Sunday, October 26, 2014


This is a report of the third session of our Vaaran Kingdoms Sertorius session. You can see session two HERE

The party:

Gaius: A Ronian-blooded aristocrat
Uloff: A Gru Trader
Garoff: A Gru Bounty Hunter
Dreckergael: A human hunter who casts spells randomly when wounded
Tauq: A human tribesmen from the march between Palus and Apprea, serving in the house of Alu-Bora under Archon Emmanuel. 
Crude map of Palus from my note binder 

The session resumed with the party in the Warngela attempting to deal with the Dragon God Rue-Keska. They had formulated a plan to use the Pestilent Smile of Tiresias on a sacrifice to the Dragon, hoping to infect it with a magical plague. As they planned in their camp, a man named Tauq came upon them. A servant of Archon Emmanuel he had tracked the party from Tongtel and brought them news. Both Archon Emmanuel and Gaius belong to the same house (Alu-Bora). Emmanuel is the Archon in charge of Castra Kar-Harba, the place the party had left 125,000 gold with Pazzer-Unzi. 

Tauq informed the party that the gold exchanged for the pillar was gone and that Pazzer-Unzi hadn't been seen for some time as well. They decided to deal with the Dragon before returning and determined that Tauq could form a crucial part of his plans because he was from tribes similar to the ones in the Warngela. 

Dressing Tauq up as a mystic, they sent him into a camp of the tribe they had witnessed making sacrifice. He used Water Shape on the river to cause minor flooding and demonstrate that he was touched by the gods, then told the chieftain that the Dragon demanded more sacrifices and they should choose their victim by observing the sign. When asked what the sign would be, Tauq told them it would be unmistakable and involve unbounded joy and laughter. Impressed by his demonstration of power, the chieftain invited Tauq and his companions into his tent. Meanwhile Gaius lingered outside the encampment and lured a tribesmen who had wandered away from the others. He then cast The Pestilent Smile of Tiresias, overwhelming the man with happiness. In time this would kill him, but it would take days and that would be enough for the Dragon to eat him and the plague to infect it. 

When the tribesmen returned to camp exclaiming he had been chosen by the Dragon, the chieftain and others immediately saw this as the fruit of Tauq's prediction and made preparations. The infected tribesmen ran from one person to the next, hugging them in jubilation. The disease caused by the spell is spread by contact, so the party bid farewell and left before one of them could be infected. Hours later, Dreckergael used Hide to spy on the sacrifice and confirm that their plan worked. He saw a group led by the Chief, ambling like merry drunks toward the Dragon's glen. It seems they had agreed they should all be sacrificed. When they arrived the Dragon ate both the chieftain and the original subject of the spell before retreating back into its lair. With speed the party headed to Tongtel. 

In Tongtel they met with Archon Emmanuel who told them that before they had left, Pazzer-Unzi arrived with Bishop Quintus of the Church of Light to take a donation of grain to Yortel. Days later Emmanuel noticed the 125,000 gold was missing from the vault and when Pazzer-Unzi never returned he grew suspicious. Biship Quintus did return but claimed that Pazzer-Unzi had remained in Yortel to tend to a personal matter. However Emmanuel sent men to the town and found no trace of his lord's son. The PCs helped Emmanuel by interrogating some of his own guards and learned that the two protecting the vault had been distracted for twenty minutes or more by an Elven woman. They also learned that Pazzer-Unzi had been to an elven dance hall called the House of Hoonor. The House of Hoonor was a coffee house that offered storytelling and Hoonori dancing to entertain the patrons. 

Going to the House of Hoonor, they spoke with the master speaker, Ibn Pesh, who reluctantly told them that Pazzer-Unzi had come to speak with a dancer named Nathreen. According to Ibn Pesh, Nathreen was at the hall irregularly and connected to Goff-Tan somehow (though Ibn Pesh didn't know the details). Presently she was not at the Hall but one of the servers had overheard their conversation and told the party that she and Pazzer-Unzi had spoken about an exchange of funds for troops. 

