Flint goes to meet Max at Blackthorn Manor. After a brief scuffle over how they will be traveling (Max doesn’t want to share his horse, Flint is sure as hell not going to walk while he rides and lords it over her, finally they decide to both walk), the two head out to their intended destination of the Current, to talk to Isabella.
They head in (Max insults a crappy lute player on the way in) and see Travis, who provides them with lovely beverages. They are escorted in to see Isabella.
The conversation with Isabella is at first slow moving (though polite), since everyone is playing things rather close to the chest. There is a lot of euphemistic language. Isabella reveals that she is familiar with Max’s Axe, and knows its name. Finally, Max cuts through the crap and offers an exchange of information about the fountain. Max tells Isabella a little bit about the fountain (basically everything except the fact that it is some sort of a portal to another dimension).
Isabella wants more information, but Max reminds her that it is an exchange of information. Since Isabella does not actually have info yet, but will use her connections to get it in a couple of days, Max says, “I will give you my information when you have information to exchange.” He turns, cloak swirling. They are escorted out.
Later, we meet up at the 1900 Weasels (I love that place!) (It’s a very austere tea-house in the diplomatic district) (All the upholstery is done in weasel pelts) (Wow, we are really going crazy with this gross/macabre weasel thing). They don’t give Flint her usual table, but Max makes it happen, much to her mortification.
Nyix goes over what he and Scout have learned at the library. The whole time, he is munching on weird snacks out of the Bag of Holding. (Parenthetically, we pitch a hoarder-like reality show called “Bags of Hoarding”—Nyix would be a good candidate for that show, or will be in a few years).
Flint lets us know that Isabella gave her a pass that will get us into the Hall of Records. Max (and nobles at his level of nobility) can get in to the main reading room, but he suspects this pass will get us into the actual stacks.
Later still, Max goes to hit up one of his uncles for information. Scout is at work at the Checkered Boar. And Flint and Nyix are on a mission for information.
Arriving at the Hall of Records, they ask for Dynah, the librarian. He is a half-elf, clearly the brother of Deena over at the other library. Upon seeing the note from Isabella, he goes completely pale in the face and lets them right in, despite the fact that the Hall of Records is just closing. He’s happy to help them look some stuff up.
- Flint’s case: There is some passing reference to a conduit, charges brought, but then dropped and settled out of court. Flint’s name does not even appear.
- Spiral Tower Stuff: Supporting documents about things Nyix has already read. There are some police reports from the time when things were falling apart/faculty were going crazy. Any named wizards? An elven wizard named Blackbriar; another one named Lear, she is also mentioned as causing some trouble.
There are some council records raising the issue of whether to disallow the Spiral Tower. The conversation reads like, “Well, if they get magic working again that would be useful.” “Okay, let’s keep an eye on it.”
- The Gray Runes: Dynah is not familiar with that term
- Notable Priman Ruling Council (PRC) Characters (Who sits in that room? Who could I/we get closest to?): Page through a lot of minutes from their meetings or whatnot (this may come up in later gameplay—“I researched that!”). Each of the smaller racial groups has at least one rep on the PRC. Some names:
Lord Torg, goblin rep (they are one of the newer races to get a rep on the PRC);
Lady Felda, one of the humans. Seems to be kind of a big player in the council, the big issue that she has been debating is legalizing “rogue prostitution” (ie not the conduits) in the city;
Lord Luthor, chair of human caucus, seems quite stable.
- Strange Happenings (in city, in border towns, whatever): If there was info on bordertowns, it would be in recent military intelligence, which is not accessible to us. Nyix does realize that some more money has been diverted lately to a sub-section of the Alden Guard called the Chimera, apparently tasked with investigating strange stuff.
- The Fountain at Langan Square (incidents near it? etc?): Nothing. There is slightly higher crime rate in that neighbourhood, but seems unrelated to the fountain.
- Maximillian Blackthorn the First: Post-Faerie-War, the Ruling Council spent a lot of its time processing the war, basically. Including making sure those who came back got the proper reward, were taken care of, etc. MBI was given the rank of commander, the house he lives in, etc etc.
- Anything Pre-Faerie-War?: What you can find unclassified backs up the kinds of stories you have heard—suspicious stuff, people’s babies being replaced, whatever—but most pre-FW stuff is classified.
- Primary Concerns of Alden Ruling Council—threads, themes: You have a sense of this for later. They are not concerned with anything unexpected—security, revenue, etc.
Scout’s time at the Checkered Boar is not super plot relevant, but she builds relationships and she loves it very much. She learns that the Temple of Erathis was into her for the fairly benign reason that the active acceptance of tieflings into their community is a marker of their progressivism (think LGBTQ dudes in the UCC or UU church). She also learns that the standard trio for tiefling music is an accordion, a djembe, and panpipes.
SPIRAL TOWER BREAK IN PLANS!
We leave at 3am, head out to the Spiral Tower to see how we are going to break it. There are windows in alcoves on the 3rd floorish level. Nyix teleports up to the alcove, ties a rope to something, and (somewhat awkwardly, in some cases) we climb up there with him. Max pushes in the boards, Nyix throws in a sun rod which falls down about two squares. Illuminated by its light, we see a large, junk-filled room with all kinds of messy piles of wizardy detritus and random stairways going who-knows-where. Some of the junk is coalescing into grouped piles and moving toward us threateningly. We roll initiative.
In the relatively perfunctory battle that follows, we face off against six piles of junk (played by gold army guys) and two animated suits of armor (played by stormtroopers) in the giant hall’o’junk. But never fear, because on our side there is a giant stinking cloud (thanks, wizard!), some rather spectacular damage sums courtesy of Max, and some not-so-bad teamwork besides (trapping Max in the stink-cloud excepted, of course). At one point, Flint teleports Max four squares using only her feelings, and Scout steps forward one square in such a commanding way that two minions fall dead at her feet. One of the suits of armor flies up to attack Nyix at one point, and we are all worried for a second, but he just teleports it back down into the poison stink cloud. Eventually, in a pretty fan-fucking-tastic final round, the one remaining suit of armour, standing flanked in the cloud of stench where Nyix teleported it and having just been dealt a mighty (and bloodying) blow by Max, shifts to hit Scout (who marked it). Before it even strikes at Scout, it has taken 29 points of damage on its turn alone (poison cloud, some creepy ongoing necrotic damage from Max, and a neato opportunity attack by Flint which was enabled by Max). Missing Scout spectacularly, it saves against its ongoing damage only to be immediately felled by a reach attack from Flint at the beginning of her turn.
Let the exploration of the Spiral Tower begin! Hurroo!