Stranger Roads

Session VI: The Trap is Sprung

“Session Recording. ":https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B5AS_ayiEJ8WWHpHNnl0UnZaZ0U/edit?usp=docslist_api

In the quickly-escalating events that followed, the party returned to Calisto to discover the staff viciously slaughtered, and Rudo Jeffery no-where to be seen. Investigating a magical-mirror, the party passed through a series of memories (not only some of their own, but also those of a young Rudo, and [could it be?] Thain) before breaking free of its hypnotic snare.

They regained their senses inside of a bag of holding, and broke out to confront the oddly calm, ostensibly “Rudo” who had carried them down (mirror and all) to the spider cave under the heart of Tyr. There, amongst repurposed components from Tym’s magical ship, a re-wired collar holding the spider’s snot-like chrysalis, all wired-up with thick canvas-coated cables – the party called-out “Rudo” for her uncharacteristic behaviour, and discovered the truth behind the facade:

Thain, a warforged construct, had insinuated himself into Rudo’s business, home, and body, in order to fuel the Jeffery empire’s assets into some great and terrible arcane device, built into the spider’s chamber. But as Thain attempted to destroy our party once and for all, he attacked not our heroes, but the convalescent spider – triggering a sound/migraine that knocked out Tym: his contracted killer.

A beat passed, and then a radical, muscully red devil entered reality just beneath the spider; just beneath Thain – and just beneath the piercing, spiny, collar of magical thorns, cobbled with cables to the contraptions sprawled out across the chamber’s floor.

In a deft movement, Thain scythed-off the spider’s collar, where it neatly dropped around the devil’s middle. Trumpeting “WHAT, THIS IS -- WHAT!?”, the arch-devil Bel, obviously not expecting this turn of events, was (you guessed it) trapped. Thain laid into the spider, hacking and cutting its malformed body, until in a freakish disruption of reality, the very world around the party was at once pulled-out in all directions, and compressed into an infinite speck….

TUNE IN NEXT TIME, for the stunning conclusion of Stranger Roads, Season 1!

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Session V: The Spider's Web

[audio still being edited.]

When last we left our well-intentioned party – they had mounted a thorough investigation into the disappearance of Peter Agermore. Under the pretense of attempting to locate Thain (in order to string along Tym the *Ranger), they interrogated a number of individuals at the Atriea Dixerut Curiosis and tracked his last known whereabouts down to a cult holed up at an underground monastery. Following a pitched battle, rife with strange red flames, a glowing pit, and a disturbing box of loose, old man skin (believed to be that of Thain) – Tym and Qona chased after the disappearing figure of Rudo Jeffery, who appeared to be fleeing the scene? But were generally disturbed to recognize her as not Rudo.

As a new day dawns, a handful of lingering matters remained to be concluded: an outstanding invitation to see Rudo at Calisto “after you’ve finished your little investigation”; locating the ship of Tym’s that Thain stole; and learning what became of Peter Agermore once and for all….

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Riddles in the Dark
Session IV

Session Recording

Awakening to a manor full of passed-out partygoers, our quartet wasted no time in launching their investigation of Ms. Rudo Jeffery’s home. Uncovering direct linkages to Rudo’s father’s influence over the city council; several tomes of significant magical (and abyssal) value; several magical house hacks; and a hidden passageway connecting to an underground network of tunnels beneath Tyr – the writing (and indeed, the gold leaf) was on the wall that night – citing Jeffery’s as a tremendously powerful and influential presence, ominously casting its shadow over all of Tyr.

But to what end?

Following the subterranean tunnels beneath Calisto, the party soon discovered just what was held trapped “beneath” the Spindle – and in taking up their magics and arrows for the first time since meeting, ended the enslaved interdimensional creature that was trapped there, stowed their findings, and scurried back to take their positions before the rays of first light hit the city.

But whether they’d meant to or not, far-reaching ripples had been set in motion, and there is no telling upon what distant shores those waves would fall….

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A Little Party Never Killed Nobody
Session III

Session recording.

