After a riveting discussion on Y2K, the adventure continues. We're joined by:
-Maxcan7 (https://weirdwonderfulworlds.blogspot.com/), as Mr. Fox and his War Dogs (less one)
-TheisticGilthoniel (http://pilgrimtemple.blogspot.com/), as Ibrahim the Adept
-Renefor (https://falseidolstla.blogspot.com/) as Velasco the Heterodox Monk
The party receives a hero's welcome at the wrecked gambling barge 'I Wanna Die' after saving them from a very pissed-off tree last session.
After surveying the crowd, apparently gathered into factions, they decided to first speak with the mouse Brindle, who had gambled away everything but the shirt on her back. They learned that Brindle was an escapee from the cult of the great worm out east, and her family shunned her for rejecting their anti-clothing beliefs. The party decided they should try to rescue Brindle and her faction of destitute gamblers. Velasco in particular was smitten with the mouse, though Brindle seemed more interested in practical ways to escape the swamp and better her lot than with tales of the archons' love and romantic gestures.
|Brindle, depicted fully be-shirted by Renefor|
After this contact was made with Lanky, B.K.'s partner in crime, a tall and skinny mannequette dressed like a wise guy. Lanky informed them that the money they were promised by B.K. for rigging the goose-race was kept under lock and key in the suite of the barge's owner, a goose-breeder named Vodyan, who apparently had his own scam going which was ruined in the feast of jockey-flesh last session. Lanky was clearly not the brains of the operation, as he proposed a brutal smash-and-grab. The party, not particularly keen on either Lanky or Vodyan, decided to sow rumours between the barge's factions and snatch the money once chaos ensued.
Taking advantage of Vodyan's regard for them, the party convinced him that B.K., apparently one of his many grandsons, in fact respected him and that his scoundrely ways were simply an attempt to win Vodyan's respect in return. They also turned Vodyan against some of his other relatives on the barge.
Inside the ruptured belly of the ship a makeshift bar had been set up. There the party had a long conversation with the bartender, a lackie whose entire liver had been hacked away. Ibrahim got on the bartender's good side by transferring the scars from his side to Ibrahim's dog, easing his discomfort. The party heard about the Loggerhead, a creature who traded in peoples' parts and thereby created all lackies. While enjoying a drink, they overheard distressed noises below deck.
Among the goose-breeder Vodyan's entourage, the party first talked to a strange little creature with a trunk and no mouth named Killian, a self-described scent merchant. Killian had fallen on hard times due to the stench of rotten pork from the corpse of a great boar that the Daunt had slain for the King's wedding feast, but had lost so many men in the attempt that it lacked the manpower to dredge the boar's corpse out of the swamp.
After this talk with Killian they had a tea party with some fancily-dressed mannequettes, who lacking tea filled their cups with turnip-liquor. To stir up discord in Vodyan's ranks they claimed that the toady man was the one who planned B.K.'s murderous scam, an accusation which riled the noble crew up enough to try killing Vodyan on the spot. Not wanting such open bloodshed, the party talked them down to a poisoning, which Velasco agreed to perform in exchange for a handful of gold coins.
This sparked an OOC discussion as to how the barge's intrigue fits into the big picture of rescuing the Countess. Was the potential for gaining allies worth the time spent here?
Though he'd been rebuffed earlier after offering a bouquet of swamp-flowers to Brindle (who by this time was sick of the swamp), the offer of gold coinage won her over, and she agreed to team up with the party.
While Velasco charmed the mouse, the War Dogs decided to investigate the sounds they overheard at the bar. Sneaking below deck via a circuitous route, a dog spied one of Vodyan's thugs torturing a bogoblin worker, apparently based on the lie the party had said about his treacherous family earlier.
The party circled back with Lanky's group to find the mannequette had grown impatient and decided to go ahead with the assault plan. They convinced his 2nd in command who'd remained behind that they had another, better plan in the works, and to hold off on setting fire to the barge for the moment. That is the briefly-delayed powderkeg explosion the session ended on.
(Between sessions, the previously unnamed pinecone knight who had accompanied the party from the watchtower at the armoire's door is named 'Silverfrost')
There are a lot of NPCs to juggle in this game. Here's some quick summaries based on what the party knows so far to keep them all straight:
In the mortal world:
-Killed Aluya's brother in the war
-War buddies with Mr. Fox and the War Dogs
-Convinced to stay quiet and stay put until the Countess has been rescued
Beyond the bizarre armoire:
-First person the party met beyond the armoire
-Agreed to guide the party to the King's palace in gratitude for them healing his comrade
The Couturier Spider
-Obsessed with fashion
-Lives down a well
-Promised silk drip to the party if they brought it a living victim
-Fears the great worm will find it if it emerges
The King in the Pines
-Nominal ruler of the world beyond the armoire
-Ordered the Countess's kidnapping, wants to marry her
-Possible mistaken identity(?)
-The King's right hand man
-Can't be killed by mortal means
-Killed the great boar in the swamp
-Killed a lot of people really
-Razed the Couturier Spider's village and strung up some of the pirate mannequettes that stole the Countess from under his nose
-Leader of the pinecone knight outpost in brocadia
-Defeated by Sir Alistair in a duel for medicine and the freedom of Sir Pineleaf
-Pinecone knight disgraced by failure to retrieve the Countess before the mannequettes did
-Sworn to serve Sir Alistair for winning back his honour
-Guards the brocadia outpost's dock
-Sold raft to party in exchange for Ibrahim's rings
-Someone on the I Wanna Die owes him money
-Grandson of Vodyan
-Promised to split gambling winnings with party if they helped rig the result of a goose-race
-Tall, skinny mannequette
-B.K.'s accomplice on the I Wanna Die
-Fond of arson
-Grandfather of B.K.
-Goose-breeder and owner of the I Wanna Die
-Paranoid about his family trying to overthrow him
-Destitute escapee from the cult of the great worm
-Agreed to work with the party for money and a way out of the swamp
-Creator of the lackies, steals/repossesses/buys and sells body parts
-Not a turtle
The Great Worm
-Lives to the east
-Tyrant over the nudist mice
-Feared by the Couturier Spider