During this campaign, I produced a small interlude to show what Jocasta was up to during all this. You can read it Here.
“With the death of Kryptmn, and reports of a loose lipped racketeer in the city slums the conspirtors decided that it would be the best course of action to accelerate their coup.
Part one consisted of bringing forth their most loyal soldiers, and using those in authority to exile those loyal to the king. Part two would be to secure all viable assets in the kingdom, most notably the power that the Romanov estates would bring. Part three would then be a simple matter of bringing in Skelliath's undead army if required, and imposing martial law while a new government was established.
Of course, they still had to contend with the Black Hand, who held the King in a state of 'sickness', while they planned on their counter-coup."
- Silvio de Blum - The Ragnar Conspiritors: The Wardovia Coup
After a short break due to Damon's player being unavailable, I decided to push forward and compromise by joining the campaign as a third character to back up the team. This ultimately ended with me changing the whole route of the campaign. The Ragnar Conspiracy, originally planned as a small side quest, was now brought to the forefront. This resulted in Kara being exiled from the city, allowing me to use her as a guest member of the team if only two were available. In this case Damon had been concussed into unconsciousness by a magic missile.
“Look at you, great men of Wardovia, driven away like rats from a sinking ship. Well look at me! An Andavian, and woman at that. I'm not afraid to fight on. Fight to protect everything we fought for in the war. Did brother fight brother so that a handful of sons of whores can walk into the city and take it? Did they?”
Kara Regnetris – Speech during the routing of the Wardovian loyalists
After clearing out the caves in evergreen our heroes exit to find that Kara and the loyalists have fled there. Running into the violent locals, the village is cleared out, and the men set it up as a resistance headquaters. The undead army to the east now becomes a pressing concern, so Kara, Trust and Azreal head east to investigate reports of something interfering with the undead, originating from the shipwreck, the Iron Maiden.
“Captain Sofia Sloan. The name would bring thoughts of many things to many different people. Mead. Ale. Whiskey. Wine. Sofia was the best bootlegger from Neverwinter to Sigil and back.. Be it the lowliest slum spree to the most prestigious noble banquet, Sofia was in high demand.
Always with an eye for a quick buck and gentlemen who would at the very least pretend they were on some noble quest, Sofia traveled the planes far and wide in her Spelljammer, the Iron Maiden. With only one goal, keep the party going.”
Dara Murry - A rough tavern guide: Heros and Villains
Heading into pirate territory, our heroes discover that the pirates to the east are much more passive. Taking them to their captain, our heroes meet Sofia, aping a cod west country accent. In private she reveals that her Spelljammer crash landed, with its busted capacitors creating a field that negates any necromantic incantations. Sofia tasks the group with locating her some new engine parts, as the booze will only keep the pirates pacified for so long. In return she offers the busted capacitors to use against the undead to the east.
And so, with a wink from Sofia to Azreal, the group sets off back to the Dwarfen city, this time with whiskey to bribe their way in.
“My name is Tim. Son of a murdered farther. Husband to a murdered theory. Farther of a murdered potted plant. And I will have my vengeance”
- “King” Tim of the Westwood Elves
Traveling the countryside, the group comes face to face with the rather theatrical and unhinged 'King' Tim of the elves, who is convinced that the group are machinations of his “nemifis”(sic). Trusts quick tong manages to convince Tim that the identity of his nemesis is the Lord Treasurer, who Kara reveals will be heading to Collat'oral within a few days to make a bid for the Romanov estates. With this our heroes carry on. Eventually stopping off at the Byzannium ruins in an attempt to eliminate Skelliath
“The two dwarvern families of the Ragnar mountains, House Brut and House Brot, had been feuding for generations. The popular opinion of the gentry of Wardovia on 'lesser' races, had left the Dwarfs struggling to justify their position in the mainly human hierarchy. To maintain their hold, they became weapons manufacturers, for the Wardovian millitary, and off the record work for the Black Hand and the Ragnar Conspiritors.”
- Jack Capricorn - Where there's a mine or a hole in the ground
This session began with a thrilling battle against the skull lord and his undead minions. Using a regular undead model, the group was unaware that a skull lord had to be killed three times to finaly vanquish him, leading to two occurrences of manic laughter when they though the battle was over.
After finally finishing him off, they are granted a powerful helmet, that works as a sort of magical defibrillator, which once a day can be used to resurrect someone. When they arrive at the mountains, their alcoholic bribe works getting them a job offer by the head of house Brot, to do away with his rival and steal the blueprints for an automatic crossbow. While trying to infiltrate the back enterance to the house of Brot, Kara and Azreal have to pull off the oldest trick in the book, to pretend to be lovers passionately kissing while Trust picks the lock.
