Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The House of Conti - Session 1 and 2

In addition to my tabletop campaign, I've also started running a Roll20 campaign for a couple of my friends who used to play GURPS with me back in the day, and a couple of other friends who are new to GURPS.  I ran the second session on Saturday the 27th of August.

Cast of Characters

  • Luca Conti - swashbuckler and member of the merchant House of Conti in the Northern Thorinian Kingdom
  • Raphael - Luca's companion and friend, a capable wizardly spy
  • JD - a Sorceror and master of spells that skirt the fringes of legality
  • Baradiel - an angel cast down to the mortal world for his failure to protect Luca's uncle

Session One

This campaign actually started last year, in a week of gaming some of my old gaming buddies get together each year to do.  In that campaign, the party investigated the death of Luca's uncle, a powerful Archbishop of the Storm God.  They discovered he had ties to the Underdark, buying Black Lotus from the Drow to sell on the surface.  He had helped them kill off a rival family but was murdered when he protested them raising their prices.  Luca and Raphael returned to their home city of Sparra, and were joined at Luca's ancestral home (the Green Palace) by JD and Baradiel.

For the first session, Raphael was absent.

JD had been accused of several magical crimes by the Brotherhood*, but the head wizard of House Conti, Sazano, imposed his veto in the trial and invited JD to join him in Conti service. JD agreed, since House Conti wasn't going to bind his actions with magical Oaths...

At around the same time, Baradiel had been exiled to the mortal realm to aid the Conti family, since he'd failed to protect the Archbishop.  Luca found him being theologically grilled by the household Chaplain.

The three of them (Luca, JD, and Baradiel) were instructed to follow up on a couple of house guards who were sent to check on a break-in at the house's spice warehouse.  Lord Conti suggested that Luca take some time to familiarize himself with his new companions, but Luca hotly objected, insisting he would check on the household guards immediately, while also berating his father for his opportunism in JD's case and ranting about the ridiculous Brotherhood laws.

When they arrived at the warehouse, they discovered three dead bodies, one of which was no member or servant of the Conti.  Searching further, they opened a door and a pulsating green heart, bound in brass, rose from the floor and sent beams of green to each body, which materialized into Demon Jesters, a powerful type of minor demon (Baradiel classified them as "Type III level.").  Baradiel, a soldier angel, succeeded on both Demon Lore and Physiology (Demons), so he knew what they were and that their weakpoint was the heart.  A battle ensued, and Baradiel was heavily injured, while JD spent much of the fight mentally stunned by a Rapier Wit attack by one of the demons.  (This was unlikely, as his IQ is 14 but he failed four turns in a row.)  They also managed to break the heart, which JD used Magic Item Lore to identify as a "Soul Trap," an evil artifact from the remote ages of the ancient demon-worshipping Catfolk, around 9,000 years ago. Soul Traps were used to trap the soul of anyone who died near them and allowed a spellcaster to use the souls therein to power magical effects, like an extremely naughty Powerstone.

They took the bodies and the remains of the heart back to the Green Palace.  They noted a tattoo of the face of a raging ape on the unknown man.  This is a known symbol of the demon lord Gath, the White Ape, a demon lord rumored to be physically present on the Material World. He has a sizable and dangerous cult.

Session Two

While the rest of the party was away, Raphael was using his (Ally Group) rats to sneak into a local office and steal some love letters written by Lord Conti.  He used his rats to chew them open and read what was inside.  He noted that they'd been sealed with the House Conti seal, or a good fake, so he had the rats mar that as well, then delivered the notes as instructed.  A Streetwise roll led him to suspect the Red Eagle House, House Conti's most heated rival merchant family, as the most likely group to have stolen the letters.

Luca was called to speak with his mother, who chided him for his thoughtless berating of his father, especially in the view of the servants of the house.  Luca defended himself but promised to be more careful.

The whole party returned to the warehouse, since Raphael has both the Mage Sight and See Secrets spells so he's capable of spotting things the others might have missed.  He found a second secret compartment in the chest the heart had arrived in, sealed with a poison trap.  In the compartment, they found a bundle of letters bound and sealed by magic.  Raphael used a Dispel Magic scroll to dispel the seal (Delay-Sense Life-Disintegrate if you're curious.  Even the minimum damage would have reduced the bundle to dust.)  The papers were written in a demon language, and the very letters were so disturbing that seeing it required a Fright Check from everyone but Baradiel (he's an Angel, he's seen it before.)

They used Raphael's familiar, Goldie (a special rat,) to track another person who had been present.  The trail led to an alleyway, where the party heard cries of "Help!" from a woman overtaken in the alley by thugs.  A fight ensued, the thugs were all disabled early by a critical success on a Mass Sleep from JD, and "sewer worms" and bronze spiders joined the fight as it progressed. Someone cast an Awaken spell on the thugs, then the "victim" slipped away during the fighting, but in a rather sneaky way that led the party to track her down.  They entered a kitchen, and faced a woman cutting into a joint of beef.  When challenged, she told the group she'd been paid a silver coin to cover a strange woman's escape.  Raphael, having Mage Sight active, asked if the cook was a mage (she was.)

Luca knocked her unconscious from behind (I use the "kayo" rules in my fantasy campaigns.)  JD then used Mind Search to discover that she was a guard for a group using the sewers as a base, she didn't know if they were demon worshipers, but she knew that they had just received a "necessary shipment."  We left it there.

*Brotherhood Charges Against JD

JD was charged with Witchcraft, Unsanctioned Spellcasting, and Uncontrolled Sorcery. Witchcraft being the casting of spells in secret, Unsanctioned Spellcasting is not being a member of the Brotherhood, and Uncontrolled Sorcery is casting a spell as a Sorceror that leads to a Calamity Check.

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