Author Topic: Session Summary #22  (Read 79 times)

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Offline Nathan Sherman

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Session Summary #22
« on: May 12, 2020, 09:10:06 AM »
Session #22 - The Drakkellian Alliance

The session starts right after surviving the pirate attack and capturing the pirate ship.

The party licks their wounds, heal the wounded and lock up the surviving pirate captain, ships mage and long surviving deckhand in the hold of the Sea Had.  They search the pirate ship for treasure and come up with a total of 2875. A later, more thorough search finds another 150 gold that was cleverly hidden. They give Captain Lantro of the Sea Hag 875 of the gold for the damages to his ship and to give to the loved ones of the crew that were lost. He promises to deliver the funds as well as pay tribute to the sea god in request for a good watery rest.

The spend the rest of the day and the next morning returning both ships to sea worthy condition with spare sales and rigging that each ship carried, just in case of fireballs on the open ocean. This is the Pirate Isles after all.

The next day they set sail with Captain Lantro and three of his crew on the Sea Hag and four of his crew manning the pirate ship. Theren, Lutheo and Ceress sail on the pirate ship helping out and Otep, Akronos and Lutheo magical stead Cato remain on the Sea Hag, each taking turns watching the prisoners.

It takes them three more days to sail across the Sea of Chaos and make port in Drakkell. Aside from some sightings of sails on the horizon there are no other encounters before making it in to port.

The party discusses it and decide to turn the pirate crew into the authorities in Drakkell for what ever bounty they might be able to collect. They will also sell the pirate ship and give a portion of the sales to Captain Lantro and his crew.

While sailing into Drakkell, they hear stories about the impressive city from the ships captain and some of his crew that have been to Drakkell as well as from Akronos who grew up there.

The Drakkellian Alliance is a political and economic unification between a number of wealthy guilds, cities and towns in the central south coastal region of Ithria. At the heart of this great alliance are five massive cities: Drakkel, Vogue, Ithell, Penketh and Grimstone. Drakkell is the largest city and leads the Alliance.

Politically, the realm is ruled by an alliance of guilds. Each guild is a business organization with its own leaders, employees, rulers, ships, guards and caravans. The guild houses fund their own private armies, spies, assassins and so forth which give them a great deal of influence throughout the nation and beyond.

The guilds are scattered throughout the nation. Some guilds are located entirely within Drakkell while others maintain their headquarters elsewhere. Regardless of their geographic location, all guilds have at least a token presence in the city of Drakkell. Those located outside Drakkell often run their own small city, little more than a village, which is home to its employees, warehouses, support businesses and more. Most guild houses specialize in a particular commodity and may have subdivisions within it each specializing in a particular facet of the business. Some guilds specialize in security, protecting the caravans of other guild houses and lending out warriors. Fantastic rivalries often flare up between guild houses. Alliances are forged, betrayed and made again in an endlessly corrupt game of politics and business as guilds struggle for status and position against each other.

Through out the nation there is an active and almost cutthroat business environment. All manner of monetary transactions are legal and encouraged. Prostitution, gambling, drugs, slavery and protection rackets are all legal, common, organized and of high quality, as long as you can afford the bill. The citizenry is a melting pot. All races can be found there. It is assumed that everyone is there to buy or sell and so everyone is welcome.

The city of Drakkell is a large, wealthy and powerful city that holds much political and military power in the south. It is one of the five major cities that, along with towns and a group of economic guilds, form an economic alliance. Situated at the mouth of the Merchant's Highway river and several trade roads, it is a major trade center. It's booming economy has made it a beacon of civilization. Drakkell is the largest of all the cities that form the Drakkellian Alliance and serves as the national capital.

The Drakkellian Alliance is widely known for its festivals, games, gambling and entertainment. This reputation is especially true for the capital city of Drakkell that is seen as a city of sin and debauchery by many. The locals see it as good clean fun.

Drakkell differs from most other cities in Ithria. For one thing, it is a very clean city. The city maintains a brigade of workers whose sole function is to keep the streets clean and make repairs as necessary. This band of about 200 commoners is paid by the city officials and takes great pride in their work. They are protected by the city guard and enjoy certain privileges about town.

Drakkell has a refined air about it. Unlike the posh civility and blatant snobbery of Vogue, Drakkell maintains order because it's good for business. There are beggars, pickpockets and such in Drakkel, but the city keeps a close eye on them. They are simply the lowest tier in a complex economic tapestry. There is another saying in Drakkel: "Poverty must exist so that the nobles may enjoy their wealth".

