Barkeep on the Borderlands play report: the Jolly Crew VS. The Raves of Chaos

Session 3

In which we meet a new friend, time-perception altering experiences are mostly ignored, and shady propositions are made

Previously on…

The Jolly Crew, composed of Gabiru the Lizardman diplomat, Sir Reginald the visiting noble, and Grrodon Ramsey the culinary critic, agreed to help the Heir to find the missing cure for the poisoned Monarch.
Their investigations started from the Royal Wine Cellars, and brought them first to the Quasi-Parliament, where they familiarized with the current political landscape and introduced themselves to the Candidate, and then to the Bar at the Beginning of the Universe, where they drank themselves back in time (or back to the Quasi-Parliament in Gabiru’s case!).

The search for the antidote: status update

Item Current whereabouts
Antidote Lost somewhere in the city
Giant’s toenail Recovered by the Heir
Phoenix feather Unknown
Unicorn blood Unknown
Tiger’s eye Unknown

Day 1, second hour: Down and out in the magic tunnels

When we last saw our heroes, Gabiru was just teleported right in the middle of the assembled representatives in the Quasi-Parliament, while Sir Reginald and Grrodon found themselves transposed through a boozy haze to some strange glass tunnels, where they could see scenes from the past in the crystalline reflections.

Peering into the walls, they realized the images they were experiencing, a previous Monarch addressing military troops from a balcony, were at least 100 years old. They also noticed a ghostly version of the bar counter, complete with a translucent bartender, superimposed on this reality. It was there when you looked for it, but easy to ignore otherwise.

Not as easy to ignore was a pile of ragged clothes in a corner that started to move and moan softly. It’s a rubbish elemental!” They exclaimed, moving in to poke it with drawn weapons.

Turns out, it wasn’t an animated pile of junk, but Pig, an affluent busker, better known on the mean streets of the Iron Fens as Notorious P.I.G.  He was having a bad time with the poor reception of his latest musical efforts, and decided to drown his sorrows at the Bar. He was lost in this tunnels for an unquantifiable amount of time as a result. Still not really sure about where or when he is, he decided to follow the Jolly Crew, at least until they found a way out of here.

Day 1, second hour: Point of disorder in the Quasi-Parliament

Gabiru’s unexpected visit to the Parliament was again a brief one: he felt way too drunk, embarrassed, and intimidated to do anything but escape with a shrill cry and his tail between his legs. The baffled parliamentarians let him go, staring with slacked jaws.

He made himself as little and unassuming as possible and joined the crowd celebrating outside, fighting his drunkenness and disorientation to find the way back to the Bar at the Beginning of the Universe.

He resolved then to sit down in a corner, drink some water to sober up, and keeps eyes and ears open for the return of his companions, and possibly some juicy rumors from the other customers.

Day 1, second hour: Up, up and away!

Having now met Pig, the newly formed trio started looking around to find a way forward, but they were immediately interrupted by another loud POP, followed by the sudden appearance of a bizzarre looking wizard figure, an hobgoblin with a pointed starry hat and a trio of giggling and scantly dressed members of his species arm-in-arm. Barman, the next round is on me! Bottoms up everyone!” He slurred loudly. going up or down?” Asked the transparent man. The wizard wanted everyone to go down to the depths, but the crew decided to topple their drinks discreetly, asking the server something to go up instead.

Drinking the newly proffered booze, and experiencing a now familiar sense of displacement, they all found themselves in a different setting: not a tunnel, but a steppe at dawn, with scattered pools of water reflecting the past in their clear waters. They took a cursory look at one of the pools, showing the Keep as it appeared around 20 years ago, before deciding to keep drinking and going up to reunite with their friend Gabiru.

Another drink guzzled and more coins gone, and they found themselves in some mysterious ruins. The sun was high n the sky, and again the reflections of the windows showed past event. They decided to ignore the windows this time, distracted by a conga line of skeletons passing by in their direction. Pig tried to spout rhymes following the beat of the skeleton’s conga, but he failed, and was shunned by the undead revelers, electing to divert their march to pass around the strange man.

A final round of spirits and the party was finally gathered together again in the hall of the Bar, just as the clock stroke 8:00 pm.

Day 1, third hour: Memory holes and revelations

Gabiru saw his mates appearing with a new guest, and after presentations he was quick to update them on the gossip he heard:

  • Something seems to be off with the river, even if no-one is sure exactly what (some say the fishes are all floating belly up, others that it turned into blood, etc…)
  • An exotic bird can be found at the Birdcage pub

Talking about rumors, Pig hazily remembered he heard some himself before getting lost: some unsavory types in the Fens were saying that it was not safe to be around the Keep’s Museum on the second day of the Raves. He knows that the Pangoblinic Council is up to something, since they hate this festival, what with it being about the slaughter and conquest of their ancestors and all that.

Having found nothing useful for their quest at the Bar, the crewmates decided to follow up on the report of the strange bird, immediately picturing in their minds a Phoenix and its precious feathers.

Day 1, third hour: Dirty deeds, done kinda cheap(ly)

On the way to the Birdcage, the group was accosted again outside the Quasi-Parliament by a familiar figure: the creepy masked man that tried to make Gabiru give a speech. He beckoned them from a shady corner, and introduced himself as the Censor Morum, the anonymous and super-partes arbiter of morality in the parliament.  Almost in the same breath, he asked them for a little favor: kill the Shadow Minister, a terrible warlock working for the Royalists faction. Since they got close, it should be easy for them.  As a reward, one of them could take the vacated seat in the Parliament and become an official representative.

Needless to say, our intrepid and morally spotless adventurers accepted immediately. And that’s where we decided to end for the night.

Closing thoughts

We introduced a new player, and it was a riot! I mean, Notorious P.I.G., affluent busker from the Iron Fens, with a mystical beatbox” music-box as his instrument… Rad.

On the negative side, I feel Gabiru’s player had too little to do. He decided he wanted to let time pass to sober up, so that was that. Next time this happens (because it obviously will), I’ll try to alternate more between the two halves of the party, rolling some random situations for the passive” player to interact with.

The whole kill the Shadow Minister situation at the end inspired me to write a whole dungeon as an extra sidetrack


Spoilers ahead! If you are one of my players, please stop reading here


The tunnels debacle: I tried to convey that the reflections in the tunnels showed a specific time in the past (the further down they went, the further away from now” was shown), and also that each one was like a fixed observation spot: if they moved around they could see what happened in the past from different angles and perspectives.

My hope was they would leverage that to see what happened that morning, who took the antidote and where they went, or some other clever trick.  Alas, they never thought of it, as they were in a hurry to reunite with their lost mate, which is totally relatable.

Maybe it will occur to them at a later time.