Sixth Session – An unusual amount of this session is spent partying at the Demon Corn Inn. Then we do a favor for a pimp because… I guess Kraid told him we would? Next thing you know we’re fighting “Professor Slice.” He slices.
The downtime rules for Blades In The Dark require you to go indulge in vices to recover Stress. Of course sometimes this goes bad and causes even more Stress. Kraid is trying to date Captain Luckett and Hasten Doom is trying to date the pugilist Marlene. This leads to a bar fight and substance abuse. Fun times.
Then – Kraid somehow ends up owing a pimp named Theodore Lysander a favor, which involves stealing a magical blade. We help him really for no good reason. We deliver a barrel of wine to a warehouse to get the guards sloshed and go in the back. I try to arrange for an entirely silent burgling, but when Marto and Kraid see some crazy cyborg doctor called “Professor Slice” they decide they just can’t let things go without combat. So Reis and Toad steal things and sneak out while those two fight. But then it turns out all the guards are amputees with various weird substitute limbs put on by Slice. The one who ends up being the most of a problem is a guy with mechanical spring legs. We escape in a running battle down the canal. Then it’s all over but the loot inventory.
All righty! I’m finally going back and organizing and cataloguing my extensive RPG collection. I’ve been buying games since getting Star Frontiers in 1982. I get more virtual than physical these days, but I still prefer paper for something I’m going to use. So I thought I’d share as I go!
All right, we kick it off with the new 7th Sea 2e, which I recently got via Kickstarter and haven’t read fully yet. It’s a swashbuckling game by John Wick.
Next is 13th Age from Pelgrane Press, kind of a semi-story take on D&D, which I am not sure I want to play but am up for stealing ideas from – each character gets “One Unique Thing,” which I assume is a Jonathan Tweet import because it feels like Over The Edge, and the game revolves around semi-deity “Icons” and their relationships.
Aberrant is a long forgotten White Wolf superhero game, but I played it at conventions in Tennessee in the ’90’s. Uses a system like all those old White Wolf games, which were all basically superhero games anyway so not sure why this didn’t take off at all. Was related to the Trinity sci-fi game I also played.
Aces & Eights needs a lot of investment to get players to learn some big ass ruleset but it’s a straightforward Wild West game (no magic or other genre-bending) and I’d love to play it. Deadwood the RPG, basically. It has whole sections on cattle drives and mining for gold and court trials.
Aletheia is a modern paranormal game I got on clearance. I might steal the well detailed home base building for their paranormal-fighting club for it at some point.
Aliens Adventure Game! I hear there’s a new Alien (no s) game that just came out, but this is an old school licensed RPG for Aliens, aka “the best Alien movie.” Real old – the system uses tables, which makes it a hard sell to get people to play nowadays. Maybe I can combine it with Starship Troopers or Star Frontiers or something to make it happen.
All Flesh Must Be Eaten is a zombie survival game with a stunning number of supplements, I only have a handful. Was popular in con play back in the day and I’ve run it as well, it uses the Eden Studios Unisystem and is good.
Alternity is a TSR/WotC science fiction game I really like, you can tell since I have 23 books in the line. I ran it back when it came out, more recently another GM in our group ran a huge StarDrive campaign where we were the command staff of the Lighthouse and everything. I really want to run their modern paranormal Dark Matter setting, I might be able to since a lot of our group has played Alternity and is used to the system if a bit sassy about it.
Then I have a handful of Amazing Engine games that I got in a lot mostly on the strength of Bughunters, which is an Aliens meets Space: Above and Beyond kind of setting, which is cool. The “Amazing Engine,” which was a very very brief TSR attempt at a generic system, went nowhere however. “We’ll make a GURPS clone and crush them! Oh wait maybe not…”
Next is Amber Diceless Roleplaying. All you kids think diceless and stuff is from newfangled indie games, but nope we had it back in 1991. This is a cool game, it’s PvP – each of the players is a Prince in Amber from the Roger Zelazny books and is largely against each other. Stats are just ranked – you’re the best or second best or third best at Warfare, just among the princes because no one else really could ever match you. Erick Wujcik wrote this and it’s a classic.
