Our heroes: Smart David the Astounding gnome Wizzard, Giovanni the half-elf warlock and his cousin Umberto the half-elf bard, Ukla the barbarian half-orc princess, Sir Boring Van Knee the half-elf paladin, Molly the halfling cleric of the Yellow God, Grog the dwarven lunar druid and worshipper of the Red God, Kvak the halfling rogue hermit and possessor of secret truth.
The dead: McTaggart the human monk (level 1, savaged by an undead wretch), Calanda the human hermaphrodite ranger (level 1, savaged a bit earlier by the same wretch).
Sessions without PC deaths: 4
Last week ...
Where we had left our heroes at the end of Session IV:
Hubertus the Merchant Bard joined the band in the Pueblo di Mesas and Sir Boring has returned with notice that Sanchez de la Sierra, Head of the Yellow Order in Puerto Safran and Marcher of the Eastern Velds, he of the twirly moustache and the mechanical hand, has taken the report of the six-fingered evil hand seriously and is on his way.
The heroes broke into the crypt of the Tower of the Hated Pretender, where they slew the reanimated phantoms and broke open the Crypt of the Sainted Dead. They decided to execute an exorcism to prevent the released phantoms devastating the countryside and the Pueblo di Mesas (and to make themselves out to be great heroes).
The heroes also magnificently combined a bear, a thunderwave and an illusory crotchly hump to destroy a large number of phantasms all at once. Sheriff Aristide and Bartender Plâtre, along with many townsfolk have rallied behind the heroes and pin their hopes on their help. In other news:
- The crazy cat lady / wise-woman Ermila has scoffed at the heroes and left the Pueblo.
- In the Pueblo sin Mesas an undertaker has died, it was not cholera.
- The Pueblistas have spoken of Vulcana's jealous flora attacking isolated homesteads, killing cattle.
- A caravan dwarf has been found dead, his throat cut, in a gully close to the village.
- The undertaker is called Gillian, not Valentin, it was my error. But he still says he will leave ... just as soon as he buries the last 5 dead villagers and collects the Boat Tax on their souls.
- A ragged rancher has been telling crazy stories that he saw a dead man walking with wires sticking out of his flesh out towards the Cactus Hills. Obviously, this is complete nonsense.
Total villagers dead: 5
Total XP farmed: some
This week ...
The heroes were joined by Gungar Strongarm, mountain dwarven fighter from the nearby mining settlement of Naftalin.
Having secured the Tower of the Hated Pretender by Pueblo di Mesas and left a contingent of heroes there, the Golden Goats discovered that a problem in the region of the East Veld (Österveldt?) are the bandits plaguing local ... well, not local ... but traders passing through the region. And traders passing through the region from the Orient to the Puerto Safran, and back, are important because they provide much of the wealth on which the rulers of Safranj and the Yellow Order rely.
In particular, Lorenz the Yellowlander has become an (in)famous thorn in the sides of the local establishment (though many people in Pueblo di Mesas seem curiously unwilling to tackle this issue). Through astute diplomacy, and perhaps bolstered by the knowledge that the Marcher Sanchez de la Sierra and his Sun Guards are on their way to take possession of the six-fingered-hand, the heroes decided to take out Lorenzo.
They discovered that the wealthiest visitors to the Broken Drum Saloon are the ranchera Camilia Bosco, sister of Black Jenny of the infamous sons; Don Aristide rancher, owner of the general store, brother of the sheriff and representative of the Magnificent Oligarchy of Safranj; Tanta Luisa—another ranchera and aunt of the undertaker Gillian; Metzger the local Yellow Padre; and the Crazy Cat Lady Ermila used to be a regular and munificent visitor, but not of late (who was she? was she a lady? and what's with the cats?); ... at the whorehouse further tip-offs were to be had, that the richest visitors are Don Aristide and the Yellow Gentleman, a nameless pointed-eared fellow that visits once every few months for a few nights of debauchery.
After proclaiming loudly that they would take out Lorenz the Yellowlander, the party retired to the empty house of the Crazy Cat Lady Ermila, where they were surprised by clansmen of the Don Bosco clan, who used burning oil to great effect. The house was quite severely damaged by the fire, but all our heroes survived, slaying six of the clansmen, capturing two more, capturing a further two horses ... but Don Bosco seems to have survived.