Often called the "City of Coffers" and the "City of Coins", Drakkell is an opulent city with luxurious trappings on every wall and door, a spectacle of riches around every corner. There is a saying - "Drakkell wears its wealth on the outside". This undoubtedly refers to the architecture. Every building is adorned with columns, bas relief, sculptures, marble, gold leaf and other expensive touches. Between buildings, one will find statues, parks, gardens, cobblestone walkways, reflecting pools, sculpted shrubbery, fountains and elaborate gateways. It is quite obvious that this city has been methodically planned out and unashamedly crafted for one specific goal - to boast its wealth. And at this, the city planners have succeeded.

The Great Bazaar is the largest and oldest continually active market center west of the empire. In fact, the market existed before the city itself did. It's a grand spectacle... Goods and services from all nations, cultures, anything that could ever be imagined can be found in abundance here. Vendors enjoy a reduced trade fee, to encourage the growth of new businesses. People from all the lands, even savages, can set up shop here as long as they've got something to sell. The Bazaar is open all hours of the day and every day of the year. Political upheavals and wars throughout history have not been able to stop it or even slow down the thousands of people who continually flock here. The Bazaar never, ever closes. It has been and will always be. The Bazaar is a circular area with three tiers, each inner tier being set 3 meters lower than the next. This gives the market a bowl shaped appearance and allows everyone to see the entire market place no matter where they stand. Flanking the Great Bazaar are a number of side markets. The side markets are smaller than the bazaar and each is focused on a specific commodity.

The party hear some of the common sayings in Drakkell that further illustrate the true nature of the city : Secrets don't keep long in Drakkel;; The blood of Drakkell is coin; Coins have ears as well as mouths; Some people will tell you there is more to life than money. These people haven't been to Drakkel.

Once the Sea Hag docked in Drakkell the party disembarked and found Holik the junior harbor master. They tell him that they have captured some pirates at sea and wanted to know where to take them to turn them in.

The harbor master instructed them to take the pirates to the city guard house three blocks away.

Up to this point, the pirates had been gagged, tied with their hands behind their back and naked in the Sea Hags cell in the bottom of the boat.

The party gave each of the pirates their trousers back to wear for the walk through the city but nothing else. Walking through the city, the party got to experience how busy and crowded Drakkell streets are, especially down by the docks. The activity on the streets during this mid day afternoon was high. Carts pulled by horses vie for space with merchants, ships porters and street vendors.

After walking a block through this busy hustle and bustle of the city traffic the pirate mage stumbled and fell against a passing wagon. As he slid down on it he hooked the gag on a piece of wood and took it out of his mouth, receiving a nasty scratch on his cheek in the process. Spitting the sock out of him mouth that the gag held in place he started to cast a spell.

Theren responded quickly and tried to Charm him but unfortunately, that failed. Before anyone else in the party could react, the mage disappeared in a cloud of silvery mist. Otep runs over and attacks the space that he last saw the mage in, just in case he was invisible but still in the same spot, not realizing that the mage used Misty Step to get away from the party and then start running down the street towards an ally way.

Lutheo see that the deckhand is backing up and looking around so he grabs him and tries to drag him towards the captain to prevent them from both scattering.

Akronos moves up to the pirate captain and lets him know that if he tries to run that Akronos will light him on fire before before he can take two steps. Ceress contacts his falcon familiar and looks though its eyes to scan the street but doesn’t see the shirtless mage from its vantage point.

Theren chases after the mage and throws a Mind Spike at him, hoping that if the mage fails his saving through that Theren will be able to track him no matter what he does to escape, but the mage saved against the spell and only took minor damage. Ceress joins in the chase with his falcon searching from above but they loose him after he turns down the alley.

While Ceress and Theren are chasing the mage, Otep helps Lutheo by punching the deckhand and knocking him silly. Instead of waiting for Theren and Ceress to return and giving the captain and deckhand a chance to escape, the party decides to take them to the city guard and turn them in.