Then we have Aria: Canticle of the Monomyth. It’s less an RPG and more of a master’s thesis. It did have the idea of story-creating a world and such, like the more modern Microscope, but no one could slog through the 500+ pages to get there. Alas.
Armageddon is a modern supernatural end of the world game by CJ Carella. I think I got this while I was in an In Nomine fueled haze during that year or two of gaming.
Ah, Ars Magica. Another “indie before there was such a thing” game. Very innovative both for the troupe system (you didn’t play just one character, usually each player had a single super powerful mage character and one person would run them and others would run Companions (decently powerful supporting characters) or Grogs (random low powered goons and serfs). Also, the magic system was a greatly flexible Latin-powered system – “Perdo Ignam!” would put out fires and make things cold, for example. Sadly, despite winning many awards, it’s been dead about a decade, the last corebook (5th edition) came out in 2004. I think this one would be a great one to revive in a much smaller/lighter indie game format nowadays. Hmm, I do see on their Web page that there are some Fiasco playsets for it! Well OK maybe not quite *that* light and indie, but you know, not 300+ pages either.
Ashen Stars is a GUMSHOE game of interstellar troubleshooters, I have the corebook in PDF but I have this one adventure supplement in paper (I try to support my FLGSes when they have something I want to buy…)
Then two editions of the Babylon 5 RPG! Still my favorite sci-fi TV show of all time, but still hard to re-watch (it was free for a brief moment and is now expensive again). Heck I wrote my first RPG.net review about this in 1997. They never got much product out for it, and then Mongoose came out with a second edition that did – but unfortunately converted it over to d20 during the d20 glut where everything got converted over even if it was a terrible fit system-wise for it. Maybe one day I’ll find some folks with B5 love and do something with this.
I kickstarted Russ Peyton from RPPR’s Base Raiders game, a FATE-powered game where basically the superheroes have all gone away and now people are looting their cool super-bases for stolen tech and bragging rights.
And then I have two supplements for Battlelords of the Twenty-Third Century, because they seem bananas in that Rifts kind of way. It’s a science fiction game that strips away everything except blowing things up. Somewhat similar to Warhammer 40k, though they didn’t bother to make that into a RPG until recently, it’s about shooting things in a galaxy at war but for megacorps and not the Emperor. “SLA Industries In Space!” I’ll call it. This is from the ’90’s but apparently a 7th edition has been kickstarted recently! Hmm, I’m gonna download the quickstart now, might make a fun one-shot. Ah, critical hit tables, I can see I’ll like this.
OK, that’s shelf 1 of 22 (not counting several shelves of Dungeon and Dragon magazines). Chime in below, have you played any of these? What should be stolen from them to use in gaming nowadays?
Fifth Session – A lot of different kinds of activity this session, without the frontal assaults that are our bread and butter. Of course, our attempt to sneak blackmail material into a police inspector’s house to have some dirt on the Bluecoats goes south and there’s some shooting.
Delazia Finchester, of the Circle of Flame (cult), which is an underground subset of the Centralia Club (National Geographic Society style club), has been on Reis’ “get with” list for a while. (In other words she’s the Emma Frost of the Inner Circle in the Hellfire Club, but less evil). They want some artifacts that sound exactly like the Vecna stuff – the eye of Kotor, the hand of Kotor, the head heart of Kotor… Reis talks everyone else into it, his primary motivation being that Delazia is hot.
So he summons a spirit, the Hand of Sorrow, to get information. That starts going awry and we end up sacrificing Stinky Pete, our formerly-homeless hanger-on, to it. We are very careful to keep this both from Kraid and his player Tim, who missed the session, as they are both big Stinky Pete fans.
