After a couple of days of relaxing around town and gathering information, the party was clearly lusting for combat and treasure, fortune and (mis)adventure. Gathered at the house they have rented from Lord Montgomery the party weighed the options before them; a return to the Medusa mountains, investigating spies on behalf of the DuChamp family, trying to learn more about the mysterious child in their care, and slaughtering everything that crosses their path. While pondering these lofty issues there was a knock at the door. A messenger from Lord Monty said that the shady nobleman wanted to see them immediately.
After traveling up the hill to his house, Lord Monty presented them with a job. Due to the illegal nature of it he withheld the details until they accepted, though he assured them it was suited to their strengths and that it would pay very generously.
They accepted and learned that there was a cargo boat named The Champion that had come into the docks in the last several hours. Since it was late it would not be unloaded until the following morning, but Monty’s man on the docks informed him that it was carrying some very valuable cargo. Most notably something bound for Arlen Starcrush, a retired conjurer in Bowerstone of some reknown. Unsure of it’s exact nature, Monty was certain that it was worth a small fortune. The PC’s were to acquire this item and bring it to Monty, he would handle the sale and split the money with the party. It had to be done that night.
Monty also continued to be interested in young Fiona, he upped his offer to 1000gp and the party agreed. While handing over the child it occurred to them that they were now dealers in the slave trade in a sense, buying and selling people with little remorse. They had no problem with this. When I put Fiona into the story line I had no real idea how it would play out, more than anything I liked the idea of a party of evil adventurers saddled with the burden of an innocent young child. I think that it went well and this may not be last that we’ve seen of the kid, especially now that she in the charge of Lord Monty.
Heading to the docks it was not hard to find the boat, it was right where Monty said it would be. They relied on their skills to scout it out, learning that there were two guards on the boat in addition to some normal patrols of guards in the area. In what has become their calling card they used the Cape of the Montebank to get half the party to the boat in a quick manner, while Mgabwe and Romulus relied on invisibility to get within striking distance. These two surrounded one of the guards and unleashed a furious invisible assault, inflicting over 200 points of damage and cleaving the man into several pieces in the blink of an eye. Henri took care of the other with a Dominate Person spell. Now on the boat and with a dominated pseudo henchman they went below deck and continued to explore. The boat was three levels; one of quarters for the captain and crew, and the two lowest housing cargo. Using the dominated guard, Julio, to explore as much as they could they worked their way through the boat. No one gave a second though to the exploitation of the poor Julio. On the lowest level they came across a formidable foe who got the drop on them. A large man with scraggly black hair and wielding a greatsword, he dropped Romulus with one attack and nearly sent him to whatever hell it is that backstabbing half orcs wind up in. Glee was the star of the fight, inflicting a critical and scoring several other shots that eventually took the man down. Clearly outnumbered I thought the adversary did pretty well on his own. He was a fighter/warlock with mainly combat invocations, I liked the build and how he turned out. As a D&D junkie who rarely gets to play actual PC’s I like to try numerous builds as NPC’s and see how they do. Some succeed, some do not. I think that this guy would have been a fun character to play, though his lack of skill points would definitely put a damper on his out of combat usefulness.
The lowest level of the boat held plenty of mundane items bound for shops in town. They took a couple of bottles of wine and some silk rope, but left most things intact. The middle floor seemed to hold the interesting stuff. In four separate rooms the more valuable cargo was stored before unloading. They found raw materials for fancy clothing, the crates of which identified it as belonging to the Silver Needle. Lela stocked up on supplies for future performance costumes. There was also a coffin shaped crate with no markings on it. Forcing Julio to open the crate they found a glass sarcophagus, the inside of which was filled with a swirling mist and what appeared to be a mummy. There was some debate among the party about what to do with this. Romulus wanted to smash it open and see what happened, Henri was insistent and leaving it be. They decided, smartly it turned out, to let it go. The next room contained an angry caged tiger, which they also wound up leaving alone. The final room had a wooden crate bearing the symbol of Arlen Starcrush, an exploding nova surrounded by mystical symbols. Having emptied out their Bag of Holding before going to the boat they were able to stuff the entire thing inside, the magic sack expanding to swallow it whole.
While searching the quarters on the first floor the keen eared Mgabwe heard foot steps from above. Knowing that they had left the corpse of the dead guard on the deck they assumed that anyone up there would have been hostile so they started to plan their getaway. For perhaps the first time the PC’s thought about the potential long term consequences when planning their actions. They decided that avoiding a fight was in their best interest, not because they may lose the battle but because being wanted men in Bowerstone was clearly a bad thing for them. The plan was for Julio to go above deck and attack the men who were on the deck, while he did this the party would escape using invisibility, flight, and magical fog created by the party’s new toy, a Horn of Fog that was found amongst the lizardmen living below The Cage. They hoped that the entire heist would fall onto the shoulders of Julio and he would be blamed for it. Seems like a reasonable course of action, except that when told to attack the guards Julio was given a chance to make a Will save and break the enchantment. Of course the PC’s didn’t know much about Julio, but I knew that he was Lawful Neutral and I felt that attacking the guard would have been out of character, so he got another save. Which he succeeded on. The enchantment broken, the PC’s were suddenly in an awkward spot. Lela, Mgabwe, and Romulus were already invisible and escaping. With the hatch open Henri flew out, also while invisible. Knowing that they could not leave Julio alive Glee was left to cleanup. She killed the man, but also found herself alone. Using the fog as cover she tumbled her way out of the ship, avoiding the swords of several town guards. Eventually she found her way back to the docks and to the rented cottage.
Henri’s invisibility was short term and he resorted to flying from roof to roof on his way back to the cottage. An awful roll on his Hide check and he found himself on a rooftop, the moonlight shining directly on him. Looking down he saw the Dockside Boys singing their sweet melodies on a corner while looking straight at him, clearly he had been spotted. Ignoring them he flew back and reunited with the party, letting them know he had been seen. Glee really wanted to hunt down the Dockside Boys and kill them, now that she a reason to go after them she wasn’t going to let the opportunity pass. Wanting to lay low for the night they decided that any revenge should wait until the next day.
Ignoring the late hour they decided to go see Lord Monty and get the package out of their hands. Monty greeted them in a robe and slippers, swaddling the form of the sleeping Fiona. Monty was thrilled by the PC’s success and asked for details of the evening, which they supplied. He took the crate and let the PC’s know that it would probably take about two days to move it on the black market. Bringing them to another room in the mansion, he placed the crate in the center of a circle drawn on the floor in chalk. Prying it open he revealed the contents, a large stone devil that looked a bit too lifelike. What exactly is Arlen up to? Monty would be in touch. Before leaving Lela purchased a pair of slippers from him.
The following morning Mgabwe went over to the Temple of Boccob/Institute of Learning to purchase some magical accoutrements. He paid the 1000gp to become a member of the institute and found out a bit about the services they provided. Access to a vast library of information, magical services, and some others were among the available benefits. He was also told to come soon and see the exhibit that they were hosting, on display was going to be the famed mummy of Ra-Ton Fa. Housed in a glass sarcophagus, the mummy was trapped years ago by a group of powerful adventurers and is said to be one of the most powerful mummies held in captivity. The Institute is very proud to have it as part of their collection.
Despite the evil and selfish actions of the party in regards to just about everyone they come across, they are actually very selfless and cooperative when it comes to the rest of the party. I think that they are really coming along in this respect. They make up for one another’s shortcomings, play up to each other’s strengths, and are becoming aware of the capabilities of everyone. They have the makings of a real solid party dynamic. Except for poor Al’londia who is still a statue.