parts of the Lost District have been swallowed by marshland or swept away. The rain comes down in sheets, obscuring vision. They see occasional lights moving to the north but Ruskin warns them not to follow them (Tier 4 roll for Elite Rovers = ‘6’). Ruskin doesn’t say what they are, but he implies that they are some sort of lure.
- They continue along what used to be streets and Bas unluckily half-trips over a stone block which should not be there. Investigating, he finds that it is the statue of a man in a crouching position. The statue looks worn and has sunken into the marsh but this is very unusual indeed. In the darkness, Bas inspects it but can’t determine anything about it (very difficult conditions to attempt a Study – he got a ‘3’). A new Active Clock ‘It Finds You’ is now 2 of 4. Nia jokes unhappily that perhaps there is some sort of creature lurking here that can turn people into stone.
- Continuing on, they reach the grounds of the mansion in question. There are other statues here and nearby. Some wear surprised expressions and some look horrified. There are even a few Spirit Warden statues here. Nia decides to take Lord Scurlock’s dagger and peel the mask off the statue’s face. Sure enough, there is a real face underneath – these are no carved stone statues. These are petrified people.
- The Emporium Crew look at each other grimly, and Leander decides to lead a group Survey on the area. He gets a ‘6’. There are six statues in all, three are (were) Spirit Wardens. One of them has an arrow stuck in him – even the arrow is made of stone. Clearly the enchantments that the Spirit Wardens carry are no match for whatever did this.
Part 10 – The Ruined Mansion (Veretta, Leander, Bas, Hal, Nia)
- The Emporium Crew decide to set up a defensive perimeter whilst Nia sneaks into the house to check it out. The Rovers assume hidden positions and they establish an alarm mechanism should they see anything.
- Nia makes a Prowl roll and gets a ‘5’. She slips into the lopsided mansion and explores the front rooms. There is some water damage here, a smashed mirror in the entrance way and an obstruction which she has to crawl under in order to reach the hall where Agatha recovered the dagger. Judging that the area is safe enough to get the rest of the crew in, she goes back to tell them. Hence Veretta, Leander, Bas and Hal join her. (The Active Clock ‘It Finds You’ is now 3 of 4)
- The hall has a series of alcoves and in each alcove there is a column on which an item might be displayed. But there are none here. Bas lights a lantern and the group begins searching the area (Leander leads a Group Survey and the result is a ‘6’) As such, they find the place where the dagger came from. Veretta also notes that the Penderyn family crest is carved into the stonework at the back of the hall, suggesting that this belonged to one of his ancestors. But most importantly, they find evidence that there is a mechanism behind one of the alcoves which would open another chamber. Searching further, they find the trigger but the mechanism is no longer working.
- Unperturbed, Bas sees this as a challenge. He works with Nia and Leander to figure out how to manually drive the mechanism (and the Group Tinker results in a ‘6’) and after some time, the old gears grind into life and a doorway at the back of the alcove is opened, revealing the iron rungs of a ladder leading down into the darkness.
Part 11 – The Lower Level (Veretta, Leander, Bas, Hal, Nia)
- Realising that the chambers below are likely to be partially flooded, Nia elects to go down first. Tying a rope to her buckle and donning her goggles, she soundlessly descends into the pitch black. (She makes a Prowl and gets a ‘5’ – the consequence is now that they are now back in a Desperate situation. The Active Clock ‘It Finds You’ remains at 3 of 4) One of the iron rungs breaks off as she descends but she does not let it fall. She pockets it instead. However, when she reaches the flooded corridor below, she finds there is no way of moving through the waters and not disturbing the surface.
- Carefully, Nia makes her way to the next chamber. She finds herself in an old library. Most of the books here are ruined by the water, but it looks like there are some cabinets above the water line. She notes another way out but elects to get the rest of the group before continuing on.
- The rest of the Emporium Crew quickly join Nia in the library. Veretta looks at all of the ruined books and feels a sense of dismay. Nevertheless, the Crew professionally starts to hunt through what is here. (Group Survey = ‘4’). There are precious books above the waterline in a sealed case, there is also a Spirit Warden uniform (old styled) and a silver Spirit Warden mask in the style of a phoenix. The runes on the mask are Tycherosi. There is also a locked safe built into the wall.
- The consequence of the ‘4’ is that the Active Clock ‘It Finds You’ is completed – at 4 of 4. (the consequence is revealed later)
- Leander and Nia look over the safe door. Between them, they have the tools to crack it open (Group Finesse results in a ‘6’). Inside there is 4 Coin of valuables, plus a number of preserved documents (in wax-capped scroll tubes) and a large orange gemstone about the size of a man’s fist.
- Leander identifies the gemstone as a jacinth (he is a jeweller, after all). However, as soon as he handles it, the demon imprisoned within seeks to dominate him. He suffers Level 3 Harm, which is promptly reduced down to Level 1 (Psychically Frazzled). Shaking violently, Leander stammers out that there something ‘evil’ inside.