Then we go to trade that info to the Centralia Club and get unceremoniously shooed away by the doormen and a backup ghost.
Fourth Session– The Red Sashes are no more, and we decide to start a fighting pit and start trouble with the Crows. I just watched Dolemite so I ensured that it ended up in a Dolemite-style club confrontation in the end!
We’re getting the hang of the game, so decide we need to expand our turf with a fighting pit (which will generate revenue for us). Of course you can’t do anything without stepping on some other gang, even though we did find a spot that had been off limits due to haunting but had recently been cleansed. We took it over and came up with a bunch of plans that we eventually decided were too complicated, and just started a fighting pit, invited Lampblack gang leader Bazsho Baz, and waited for the Crows to show up and start trouble.
They did; we played a weird game of brinkmanship with having the audience back our play but not so much they get murderized. There’s ghosts! Shotguns! In the end we capture a couple of them and, since we’re from a professional mercenary unit, ransom them back to the Crows.
And Kraid continues his very long term plan to turn the homeless people in the turf we own into craftsmen, making nets… None of us can figure out why he’s sinking so much effort into it. His new friend Smelly Pete is proving useful, though.
Third Session – The Red Sashes decide to get back at us by coming to take over our homeless-infested mansion. A lot of violence ensues. Then when we go to try to sell off some bank notes we liberated, a captain woman decides she’ll ride Marto like a Harley on a bad piece of road.
The fight against the Red Sashes starts off pretty rough – the dice mechanic is not good in general (“get a 6 on a pool of 2d6, and you will be fine…”) and they are all higher tier which means penalties to that. But the tide turns dramatically when Toad crits with a alchemist-bomb into a crowd of opposition and next thing you know we’re mopping up retreating survivors.
Of course, then we’re at war! So many rules… Downtime actions and gang stuff and clocks and mandatory stress relief and it all requires rolls that have collateral problems. But we’re getting by. We get a bunch of ship captains and such to cut in on redeeming our stolen bank notes, and one takes a fancy to Marto the Bear, which entertains all of us except Bruce.
Second Session – We continue to maneuver with the other gangs like the Crows, Red Sashes, and Lampblacks. We decide we need some turf so take over a homeless camp. Starting small. But we meet some lady in an Eyes Wide Shut kind of cult so that’s cool.
My guy can summon and semi-control ghosts, but when things go bad it’s a problem. This session, our NPC gang members get in trouble betting in a fighting club and so I try to summon a ghost to break it up and I end up having a Ghostbusters kind of experience where I get an ancient god like Gozer instead but in a latrine instead of a refrigerator.
Then we decide to do a home invasion of some guy called Lord Skinnister. I forget why, besides all his prostitute murders. Oh, right, it was to pay off the gambling debts of our hapless NPCs. Kraid murders his way through the house and we get to the Lord and his weird S&M dominatrix friend. She holds a knife to my throat but Kraid kills her anyway. I banish him to the ghost dimension in an attempt to distract the ancient god that keeps bothering me.
The game system is very… game-y. Luckily we had a discussion about this after the last game – so many of these newer games are kinda “meta”, with a lot of detailed rules about doing things that tempt you to plan, plan, plan, roll without pausing for actual in-character roleplay. This game has that tendency, but we as a group determined we needed to put extra effort into counteracting that so it’s going well.
First Session – Welcome to our Blades In The Dark campaign! Besides character and gang generation, we go to jack with the Red Sashes gang at the behest of the Lampblacks gang who are both destablizing the previously ascendant Crows gang.
Our gang, the Gambler’s Orphans, was a mercenary company on the losing end of a recent war. Now our base is an orphanage, the Yaggo’s Home For Miscreant Children, in the Six Towers district. We seek to build ourselves up into a force to be reckoned with!
Bruce is Marto “the Bear”, a Hound (murderer type 1).
Tim is Kraid Naben, a Cutter (murderer type 2).