Chapter 1: The Plan

In their two weeks ensconced at the small manor of Baroness Tryxia Mavenrod (Qona) in Tyr, the party has spent their time plotting and preparing for a party of particular significance. Hoping to gain some leverage or information about the mysterious Ms. Rudo Jeffery, CEO of the eponymous “Trappes” company, their interdisciplinary preparations were thorough, and well-executed. DIscoveries included:

  • Vatria and Smitty visited local oral historian Cid the fisherman, near the Tyr harbor along the Ribbonwallow river. While chatting, it became evident that the central fixture of the city (the Spindle) literally appeared overnight, some 20-30 years ago, and shortly thereafter, the city council took to building up its exterior walls – today, magically enforced by the strange object. (Along the way, Smitty purloined a small, magical make-up kit, known as the the Box of Princely Comeliness.)
  • Qona (as Minda Talony) paid a visit to the hall of public records, and Regencia the reference librarian. In pouring through the tomes, she noticed the subtle presence of Rudo’s father (Theron), at several of the public meetings to discuss and construct the walls of Tyr. While not explicitly involved, this private interest may be worth further investigation.
  • ‘Garian’s research at the University library turned-up some fairly banal undergrad papers, examining the spindle – but was unfortunately unable to connect with a senior staff person to ascertain the university’s stance or full knowledge of this oddly dimensional structure. Why, in his own general arcane appraisals, he found that the Spindle was A) definitely not of this dimension, and B) itself the subject of many spells of binding, constraint, and ensnarement. Finally, by working the frat angle at the Atria Dixerut Curiousis, ’Garian came into possession of a bottle of Pre-game Punch – the compliment to Smitty’s stolen flask of Everclear (sic).
  • With the help of Qona and ‘Garian, Vatria and Smitty were able to weave an elaborate history in the city of Tyr: not only making a name for themselves, but by working in concert, managed to fabricate a legitimate history for the duo in and around the city, playing at the Institute, and for many other Lords and Ladies of the council at parties, soirees, etc. If anyone were to attempt any light investigation into their credentials, they would find a track record, several years long, legitimising “Inky & Itty’s” station and quality.
  • By working the web, Qona handily managed to incept the idea of a lavish party into her council contacts, triggering an invitation to Calisto (the Jeffery family home) in a few nights’ time. From her servant contacts, Qona obtained a map of the house, including special interest indicators, highlighting sections of Calisto that the help were either cagey about, or pointedly detailed about. These may also be worth investigating (Ms. Rudo’s private office, the basement cask and wine cellar, the house office, etc.) if the opportunity presents itself. Finally, her sources also procured a small pocket-size snuff box of the recreational stimulant, Ton-Baum (or ‘Toby’ for short).

Dispensing with armor, armed only with daggers, and opting for appropriately opulent attire, the party at last set out for Calisto, and the Gatsbian party contained within.

Toward the large river (Ribbonwallow) at the North-Western edge of the city, a gently-sloping rise also signals an increase in land and estate value – and the address at its peak, the multi-story villa Calisto: their destination.

Mavenrod’s grey carriage bounced gently up the loping street, its occupants, cushioned by the lavender silk and suede interior. A small contingent of footmen and “help” waited outside Calisto’s front portico to assist the passengers with disembarking, and in ushering them inside – through the foyer, and down a short hall, Mavenrod and her entourage arrived at a grand staircase, descending into a lavish ballroom.

A footman, raising his eyebrow, and consequently some of the drooping jowls of skin hanging from his face, read from a scroll “Presenting, the Baroness Tryxia Mavenrod, and her consort” the eerily familiar Thain shot Qona a knowing look, and murmured, “Welcome.” as they entered.

Chapter 2: The Party

Adjoining the ballroom area, sat the main buffet line. A smorgasbord of delicious treats and tasty foods, including several rare beasts prepared and presented in unique and appetizing ways. A massive punchbowl commanded the large room’s sideboard, and guests thronged it like waves at the shore in the heat of the late-summer’s day. The massive balcony doors were drawn aside, and the tall windows stood open, freely admitting the pleasant evening air. To one side of a raised dais, a small crew of performers had gathered, readying instruments, and providing a gentle ambiance to the slowly growing din of the party.

Inky and Itty were briefly sequestered in a green room upstairs, but not before the Halfling had handily emptied the flask of Everclear (sic) into the punch. Qona and ‘Garian worked the crowd, meeting not only Rudo Jeffery herself, sharing a clipped moment with Thain, but also encountering a couger of a woman – aunt of an unknown classmate at the university. After some smalltalk, and a glass or two of the spiked punch – the opening act had ended, and Inky & Itty took to the stage.

Spinning a gorgeous yarn (aided by some magical pyrotechnics, courtesy of ‘Garian) the pair told the story of a mythic war on Tyr, and the pivotal role and romance of Rudo’s ancestors in its defense. The duo wowed the crowd, and earned high praise from the lady of the house – and from there, the party transitioned from a triumphant bacchanal, into a celebratory ‘welcome home’ party, and from there, to an uproarious black-out drunkenness.

