In which the party throws a grand party, but may have made a horrible mistake the next morning.
Preparing to Party
The party continued to prepare for the gala opening of the Free Company with some other bits and pieces along the way. The party will feature a mix of invited guests, and sold tickets. The invited guests will bring up to two guests each. Kozuket also laid in a supply of alchemical hangover cures.
Hector and Jamir informed the Nimbus Tower of the presence of their mage with the drow slaving party. They were basically fobbed off, but the thought was there.
Eric’s continuing research turned up a book about the fall of Redia at the end of a civil war. This book referred to a officer called Pelorson in the service of a former great house, House Gray. This Pelorson was famous for successfully leading the first assault on the walls, and his success was credited in the book to divine ancestry. Eric is not convinced but sought advice from Sebastian on the topic. Sebastian believes that House Gray fell to a plague, and eventually ceased as a noble line about 2 centuries ago, before merging with the minor House Farstone. House Farstone still exists as one of House Vance’s vassals.
NB: Due to the length of my notes there will be a number of lists summarising various aspects of the party.
The Guests from the Houses Major
The party featured an impressive guest list from the major houses Ramsey, Hewitt, and Vance. In summary the major delegations were:
1) House Ramsey
a) The Master of Seven (who essentially made a date of it with Sebastian)
b) Colonel Howell (who essentially headed for the booze)
c) Rotmind  as Colonel Howell’s plus one (and who apparently wants to join the Free Company)
2) House Hewitt
a) Sir Gandor and Imperium (thankfully the colossal blue dragon spent the evening shapeshifted into a humanoid form)
b) Dame Alee and Angel (ditto for this gold dragon)
c) Brigadier Mays
d) Baron Lane
3) House Vance
a) Father Scott
b) “Paladin”  Degaulle, of the House Vance Guard from the Temple of Asmodeus
c) Thane Stewart
Other Guests of Significance
There were a number of other guests from the Houses Minor and the various local guilds. These included:
1) Lord Bradley, Master of the Guild of Alchemists
2) Bishops from the local churches and temples
3) Major O’Filligan from the City Watch .
4) Lady Tia Rines Lock, House Lock
5) Baron Christian Luhrmann , House Omar
6) Lord Neil Bowland, House Theedul (with the rake as his security)
7) Lord “Needle”, “Lord of Redia”, introduced as a “lord from the western lands”
a) i.e Filcher in disguise
8) Matthias Script, a merchant who bought the 5000gp ticket to the high table and who deals in arms and armour
Wheeling and Dealing
Throughout the party there were a number of avenues pursued to develop the Free Company as an actual force:
1) Kozuket negotiated with Lord Bradley to secure steady supplies of alchemist goods, and possibly use of the Free Company as a distribution channel to other cities should the Free Company expand
2) Eric went looking for younger children of the Houses Minor who stand to inherit little (if anything) and therefore might see an opportunity in the Free Company
3) Sebastian, Kozuket, Kelain, and Hector talked to Rotmind about his desire to join the guild
5) Father Scott and the Master of Seven were generally in a good mood
6) There were inconsequential discussions with Filcher, which should have been a warning. He also leaves quickly to deal with the aftermath of a riot gone wrong. 
7) Eric made an appointment to speak with Thane Stewart about House Farstone later in the week
8) Rune Stoned talked to Matthias Script about where to find dwarves. Apparently Rune Stoned doesn’t know how he ended up in the Realm, and doesn’t even know where home is.
9) Rune Stoned also talked to Sir Gandor about this. Sir Gandor advised Rune Stoned to talk to Lady Firetide  and/or younger members of the Drake Guard that might have been sent into the mountains.
Careful attention by many of the party results in it ending peacefully.
In the aftermath of the party a large chunk of mail arrives divided into thankyous and applications from younger children of the Houses Minor.
What also arrives is Jesse Clark, one of Filcher’s men, with 20 swordsmen to hit the Free Company up for protection money. “Lovely guild house you have here, be a shame if something happened to it.”
As part of the discussion it turns out that Filcher is very unhappy with the loss of the drow assassin, and also by last night’s riot. The City Watch reacted too quickly, the “usual protocols” weren’t followed, and a number of Filcher’s informants on the City Watch ended up dead in the crossfire.
After extensive discussion the initial demand of 5000gp per month was deferred to a one-off payment of 500gp now, with negotiations as to an ongoing payment to be made directly with Filcher by the end of the month.
Out of Character Commentary
Once you pay the Danegeld you can never be rid of the Dane.
There was a fairly extensive argument over this amongst the players, myself included.
To be fair we were caught unprepared for a fight, with at least two characters out of armour and at least one frontline fighter missing. For the most part I also agree with the party’s default position being using diplomacy to avoid combat – there have been several unnecessary fights avoided in recent sessions.
However this is a fantasy, feudal, setting. There will be times when avoiding battles are worse than the battles.
If in the next session the party is forced to choose between paying regular protection money, and fighting free of Filcher, then the party has to be prepared to fight that one.
Otherwise the Free Company isn’t.
I don’t know how this will be managed but I will pull Eric out of the guild if it ends up paying protection money on a regular basis.
I am however hoping for a third option that preserves independence without backing Filcher into a corner, I just don’t know what that is yet .
Leaving aside the minor unpleasantness at the end, this was an enjoyable session with a lot of interesting stuff happening.
We also levelled up at the end of this session so the word for today is BOOM!
Yes, that’s right: the pyromancer has the fireball spell. What could possibly go wrong with that?