The Body of the Town

Session 1 - Chalcedony, Verna, and Care
#PrisonBreakSeason2

Like all great adventurers, we start in jail. For crimes various and sundry, Chalcedony, Verna, and Care were locked in a single holding cell, until they were freed by guards Garrick and Eddard. Our heroes weren’t being pardoned – they were being moved to a new location, as the city had come under attack by the tarrasque. The prisoners fled with Garrick and Eddard toward the safety of the adipite mines, dodging falling rubble and scrapping with anti-immigrant fellow prisoners. Along the way, they picked up Chalcedony’s daughter Jaspice from her press in the Mining District. As the City Watch and the Scarvers drove off the tarrasque, the heroes made it underground, and back into the safety of a new cell.

Jumping forward three weeks, the prisoners had been convicted and sentenced to three weeks of community service, taking charge of post-attack clean-up and body-counts in a small neighborhood in the Pellets. Chalcedony went looking for a story, and dug up rumors of Goliath-&-Company-affiliated thugs kidnapping children in the slums. Care wandered off, looking for trouble in the Pits. And Verna dug through the rubble looking for bodies, finding an earless, eyeless, noseless figure with a receipt for 5,000 ebons worth of tallow. The issuer of the receipt? Goliath & Company.

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Session 2 - Verna & Chalcedony
#CommunityOrganizers #Touching_Stranger's_Doorknobs

We open with our heroes still serving their community service sentence in the Pellets. Chalcedony and Verna filled one another in on their discoveries, and decided to earn the citizens’ trust before moving into an investigation. Chalcedony convinced the neighborhood’s informal leader, Gorim, to help construct a new community center out of some of the rubble, while Verna found supplies and befriended Ogrum, the son of local criminal matriarch Nysala. Chalcedony also organized a dinner to honor those lost in the tarrasque attack, while Verna took Gorim’s teenage daughter to buy food. After a service, a serving of stew, and a promise made to Gorim to keep sending food, Verna and Chalcedony moved out of the slums and into the mysteries behind Goliath & Company.

Verna and Chalcedony went to an old Goliath guard’s tavern in Laketown, the Flying Vatbeast, to hear the scuttlebutt among Goliath employees. While Chalcedony played some trippy steel drum, Verna encountered and confronted the woman who framed her for stealing tallow and got her fired from Goliath in the first place. After a number of threats and refusing to pay for drinks, Verna extracted the name and home address of a Goliath alchemist with info on shady dealings – Magda Ruskov.

They next day, Verna and Chalcedony went to meet Magda at her Back-of-the-Vats home. After no one answered their knock, Chalcedony broke in through the back door, triggering only two traps in the process. Verna and Chalcedony made their way into the attic, where they discovered a desk full of tallow samples, notes listing only names, sample numbers, and low ages, and Magda’s body. They were just beginning to investigate further when they heard voices downstairs, and proceeded to hide by climbing out the attic window onto the house’s awning. They were discovered nonetheless, by Verna’s former boss Vendrien, a Goliath guard captain who had just seconds earlier killed his fellow guard for looking too closely at Magda’s notebook. Vendrien accused Verna and Chalcedony of murdering Magda at the behest of someone named Finnabair, but Verna managed to talk Vendrien down. Verna was so convincing, in fact, that she was offered Magda’s old job at the shuttered tallow refinery on Vat & West, and Chalcedony was allowed to go free. Verna spent the evening preparing for her night shift at the hidden alchemical laboratory, while Chalcedony did some digging on Finnabair, who is apparently a well-regarded actress, and bought tickets to her next show.

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Session 3 - Verna & Chalcedony
#MurderRug #Cultured

As the mystery deepened, Verna and Chalcedony split up for the night to further their investigation.

Chalcedony went to see the night’s performance by the Skeleton City Players, a venerable oldblood acting troupe of which the mysterious Finnabair was a member. After resorting to magical persuasion to convince a woman named Eva to hoist her above the fray (she was a standing groundling and a gnome, after all,) Chalcedony watched a performance of Sahem, a classic Husker play about the doomed love between two humans, Layla and Majnun, in that lost human homeland. Chalcedony sent a silent message spell to each actor on stage, eventually ascertaining from her slight reaction that the elf-like woman playing Majnun must be Finnabair. Chalcedony sent Finnabair a message to meet her after the show. However, when Chalcedony went backstage for the meeting, she found only a duergar special effects artist, smoking a pipe. After a few minutes of small talk, Chalcedony realized that this was the meeting she had arranged, and quickly intrigued the duergar with talk of information on Goliath & Company. However, before the duergar could return from going inside the Apatythe Theatre and reporting what he had heard, Chalcedony fled the scene, leaving magical graffiti instructing Finnabair to find her at the offices of The Sigil.

