Monday, February 22, 2010

First Day

With invitations in hand, the human wizard Vexx, the tiefling sorceror Ferik, the human bard Jij, and the tall dwarven artificer Fizzy entered the Great Hall of the castle of Tyrell. They were met by servants and led to their table of honor at the Prince Philip's birthday feast.

The Lady Annasta, advisor and friend of the good King Roland Daelon, met the group. She revealed herself as the leader of the Agents, the royal espionage institution, and suggested that the party of commoners might be of use. She asked to speak after the feast, and took her seat. King Roland stood to address the crowd. He spoke grandly of his son, and announced that he would begin to share power with the lordling. The Prince stood up, agreed, and slew the King in a single blow.

The Prince proclaimed himself King, and the stunned nobles began to declare for him. Annasta, in defiance, stood and rejected the Prince, throwing a smokebomb to the ground. As she escaped, she grabbed the party of commoners with whom she spoke earlier. As they ran off, they succumbed to the smoke and passed into unconsciousness, while the immunized Agents carried them to safety.

The party awoke in a bedroom that had been converted into a base for the Agents. Annasta informed them that the castle guard and the battlemages had sided with Philip. She asked for their trust and their help in righting the wrongs of that evening... and they agreed. Annasta set out three tasks for the group that would help prepare for the ousting of the Prince: to collect magical arms and armor from the dungeons, to investigate the castle's alchemist and see what he can offer, and to find the well-respected elf Ander and use him to persuade the guards to resist the new king. The party was given fourteen doses of the powerful Potion of Deep Rest to assist in their assignments.

The party decided to try to turn the guards first. On their way to the guard quarters they had a brief altercation with a group of the guard, led by one of the famous Royal Champions. Ferik stepped forward and tried to bluff the Champion into thinking that they were on the same side. The Champion bought the ruse, but insisted on taking Fizzy away for questioning. A short time later, the guards came running back, covered in soot. One of Fizzy's many creations had exploded, and the guards were none too pleased. Ferik responded by blasting them with lightning. After the dust had settled, all the guards lay dead, except one. The remaining guard, Jim, was quickly persuaded to assist the party in their task.

Outside the guard quarters, the party encountered an Agent dressed as a guard. He told them the locations of Ander's room and Paendra's (the captain of the guard) office, and he told them that they were lucky that the guards were mostly staying inside their rooms. The group entered and snuck towards Ander's room. Jim listened at a corner, successfully hiding his intentions from the group, before running off into one of the guard rooms. No alarm was raised.

The party entered Ander's room to find no trace of the elf in sight, though his weapons (twin scimitars) were found on his bed. Vexx cast a ritual of silence on the room, and later cast a ritual to comprehend the Elven language in order to read Ander's diary. The diary revealed little of value, though Ander clearly saw some weakness or darkness in the Prince's character. After some time, a guard entered the room to collect Ander's weapons. He was subdued, questioned, and knocked out, as his cries were blocked by the silence ritual.

The party discovered from the guard that Ander was being kept prisoner by Paendra in her office. They decided to use Ghost Sounds of Jim's voice to draw her out. After many cries of "Paendra, Paendra!", the captain's reply was only to yell in frustration at Jim. The real Jim briefly ran out in response, but was left confused and terrified. He knocked at the door and spoke again with the group before being knocked out along with the earlier guard.

Becoming impatient, Fizzy decided to pretend to be Jim himself. He boldly strode out down the hall, calling Paendra's name. Ferik took the opportunity to sneak down a parallel hallway towards the office. Paendra grabbed Fizzy and threw him to the wall, interrogating him, while Ferik unbound the captive Ander. As they began to run, the alarm was raised, and guards began to pour out of their rooms. The party was able to get to the hall. Ander was able to block several of Paendra's attacks while appealing to the guards to fight against the murderer Prince. The guards took to infighting as the party escaped. Only a lone guard dog was killed in the altercation.

Ander was soon reunited with Annasta and agreed to patrol the hallways turning the guard against the Prince. He explained that Paendra, while a good and lawful woman, was insistent on following the rightful King and believed that only the Prince fit that description. As the group spoke with Annasta, another Agent burst in with reports of Lord Archibald, the late King's brother, demanding entry at the gates. By pure chance, it seemed, the Black Lord had chosen this night for his yearly visit to the King. The Prince's lackeys were refusing to answer or open the gates. Annasta and the party decided that the enemy of their enemy was their friend, and the party set off to open the gates.

Upon arrival to the castle gates, the party found a battlemage and three Royal Champions talking at the gate, while the Black Lord's guards pounded on the gates and shouted their demands for entry. Ferik strode force alone, hoping to persuade the mage that the battlemages' leader, Khestral, had sent orders to open the gates, but he was not believed, and a fight soon broke out. The party handily defeated the Prince's agents, pushed away the bar on the gate, and watched it open...

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