“When something smells, it’s usually the Butz.”
3nd of Valiance, 6th Year of Factol Jamis’s Reign
The PCs were successful in driving off the mysterious murderer, but they feel their work isn’t done yet. Deciding to pursue him into the night, they take a bit of time to learn the dark on their destination (the Carceri Gate-Town, Curst), and swap info with the [[Sodkillers | Sodkiller] Narcovi.
Seeking to chase after the killer are:
Crown Guard, who might have written the wrong alignment on his sheet, but it canonically Lawful Good (amazingly).
Soliloquy, whom a canonically Lawful Good Warforged with suggest prostitute herself to gain information.
Santher, who is not the Warforged I’m talking about above.
Captain Lu, who is going to teach some tables some manners.
Jasseira has some business to look into for Cyan, so she stays behind in Sigil, but will try and catch up. She does inform them that the portal that the killer jumped through lead to Curst, but the available PCs are otherwise on their own.
As dabus and Dustmen stream into the park, Narcovi and her Minder’s Guild mates start looking for answers. The PCs have learned some information that she hasn’t, so she grudgingly agrees to swap notes. The PCs learn the following (potentially not exclusive):
1) All the victims were of a “Lawful” disposition. Given that most were attacked at night, there is some credence to the idea that the killer picked targets of opportunity, but potentially there were some picked for personal (rather than pragmatic) reasons.
2) Each successive victim was tagged with an additionally slash; i.e. the killer’s fourth victim had four slashes on their body, the sixth had six, etc. Crown Guard believes their souls are being taken, but Narcovi isn’t entirely convinced (although admits it is a possibility).
3) Pelchskull was obviously not killed in the same manner; his death is merely connected due to Harbinger House (he was seeking to retrieve the Planarity from Pandemonium). An informant, who they will not describe because that would not make them a good informant if their description got out Crown Guard, lead the to him. They did not find the Planarity in his possession. He was killed by a seriously poisonous venom that comes from a variety of Giant Black Asps in the Beastlands.
Narcovi doesn’t know what exactly the ritual the killer is performing is for; she’ll check with the additional information the group gave her.
Afterwards, Itheros, factor of the Mind’s Eye (and the one who asked them to stop the killer) approaches them. Crown Guard is quick to offend, declaring that he should have told them that they were going to arrest his Sons of Mercy comrade, Haster Mensen, before they did. Itheros is taken aback by these allegations; he tries to affirm that their job was to seek the killer, not the stone, but asks that they speak of this somewhere more privately. He simply states that it was coincidence that his friend was caught with it; they did nothing but ask. The Sodkillers got involved because they’ve got an interest in seeing whoever murdered Pelchskull imprisoned, as that would make them connected to their missing comrades as well.
Crown Guard is unconvinced, but Soliloquy butts into the conversation to try and restore some decorum to it. She tells Itheros everything that she knows about the killer. Crown Guard tries to see if there are any facial tells on the Seeker, but nothing seems to overly phase the Zenythri. Upon hearing about his appearance, and about the mysterious Trolan who has driven the cultists to Sigil to commit suicide (effectively), Itheros tells them that the man they saw an Trolan are one in the same. He informs them that he was brought to Harbinger House by the dabus many years ago, proclaiming his love for the Lady. He wasn’t involved in the “plan”, but speculates that perhaps the time inside changed him.
Regardless, Itheros gets darkly serious that Trolan must be stopped… whatever the cost. He informs the party that he has… strange powers. Chaos seems to follow him, and he can change his own appearance. The party declares that they will follow him to Curst, but Itheros is little help; he’s never been there. He does tell the party to be careful tho.