Verna went to her shift as the new alchemist at the defunct Vat & West refinery. She arrived in the Vatyards to find only Vendrien present, in a vast empty warehouse filled with broken vats. Vendrien led her to a small laboratory through an entrance under one such vat. Verna entered, and was almost immediately attacked by what seemed like an innocuous rug. After fending it off, Vendrien jumped into the laboratory, incensed that Verna survived his trap. Vendrien tried to kill her, but Verna slit his throat after a prolonged battle. Verna searched the laboratory for clues before reinforcements arrived, finding alchemical ingredients, a torn collection of instructions for brewing an unknown substance, and a note on Vendrien’s body instructing him to return to the “facility in the adipite mines.” She snuck out the refinery and made her way home to sleep off her assassination attempt.

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Session 4 - Verna & Chalcedony
#Kidnapping! #SauceWithThat

As she returned home from the play, Chalcedony heard a strange rumbling inside her house. Thinking someone was waiting for her inside, Chalcedony dropped off her daughter with a neighbor, and went to investigate. She peeked through a side window, but accidentally alerted the intruder to her presence and decided to leave the area. She grabbed a city guard and ran back to her home, but it was too late – Chalcedony’s neighbor was dead, Jaspice was missing, and the intruder was gone, leaving only a note to “meet in the Pellets at midnight if you want to see your daughter alive.” Chalcedony magically coerced the guard into focusing her time on this investigation, then returned to her offices to prepare the next morning’s Sigil.

The next morning, Verna arrived at Chalcedony’s office to find a flurry of activity, as the issue of The Sigil covering their investigation went to print. Chalcedony and Verna filled one another in on the events of the previous night. They spent the early hours of the morning decoding the fragments of Magda’s notes that Verna took from the Vat & West refinery, piecing together the steps of Magda’s recipe and determining that she had discovered a novel formula for a transmogrifying potion of unknown affect.

The office then had visitors – a group of Modrons, acting as representatives of Finnabair and the Skeleton City Players. Their leader offered our heroes a deal: the location of Goliath & Company’s facility within the mines, in exchange for taking the troupe’s Monodrone on their expedition as a recording device and potential explosive. Chalcedony and Verna accepted, and after halfheartedly disguising their new companion, made their way towards the Pellets with copies of the latest Sigil in tow.

There, they met with Gorim and Nysala in hopes of securing allies for the meeting with Goliath’s thugs. Nysala offered the services of her half-elf grandson Aeron as a lookout, and Gorim introduced our heroes to Mazdak Uhelu, the Hive, which was currently inhabiting Gorim’s daughter Branka. In gratitude for the kindness the heroes did to one of her bodies, Hive agreed to join them as backup when they went to meet the Goliath goons at the corner of Ecks & Why.

At the meet, it became immediately clear that there was no offer on the table and no sign of Jaspice. This was simply an ambush. With Hive’s help, Verna and Chalcedony made short work of the thugs, keeping their leader – the same one who had broken into Chalcedony’s home – alive for questioning. While he did not know much, his interrogation in the Pellets community center made it clear that Jaspice was sent to the Goliath laboratory in the mines. Chalcedony gave the thug over to Nysala. Neither Chalcedony nor Nysala were feeling merciful.

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Session 5 - Chalcedony & Alton
#CafeCombat #HotDate

After disposing of the captured Goliath thug, Verna and Chalcedony went their separate ways. Verna went home to do research on Magda’s mysterious compound, while Chalcedony and Monodrone headed into the Mineral District to scope out Goliath’s underground facility. Chalcedony convinced a bugbear miner to lead her onto Goliath grounds, but before she could get close, was intercepted by an officer of the Watch.

The officer – the same one Chalcedony had magically coerced into finding Jaspice the previous morning – asked Chalcedony to follow her to the nearest Watch headquarters. Chalcedony agreed, and Officer Nalyn led her to the interrogation room, where Chalcedony met Nalyn’s new informant within Goliath & Company. The informant – a tiefling named Marlo Clearfingers – explained that after Magda and Vendrien’s deaths and the publication of The Sigil’s Goliath exposé, Goliath had collapsed all entrances into the nearby mines. The facility was now inaccessible.

Marlo, however, had a plan. If Chalcedony could get her hands on some explosive dragonpowder, they could blow their way into the adipite mines, and find a route through the cave network into Goliath’s facility. After Officer Nalyn named some organizations in Husk with access to dragonpowder, Marlo and Chalcedony left the Watch office, heading to a nearby cafe to discuss their plan.

At the Ground to Dust Beneath Our Heels cafe, Marlo (who revealed his true name was Alton) and Chalcedony had only a brief chance to talk, before realizing they were being tailed by Goliath thugs. Chalcedony decided to confront them, and pretending to flee from her abusive husband (played by Alton,) walked out through the cafe’s kitchen to a back alley and hid inside a garbage can. One of the two thugs noticed the noise, however, and with her careful disguise exposed, Chalcedony prepped herself for a fight.

