Chapter 3, Session 5-7 Summary
“The Counterfeit Baron I and II”, and “Debt to Society”
Characters headed back to Nuln, motivated to reduce the number of powerful enemies by at least one. Of those, Baron Strudel seemed the most vulnerable. The somewhat recovered, but also somewhat unstable Grolst Van Eyke has information about Strudel’s counterfeiting operation. Played correctly, this could bring down the Councilman and erstwhile crimelord. So the gang finds it’s way to The Rooster’s Rebellion, a bit outside of Nuln proper, and meet up with their old friend Cedric, who’s been rising in GVE’s ranks.
They capture Nigel Sneed and force him to talk about the counterfeiting. He tells them, under duress, that there’s a warehouse in an abandoned mill town up-river about ten miles where they mint the silver into the fake coins. The characters make plans to arrive at the warehouse just before the “coach” arrives that transports the coins to a bank. They plan to arrest the key operators, confiscate (steal) some of the silver, and hold the fort while friendly Guard Captain Tanner arrives with his men to make the official arrests and get the information needed to incriminate Councilman Strussel.
Unfortunately, it was a trap set by Strussel and Augustus Grimm. Nigel was planted to be “caught”, to divulge this information, to lead the characters to the isolated warehouse where Grimm’s Reapers would spring on them. The group didn’t quite walk into it, as they sent Dellin and Rufus to recon the locale before-hand. Unfortunately, Rufus, trying to be sneaky, was spotted. He used magic to make himself look like a little girl, but his deep voice gave away the illusion. Rufus and Dellin fought desperately against the Reapers, and the rest of the party arrived just in time to help out.
But they got their butts kicked instead. A few managed to escape into the woods, but the rest were trapped in the abandoned warehouse….which was lit on fire…and then caved-in by Bronan who chopped down the support beams. By freak luck, they survived the catastrophe and managed to escape, while many of them were presumed dead by Grimm.
They later met back up at the Rooster’s Rebellion, called off Captain Tanner’s raid, and looked like fools in doing so. Morale low, they debated what to do next, while spending a few days to heal some serious wounds. [End of The Counterfeit Baron Parts I and II]
The characters, barely healed and rested from their narrow escape, find that a large contingent of the town’s guards have encircled the Rooster’s Rebellion, and are “tightening the noose.” They were given a few moment’s warning by a cloaked Captain Tanner, and were advised to find the old bricked-up smuggler’s tunnel in the root cellar of the Inn. The characters search the root cellar, find the bricked-up doorway, smash through it, and head down a pitch-dark tunnel that leads towards the Nuln sewer system. Rufus uses his magic for lighting. Ranthin, the only character trained in Navigation, leads the way. They get lost. Really lost. Quite lost indeed.
Then they come across a main sewer tunnel wide enough to run a cart through. They are stymied at a locked and extremely sturdy iron gate/portcullis. Fog rolls in. A strange man in a top hat and cape walks through the foggy darkness, coming from the other side of the gate. He unlocks the gate, passes through, and locks it behind him. He banters with the characters for a while. His name is Mr. Tuetlers, and he introduces himself and his apparently imaginary friend, Mr. Van Gool. He informs them that he despises all things that lack virtue, including women of the night (prostitutes), cutpurses, criminals masking as honest councilmen, and counterfeit money. Mr. Tuetlers has information that the counterfeiting operation is happening not too far away in the sewers, and he can provide the characters with safe passage right up to the unlocked door into the room where the coins are being minted. Furthermore, a load of silver has just been delivered and Baron Strudel is in attendance. A deal is made. Tuetlers will provide the information and means for the characters to catch Strussel red-handed and in return the characters need to get rid of Ichabod Dandrich and the Faithsworn — who are making it difficult for Mr. Tuetlers to keep the lower quarter clean of vice and sin… :)
The deal is made (in fact, some expert negotiating by Bronan removes some of Tuetler and Van Gool’s initial conditions…like a pound of flesh for their larder, and that sort of thing.) The characters follow a foggy path through the sewers, and it hides them from the guards they pass. It leads right up to a door guarded by a half dozen men, but the door is unlocked and the men unaware of the characters in the mysterious fog.
Bronan opens the door, but the fog ends there and the guards inside the door sound the alarm! Bronan is trapped in the room with a few guards, while the rest are outside facing the bulk of the guardsmen. Bronan is surprised that not only Baron Strussel is in attendance, but also the court duelist/assassin, Murdoch Einhorn. Einhorn moves with exceptional speed and kills Bronan in single round. Jab, slice, thrust, and Bronan’s spleen is on the outside of his body!
A long fight ensues. The characters manage to beat up on the exterior guards, killing several and scaring the wounded back inside the mint-room. They push in to face the remaining guards, Einhorn, and Strussel, who swings a mean ornate mace. Rufus comes to the rescue and casts a spell that befuddles Einhorn, who runs to a corner and drops his guard. Ranthin peppers him with arrows and does significant damage. Bronan rises from the dead (fate point), and together with Konrad and Dellin, slaughters the remaining guards and wounds Strussel, who starts to flee. Einhorn is badly wounded and dazed by Ranthin’s arrows and a sword cut by Konrad, and Cedric rushes in and kills him with a final blow to the heart.
But then things get bad. Einhorn’s body convulses and bone spikes rip through his body. He rises back up, a demonic being with thorns and spikes protruding everywhere on his body. He strikes with amazing speed and shreds Cedric and then flings him across the room, where his back snaps in half on the door frame before landing limply on the other side (outside the room). Several of the characters are terrified by the bone shrike, but Dellin reasons, using his Monster Lore, that this is just another type of “Slaning” ala the Black Knights — but different in presentation. They realize that the shrike (bone demon) is too much for them, especially without Archibald’s magic of the light. They kill Strussel (who is as surprised as they by the shrike), and manage an orderly retreat to safety. Cedric uses a fate point to wake up in safety on the other side of the door. Bronan manages to grab Strussel’s ornate mace on the way out.
Thus ends “Debt to Society.”
REMINDER: Insanity Points earned by Bronan and Cedric!