Friday, April 12, 2013

The Road To Magnimar (03/29/2013)

After having spent the previous session wandering through the mysterious and haunted Foxglove Manor the characters and the deputies were glad to be out of there and able to get back to Sandpoint. By working through all the different haunts and visions they encountered in the house and then freeing the Revenant Iesha from her attic prison and allowing her to do the dirty work of defeating Aldern Foxglove - now in his full ghast form - the party believed they had at last resolved the long sordid mystery of the Foxgloves and Sandpoint. New clues had been found though, and they pointed the party towards Magnimar, the City of Monuments.

Besides just needing a rest and a time to recover from the horrors they had encountered over the past few days, the party was looking forward to taking care of some group housekeeping activities. First things first though, so they dutifully visited Sheriff Hemlock, returned the three surviving deputies, and relayed the story of Foxglove Manor to the sheriff. Hemlock was horrified, shocked, and grateful t the party for having put an end to string of the gruesome murders. He was curious if the party was intending to continue the investigation back to Magnimar, and when the party replied to the affirmative he offered the four party members an official city round trip pass on a boat that would be leaving in two days for the two day trip to Magnimar.

The party also made time to visit Father Zantus. He too was shocked a the elements of evil that had come to exist in his town and made a fervent promise that he would marshal his priestly counterparts and that they would use the proper spells to destroy the foul mold and fungus that plagued the basement of Foxglove Manor. With the necessary's now complete, the party then retired to The Rusty Dragon for a well-earned rest.

With two days before they left for Magnimar Reynard decided to use this opportunity to experiment with his newly acquired enchantment spells. He had just recently reached 5th level and learned the spell, but the party's busy schedule had precluded him from putting the spell to use. Reynard figured that by the time the party reached Magnimar four days hence he would be able to enchant Selinor's scimitar and armor and to also enchant Kheo's armor.

DM Note: Enchantment required having a piece of masterwork equipment, the time, and spell components equivalent in value to half the increased value of the item. The party had accrued several masterwork items over the past few weeks of their adventure, had been saving their pennies for this particular moment, and now with a few spare days Reynard was able to buff several of the party members in time for their arrival in Magnimar.

DM Note #2: The group also spent some time discussing Prestige Levels. So far the party had just been escalating their levels in their given class, but as the characters rise in levels they often have different choices they can make. Basically, the players were asked to ensure they were making the right choices now at 5th level so when they got to 10th level (and above) they would able to reach their self-prescribed characters goals.

Aldern Foxglove

The players arrived in Magnimar as planned, rested and buffed, and ready to continue their investigation into the mystery surrounding Aldern Foxglove. Aldern had owned and lived in a townhouse somewhere in Magnimar, but Magnimar was a big, big place. There only clue was the birdcages that had been acquired at Pug's Contraptions. If they could find that shop then perhaps they could find further clues towards finding Aldern's house.

With not much knowledge of Magnimar, the party moved into the merchant quarter. Certainly someone there would know of Pug's, plus Stike had declared an intention of finding a set of Masterwork Plate Armor. He had been unable to find a set in Sandpoint, but hoped that while in the big city he might have more luck.

In one of the nicer sections of town the party found a shop that featured a very nice set of armor in its window. Unfortunately the asking price was twice was Stike could afford, but Stike did his best to haggle him down. Reynard determined the armor was really nice – well made, no dents or dings, light weight, but was it worth what he was asking for it? He thought he could do better than what the party was offering, and soon stuck his nose up in the air and asked the party to move along.

Having no luck there, the party opted to move out of the nicer part of town to look for shops that might be more amenable to the party’s price range. Another set of armor was soon spotted – it had a few dings, had obviously been repaired a few times, but seemed to have been well-cared for. It took some haggling, but soon Stike was the owner of his own set of Masterwork Plate Armor.

As the party spoke with the proprietor they asked if he was familiar with Pug’s Contraption’s. He was, and soon the party found itself standing in front of Pug’s, a run-down shop that offered various small pieces of metal-worked items such as plates, chalices, and in the front window – a birdcage.

The party entered and found Pug in the back of the shop, working over a fire with a hammer and tongs as he worked on a project. He greeted the party suspiciously, and initially only gave vague and unspecific answers to whatever questions the party asked. Finally he reached over and took a plate off the shelf and explained to the party that this was a place of business and if perhaps the party was willing to do some business, such as perhaps purchase that plate for 25 GP, then perhaps they could do some business.

Some members of the party took the hint right away (others, not so much) but soon a deal was struck and Pug suddenly remembered that yes, he had indeed made and delivered three bird cages to Aldern Foxglove perhaps 2-3 weeks previous. When asked for details as to where the cages had been delivered, Pug reached over and picked up a chalice and mentioned that this was a place of business blah blah blah and soon another 25 GP changed hands and Pug suddenly remembered the address and even provided directions as to how to get there.