An undignified melee ensued, with the thugs trying to kill Chalcedony and Alton, while the kitchen staff of the cafe bravely fought off the thugs they assumed were hired by Alton. Chalcedony and Alton stood their ground for a few minutes, but after the Watch arrived to halt the fight, our heroes saw an opening. With a few magical words from Chalcedony, the thugs were attacking the city guard, giving the kitchen workers a break and our heroes a chance to make their escape. Moving quickly, they left the neighborhood and the melee behind.

Devising a plan while still on the run, Chalcedony and Alton split up. Chalcedony headed down to meet Verna at her home and fill her in on the day’s developments, while Alton went to the Vatyards looking for Goliath dragonpowder. Alton reapplied his Marlo disguise, and after arriving at his regular workplace, met an elf named Cerevos who had an interest in oldbloods. With a few sly words and a smile, Alton had the address of an outflow warehouse where Goliath stored excess dragonpowder and a date for next Saturday. Alton said goodbye to Cerevos, and beat a quick path down to the meetup at Verna’s.

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Session 6 - Verna, Chalcedony, and Alton
#ThatHappened

After an awkward introduction from Chalcedony, Verna welcomed Alton into her home. Alton let the party know the location of the overflow warehouse where Goliath stored dragonpowder, while Verna updated the party on the events of the previous day. She had escaped Goliath pursuers, and after a few hours of research, discovered the purpose of Magda’s mysterious compound: to transform those who consume it into echoes of the vast, dead monster Huskers call home.

After a few moments of planning their, our heroes headed to the eastern Vatyards to steal Goliath’s excess dragonpowder. They followed the road along Leg Lake, pausing near the warehouse as they scoped out the scene. Alton’s owl familiar identified an archer on the warehouse roof, while Chalcedony’s inkling determined that the ramp entrance was guarded by a fat human. Hoping to distract the guards and lure the archer off the roof, Chalcedony imbued her inkling with magic, and sent it to slither into the boot of the fat human. He collapsed, trembling in the throws of Tasha’s Hideous Laughter, and our heroes made their move.

Chalcedony, Verna, and Alton dashed along the southern side of the warehouse, and peeking through the cracked front door, made their way inside. Remaining under cover, they quickly discerned that most of the guards had been drawn away by Chalcedony’s spell. They crept past an open office door, but a slight creak in the floorboards from Verna aroused the suspicion of the burly lead guard. The guard captain walked out of the office to discover the open warehouse door. Drawing her sword, she raised the alarm – intruders were in the warehouse.

Chalcedony quickly jotted down a few choice phrases, and the party was surrounded by an obscuring veil. Moving carefully to avoid the now-patrolling guards, they made their way across the warehouse and into another room, where Chalcedony had determined the dragonpowder was located. They were closing in on their target when a pony-tailed young human stepped out of an unseen hallway. The guard and the heroes stared at one another for a single moment, then grabbed their weapons. In a burst of motion, Verna and Alton stabbed the guard in the throat and broke into a dash. Blood had been spilled. It was only a matter of time until this heist turned into a battle.

Our heroes made their way towards the dragonpowder, but were halted by the archer Alton had seen on the roof. They attempted to finish her off quickly, but after a few misplaced blows, the archer cried out – she had found the intruders. The party had been discovered.

The heist quickly devolved into a bloodbath. Alton made quick work of the archer with a slash across the torso. Meanwhile, a confused enchanter working in the nearby workshop walked into the melee and sprayed the party with fire, while the captain of the guard approached, longsword and shortsword drawn. While Verna and Alton moved to confront the guard captain, Chalcedony found cover in the workshop doorway and drew her crossbow. The guard captain, Verna and Alton traded blocks and blows, and Chalcedony dispatched the enchanter with a bolt to the chest. A mastiff and dwarvish crossbowman walked in from the other room, and while the mastiff burst towards Chalcedony, the crossbowman fired a bolt into Verna’s shoulder.

The next moments passed in a blur. Verna sent magic missiles into the guard captain, the dwarf, and the mastiff, killing the dog and wounding the guards. Chalcedony busied herself rewriting small events, redirecting bolts and diverting sword swipes. Alton dodged the guard captains attacks and pierced her armor with arrow after arrow, until eventually, the guard captain caught him with two strikes to the chest. Alton cried out, dropped his bow, and collapsed, his owl still fluttering in the guard captain’s face.

With a primal scream, Verna surged forward, cutting down the guard captain with a few well-placed strokes of her shortsword. Chalcedony aimed, let out a breath, and buried a crossbow bolt in the dwarvish guard’s left eye. The heroes rushed to Alton’s side, but it was too late. His owl disappeared in a cloud of acrid smoke. Alton was gone.

The party moved in a haze, grabbing a few bags of dragonpowder from the nearby crates. They met with monodrone, waiting loyally outside, and made their way back to Verna’s home before reinforcements arrived. The party had what they needed to assault the Goliath compound. But they paid a high price.

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