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 Viticulture of the Damned

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Rolzup

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PostSubject: Re: Viticulture of the Damned   Tue Dec 15, 2009 1:07 pm

Mallus wrote:

OOC: how complete is Vox's report? Give me the gist of it. Does it leave anything out?

OOC: Fairly complete as to the basic events, with the addition of Pruflas escaping on his hellsteeds rather than being captured. But lay out the basics of the situation, with the resurrection wine abuse, without mentioning Sancerre specifically...or that Artichoke and Pals have him in their possession. Vox is of two minds about turning over the notes, or copies thereof -- he doesn't entirely trust something like this not be misused. For the moment, at least, he's keeping that information to himself, along with what little he heard about the operation from Pruflas. He will, however, find out whatever he can about Terpsichore.
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PostSubject: Re: Viticulture of the Damned   Tue Dec 15, 2009 2:55 pm

Rolzup wrote:
He will, however, find out whatever he can about Terpsichore.
Vox approaches the Governor's Estate with a mix of impatience and dread. The Governor's personal guard are out in force, as they always are, quite literally bull-headed, being minotaurs of a universally bad disposition. They glare threateningly at him, even though they know he's about to vanish.

With a snap of his fingers Vox transitions to the Other Side. Here the chimerical brutes are replaced by a more disheartening mob: low-level bureaucrats in the Bureaucracy's eternal employ. He hands his preemptively-redacted report to one as they pass, with strict instructions to get it at least with sight of a Functionaries in-box, on pain of... well, what? Could something hurt more than spending your afterlife as a civil servant?

With a desk job, he adds quickly.

Vox loiters in the Bureaucracy offices for a while. Shares a cup full of the recollection of bad coffee with some colleagues in field agent's lounge (to which he adds some very real, though unmemorable whiskey he smuggled into the Afterlife). He ask a few harmless questions...

... and finds out Terpsichore was almost famous, back in her day.

Cori and her eleven sisters emigrated from Enkiil Islands roughly a century ago, applying for asylum as political prisoners, fleeing one of many purges of the followers of the Way of Cybelle. A few of her siblings laid low, some were destroyed. Cori became quite well-known as a dance instructor, famously teaching Isadora Althing early in her career as she was transiting away from being a barbarian warrior-woman for hire.

Soon after that Cori joined a band of adventurers from Across-the-Sea. Their patron was rumored to be a Duke of Hell. Not much was heard about her in the Port after that. She supposedly married a Tiefling named 'Bernard'.

Several of Vox's colleagues ask why he's asking. Has she turned up? Apparently, she was quite a dancer --and looker-- back in the day. That is... for a blood-sucking foreign abomination.


Last edited by Mallus on Tue Dec 15, 2009 3:19 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Viticulture of the Damned   Tue Dec 15, 2009 3:11 pm

A few hours later Vox is back in his quarters at the League Mansion, burning charnal-house incense and smoking an imported Snake-States stogie in a vain attempt to drive back the encroaching smell of pig. A Shadar-Kai in a Bureaucracy uniform translates in from the Other Side.

One of these days I'm going to have to put up wards... or at least alarms.

"Your orders, Officer Cadaveris" she says briskly as she fades to black. A wax-sealed letter remains.

What the Hells?

Inside are orders from the Eternal Bureaucracy.

1) Discover all you can about the new wine-making process.
2) Secure the blood-cauldron of the vampire-muse Terpsichore.
3) Once done, send word directly to my office via courier ghoul. Avoid normal Bureaucracy channels!

-- Your uttermost discretion is required. Or I'll stop turning a blind eye to your extracurricular activities, Officer Cadaveris.


It should have taken at least 6 months for anyone to even notice his report, let alone read it.

The letter is signed: Functionary Genuflex.

Vox has heard of him, which surprising, giving the nameless, faceless nature of the Eternal Bureaucracy. He's high up in the ranks.

A few seconds after Vox finishes reading the letter it crumbles to ash.
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Rolzup

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PostSubject: Re: Viticulture of the Damned   Tue Dec 15, 2009 3:42 pm

Mallus wrote:
Several of Vox's colleagues ask why he's asking. Has she turned up? Apparently, she was quite a dancer --and looker-- back in the day. That is... for a blood-sucking foreign abomination.

