Barkeep on the Borderlands play report: the Jolly Crew VS. The Raves of Chaos
Sessions 4 through 6
In which our heroes blaze through their quest, among other things
On their quest to find a cure for the ailing Monarch of the Keep, Sir Reginald the visiting noble, and Grrodon Ramsey the culinary critic, successfully navigated the space-time tunnels under the Bar at the Beginning of the Universe, adding to their ranks Pig, a.k.a. Notorious P.I.G., the affluent busker, and reunited with Gabiru the Lizardman diplomat, who got stranded in the Quasi-Parliament instead. Taking stock of their options after gathering some rumors, they decided to try to get to the Birdcage to see if the rare and dangerous bird roosting there is indeed a much sought after phoenix. On their way there they got accosted by the Censor Morum with a shady offer: kill the Shadow Minister, and claim a place in the Parliament in return.
The search for the antidote: status update
|Lost somewhere in the city
|Recovered by the Heir
Day 1, third hour: be vewy vewy quiet…
Having accepted the proposal of the Censor Morum, the Jolly Crew decided to forge on, since their assassination target was sure to be in the Parliament for a few hours more. On the north road that runs alongside the City Wood they encountered an Academy hunting party: a wizard teacher and a handful of students preparing to brave the woods in search of magical beasts (giant spiders, specifically) to slay and harvest for alchemical reagents. Striking a brief conversation, Reginald learned that unicorns, although rarely, have been sighted in the enchanted forest.
Day 1, fourth hour: a pitching incident
Forging on, as the city bells tolled, the crew approached their destination. Just in sight of the Birdcage pub, they noticed a burning building right next to the venue, and a crowd of improvised firefighters trying to extinguish the flames with buckets of water. A soot covered fellow approached sir Reginald and handed him a bucket too, then started to run. The bucket was full of pitch instead of water.\
As any sensible person would at that point, Reginald threw the bucket at the fleeing man, but missed and stained himself with the sticky black substance instead. Grrodon tried to throw his mallet too, but it flew high over the head of the fugitive, and struck a large innocent bystander. Luckily, Gabiru was fast on his lizard feet, and succeeded in tackling the running bloke, immobilizing him on the ground. While Grrodon and Pig convinced the angry man and the crowd that the mallet was flinged by the gentleman lying on the pavement, Sir Reginald approached with his sword drawn, ready to ask some pointed questions. The guy reacted by fetching a match from his pocket and striking it on the ground, causing the pitch soaked pants of Reginald to catch fire. Reginald’s reflexes were fast enough to avoid the worst outcome, and Pig came to his aid casting a freezing cone of ice spell to extinguish the nascent blaze, but he still incurred in some nasty burns on his legs, and a fine pair of pants was thoroughly ruined. Gabiru headbutted the still immobilized pyromaniac, dazing him and concluding the fight.
Interrogating their captive, they learned that he was responsible for the fire in the building next to the Birdcage, and also that it was an accident: he actually wanted to set fire to the pub itself! He was paid a paltry sum by the owner to do so, but he didn’t ask for his motive.
Relieving him of his ill-gotten coins, the Jolly Crew then left the arsonist to the tender care of the gathered pitchfork wielding crowd, finally heading for the pub entrance.
Day 1, fourth hour: dealing and dissing
Entering the terraced karaoke pub, the crew lost no time and started looking for the proprietor immediately. Unfortunately, he was nowhere to be seen at the time. There was however his son, tending the bar and in the mood for a chat. A lamentose song was being sung by a sorry looking fellow on the open air stage while this conversation occurred. They confirmed their suspicion about the nature of the “exotic bird”, and managed to strike a deal: they could take a peak at the phoenix if they managed to lighten the mood of the attendees with a good song. P.I.G. eyes ignited, as he bolted on the stage and started singing a fiery diss song against the broken-hearted bard, supported on the ground by the cheering of Grrodon.
Meanwhile Reginald and Gabiru noticed that the owner was indeed present, hidden in a shady corner, discussing “business” with a shady looking Medusa. They overheard about the “deal” that went south with the pyromaniac, and stepped in to offer their services: “if you want this place burnt down, you just found the right people for it”.
Day 1, fifth hour: bringing down the house
The sorrowful bard was no match for Notorious P.I.G., who just chained rhyme after rhyme, slight after slight, making the poor fellow all but flee the scene in tears, and inciting raucous cheers from the audience — and possibly making a new enemy for the crew in the process. He was so successful that the Harpy, who was being besieged by a cadre of adoring fans at a table, flew upon the stage to start an impromptu duet. Unfortunately the very different styles of the performers didn’t mash together all that well, and after just a few bars Pig left the dais, chased off by a fiery stare from the feathered singer.
Meanwhile Reginald and Gabiru struck a deal with the Medusa and the none–too–happy proprietor of the Birdcage: they will cause an incident so that the bar won’t be fit to host the endangered bird anymore, and the Medusa can then buy the establishment (at a discount). When the deed is done, the Medusa will pay them a fitting sum, and they’ll all part ways as complete strangers.
The son of the owner approached Pig and Grrodon at the same time as the returning Reginald and Gabiru. He was very pleased about the mood shift on the floor, and gestured them toward the garret to show them the phoenix, as agreed.
Once there, seeing the prized bird nested on the wooden beams under the roof and several feathers sticking out said nest, Reginald had the brilliant idea to just take a wooden ladder and climb up to grab a fistful of plumes.
This of course resulted in a very angry fiery bird igniting the roof, the stair, and Reginald himself.
When it was clear that the situation got out of hand, and the phoenix was about to explode in a burning vortex of death, Gabiru performed an incantation that immobilized both him and the bird for as long as they locked eyes.
Reginald fell quickly down the ladder with his prize in hand and several burn marks all over, and everyone flew the burning room as quickly as possible, shouting warnings about the flaming inferno about to consume the building.
After a few moments of shock, all the patrons of the burning establishment started running in panic torward the stairs — the only viable exit — making it very hard to escape the premises. Pig got unlucky and was trampled badly by the crowd, forcing Grrodon to use a powerful protective incantation to save his life.
There was more to this sections, but I forgot it. We played a long time ago, and played more and more since (and eventually stopped due to boring adulting reasons… I hope we can come back to it soon!).
I think this will be the last “accurate” play report I write for this campaign, because it would be too hard to coax any kind of coherent narrative from my battered campaign notes. Ending on an explosive note is definitely my style anyway.
Nonetheless, I have a lot more to write about it in other forms, like the strange depth-crawl/hex-flower hybrid thing I used for exploring the City Wood, and probably some fun highlights here and there.