For all, that is, except the party of four.

Awake amidst the catatonic forms of the partiers, Qona, ‘Garian, Vatria, and Smitty stood – completely awake, alive, alert, and enthusiastic, thanks to either self-control, or the benefits of the pre-game punch.

And in the pre-dawn night, the secrets of Calisto lay bare and ripe for the taking.

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A Visit to Jeffery Industries: Purveyors of Phyne Trappes and Snayres
Session II

SESSION RECORDING

Led by Qona, the party set-out across the city of Tyr, in search of the infamous “Jeffrey.” Garian regaled Smitty of his times at the Atria dixerunt Curiosis (loosely, “The Halls of Curiosity”) while passing the selfsame arcane institution – when one of Garian’s bros (Rex) emerged to bro-bump with Garian over a recent kegger. In the heat of bromance, no-one noticed Smitty delicately pick Rex’s pocket (appropriating some coin and a leather-wrapped flask), before the party moved along.

At the city’s center, the party clapped eyes upon the Spindle; a dynamic, geodesic spire of reflective material that actively enforces Tyr’s magical defences. While examining the spire and the minstrels plying their trade nearby, tiefling Qona surreptitiously disappeared, and prudish-corporate-liaison-human Minda Talony emerged to lead the party onward.

The party arrived at Jeffrey Industries, and was assigned the droopy dog-like associate Thain, who escorted them on a tour and trap demonstration under the assumption that the party wished to place a large order. Upon learning that the company produces no “live” traps, the party left indignantly; but not before learning some particular facts about both Thain and Jeffery Inc.. Specifically: the current absence of the CEO (believed to be female), Jeffery’s small staff size (9 or so), the building’s connection to Tyr’s maintenance tunnels, Thain’s interest in the “other applications” of traps and snares, the location of the loading dock (out back), and the existence of another Jeffery location: the trap distribution center.

Unsure of how to proceed, the party returns to the Ythnn – perhaps more dejected than they had left it that morning – but soon the wheels of an elaborate con are set in motion, and with Qona’s… connection to the Baroness Tryxia Mavenrod, her home, staff, name, and holdings: the party sets out to infiltrate the upper ranks of Jeffery.

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The Kings Road to Tyr
Session I

Session Recording

Our curtain rises on a camp being hastily packed at dawn amid the late summer fields along the Kings Road. Two figures stand in the pre-dawn light: Smitty, a Halfling Rogue, wearing a skunk tail tucked into his trousers; and the tall, robed, High Elf Bard, Vatria. Smitty has been traveling this region and its surrounding wilds for the better part of a year, slowly gaining a composite understanding of what ‘the big city’ is, its influences, and how to get there. A week or so ago on his travels, he and Vatria met on the road. She was just recently estranged from her family for pursuing a course of study, a career, and body modifications beyond their custom or desire. The pair found camaraderie through their arts (Smitty’s musicship, and Vatria’s storytelling) and have busked together periodically for food or shelter since meeting. At the opening of the day, so too do the great gates of Tyr swing wide, and the pair enters after briefly interacting with Customs.

Within Tyr’s magical walls, dawn greets two others in vastly different ways:

For Adrogarian, Elf, pursuing studies at an arcane university; the Atria dixerunt Curiosis, the sunrise and the city’s bells bid all the white-clad undergrad scholars to their morning meal. But for wizards in search of their thesis subject (like Garian) the clamor and delights of Tyr’s public bazaar hold much more allure than the gruel served up at the arcane towers.

For the Teifling Warlock Qona, a balanced ledger and a dark basement room make dawn just as good a time to sleep as any other. Her private business of trading favors and brokering secrets operates at any hour – but the sounds of an accompanied epic yarn interrupt what slumber she had sought.

These character all gather at The Ythnn: purveyor of particularly excellent breakfasts, provider of fair lodgings, and seasonal ciders – a mere block from the open air bazaar in the Foreign Canto. A diverting conversation about animal ethics, gendered names, and the hotness of Tieflings between Smitty and Vatria snags the attention of Garian and Qona: who, for reasons of curiosity (or coin for Qona), agree to form a party, and partake in Smitty’s hunt for “Jeffery,” the trapmaker responsible for the death of the skunk he wears.

With Qona in the lead, the four adventurers will soon be lead directly to “Jeffrey”’s door… but just who (or what) might “Jeffery” be?

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