In which the undead get tougher, a big(gish) bad is revealed, Eric fights through a window, and questions are raised about unity of the party and the Realm.
The slightly battered main group encountered the Thieves Guild outside of a tavern and a gutted shop. It turned out that the thieves are also after the druid Alpha . After some moderately tense moments smoothed over by Kozuket the Thieves Guild went into the tavern to search while the party tackled the shop.
The shop used to be a magic item shop that had been thoroughly looted, and anything not taken was basically destroyed. Inside the shop Eric tried to look for the records or paperwork of the proprietor on the assumption that this is not the business of an illiterate. Good idea, but the roll of a 1 meant that nothing was found.
Shortly afterwards a more impressive undead that named himself as Rotmind appeared outside the shop. In the tentative negotiations it was revealed that Rotmind is also looking for Alpha in order to silence him – apparently Alpha knows something that Rotmind doesn’t want revealed .
These negotiations didn’t really go anywhere – the ghouls attempting to sneak up on us kind of ruined the trust needed to make a deal. There’s also the fact that the party’s goals and Rotmind’s goals in respect of Alpha are just a wee bit incompatible. Of course that does assume that Rotmind was telling the truth as to his objectives…
Ding, Ding, Ding! Round 2!
Once the attempted ambush was spotted the fight was back on. Eric was able to cast through a window and saw no reason to go out where he could get bitten again. Just as well really: these ghouls were a lot tougher than the previous encounter. Despite this the ghouls were relatively easy to deal with compared to Rotmind. The clerics were again very effective here.
Rotmind is not a ghoul.
Rotmind is a wight, with monk levels, that was smart enough to withdraw once the party disposed of enough ghouls to focus solely on tagging him.
The Bard and the Rogue could see the fight happening, and were close enough to offer some support in the form of an illusionary paladin, but did not otherwise intervene. Instead they spent most of their time involved in some creative requisitioning.
After the Fight
Some investigation of the tavern revealed only one survivor inside, and the party continued to search the area. Eric had his second bright idea to cast light on a pebble and throw it into the air in the hopes of spotting the homunculus. I think it would have worked with a perception roll that wasn’t a 1. Again.
Meanwhile the Rogue and the Bard continued with their creative requisitioning.
House Hewett appears and the Party goes to Church
Shortly after the fight was over, several regiments of House Hewett troops marched into the red light district to restore order. With the assistance of House Ramsey the party evacuated to the House Vance cathedral for much needed healing. The Bard and the Rogue rejoined us for this.
Ghoul bites can apparently carry a Ghoul Fever disease that is a) fatal and b) can result in the victim rising as a ghoul. Rotmind, as a wight, can drain levels. The survivor of the thieves guild was in a very nasty way. Fortunately House Vance was able (and willing) to deal with all of these issues.
During the discussions in the Cathedral it was revealed that House Vance have been chasing after Rotmind, another wight, and an associated elf named Jynx for quite some time. Jynx and the other wight provided a reasonable explanation for the market incident investigated in session 2.
Oh joy. Another committee meeting
The next day involved another committee meeting between the three houses. This revealed a little more information – House Ramsey is also after Jynx as a rogue mage, and House Hewett is also after Alpha  for some property damage. The reverse may also be true: Alpha may have some sort of vendetta against House Hewett.
It did become clear that all of the incidents were somehow linked , and that the incidents are a diversion from something. The real purpose is yet to be revealed.
The party spent most of this meeting at the refreshments table rather than aligned with any of the houses. The party also escaped as soon as possible, although the property damage was limited by House Ramsey swapping the half-fiend for the necromancer.
Most went to the Thieves Guild to get more information, but Eric returned to the Cathedral of Pelor to get access to the library. There were still no real clues, just more hints that the libraries in the capital will be where Eric is likely to find some real information.
The last piece of information that turned up is that Jynx may have Alpha, which isn’t really a good sign.
This was a fun session, made more so by levelling up at the end. 🙂 However the failure of the Bard and the Rogue to more actively support the major fight is something of a concern.
The Big Bads of Rotmind, Jynx, and the other wight  are a nice addition to the story, they will provide an challenge as well as a degree of continuity. The trick will be not overdoing it, and/or in justifying their escapes .
The set up of the Realm is ringing a bit false to me at the moment. There are three houses with massive forces, and no external threats to use them on. Indeed there was discussion at the committee meeting that indicated that there is no real threat that justifies the standing armies currently in place. For example House Hewett mobilised 10,000 troops in response to the ghouls, and House Vance has something like 20+ Paladins assigned to Drakehold, a city which must be fairly low on their priority list. House Ramsey meanwhile has the mage armies of the Nimbus Tower teleporting about with fireballs.
Unless the sole purpose of these forces is to win the next civil war, something isn’t adding up here for me. Even that is problematic since the quality observed during House Hewett’s deployment was way beyond garritroopers who don’t get out much. However I’ll be mostly letting it go since Eric probably wouldn’t be aware of the problem.
I still haven’t edited the background for Kali the dragonrider, I hope to get to that soon.