Fifteenth Session (13 page pdf) – “Shadows Over Riddleport” – The PCs get back to Riddleport at long last with their new ship and spoils, but it’s not all booze and broads – the phantoms from the Devil’s Elbow are here too!
It’s the Teeth of Araska’s first time into port under their new charter, so there was a lot of fiddling around with how to calculate treasure shares and when to pay out what amount and the like. Chris and Paul spent a good part of the first hour of the session cross-checking their cargo lists against each other, valuating the goods, etc.
Prepping a session like this now requires me to bring a metric ass-ton of materials to the game. They can go anywhere in Riddleport, which I have cobbled together from Riddleport and Freeport materials; vex me with questions about past and future adventures that I need to look up, and you never know what high level NPC it’ll enter their mind to try to kill. I had a duffel bag full of books, another full of papers, and a computer will all past session summaries and other notes in it.
Anyway, after briefly contemplating murdering their hostage, they dock and take the traditional pirate crew’s pilgrimage to the temple of Besmara. All pirate crews go there and toss a coin per man into the beast-haunted pool before doing anything else to thank her for a safe return. They run into friends new and old, but it’s not long before the gendarmerie shows up and tells them the Overlord wants to see them. Apparently the All Due Restraint’s absence has been noted and all pirate captains who dock are being hauled in for questioning.
Along the way, another squad of gendarmes turns out to be phantoms in disguise! The characters’ sigils warn them by flashing with pain at their approach. Once revealed, they float about with shadowy bodies, have broad sword-blades for arms, and impassive white masks for faces. “Very anime,” noted Paul. And they seem to absorb blood at a frightening rate. They kill all but one of the gendarmes before the PCs manage to defeat them with their orichalcum weapons. (Wogan healed the head gendarme, which is the only reason he survived.) Which was a bit of a disappointment, I had hoped they’d kill all the gendarmes – let the PCs try to talk their way out of that! “Oh, it was disappearing monsters that killed all those cops that were taking you in last time they were seen? Sure it was…”
The PCs manage to parlay their questionable decision to retain the corpses of the dwarves from the drifting All Due Restraint into a full pardon for past crimes from the Overlord, once he is convinced they had no hand in it. So despite two cunning plans to entrap them, they come out smelling like roses! Ah well, I’m sure they’ll do something demented in the future where I can get them all on the run and underground.
Speaking of that, then they wander by the Cypher Lodge looking for boots and poontang (no, really, pretty much) and discover the place is mostly abandoned and really creepy and Thorgrim, who was there when they fought atop the Riddleport Light, is in charge now and has portraits of himself hanging everywhere. They poke around until they find some trouble, and we left it at a cliffhanger – hey, why is half-orc God Squad member Salvadora Beckett hanging from shackles in Thorgrim’s battle circle? Why are our sigils burning? Why are the shadows moving? “I CAST THINGS” cried all the PCs at once, and I said “And that’s where we’ll pick it up next time…” Always leave them wanting more!