The party then went to the Tongtel Cathedral and spoke with Bishop Quintus. Eventually he told them that Pazzer-Unzi had secretly converted to the Church of Light and that he was helping him go to Goff-Tan (who had offered soldiers and backing in exchange for the funds). Apparently Pazzer-Unzi had fallen in love with a woman named Una-Tara, who belonged to the Church of Light. He converted for her, and hoped to rebel against the king, then place his father (the brother of the king) on the throne in order to reverse policies toward Sertori and toward the Church. Bishop Quintus was concerned because Pazzer-Unzi hadn't returned yet, he also reminded Gaius that Pazzer was part of his house and both of them stood to suffer if anything he had told them came to light. 

Before they headed to Goff-Tan, Archon Emmanuel gave the party a letter sent to them by Darios Tyrna. It revealed he had survived the bogs and returned to Tyrna Hauch, where a plague broke out soon after his return. He didn't seem to harbor any ill-will toward the party but asked if they could bring him a translation of the words from the pillar (which he assumed they had obtained before selling it to the Order of Justinian--a detail he had also learned about through his men). 

The plague in Glaver seemed concerning but they traveled to Goff-Tel, a village near Goff-Tan's tower. There they learned that Nathreen was a kind of consort to Goff-Tan and that Goff-Tan had several children. They also discovered that Gesara of Palus, the infamous Sertori hunter backed by the king, traveled to the village frequently and it was rumored she was Goff-Tan's mother. Though he seemed to have all the powers one associated with a castle lord, or Maorides, Goff-Tan held no formal title. 

They approached the tower and Gaius asked for an audience with Goff-Tan. This was granted and the party brought inside the well fortified tower by an Ogre guard. On the way upstairs to an audience hall, Tauq spotted a strange crease in one of the walls, he nudged Uloff, a mechanical expert, who suspected it was a secret passage. The rest of the room was decked out in pious decor. 

Crude map of Goff-Tan's tower from my binder
In the audience hall, Goff-Tan told the party that he had Pazzer-Unzi held in a cell and that he had uncovered treacherous intent on the part of the young Archon. He made it clear that were the king to learn of Pazzer's betrayal that many in their house would lose titles and face severe punishments. At the very least power and prestige would be lost. This posed a real threat because the two basic power groups were formed around Gesara (the King's religious adviser) and Hamil Kar-Harba (Pazzer's father, Gaius' uncle and the brother of the King). He explained that he knew they were Sertori, said that he himself was a Sertori, and that there was a way for them to keep Pazzer's crimes quiet. If they would agree to help him and Gesara hunt other Sertori in the kingdom, they would be allowed to live and their magical natures overlooked (he also said they would overlook the recent events surrounding Pazzer). He implied he had unearthed many secrets about Sertori through research and experimentation. In the course of the conversation it became clear he was a believer in Gesara's sect of the church, regarding all Sertori, himself included, as evil. He pointed out how many people had already died because of the party's use of the Pestilent Plague of Tiresias to show that they were evil as well. By embracing the Laws of Ramos and falling under the guidance of Gesara he assured them they could contain their evil natures and maybe even purge themselves. 
A typical Berserker in Sertorius

Gaius asked for a day or two to make a decision at the suggestion of Uloff, which Goff-Tan granted. They were escorted out of the tower but along the way they attacked the Ogre guard. They quickly brought him down, and did so with making minimal noise. Then they inspected the wall and opened the secret door they had seen on the way up. It revealed stairs leading into underground chambers below the tower. They spent some time exploring the area and encountered guards with strange tattoos and magical abilities, but who clearly were not Sertori. They also encountered several Ogres. First they found a lab with notes on wax tablets and a study filled with papyrus rolls. Because only Gaius was literate and he didn't read anything except Ronian, they couldn't understand most of the contents (which were in Gruskel and Latar). They found several holding cells, protected by heavy reinforced doors and coated in a white cement substance which seemed to diminish the effects of Sertori magic. These cells contained Sertori prisoners, who were more powerful and dangerous with each successive level. In one instance Uloff was nearly killed by an Ogre Guard and a tattooed guard who spewed hails of needles. He went into a berserk as a result and was able to overcome the threat. At a final level they found a Dwarven Sertori with blue skin who believed he was a Gru. He wore a Scold's Bridle which they removed once they found the key.  They also found Pazzer-Unzi. In total they rescued 8 Sertori, who all expressed an immediate interest in killing Goff-Tan. Half of this group seemed reasonable but the remaining four were clearly not nice people. For the moment the party decided to work with the Sertori, return to the tower and face Goff-Tan. 

This is where the session ended. 

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