Patrick is Thaddeus “Toad” Todd, a Leech (doctor/alchemist).
Chris is Hasten Doom, a Lurk (thief).
Ernest (I) am Reis, a Whisper (ghost wrangler).
And Paul is our GM.
We learn how to exercise the rules and plan and execute jobs. The job goes well and we take the Red Sash war treasury. This is one of those mechanics where you need a 6 on d6 to succeed and succeeding with some major blowback is largely indistinguishable from failure, and you can usually boost up a pure fail into that fail-with-much-pain region. I had played a one-shot of this game at Chupacabracon and had realized that it’s not much good as a one-shot because so much of the mechanic is about long term clocked goals and incurring wounds and stress and stuff that penalize you in subsequent sessions.
We also learn about their use of the hip new mechanic called “clocks”, which is making a pie-chart kind of circle and using it as a counter towards some goal.
This one is actually by Robin Laws. One day he tweeted “Has anyone named 1 oz sloe gin, 1 oz spiced rum, orange juice? Because if not I’m calling it a Sharknado.” It’s where I got the idea for the sloe gin component to the Midsommar.
So we made it!
1 oz. sloe gin
1 oz. spiced rum
Except we couldn’t find gummy sharks but could find gummy octopi so this is technically a “Sharktopus.” Even better since I used Kraken spiced rum. Refreshing!
My gaming group likes the odd cocktail every now and then. I’ve come up with some custom concoctions we’ve enjoyed so I thought I’d start sharing them!
I enjoyed the horror movie Midsommar when I saw it last week. As luck would have it, I am also a fan of gin and had just gotten a bottle of Hendricks’ limited edition Midsummer Solstice gin. It’s a very floral gin, which makes it a little hard to fit into some things. I made a gin and tonic with it, but that was not super. But, I thought, I’ve also made Aviations for this group, and those are floral… Maybe I should make a new cocktail! And I did just go see Midsommar, that’s quite a coincidence…
The Aviation is a classic gin cocktail that largely disappeared after Prohibition because its ingredients weren’t available here, primarily a violet liqueur named Creme de Violette. It had a hipster-type renaissance when it became available again in the 2000s. But… I’ll be honest, the violet is a little overwhelming. Some people describe it as “drinking hand soap.” The classic Aviation is (amounts vary from recipe to recipe):
1 1/2 – 2 oz. gin
1/2 – 3/4 oz. Maraschino liqueur (Luxardo is the good one)
1/4 – 1/2 oz. Creme de Violette
1/2 – 3/4 oz. lemon juice
Shake with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, garnish with a cherry.
I’ve made Aviations for the group but no one’s asked for more. So I thought “what about an Aviation, except instead of using dry gin and Creme de Violette, I just use Hendricks Midsummer Solstice as both those parts? It’s floral but not gag-me-with-a-spoon floral.” Thus, the Midsommar was born.
2 oz. Hendricks’ Midsummer Solstice gin
1/2 oz. Luxardo
1/2 oz. lemon juice
dash of sloe gin (if making multiple, optionally add this only to one)
Shake with ice, strain into a glass. (If you care about what kind of glass and what to garnish it with, more power to you, but I’m just a civilian.)
Results: Really good! Very well balanced, floral and summery but not overly cloying. Better than a stock Aviation. The only drawback of my first iteration is that it was just clear/lemon juice colored, without the fun purple of the Aviation. I happened upon the idea of adding just a touch of sloe gin to this to add a tinge of red, for reasons that should be obvious to those who have watched the movie. The result:
Give it a try! All these should be available at your local liquor store and aren’t terribly expensive; a .75 of the Hendrick’s was $40 at my nearby Twin Liquors. (I’m actually disappointed that the Alamo Drafthouse isn’t doing some Midsommar-inspired cocktail using this… Seems like the kind of thing they’d do…)
All our plotting has come to a head as our drow revolutionaries look to overthrow the Aelfir domination of the Spire. We have the prisoners of the Hive armed and ready to bust out. And in the bacchanals of the blind oracle, we see an opportunity to set the major defense forces of the Aelfir, the Black Guard and the Solar Guard, along with the Solar Church of the aelfir, against each other.