"Oh, you know," Vox replies vaguely, "Rumors, that's all. You know how it is; skels like to blame anyone they can, particularly if it's someone who hasn't been seen in a nice long time."

Mallus wrote:
A few seconds after Vox finishes reading the letter it crumbles to ash.

Vox slumps into a chair and buries his face in his hands. Someone's paying attention, he thinks despairingly, That's not supposed to happen!

It takes a few moments, and the better part of a flask, for Vox to regain his equilibrium. "Well," he informs the room, "That's it. I'm fucked." After grabbing his rapier from its peg beside the door, he straightens his hat, squares his shoulders, and takes another long swig from his ivory flask.

Hopefully Artichoke and the others didn't entirely screw up the interrogation, he thinks sourly. Bet the one in the hat killed him and fed him to that damned pig..... Muttering curses, he sets out in search of answers.

OOC: Did we take the cauldron itself? Or was Bernard the cauldron?
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PostSubject: Re: Viticulture of the Damned   Tue Dec 15, 2009 3:50 pm

Rolzup wrote:
OOC: Did we take the cauldron itself?
Yes.

Quote :
Or was Bernard the cauldron?
No. He was the animated circulatory system inside the cauldron.
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PostSubject: Re: Viticulture of the Damned   Tue Dec 15, 2009 4:43 pm

Mallus wrote:
Rolzup wrote:
OOC: Did we take the cauldron itself?
Yes.

Quote :
Or was Bernard the cauldron?
No. He was the animated circulatory system inside the cauldron.

OOC: Right. I thought that he might also qualify as the "cauldron" in an alchemical sense, as they tended to go for that sort of thing.
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PostSubject: Re: Viticulture of the Damned   Tue Dec 15, 2009 4:48 pm

OOC: Do we now have everything we need for the skill challenge to separate Sancere from Armand?
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PostSubject: Re: Viticulture of the Damned   Tue Dec 15, 2009 5:20 pm

gridley wrote:
OOC: Do we now have everything we need for the skill challenge to separate Sancere from Armand?
OOC: yes. FYI, you'll have a few automatic successes (thanks to the items you recovered from Cori's 'winery' and from Odanais using his spell).
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PostSubject: Re: Viticulture of the Damned   Tue Dec 15, 2009 5:23 pm

Mallus wrote:
gridley wrote:
OOC: Do we now have everything we need for the skill challenge to separate Sancere from Armand?
OOC: yes. FYI, you'll have a few automatic successes (thanks to the items you recovered from Cori's 'winery' and from Odanais using his spell).

OOC: And I'm assuming we should go ahead and get that out of the way in the forums, eh?
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PostSubject: Re: Viticulture of the Damned   Tue Dec 15, 2009 5:33 pm

gridley wrote:
OOC: And I'm assuming we should go ahead and get that out of the way in the forums, eh?
OOC: Fine with me.
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PostSubject: Re: Viticulture of the Damned   Tue Dec 15, 2009 7:59 pm

"Armand, it's time to come back," he whispers strongly into the unconscious man's ears. Stepping back, Odanais summons up all of his tortured angst over his own divided mind and blasts it into poor unsuspecting Armand's, pumping his brain with his sister's familial concern and Larkspur's passionate need for his return. "Cast off this body squatter and become king again of your own flesh!"

Dazzling Ray: Armand.
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PostSubject: Re: Viticulture of the Damned   Tue Dec 15, 2009 9:17 pm

OOC: Do you want to attempt the ritual without Earnest Gallows help? You don't need him, but is an expert on Recollection Wines. Or would you rather cut him out of the process?
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PostSubject: Re: Viticulture of the Damned   Wed Dec 16, 2009 11:57 am

OOC: Ah, we don't need him. He'll probably expect prudence, and caution, and all that sort of crap. Amateur. And I'm hoping that Artichoke will continue to interrogate our prisoner, and pry some useful information from him perhaps?
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PostSubject: Re: Viticulture of the Damned   Wed Dec 16, 2009 12:35 pm

Rolzup wrote:
OOC: Ah, we don't need him. He'll probably expect prudence, and caution, and all that sort of crap. Amateur.
OOC: so mote it be!

While the more prudent Artichoke questions Father Pruflas, the rest of the League, led by Pæetros and Odanais, begin the Ritual to separate the soul of Sancerre from the body of Armand Rum. First they drag Rum's body to the sty. What better place to perform soul surgery than under the watchful snout of your resident goddess? The smell is... not pleasant.