From a professional interrogation the heroes learned that it was Don Bosco who struck the deal to assassinate the heroes and that one of their captives is none other than Bruno, the fourth of Black Jenny's sons, with a bounty of 100 pieces of gold on his head.
From the interrogation, our heroes also learned that Lorenzo is not based at the Edge of the Northest Crack, but in the Abandoned Salt Mines—of which the dwarven fighter Gungar Strongarm, the Second-Greatest Dwarven Lover, is well-appraised, coming from the mining settlement of Naftalin.
It is a hard three-day journey through the scrub of the East Veld, past the gorge of the Dry River, to the Abandoned Salt Mines known as Zhur Botu in the Vulcan dialect of the Mountain Dwarves and written (never spoken) with the runes of Party, Wealth and Future Tense Semi-conditional Non-apologetic in Deep Dwarven.
According to Gungar Strongarm an ancient dwarven secret escape tunnel leads from the Opal Gorge, which feeds into the Dry River, for five miles to the Salt Cathedral of the Deep Order.
The Abandoned Salt Mines Known as Zhur Botu
What is known: the last Minemaster was Magog Hogshead, a famously wily dwarf-trader who in his older years developed a penchant for shaving the beards of femme-dwarves and the chests of memme-dwarves. This lead to his overthrow in what has become known as the Mutiny of the Natural Locks. The mine was abandoned quite quickly shortly thereafter, about 50 years ago.
What is rumored: The mine was abandoned because of the raving ghost of Magog Hogshead would cause dwarves to go bald. The mine was abandoned because it turned out that Magog Hogshead had financed it with a ponzi scheme and when his creditors called it in, the mine folded. The mine was abandoned because the dwarves dug too deep and broke into the Salt of the Earth, who's avater slew the deepest of the dwarves. The mine was abandoned because increased Safranj patrols of the caravan routes, new opencast mines in the Yellow Waste and increased unionization of the dwarven miners made it unprofitable. The mine was cursed by a sugar witch, which caused the mine's salt to lose its saltiness. The mine was not abandoned, instead it was taken over by a weird numismatic cult of dragon worshippers.
Total villagers dead: 1, tripped and fell into a well—apparently the tequila was cursed by a witch
Bandits ... ahem ... noble clansmen defeated: 9
Horses captured: 2
Cows traded: 0
Other NPCs of note nearby:
- Ricardo Dellateoria-Smith, the one-eyed, three-armed philosopher of the Invisible Hand in Fortapunta Decapolitica (famed for arguing that a free market should be instituted, raising all boats and breaking the Safranj monopoly in the Western Circle sea. He is not popular with the Magnificent Oligarchy.)
- Ala and Ola, the Twin Pirate Queens, each with her fleet and very competitive with the other (it is said that this is due to a fine young dwarf they were quite taken with. When they could not decide which of them should have his hand, their father decided to cut off both of his hands and give each sister one of them. Apparently this was to teach them that they should sort out their differences in private and work together in public. It didn't work.)
- Ulrik of Monopolis Decapolitica, the fabled nobleman-researcher of the relics of the Circle Sea and what he calls the Carcass of the Great Sky Ship of the Lizardmen.
- Enrico Kristofan, the mad archaeologist of Safranj and heir to the vast Kristofan fortune is obsessed with the legend of the Rakken—Whale-Krakens ridden by the mythical elves of the Time Before the Coming of the Rainbow.
- Laura Enzio de las Tapas, the portly single-browed proprietor of the Shaggy Cat Restaurant in Pueblo di Barcas. A restaurant renowned for its crappy food but amazingly ever-crowded eating halls. Some whisper she is a witch, others that she is secretly a mistress of the Pollendores, one of the hidden clans distributing the hallucinogenic saffron produced along the Yellow River and selling it to the Oriental Caravaneers who sell it back in the Mythical East.
What was learned:
- fire burns.
- staying in a room being bombarded with molotov cocktails is a bad idea.