Marian of the bacchanals is working with “the demon of the lashing wind” to power the sex magic oracle effects. If the team wants to contact it, they would need an eidolon and a gift to make it work for them. Demonology in Spire and how it works – there are 20-30 known “demons” in Spire. The names allow demonologists to make subtle shifts in reality or artifacts (infusion) or incursion (let a demon lose on the population). Demonologists are public enemy #1 because an incursion could destroy a wide swath of the Spire.
Setting It Off
The team discusses a plan and comes up with:
Subvert the bacchanal – find a way to slip in the top ten nightmare scenarios from the high elf perspective to the visions as the next bad guys fingered by the oracle. Make sure the ministry and the prison are not the focus of those. Later, after the 10 visions, subvert the bacchanal so that it is an incursion to do a scorched-earth cleanup.
Target #1 – Mary of the bacchanals is trafficking in demonology. True ones are the best!
#2 – Light-Through-Splintered-Glass; finally we get rid of this knob-head.
#3 – Black Guard leader
#4 – Black Guard leader
#5 – High Elf Military leader “gnoll invasion level” – Lieutenant Radiant Word Scours the Sun.
#6 – Wicked Mr Alas’ lieutenant that is a demonologist
#7 – Our Glorious Lady Pope Maji Lalin – this one is popular with Drow.
#8 – Solar Church Archdeacon Many the Seedling’s
#9 – Councilman Drynn – somewhat related to Bohemian Crystalhead cult
#10 – Leader of the “sky whales” – Gwennit Saint Grendel, drow dock foreman.
Some of these are drow or drow-aligned, but you have to make the lineup plausible, so we feed them drow who will either get arrested/killed and destabilize the Spire or are powerful enough they’ll rally their own forces to fight back.
The team goes to to God Row to get the 10 visions into the seers’ head – They start with Heralds of the Prophecy!!! Based entirely off their neon sign and Slav’s religion domain. One of them is a friend of the revolution. Father Herald, Pope Herald, and Junior Herald represent the HotP. The heralds listen to their offer then ask them to return in 24 hours. A vengeful knife is left to watch them to ensure that they do not betray the Ministry. They are told the next day, “Buy ambrosia, we will load it with visions, and you’ll have to sneak it into the seers’ presence for consumption.” Ambrosia can be consumed, tossed on a brazier, and other forms.
They arrange to show up to the next bacchanal and “feed” the ambrosia to the seer. They will appear as servants at the bacchanal.
Prep work for the revolution:
they have an army at the Hive prison
they have weapons for that army
Stella Blue, newspaperwoman – publishes stories about demonologists and incursions with the by-line “they’re bad for the drow and the high elf are responsible”.
Target list for that army and general hate list for the mobs – para-military, high elf leadership, drow quislings,
Lyddia gets the Guard arresting and confiscating food stuff caravans going to the upper levels. They get a warehouse of food.
Gladiators are lined up by our Hyena Priest – she gets arrested and thrown in the Hive.
Bound warriors are lined up but they end up fighting each other.
Hyena Priest Abu whips up the faithful in Charnel – they agree to riot when the time comes.
Slav gets the students riled up and radicalized. This is wildly successful.
Anastomosis – we magically spread the ideas that the high elves are abandoning the Spire due to ongoing costs, demonologists problems, human technology, drow family values, and the new gnoll army.
Mama Thinrees is brought in and prepared to making undying for the revolution – she agrees and prepares to make undying of heroes of the revolution, captured high elves, and so forth.
The Sect of the Great Glass Eye is primed to riot.