The captain of the guard checks over the pirate captain for distinguishing marks but couldn’t identify him until the party showed him the pirates ship. He identifies him as Captain Bema and offers the party a 500 gold reward to capturing him. No reward for the shipmate, but they will gladly execute him along side the captain. The party almost accepts the reward but them Akronos remembers that Drakkellian bartering is considered an art form. Drakkellians don't respect you if you can't barter well. He tells the captain of the guard that Bema is worth 600 gold and they could sell him to the criminal city of Asylum for at least that much. The guard curses that Akronos must be a local based on pushing for more of a reward and he doesn’t think it would go well for the party to try that in Asylum but in the end he gives in and pays 550 for the pirate and his shipmate.

The party returns to the docs and tracks down the junior harbormaster. They tell him that they want to seller the captured pirates ship and ask who the best buyers in town would be.

The harbormaster tells them that they would probably have the best luck selling it to one of the builds and Akronos realizes that his guild that he was a member of before leaving the city would be the best place to start.

Akronos ask him how much they should expect to get for the ship and the junior harbormaster tells them that he is not sure on the value of a used ship of this size and configuration but believes a new ship like this would have cost 10,000 gold.  Given the blood on the decks and signs of recent fire damage he thinks they would be lucky to get half that amount for the ship in its current condition.

Theren offers up and pays the harbormaster a couple hundred gold as thanks for the advice, a sum that Akronos’s and others in the party balk at. Akronos then asks Holik if he can help them prepare the ship for sale. Clean up the blood from the battle and the signs of fire damage. Holik offers to coordinate that for 10 gold pieces which Akronos willingly pays.

Akronos tells the party he will meet them at the Cracked Mug tavern after talking with his guild. He goes and meets with his guild and pays up for the next six months of general membership as well as a sales license good for the next two weeks.

Akronos tells them that he has a ship that he would like to sell to the guild and they set an appointment in two days to meet with the guild procurement officer.

He then joins the party for dinner at the Cracked Mug. The Cracked Mug is a nice family run inn that is famous for their venison pies. Being the first time they have been in a civilized town in weeks and it being Akronos’s home town, he teats the party to a feast. Otep tries Thundermead, a strongly flavored brew made from fermented honey and spices and an unusually powerful intoxicating effect but it’s too sweet for his tastes.

There is an excellent musician playing that night at the Cracked Mug and Theren asks their server about him. The server tells them that his has a silver mandolin pin from the Inn of the Broken Staff, testifying to the high quality of his skill since those are very hard to earn.

That evening in their rooms, the party checks the finger and it points across town to the south east.

The next day they hire a carriage to take them to the south side of town to triangulate the location of the fifth skull.

The carriage takes them along the Long Walk Road and over the river and into the southern side of Drakkell.

They go to the preserve and think that being in the wide open green spaces there would be a good place to discreetly check the finger but find that the preserve is an expensive zoo of exotic animals and they don’t want to pay the price to get in.

In the University District they find a little alleyway and quickly check the finger there. It points to the east so they head to the Murdock Square which might be where the finger pointing intersection is and check the finger again.

This time it’s pointed directly north of them. After walking around the building at the north end of the square, they realize that the finger is pointing to that building. There is a sign above the door that says The Inn of the Broken Staff.

The Inn of the Broken Staff apparently isn’t open for morning or lunch service so they wait in the courtyard for them to open.

Just before the Broken Staff opens at 3 o’clock, a line has already formed to get it. They cue up with other patrons and start a conversation with one of them. He tells the party that the Broken Staff is THE location for the greatest musicians in town, in the entire Drakkellian Alliance. The food and drink are also amazing but the music can’t be beat.

There is a club of sorts of Pinned musicians. To earn your Silver Mandolin is very difficult and is a sign of exceptional talent. A pinned musician gets paid top price to perform anywhere else in town and will often attract a noble patron. They also get in to the Broken Staff for free as long as they give at least one performance that night.

When they make it to the door, a large human takes their entry fee of five silver each. Quite a high door fee, but apparently worth it by the number of people paying it. The doorman Sid is huge for a human and rather hairy too. He is dressed impeccably in a button down shirt and jacket but his chest and arm hair won’t be so easily contained. He looks like he might be more comfortable with Bugbears instead of the wealthy merchants of Drakkell but his manners are impeccable.

He informs them that they look a little road weary and like this might be their first time at the Broken Staff so he’ll explain some house rules to them. They are to be respectful during performances and keep noises to a minimal. Show respect for all musicians, Pinned or daring novice alike. Do not interfere or enhance anyone’s performance magically or in any other way. Any use of magic will light up for all to see and magic items will glow at all times within the Broken Staff.