With the address the necessary directions the party moved back into the nicer part of town and just as it had been laid out for them the quickly found Aldern’s townhouse. It was a three story structure with a wall that surrounded what looked to be some sort of patio area in the back of the house. It was located in the middle of a busy residential section, so the party made an effort to look innocuous as possible while they circled the house and made their plans for what to do next. One curious thing they noticed was that all the windows on the main floor had been boarded shut.

There was no obvious clue as to whether anyone was home or not. The party was still holding on to a couple of keys they had recovered back at Foxglove Manor, but didn’t want to be seen as attempting a break-in in broad daylight – besides the local residents local gendarmes were strolling the streets as well.

Kheo decided to try his mask out. His plan was to make himself look like one of the neighbors and to simply walk up to the door and knock. If somebody answered they would merely think the friendly neighbor had stopped by to ask for a cup of sugar or something. As Kheo approached the front door the rest of the party kind of fanned out, keeping an eye on the front door, but still trying to look inconspicuous.

Kheo knocked, and heard footsteps approaching the front door. The door lock jiggled from the inside, and the door opened and there stood Aldern Foxglove. Not the hideous ghast they had seen slain several days ago, but Aldern Foxglove.

Kheo stumbled out his question about the cup of sugar, but Aldren rebuffed him and sent him on his way and closed the front door. Kheo returned to the party, removed his disguise, and as they started to discuss next actions the door to the townhouse opened again and Aldern appeared, and with a happy voice greeted each of the party by name. He then turned and said something to someone behind him, and out stepped Aldern’s lovely wife, Iesha Foxglove. Not the revenant Iesha Foxglove the party had found trapped in an attic room a few days previous, but the lovely and vibrant young woman the party had seen in a portrait in Foxglove Manor.

DM Note: It is not often in the life of a DM that he can look up and see all of his players sitting there with their mouths stuck open in amazement. This was one of those times.

Iesha Foxglove
As the party stood stunned at what had appeared in front of them Aldern insisted they come inside. He told Iesha these were the people that had saved him during the goblin raid on Sandpoint and had also gone with him on the exciting boar hunt. Aldern further offered that Iesha would provide them all a grand supper as part of their thanks for the party’s heroic efforts.

The party warily joined Aldern and Iesha in the house. Aldern apologized for the boarded up windows – they were getting ready to have some work done was the explanation. After a brief tour of the first floor they stepped out back into the garden area. There the conversation continued until Selinor asked about Ameiko Kaijitsu, the owner of the Rusty Dragon where the boar they had killed had been cooked to perfection. Aldern stated he had no idea who that was.

Both sides simultaneously realized a mistake had been made and a brief but brutal battle was held. The two Faceless Stalkers soon phased back to their natural state, but this still left plenty of questions for the party. Not only were these creatures waiting for them, but had also been obviously coached as to how to dress and what to say. Someone had guessed (correctly) that the party would come to the townhouse – did they also know what had happened in Sandpoint just those few days ago?

Thinking that more clues may lie inside, the party quickly hid the bodies and went back inside the townhouse to investigate further. One of the two keys was tested and found that it did unlock the front door. The other key – the one with the lions head on it – still had not been otherwise identified. The party found nothing of particular interest on the first two floors, but then nothing was found on the third floor as well.

The house search was started over on the first floor with a knowledge that something had been missed somewhere. Finally on the third floor a keyhole was found on one of the lion’s head bookends and sure enough, the remaining key was able to open a hidden vault. The secret cache in the master bedroom contained one of Foxglove's nest eggs: a bag of 200 PP along with a shallow wooden case containing a number of legal papers pertaining to the townhouse, as well as the deed to Foxglove Manor:

The Deed to Foxglove Manor
The deed indicated that the Foxglove family only financed two-thirds of the manor's construction 80 years ago; the remainder had been financed by a group called the Brothers of the Seven. The deed also bore an unusual clause near the end that indicated that after 100 years the ownership of Foxglove Manor and the lands within a mile "around and below" would revert to the brothers.

Under the case was a thin ledger - the majority of the entries were relatively mundane, but several near the end caught the party’s attention. There were nearly a dozen entries from over the past three months labeled as "Iesha's Trip to Absalom," each indicating Foxglove was paying someone referred to as "B-7" 200 GP a week for her "trip," listed as having been dropped off every Oathday at midnight at a place called "the Seven's Sawmill."

The party was at least generally familiar with sawmill’s – they had initially been introduced to Aldern’s reign of terror back at the sawmill in Sandpoint. Perhaps they would find more answer's there.

And we will pick it up from there in two weeks - Friday, April 12th, in Scott's newly refurbished basement.

For tonight's efforts each party member earned 600 XP, giving them (18,880 + 600) 19,480 XP earned so far, with 23,000 XP required to reach Level 6.

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