Odanais arranges the accouterments of the wine-making process, the kettle, the parchments, the unusual grapes, in a mystical pattern on the straw-littered floor. Their presence is beneficial, and perhaps they'll have a further role to play?

Then the sorcerer shoots Rum in the face with a gout of blazing light and pain.

Sancerre, who had been nestled inside Rum's corporeal form, as he had been during the Battle of Twilight Hill, disappears from his eyes. A confused other presence peers out. Next, the elven ghost tries to step out of the body. Sancerre manages to get a few steps away, then he's held fast by what appears to be a translucent silver chain in the shape of a vine.

OOC: this counts as 2 successes. Next!
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PostSubject: Re: Viticulture of the Damned   Wed Dec 16, 2009 1:00 pm

"Choppy man! Am needing axe!"

The Ghost Pig is dancing about excitedly, snapping at the vine, as Pætros glares. "There!" he decides. "Strike there, choppy man!" He points eagerly at one section of the vine.

OOC: Using Speak With Spirits, and making an Insight check -- 26 total.


Last edited by Rolzup on Wed Dec 16, 2009 1:03 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Viticulture of the Damned   Wed Dec 16, 2009 1:00 pm

The member 'Rolzup' has done the following action : Dice Roller

'd20' : 5
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Mallus

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PostSubject: Re: Viticulture of the Damned   Wed Dec 16, 2009 1:27 pm

Rolzup wrote:
"Strike there, choppy man!" He points eagerly at one section of the vine.

OOC: Using Speak With Spirits, and making an Insight check -- 26 total.
The spirits in the silver vine call out. Not pleas, exactly, more like random phrases "When will the rains come?", "Daddy, look out!", "Try some jam". The voices of men, women, and children. Simple people of the land.

Pætros immediately recognizes the voices aren't ghosts or bound spirits. They're more like... echoes. Or stains. Grounds in the bottom of a cup. Several more unhappy similes float through the Porcohpant's mind. Somehow ithe vine/chain is made out of the essential stuff the ties the soul to the body, and it was made from the souls of the living.

But souls are very hard to destroy, yes?. Some disreputable scholars think even the smallest one is, from a certain perspective, infinitely big. Besides, the product of a soul-destroying engine would have a different Aspect. Something more Infernal or Void-touched...

The silver vine is the key.

OOC: okay, that's another success. A perhaps a bonus or two to later checks?
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PostSubject: Re: Viticulture of the Damned   Wed Dec 16, 2009 4:19 pm

"Am wondering," Pætros says aloud, "If another god involved in this. Is god of winos, maybe? Am not familiar with such, but would not surprise. Or maybe fae? Also fond of wine, and fucking with people ."
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PostSubject: Re: Viticulture of the Damned   Thu Dec 17, 2009 6:04 pm

Rolzup wrote:
"Choppy man! Am needing axe!"

OOC: Is that my cue? Sorry I've been out of it for a while!
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PostSubject: Re: Viticulture of the Damned   Tue Dec 22, 2009 10:37 am

overeddie wrote:
OOC: Is that my cue? Sorry I've been out of it for a while!
OOC: No worries, Ed. You/Lizzie can jump back in when there's more violence and wealth-redistributing afoot...
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PostSubject: Re: Viticulture of the Damned   Tue Dec 22, 2009 11:10 am

OOC:

Things To Do:

1) Secure the Blood Cauldron (ie, coffin) of the vampire muse Terpsichore, and discover all you can about her unique Recollection Wine-making process, as per Vox's orders from Functionary Genuflex, an unusually well-known Eternal Bureaucrat. Vox spotted Mr. Sere, the Nattily-Dressed Ghoul in the vicinity of Dr. Hallilpose's Slimming Clinic, a macabre-but-renowned 'health spa' in the Hereafter.

2) Investigate the source of the special, 'spectral grapes' Pruflas provided to Cori, which he claims are integral to the wine-making process. They come from an enormous, overgrown vineyard on the Other Side of the Clutch village of Vine (naturally). This helps fulfill Vox's mission, and represents information that can be sold to, well, several parties: Gallows, the Bureaucracy, various other Recollection Wine-makers (like Malachi Boon, who you spied negotiating with Mr. Sere).

3) Receive payment Earnest Gallows.