- Veretta takes a look (Attune = ‘6’) and identifies it as a fire demon. Taking the jacinth from Leander, the demon inside immediately starts trying to convince Veretta to free it and promising him riches and power if he does so. Laughing, Veretta simply tells the demon to be quiet and he wraps the gemstone and pockets it. The demon falls silent.
- The Crew explores further down the tunnel and finds the remains of Veretta’s ancestor – all that remains of him is a skeleton. He appears to have died from being hit by an arrow. A curved blade which is of Iruvian make lies in the water beside him – despite being immersed for a long time, rust and decay have not affected it. Veretta takes the sword and the ring on his ancestor’s bony finger.
Part 12 – Retreat and Return (Veretta, Leander, Bas, Hal, Nia)
- Deciding that it is time to leave, the crew climb out of the flooded tunnels and rejoin the others on the ground floor of the mansion. However, all is not well. All six of them have been turned to stone.
- (When the Active Clock was completed, I rolled a Fortune roll based on their Tier to find out how badly Ruskin and the others were affected by their run-in with this world’s version of a Medusa – and they got a ‘2’. Hence the whole lot of them were taken out. They didn’t even have a chance to raise the alarm.)
- Shaken and fearful, the Crew remains in a Desperate position. The rain is pouring down and they know that something dangerous is out there.
- Hal decides to use Attune to peer into the ghost field and find what is hunting them. After looking hard for some time, he gets a ‘5’ and sees it. The creature is humanoid but its hair seems to be in motion as if it is alive. Given that this is a Desperate situation and he got a ‘5’, the creature has an arrow nocked and it fires at him, inflicting Level 3 Harm. He checks Armour and makes a Resistance roll to shake it off, reducing the effect to Level 1 Harm (‘Pierced by an Arrow’).
- Despite being quite frazzled, Leander follows Hal’s lead and takes careful aim through the pouring rain with a pistol. (He pushes himself to get an extra Die and accepts a Devil’s Bargain to increase the effect to Standard. The cost is that the pistol can’t be fired again.) The result is a ‘5’. As such, just as the creature fires another arrow, Leander takes a shot. The creature is hit, and falls back into the mud, apparently wounded. It does not reappear. However, the arrow strikes Leander in the shoulder for Level 3 Harm (which he Resists and reduces to Level 2 Harm – “Shot in the Arm”). He drops the pistol into a muddy pool which renders it unusable.
- Leander curses whilst Bas debates whether to remove the arrow now or later. Everyone wants to leave before the creature comes back but Hal isn’t prepared to leave Ruskin and the others behind. Veretta confirms (using Attune = ‘6’) that their spirits are still bound to the statues for now but he speculates that the spirits will become unbound in the next few hours. Hal convinces Veretta to use his spirit jars (which he always carries) to capture the spirits of the six men and then they can figure out what to do next. Bas brightens, wondering if it might be possible to reverse the petrification effect, and Leander screams as Bas pulls the arrow out and then proceeds to bind the wound.
- With their loot and the spirits of the six Deathland rovers, the Emporium Crew hurriedly return to the aqueduct. They make the climb and reach the lightning barrier (Nia leads the Group Prowl and the result is a ‘6’). This returns them to a Risky situation.
- Veretta then opens a breach in the Lightning Barrier (Attune = ‘6’) and the crew make their way back across The Mist (river) and back into Duskwall (Group Prowl, led by Nia, resulting in a ‘6’).
- They return to Duskwall with a trove of artefacts from the house of Talos Penderyn, one of Veretta’s ancestors who was a Spirit Warden.
- Reputation: +2
- Heat: +0 (because it was very quiet and outside of the city)
- Coin: +4 — bringing the total to 16 Coin including the following:
- Side Business Action (The Centuralia Club): 5 Coin
- Side Business Action (The Emporium business): 4 Coin
- Individual XP: Veretta (2xp), Leander (2xp), Bas (3xp), Hal (3xp), Nia (3xp) plus a lot of XP for Desperate situations
- Crew XP: +3
- Faction Adjustments: None
– The Enemy of My Enemy Is My Friend - 5 of 8
– Bodies in the Canals (Gondoliers) – now 1 of 6 (made some improvement here)
– Avenge their Expulsion (Greycloaks) - 5 of 8
From here, Veretta has a number of artefacts that he wishes to investigate. Leander is still working on getting the silver and tin to launder the gold that they have. Hal is now thinking about how to bring back his rovers. Bas is currently obsessed about many things.
Given that the crew has a large amount of Coin, this enables them to make many rolls on these Long Term Projects.
The group has decided that the next sessions (22 and 23) will be focussed on disrupting Strangford’s plans. As such, I have some further information to reveal to the players to help them to plan and focus their attention.
The intention is to end the season at the end of session 24 (Season 2 Episode 12) and then we are going to park the game for about six months. The players are enjoying this but would like to end on a high and do something else for a bit.