Vermissian Tubes via Bridge Street Station, the primary smuggling route from down spire to up spire, is successfully prepared to funnel half of the Hive army Ivory Row. Tariq arranges this with his revolutionary cadres.
Slav uses her magical powers to cause the next bacchanal to cause an incursion.
The doctored visions go out and the shit hits the fan.
The Paladins arrest the following:
Mary of the Bacchanals – untouched
Light-Splintered-Glass – ejected from council
Black Guard leader – executed
Black Guard leader – executed
Our Glorious Lady Pope Maji Lalin – executed in the streets
Councilman Drynn – ejected from council
Solar Church Archdeacon Many the Seedling’s – ejected from council and sent to a “remote” monastery.
High Elf Military leader “gnoll invasion level” – Lieutenant Radiant Word Scours the Sun.
Wicked Mr Alas’ lieutenant that is a demonologist
Leader of the “sky whales” – Gwennit Saint Grendel, drow dock foreman.
Some Black Guard are fighting the Solar Guard; most are working with them. The prisoners riot and attack. Chaos reigns across the Spire.
The Vermissian Anatomosis causes some high elves to flee to the old country. But many high elves decide to stay and fight, stay and go native, or retreat to the various strongholds on the upper spire or Feather Island.
The Guard doesn’t fare well. Warden Langley goes into hiding. Commissioner LeVop runs and dies. The Guard disintegrates into precincts and smaller units with no leadership.
“Fortunate” Tamar Al-Nisr assassinates high elf mid level leaders who attempt to keep things organized, particularly those preaching moderation.
Abu Al-Nisr follows the mobs and assassinates leadership of anyone opposing the mob.
Order From Chaos
Lyddia ropes in Warden Langley to rebuilding the Guard into a drow police force. Their objectives are fighting fires and arson, making markets safe for commerce, getting food, water and other services to the public, and identifying the new political units forming (e.g. the Docks Union 4747 “Free Drow”).
Captain Wander-the-Lost, an high elf military man on the high council, revives from a deep depression to rally the troops and stabilize the Spire situation. Fortunate Tamar maneuvers to assassinate Captain Wander-the-Lost. Slav backs him up with an Evil Eye Curse. The captain is a hardy and paranoid high elf, he survives the initial attack and deals Tamar several wounds. But the captain dies nonetheless.
We leave off with the revolution largely successful, but only months to come will show how all the chips fall and whether the drow of the Spire will be free again!
But all is not over. Lyddia changes reality with Anastomosis again – suddenly, everyone believes Tariq Al-Nisr died heroically leading the attack on Ivory Row to rescue drow from the clutches of the high elves and their human packs. It is said that his blood was so blackened from his many lovers that his assassins died immediately. Beware the con man pretending to be the “real” Tariq. The Ministry is collecting for the lovers and orphans of Tariq fund.
This is all in service of the prophecy that Lyddia would kill Tariq, so she is trying to fulfill the prophecy but gunning for the person-hood not the life of Tariq.
Tariq, unawares, goes the Rut and Wallow bar to confer with his allies. He is told, “How dare you wear that heroes’ mask!” He chased from the bar and into the streets by an angry mob.
Abu finds out his brother is dead and someone is impersonating him. He finds the Tariq “doppleganger” and fires his crossbow volley style at him. The doppleganger yells back, “It’s me, Abu!” Tariq takes 5 Blood Stress before he convinces Abu that is really him. “Our brother Tamar is a retard! Hyenas have two nipples!” Abu is relieved that his brother is alive, but knowing that entire Spire thinks him dead, he recommends that his brother get a new identity.
Tariq goes to Therratrix whose powers include generating new identities. He gets one and vows to become Lyddia’s lover and screw her life up.
One session’s notes are lost here as our drow revolutionaries got involved in some weird stuff. My notes include the phrase “Operation Home Alone 2: Lost In Derelictus,” something about a playhouse and a ghost, a bomb, and a group called Assassin Squad Green. I vaguely remember it being fun but that was some time ago.