After some failed research to find out the gate-key to the portal “Trolan” took, the party eventually antes up and pays for the information from the Guild of Doorsnoops. They learn that the key to get into the portal the killer took is a set of three interlocking rings, and that (like most portals to Curst and Carceri) one-way. They also question the Doorsnoop member, and find out that the killer (and a beautiful blonde woman) visited looking for the same information. They asked about getting keys to other locations, but settled on just getting the keys for both Curst and Ecstasy (the gate-town for the plane of Elysium). The portal key to Ecstasy is a small charm bracelet, held to one’s heart as they enter a daycare in the Lady’s Ward (it’s two way with the matching portal in the gate-town). He tells the that A’kin the Friendly Fiend would have the components available.
A’kin is friendly. Too friendly. What should have been a quick 15 minute in-and-out turns into an hour and a half of Crown Guard and A’kin gossiping like old friends (despite the fact they they just met). The party, bored out of their minds (but enjoying the delicious free drinks and complementary mints), finally gets back to that rooftop near Bloodgem Park, and jumps into the portal to Curst, the time now past midnight.
You’ll find it hard to leave beautiful Curst!
4nd of Valiance, 6th Year of Factol Jamis’s Reign
Arriving in the gate-town to Carceri, The group finds that the inside feels… suffocating. One giant road leads to what looks to be the only “gate” out of the berg, the town itself surrounded by a giant wall and some of the nastiest razorvine that even Santher has seen. Despite the number of guards that can be seen patrolling the wall and gate, none can be seen actually wandering around town. It’s like they don’t even care what happens inside.
The party quickly starts asking around to see if there has been anyone matching “Trolan’s” description. They easily find a one-eyed human named Steve McGaul who offers to trade them for his information. Crown Guard offers him jink, resulting in a tongue lashing from the man, who calls him the most “clueless son-of-a-bitch” he ever met (incidentally gentle reader, it is here where Crown Guard, the lawful good robot, offers Soliloquy up for “favours”). Glaring at the warforged, Soliloquy understands what exactly this guy wants: he wants to get out of Curst!
Crown guard: No.
Captain Lu: h6. ABSOLUTELY.
Steve tells them that since that maniac arrived, he wasted no time in cutting down this one asshole in town (producing the same ingredients and flashy effect as described to the party before). He hears he’s been on a tear, but that they should talk to the captain of the Wall Watch, Yurel Zarnthaskar (human, Fated).
Yurel immediately becomes everyone’s least-favorite NPC. The Captain doesn’t like him because he’s a Taker (which is so opposed to his own take on the Ring-Givers philosophy), Soliloquy doesn’t like him because he’s burning perfectly good paper, and Crown Guard doesn’t like him because he clearly declares that there is a chain of command which begins at calling him “Sir”, and him calling them “long-term residents”. Their claims that they can leave the city if they wanted to fall on deaf ears. “If I had a gold piece for everytime I heard that cutter”.
(I guess Santher doesn’t care, but that’s kind of a Bleaker thing so.)
They ask him about the recent murders, which he’s heard of but doesn’t particularly care about. As long as the ones being murdered are the criminals in town and not his men, he doesn’t see any particular reason to lift a finger to stop it. When they mention his name is Trolan, the Fated snorts. He had heard that that Trolan barmy (who came in preaching about how much he and his followers love the Lady of Pain) had came in about a day ago. Last he heard, him and his followers were stuck in a tavern called the Undead Unicorn. The party suggests that he has figured a way out of town, but Yurel shrugs.
Crown Guard tells him that they’ll be leaving in a few days, which just causes the captain to roll his eyes.
When the party makes their way to the Undead Unicorn, the group sees some robed men (in the same colours of the cultists earlier) entering the establishment. They’re clearly carrying some gear underneath however, the light near the entrance illuminating both weapons and armour. Their new friend Steve whispers to them, “Anarchists”. The party becomes confused, and pause as they consider their move. Santher catches a fire being set on the roof of the tavern, and in the small light that’s set, he thinks the one who set it was the killer, Trolan! But then they hear a shout from inside the tavern yelling that Trolan’s will die for his attempts to ruin the nature of Curst!
Do you think maybe someone lied to them about an important detail?
Well, as long as that important detail doesn’t kill anyone.