Finally they manage to sneak in, ham-fistedly do the dirty deed, and be away with the plans. In return the Dwarfs grant them fresh capacitors for Sofia and an agreement to help the group infiltrate the city by digging a tunnel under the wall when the time comes.
“Collat'oral was the financial capital of the continent. Here whole estates and armies were bought and sold. Standard practice was to open the ceremony first with the hanging of a notorious criminal. Then bids would begin for a variety of items, both valuable and mundane, to get the attendees into the spirit of things. Then there would be a short recess and the starting bids for the main prize would begin. There was then a break in the bids overnight, and the final auction would take place the following morning. In practice through, many events were the setting for crafty plots and dangerous gambits”
- James Khamrah – Mad Money
In this session our heroes head to Collat'oral in order to throw a spanner in the conspiritor's works by sabotaging the Lord Treasurer's plans to claim the Romanov estates in the name of the coup. The opening ceremony involves Carnack being brought up for execution, who breathes his final breath on the noose as the group debates the merits of an attempted rescue. In the end, they decided, It just wasn't worth the risk.
During the opening bids Trust and Azreal get into the spirit of things, bidding for a few bits and bobs. Kara notes the unusual amount of elves for the city, including the mayor of the town. After observing the Lord Treasurer for the day, the group plans to sneak into the town hall at night to steal the deeds to the estate. While preparing in her room, Trust is visited by the not so dead Carnack, who, admiring her ruthlessness, confides his secret of not death to her in return for assistance when assaulting the palace tower.
Trust infiltrates the town hall with ease, but comes face to face with a Black Hand agent, also after the deeds. Trust dispatches him, then leaves with the deeds, and all seems rosy. However the following morning it is revealed that the deeds were simply a decoy, the originals still safely up for auction. As the Lord Treasurer rises to claim his price, and all seems lost, he his killed by an elven uprising led by 'King' Tim. The elves wrest control of the city away from the lord's men, and agree to stand with the group against the conspirators as a reward for their assistance against Tim's 'nemifis'(sic).
After this, the group quickly travel back to the Iron Maiden, to pass the new capacitors to Sofia. As a last request, Sofia orders the pirates to now follow the free city guard and to rendezvous at Evergreen. With a wink to Azreal, Sofia's spelljammer raises into the air and vanishes to traverse the plains once more.
“Tristan's troupe, as they were commonly known, were a band of adventurers of average reputation. Tristan, the devious Teifling rogue was the mastermind behind most of their schemes. Alriaanna was the strong silent paladin of Helm, the muscle of the group. Finally there was Duncan, the wild card. Duncan was a cleric of Bane, and shared his gods perchance for violence. Many theorize Duncan's somewhat camp mannerisms were a mask for his more manipulative nature, and that Tristan was just a patsy, being led to exactly where Duncan wanted him to go. Suffice to say, Tristan's schemes did not always go according to plan”
- Roma Drangasti – On the Road Again
Now to deal with Clodhopper. The resistance needed still more backbone before it would attempt to re-take the city, so a deal must be brokered with the scourge of the seven seas. Arriving at Skull Cove, Damon re-unites with the group, and they infiltrate the carvers, to attempt to have an advantage over the illithid Captain. Trust and Azreal however, get a bit greedy looking at some minerals in the cavern wall, attempting to pry them lose several times only yeilds attention from some Sllaad and a snake, so eventually they give in.
Discovering a small camp on the coastal cliffs, the group take cover for the night, but their checks fail to detect approaching pirates. Knocked out, they are captured, and awaken in a cell with a group of a adventurers who I made, to be honest, as thinly veiled parodies of the group itself. Tristan, the tiefling rogue, had landed them there with a scheme similar to Trust's, of pretending to be city guards and attacking the pirates. Duncan was an overly camp cleric, and Alriaanna said nothing, much like Azreal. After devising a plan, the group escape, and come face to face with Clodhopper.
Damon's diplomatic solution proves effective, Clodhopper agrees to help, but only if one of two conditions are filled. Either face him in battle or get him a brain to consume of better qualitiy than the usual he feasts on. The group chooses the latter, and plan to head to the town of Tarp, where a conspirator resides with the knights there. A perfectly suitable brain!
During all this, Azreals player was placing his model on top of Alriaanna. I decided this signified they had been uncontrollably making out. ITS CANON NOW.