Time To Die
Mr Winter, now a Ministry resource/employee, is under threat of assassination from the Morticians Guild. So, the coterie thinks thru some options to get that resolved, coming up with putting Mr Winter through Undead surgery… because by law executions and death sentences in Spire have no weight if the individual is already dead… and by definition Undying surgery is considered “death”.
Mr Winter is escorted to Heaven (a level of the Spire) by Lyddia Jath via the Vermissian Tunnels. They encounter weirdness along the way, including a drow violinist who claims that his constant violin playing is keeping Spire from collapsing.
The rest of the coterie (Slav, Abu, and Tariq) travel to Heaven separately where they arrange the Undead Surgery thru the licensed practice of the Morticians. Abu gets a lead on Doctor Ickabod Salard who lives in a war zone between fighting factions of Bee Druids, Blood Witches and Cats.
Doctor Salard turns out to be an elder drow whose enthusiasm verges on senility. He agrees to perform the surgery immediately, well, as soon as his assistant Monique says he’s done with the current patient.
The surgery is a success, though some of his organs have been replaced by Rust Spiders. We’ll leave that for the repo men to worry about.
Drow Fact Of The Day: The Ministry is a forbidden paramilitary religious sect devoted to overthrowing the aelfir. All the PCs are members. Power to the people!
Blind Elf Orgies
The next subject is a Blind Oracle that is calling shots via visions for the Solar Guard’s Paladins, causing very accurate crackdowns on the Ministry.
Najlkae Gleefully Greets the Murmuration ritually blinded herself at 15 years old (she’s now 100 years old) during her stint with a cult of the old gods. Nothing came of that, she later joined the Solar Church who was able to deliver on the “powers”. Her visions now come true. And she went thru Undying Surgery.
Her patron is Marian Hears-The-Secret-Of-The-Sting, a well to do aelfir. Suspecting a Svengali situation, we investigate Marian via the Vermissian.
Where is she? She’s lives in the Solar District’s Solar Basilica in an estate that has Solar Clerics, magical defenses, mundane defenses, and servants.
Who has the greatest influence over her? She greatly admires one of the Councilman, Minnie the Seedling. His approval influences her decisions. She also has a bevy of masked retainers that manager her day to day life, because she’s blind; they are dedicated to her. Mr Collins, Mrs Dirty Shire, and Mr Arconstrik.
Whose in charge of her bacchanals? The church is divided into four groups. The Father Summer and Sister Spring are the most powerful and popular. Sister Spring is responsible for the celebrations; one priestess sponsored by Najlkae takes care of Najlkae’s bacchanals. Mary Hears the Secrets of the Sting.
Who is Marian’s lover or husband? Sexless marriage to an Undying of a High Elf Lord. She does maintain a sex life with a cadre of gnoll refugees living/imprisoned on her estate. This causes Tariq to only refer to her as “that gnoll-banger” going forward, causing friction with Abu who’s like “What’s so wrong with that? Not that I did…. Quit looking at me!”
Tariq runs an investigation using his power to determine that Najlkae is allied to the resistance unwittingly. She unwittingly spends a lot of money that flows to the Ministry coffers. And the dragnets that having been taking out Ministry people is also taking out anti-Ministry persons.
The coterie decides to start with the bacchanals. Slav is able to pass herself off a member of the Solar Church and get invited to the upcoming bacchanals. She and Tariq attend as a couple.
They find that bacchanal is “gnoll technology” fueled by “elf sex magic”. Basically, gnoll demon magic is collecting the elf sex magic. Everyone gets super drugged up. Slav and Tariq try to extra-drug-up Marian during the orgy.
Slav requests a “goblet of her blood” which Tariq delivers via “sex game”. From this she determines why Secrets of the Sting is interested in gnoll culture. My notes don’t record what that is, but I assume it’s more than just the sex (one would hope).