4) Figure out what to do with Magister Titus/Lord Dandy. The League has a 5000 gp contract with Lord Lively to discover who hired the Petitioners. Titus is currently undertaking a ritual to bind the loose spirit of Cybelle the Vampire Queen.

5) Find out why Larkspur dumped Armand. The Young Mister Rum has offered Odanais a 500 gp contract.

6) For Odanais - join the 'court' of Count Orquiel, as commanded by his new master, Chax, the Bestower of Sight.

Recent Items Received

Sancerre's pair of +3 scimitars (really, you get treasure).
Pruflas's Psychopomp's Truncheon (still need to stat this out... but at the very least, it has a Daily which stuns undead for one round)
Pruflas's Fae-Flax Pouch - conceal any item smaller than a one-handed weapon from anything but careful examination by someone trained in Arcana.
1000 gp from Lady Larkspur Dandy.
1000 gp from Lord Lively.

Recent Converts

Black Mariah, former human cleric of That Which is Not.
Effraim Ennui, aka Sancerre, elven ghost rogue.
Subtle, former human warlock (Petitioner), now Pork-Pact.

Suggestions for Spending the League's Money

One idea I had is adding some builder-sim elements to the campaign. You could buy 'improvements' to mansion which would yield various benefits over time. Like Lizzie could add a clinic, Yatagan a theater, Artichoke a martial school. We could work out the exact nature of said benefits (and complications) as we go.

League Member's Lost

Sir Lien Repossessed - committed suicide by Sphere of Annihilation while trying to help others, sort of.

Anyhow... what do you do next?

Also, any suggestions, comments, bundles of effusive praise you'd like to share with me.
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PostSubject: Re: Viticulture of the Damned   Tue Dec 22, 2009 2:17 pm

"Well," Vox says heavily, "It seems that once again I have the...pleasure of working closely with you all." A muscle in his face twitches a bit, adding a bit of animation to the frozen smile that the Bureaucrat-At-Large (Grade Epsilon-Minus) currently wears.

"Truly, a *twitch* delight."

Taking a deep breath, Vox tries to once again assume a professional demeanor. "It seems that we should perhaps begin our investigations with the town of Vine. A bit out of my normal purview, but I have as much authority there as I do here in the Port."

There's a moment of uncomfortable silence before he clears his throat and continues, trying not to look anyone in the eye. "It's far safer to travel the Clutch on this side of the veil; I suggest that we hire the services of a guide. Assuming that you're willing to bear the expense, oh Captain."
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PostSubject: Re: Viticulture of the Damned   Tue Dec 22, 2009 8:29 pm

OOC: How much time would it take us to travel to the Clutch, Scott, and what would be the normal method of doing so? I'll put up Artichoke's response accordingly.

I'm thinking a trip outside the Port might make for an interesting change, and we could actually do two different groups of PCs, one outside the Port heading to the Clutch and one in the Port doing other stuff.
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PostSubject: Re: Viticulture of the Damned   Wed Dec 23, 2009 10:15 am

shilsen wrote:
OOC: How much time would it take us to travel to the Clutch, Scott, and what would be the normal method of doing so?
Consulting one of the cheap maps sold by the Geographic Society, Vine lies 100 miles, mostly to the south and slightly west of the Port. So between 3 and four days each days marching or by horse, depending on the general conditions of the firmament that Clutch residents colloquially call 'the weather'. Most of the distance would be along a road called the Viper's Highway, which leads all the way to the Principality of Asp.

It's less than a day by train, if you're lucky enough to catch the Gog-Magog Line.

Quote :
I'm thinking a trip outside the Port might make for an interesting change, and we could actually do two different groups of PCs, one outside the Port heading to the Clutch and one in the Port doing other stuff.
That sounds cool. Just tell me who is going where to do what. Are you going to bring in the Replacement League? I need to know, because I'm assuming they're not as powerful.

Does anyone want to stat out Black Mariah, Subtle, and Sancerre?
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PostSubject: Re: Viticulture of the Damned   Wed Dec 23, 2009 11:19 am

"While I agree that Vine must be investigated," says Odanais. "I believe stopping Titus from taking possession of Cybelle at the Spiral Jetty is more urgent."

OOC: If we're sending a second group out into the Clutch, I think I might bring in a new character, a goliath warden that could act as a guide outside the city. Would that be cool?
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