Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Beyond the Bizarre Armoire Session 5: The Wormwood Company Does It Again

Session 1

Session 2

Session 3

Session 4

Joining for this session were:
-TheisticGilthoniel (http://pilgrimtemple.blogspot.com/), as Ibrahim the Adept
-Renefor (https://falseidolstla.blogspot.com/) as Velasco the Heterodox Monk
-Oblidisideryptch (https://oblidisideryptch.blogspot.com/), as Sieur Alastair the Knight

The party's got a self-ascribed name now: "The Wormwood Company". I think it's got something to do with how they poison everything they touch.

After the bang that last session ended with, the party rows their rafts back to the 'I Wanna Die'. Brindle vomits over the side and is comforted by Velasco. They arrive at the barge to discover it in chaos. The raft's much-abused workers and the destitute gambler crowd that Brindle was a part of saw the explosion of the boar on the horizon as an apocalyptic omen, the "spear from the heavens" a sign that the world would be ending soon and the time of debtors overthrowing their creditors was upon them. They had killed many in both Lanky's and Vodyan's factions, and driven the two to the barricaded second and third floors of the barge. A bogoblin spots Cousin Jimerty, who they'd believed to be dead, and fills the party in. They request the heroes' help in bringing down the tyrant Vodyan.

Again, the party is confronted with the contradictions within their own ranks. Sieur Alistair feels his bastardry as a sting among these debauched gamblers, while Ibrahim desires the treasure promised to them. In an un-monkly fashion Velasco declares he is having too much fun to stop the intrigue and adventure now, and reveals that he was kicked out of his monastery, though whether this was for his unorthodox beliefs is not yet known.

Brindle catches up with her former comrades, and the party formulates a plan. At the staircase-barricade Alistair flashes the hell-goose pen's iron key to intrigue the guard posted there, and presses their service to Vodyan. Brought up to Vodyan's suite they discover the froggy-man severely hungover, and Lanky sitting by his bedside. Relieved to see the heroes, Vodyan charges them with ridding the barge of the rebels. Sir Alistair suggests releasing the hell-goose, and Vodyan expresses giddy agreement. Lanky and a couple thugs are sent down with them to the pens.

Cousin Jimerty is held over the barricade to come up with a reason for the assembled mob for Lanky and the thugs to accompany the party without being assaulted. He declares that they are to be fed to the geese. The mob thinks this is a great idea.

Down by the pens the party argues again. What do they truly want here, and what are they willing to risk for it? They decide against releasing the hell-goose, to instead convince everyone else that they had. Lanky and his thugs are fooled, and make a panicked break upstairs.

They make an awful racket, agitating the geese to make an even worse racket. Velasco catches and kills a goose to spread its blood over the flock, giving the others a double-dipping of gore in the process. Ibrahim transfers scars from his poor dog to the geese to play up their brutalized make-up.

The party chases the bloodied geese to the main floor, screaming that the "(hell-)goose is loose!". Fear spreads like widlfire in the already emotional atmosphere. Workers had turned their energies from repair of the barge to the construction of water-worthy escape craft, and so the place clears out pretty quick. Lanky and the thugs who accompanied him are nowhere to be seen. Velasco goes off on his own to find Brindle.

On reporting their success to Vodyan he praises the party and prepares for his escape. Too hungover to walk, he has his guards put together a makeshift pallet to carry him in, and reveals the location of his vault in a hidden compartment in his desk so that his trusted servant Sir Alistair can carry it down. Cousin Jimerty is sent off to find a weapon and put together a distraction.

Vodyan pulls an odd catch on the wall to reveal the wall itself can fall away and become an emergency raft. As his guards are loading him in Jimerty comes shrieking around the corner, sharp table-leg in his hand and fellow bogoblins by his side. He jabs Alistair in the thigh, perhaps harder than the charade called for, and in the chaos of the melee Ibrahim snags the vault (really more of a safe, vault just sounds more 'fantasy' to me), and sprints away. Alistair promises to return it to Vodyan and makes chase, with Jimerty hot on his heels. The bogoblins that followed him fall upon one of the guards, bringing them down into the water under their weight and stabbing them a lot.

Rounding their way back to the former bar of the broken barge, Alistair and Ibrahim reunite with Velasco, who found Brindle hiding in a box of turnip-wine bottles. They also find pieces of Lanky tossed into a bonfire, but the scent-merchant Killian is not seen among the dead or trampled dying. Alistair mercy-kills the latter.

With the payment they were promised secured the party prepares to leave the 'I Wanna Die' behind for good. Cousin Jimerty, having faced enough mortal terror for one lifetime, decides to stay with it. He says he's heard rumours of a bogoblin queen who's set herself up in the northwest side of the swamp that he'll try to join. The party expresses hope that they'll meet again, which causes Jimerty to go pale.

As the giant boar's gore clears from the air the War Dogs are able to pick up the Countess's scent trail, which they follow north-north-west to the swamp's edge. They come across strange people tied to logs bobbing in the water, some struggling to keep upright, some who'd failed their struggle and drowned. Velasco cuts the bonds of one to rescue and interrogate.

This strange person, a blocky man with rusted iron growing across his body like barnacles on a ship's hull, tells them that he was press-ganged into service by a pinecone knight in order to find the Countess ("Counter" by his recollection) by the order of the King in the Pines. He and his companions deserted to go south, where the King's reach is weaker, but were caught and punished. The party inquires if the Daunt was behind their punishment, and he tells them the Daunt would be less merciful. Ibrahim transfers the man's rust to the body of one of his drowned companions, revealing gleaming iron beneath. The man is thankful but cannot understand why Ibrahim would go to the effort when his kind are so easy to replace.

Somehow the conversation turns to the topic of reproduction and sexuality. Brindle finds Velasco's squeamishness on this hilarious. Much confusion and humour is had trying to explain a double-entendre involving "stabbing" to the rust-man. Apparently they have no concept of the stuff, and are simply disgorged from either a northern or a southern gate into an often-short lifetime of war.

While the rust-man refuses their offer to join the party, he appreciates their hospitality, which has convinced him not to simply steal their boat. The party frees his companions who still drew breath and drops them off on a giant turnip, wishing them well on their journey south.

Ahead of the drifting rafts the swamp narrows to the broad mouth of a river, penned on either side by red-iron gates. The water spilling from its mouth is tinged a bloody crimson, and beyond it the reeds bear a steely glint.

What lies for our heroes in this new land? Where will the Countess's trail lead? How will the tides of fate carry Cousin Jimerty, if he and the party meet again? Find out next time, on Beyond the Bizarre Armoire!

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