The party rushes into the tavern, intent on heading up the stairs and fighting “Trolan”. In the bar, they see a dwarf cowering (another bar fight?), two cultists looking to their leader for protection, and a dead cultist on the group. The five men who entered the establishment have thrown off their robes and are threatening to kill the man they believes is Trolan. An eladrin whom the GM may have described as a tiefling (there are too many damn tieflings!) has a crossbow trained on a beautiful, but panicking tiefling, and is ready to fire.
The party still hasn’t decided whether they care or not.
Looking to move past these gentlemen to reach the upstairs, the eladrin fires true with his crossbow, and an acidic smelling bolt rips into maybe-Trolan’s shoulder. The Tiefling almost immediately begins to turn pale, the bolt obviously poisoned. As his friends are cut down, one weakly yells in a panic, “Trolan! No!”
Crown Guard moves to apprehend the Eladrin (despite the warnings of one of the other Anarchists to stay out of this), which causes the group to begin attacking the party, believing they are friends of that Trolan jerk.
The dice giveth, the dice taketh away, the dice giveth. The online d10 thing the DM is rolling is hot, rolling a 9 or 10 a ridiculous 80% of the time. Soliloquy and Santher get tagged had, before a trio of Anarchists proceed to roll a 3, 4, and then 5 to their attack rolls. Still, Crown Guard was surrounded, but Soliloquy managed to clear some room for Crown Guard to tend to the poisoned man.
At this point, the man had suffered two rounds of intense poison damage, and was looking to suffer a third. The man needed time, time he didn’t have because the PCs were obviously confused about the situation, and had hesitated to save him big-time. He needed saving throws and healing. Pretty much everyone is carrying potions of healing and Crown Guard’s Inspiring Word could help him. So Crown Guard comes over and administers… an Anti-toxin. Which would give him a +2 bonus to his next saving throw. The saving throw that comes after he once again takes massive damage.
At this point, the Anarchists have been roughed up, but they’re all still standing. The virtual d10 of doom comes back and on a 2d10+1 damage roll, hits Soliloquy for 20 fire damage (her tiefling heritage prevents five of it), and Crown Guard for 21. After the DM checks that yes, his dice roller isn’t broken (just rolling like crazy), he introduces the next surprise as a man is pushed off the top landing (which is now crazy on fire) to the floor below. The wild-eyed crazy haired murderer appears! Surprise! He tells Trolan “not to get up” and begins hacking at Crown Guard.
What follows is a gong show; Crown Guard barely holds onto a scant few bits of HP before having to retreat, Santher drops under the deft attacks of two Anarchists, and Captain Lu is sucking on fumes for his HP total too. Soliloquy possibly at one point has more hit points than the other three combined, which is saying something because she was bloodied too. And the Undead Unicorn is falling in on itself too!
As a pair of tough looking cutters come in, the bar owner pointing at them to take out the killer (whose name is revealed as Sougad), the remaining Anarchists escape. Their task is done, no need for them to stay and die in a flaming mess. It burns (metaphorically) for the party to escape too, but with everyone down on HP, even some valiant hits from Captain Lu can’t foreseeably take this tough blood down before the entire building collapses on them. Soliloquy busts a whole in a weakened wall with Magic Missile before dragging Santher’s unconscious body in, Captain Lu jumps out a window, and Crown Guard escapes stage right. All they hear as the building falls is the maniac cackling of Sougad, the Law-killer.
. . .
It takes about an entire day for the flames to die out enough for the party to start shifting through the rubble. They find most of the expected corpses inside, with the body of the tiefling Trolan, unrecognizably burnt but with a piece of the bolt that struck him still in his shoulder. his cultists and the two Anarchists the party managed to bring down are there too.
The also find two bodies of the two barmies who were coaxed into trying to kill Sougad before the building engulfed them. One was clearly killed by the falling wreckage. The other? A look of horror on his melted face, and numerous slashes cut in his chest. The remains of some walnut shells are found too.
Sougad’s body? Gone.