It's Always The Dense Ones

Handouts Here

Introduction

Tedrick the Third, under the thrall of the she-demon Lissandra, exits his holding cell with one thing in mind: murder. With complete confidence in his abilities to dispose of his companions (a course of action that seems completely reasonable to him at the time), he makes his way through the keep to start the job.

Something happens, however, that causes this particular course of action to swerve just slightly off course. A voice is heard, a gruff Don Rickles like brogue, from Lissandra's office to Tedrick's right. At that point the connection between him and the succubus though not severed seems to be temporarily out of sync. The voice, obviously in some sort of hurry, ushers him into the office and is revealed to be a small, pudgy, red impish creature wearing a tweed vest, a bowler hat, and smoking a fat cigar. The creature, dubbing himself Xerxes (as his true name would be incomprehensible), notes quickly that he wants to make a deal. He gives little information beyond the fact that he was some sort of servant here of someone who has gone away for a time, and he was to keep an eye on Lissandra and Kassidan before things went ass backwards, particularly the point when the "crazy ass holy knight with the giant fuck off can opener" severed Kassidan from this mortal coil. Fearing for his own skin, having failed his job and whoever his master is seeming to be an unforgiving part, he offers Tedrick a way out of his own Succubus related plight: let Xerxes invade his mind, body, and soul for a time. Doing so will cause Tedrick to be immune from the charm, but also (Xerxes mentions teasingly) give Tedrick the ability to open some kind of door that seems to be of some importance… when the time is right for it. He jumps into Tedrick's hand and merges with him, leaving only a barely visible burn scar on his palm of a strange geometric circular symbol. For a moment Tedrick gets a glimpse of the creature's true name, which is some sort of large mathematical formula.

I

The companions, in the midst of the chaos caused by the breaking of a mass charm spell in Rose Pike, approach the keep with determined intentions to do something though that something might vary from person to person. There they are confronted by some sort of guard captain, newly freed from the charm, and she demands to know their business. When Hanz shows her the head, and she recognizes Franz, Lia quickly changes her attitude toward the companions seeing them as heroes. She tells them Lissandra fleed to the mines where she still controls hundreds of men kept down there for mining. She quickly brings them into the keep to unload information on them about the strange town that she and her companion, Harold, had gathered as they were investigating the town for their knightly order.

In summation, the town began as some sort of egalitarian commune intending on having a completely flat hierarchy. No need for a pecking order, civic bureaucracy, or aristocracy: it was meant to be a subversion of the feudalism across Taern. It didn't work. It very quickly went away from this original intention, with first a mayoral role being established, a town council, and eventually a guard and even public works and taxes. The two in charge of establishing the colony were the noted chronomancer Kelvin Highbrow, a gnome wizard, and Maribelle - a scholar and philosopher. When Lia and Harold arrived at the town Kelvin and Maribelle were no longer there, instead running the town were Lissandra and Kassidin, though at that point it seemed only certain individuals were charmed. Lia mentions that she heard rumors of teifling slaves being brought in by Maribelle and an alderman named Pierre Highhaven, a man who established trade with the outside world once it was clear the town could not be self sufficient. They traded in rose quartz from the mine, but eventually moved on to rubinite. This drug, it seems, has the effect of making one extremely susceptible to suggestion and charm magic - even creatures normally resistant or immune to it.

Tedrick appears at this point, seemingly none worse for wear. The party is slightly surprised he is alive, and Xerxes somehow convinces Tedrick to tell them that Kassidan had charmed him at their meeting. The party seemed unsurprised.

Finally Lia mentions the following:

  • Lissandra was using Maribelle's old office and it might contain information about the mines
  • Kelvin had disapeared after some sort of disagreement with Maribelle. Lia and Harold were able to steal the key to his house but were finally caught breaking in and charmed there
  • The town council that is not charmed put forward a deal of trust with the companions should they help them free the town from the demonic influence: giving them each a temporary seat on the town council and thus the ability to help direct the future of the township now that whatever Maribelle and Kelvin were attempting has utterly failed

II

The companions raid Lissandra's/Maribelle's and Kassidan's offices. They find a lockbox in Mari's office containing a note and a letter (see handouts), and a ring of protection.

Rikki finds a note in Kassidan's office that mentions something about bringing a dwarf into town and a formula. He quickly eats it out of defense.
Mal finds a silver ritual dagger on the mantle.

They then turn their attention toward Kelvin's house in town. Traveling there, however, Tedrick and Rikki decide instead to try and find a brothel (despite being unsuccessful in finding one before (none can fault their persistence), though Tedrick quickly tells Rikki he had no intention of that and instead wanted to go back to the jail cells. Xerxes in his brain raises a red flag at this, noting that it is not yet time to open the door. Tedrick immediately mentions instead that he doesn't want to do that. The two end up traveling to look at plots of land. Seeing so many empty lots ready to go, Tedrick realizes he could build both a brothel /and/ a farmer's market. Rikki thinks twice about the council offer and they go to speak with Lia.

Lia is nervous speaking to Rikki. The answer is obvious why: latent racism. Rikki chastises her and somehow gets a date out of it. He also tries to convince her to let them have a permanent seat on the council, and to kick other people off the council. Lia is hesitant at this, but Rikki with a date in hand goes with Tedrick to finally meet up with the companions at Kelvin's house.

Mal and Hanz enter Kelvin's house to find it bereft of book or document. A strange set of affairs for a gnome wizard indeed. After searching about they find that the hearth of the fireplace is stuffed with torn and crumpled pieces of parchment, as if someone had been intending to light them up and forgot about doing so. They quickly begin to piece together the papers like normal sane people.

Rikki and Tedrick enter to find the two babbling about a bunch of insane stuff. (See handouts.) After getting a broader view of some of the things going on in town, Rikki suggests they search around for things like maps, census records, deeds, etc to of course help with the investigation and not because of any ulterior motive. They find a map of the mines in the upstairs loft, in a satchel that seemed to have been left behind by accident when someone went through some kind of magical portal. Also in the satchel are notebooks and a spellbook as well as survival supplies like food and water. There is a town map as well, or a map as the town was meant to be built. Strangely this included segregating peoples of different races, and a few races were even left out of the supposed egalitarian community, somehow giving Rikki the moral highground. The town plan seems to form a strange circle filled with geometric shapes, and doesn't include many elements now seen in the town such as a keep, a wall, etc.

III

They take their findings to Lia, with Rikki quickly denouncing the council as unfit for office due to obvious racism. Lia, quick to not want to offend Rikki, mentions that she has no power over the council and is merely acting as a leader until the situation is under control. She gathers the current non charmed council members to speak with the party, and it gets heated as they do not want to leave the men council members without a vote. Tedrick, however, smooths everything over with a simple idea: have the entire council vote themselves out of office and begin a new election to fill all vacant seats at once. This replaces the council, gives the party a chance to try and win a seat (which seems pretty easy as they are quickly becoming heroes here), and all with a nice democratic taste to it. The council women agree, and Lia breathes a sigh of relief.

A plan is formed as the town is organized to enter the mines in force as the women of Rose Pike plan to fight to win their men back, without somehow also killing these aforementioned men.

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