The party enters and is immediately greeted by the smells of an apple wood fire, fresh baked bread and spiced meats. The hustle and bustle of the inn has already started and many seats are filling up fast. They grab a table in the south west corner, directly left of the entry door and against the far wall.

The main floor is large with a stage in the center of the east wall, the bar opposite it on the west wall, a huge fireplace on the north wall across from the entry door on the south wall. There is a door to the kitchens behind the bar and stairs leading to a second level just south of the stage. There ceiling above the stage is open to the second and third floors so the acoustic of the music will be heard by everyone on each floor. There are many instruments hung on the walls throughout the building, most of them looking like they were used up and are no longer serviceable, but probably have a lot of stories behind them.

Shortly after the party enters there is a duo that goes up and plays on the stage on the east wall of the main floor, one singing a haunting melody and the other on the violin joining in with the song on key refrains.

After they finish there is much applause for them before they play a second song. After the second upbeat song has finished they depart the stage to join a table with two others waiting for them. The party signals the waitress and buys the musicians a drink.

A little while later an old woman goes up and plays the mandolin with such mournfully anguish it brings tears to many patrons eyes.

In between songs, Ceress discreetly checks the finger and finds it pointing north across the common room. Ceress and Theren decide to go upstairs to check out the whole layout of the property. While walking up the stairs, Ceress checks the finger quickly again and finds it still pointing north across the common room but most likely crossing the previous direction near the fireplace at the center of the north wall. They explore the second and third stories and just find more seating up there around the balcony. They return back downstairs to rejoin the party.

They decide that a good strategy would be to rent one of the rooms here in the inn and explore more in the dead of night. They ask their server about renting a room and she apologizes to them and tells him that none are available. She suggests staying at the Starving Bard Inn just down the street. Unlike the Broken Staff, they have a lot of rooms and it shouldn’t be hard to get one there. The party persists and she lets them know that there’s only three rooms here and they are always rented out. They continue to push, asking if there is any price they can pay and she offers to bring over the manager to talk to them so she can get back to work waiting on other customers.

A little while later a very sharp dressed man comes over and introduces himself and Nikos, the manager of the Broken Staff. He is trim and clean cut. He wears his black curly hair combed back and short. He has a neatly trimmed beard and mustache and is clothing is of the finest cut representing the most modern trims.

Nikos assures them that there are only three rooms at the inn and all are taken. The owner has one, he has one as the front of house manager and the back of house manager has one. The title of “inn” and the three “rooms for rent” are really just for tax codes as well as for how it flows off the tongue. Inn of the Broken Staff sounds better than Tavern of the Broken Staff and the tax on taverns is higher on their liquor sales but inns have higher taxes on their room rentals so when the business was established over 100 years ago, the owner chose to make it an “inn”. The tax collectors have since closed that loophole but this property is grandfathered in, partially since many of the ruling merchant families love coming here for the entertainment. No one has rooms here aside from the owner and two managers. Even the night guards don’t have rooms here.

The party thanks the manager for the considerations and they enjoy another performance.

After the next performance ends, Akronos gets up and walks across the main floor to warm himself by the fireplace. While he is there, he checks out what is on the mantle. Hanging above the mantle is a broken walking staff as well as a piece of musical sheet, torn from top to bottom. In the center of the mantle is a ceramic vase with a lid on it, an old but well loved mandolin sits on the left side and a small wooden box of some dense and exotic wood sits on the right side. Akronos checks out the urn and sees that there is a plaque on it that reads “Our beloved has started the next journey”.

He returns to the rest of the party and tells them what he has found with the urn and plaque. After a short while they leave the Broken Staff.

Once outside, Theren goes around to the back of the building and uses the powers of his spider cloak to walk up the back of the building and along the roof. He verifies that there doesn’t seem to be hidden rooms in the building based on the layout he had seen in the upstairs and then he checks out the chimney. There is a rain cap on it limiting the space to squeeze into the chimney. He reruns to the party and on the long walk back to the Cracked Mug they talk about strategy. Lutheo is small enough to fit into the chimney and they could give him resistance to heat but there are complications to that plan.

Akronos offers that he could stand outside of the north wall and cast his Blink spell. When he is Ethereal he could pass through the wall and enter the inn. When he comes back to this plane he can grab the urn from the mantle and then when he is ethereal again he can simply pass through the wall again and step out with the prize of the remains of the fifth member of the Conclave of Freedom.

This is where session #22 ends.