Decaying Lands 12: The Tower of Bremmlecht 01 - Approach

PCs Present & Played:

Caleb, Fighter 2 [farmer kit]
  Suzie, a stubborn but loyal mule
Claus Drexol, Magic-User 4 (Vegas)
  Wiebke Bott, linklady from Bremmlecht
  Sandra Schöll, guard from Bremmlecht
Jewel, Really Good Dog 2 (Rudy)
  Buddy, ratter dog
  Fuckhead / Shado, grizzled mongrel
  Wimpy / Cpt. Foofamaloo, escaped housedog
Tenkos, Cleric 1 [plague doctor kit]
Viggo Marklund, Specialist 2 [bounty hunter kit]

The party left off having buried Jeremiah the blacksmith in a shallow grave in the woods near Hommlet. Barthelm decided (due to player real-life obligations) to stay behind and coordinate the construction of the promised wall and windmill while everyone else beat feet for Bremmlecht and its wizard tower. This marked the first time that their adventures were not solely driven by a desire to save Polde the farmer.

They arrived in Bremmlecht after a week of mostly uneventful travel. Just prior to entering the city proper they encountered a merchant on his way out. Viggo decided to flag down the man, looking to replenish the contents of his hip flask. He settled on some hard liquor from the swamplands and some fine Ghallian wine for his foreign friend Tenkos. The merchant, Scarus, also shared a rumor from excited travelers warning about murderous brigands back south before taking his leave to travel on.

Sidebar: The merchant was just another random encounter entry, but Viggo's player went all in on interacting him and it became a fun diversion and another fun NPC. I really appreciate how much my players tend to stop and smell the roses, so to speak.

Upon entering the city, Jewel immediately started scouting about for some dog rumors. This time I was prepared! Thank you very much to Scrap Princess for both the idea of crowdsourcing the rumors and this particular rumor itself.

ALSO go and vote for her and Patrick and Veins of the Earth for all the things.

Anyway, Jewel's doggy rumor was:

"Eating catshit means you can tell when a human is trying to trick you with food."

I think Rudy (Jewel's player) was somewhat less than thrilled about new dog-focused rumors. I was pumped because I had something to account for this new aspect to my game but then Jewel wanted to get some doggy hirelings. Confounded again! Rudy is slowly but surely pushing me into being a better referee. Thanks amigo.

Anyway, this request meshed very nicely with Claus's pronouncement upon entering the town: "If we're going to go into this tower, then now is a time for... hirelings!"

Sidebar: I was really pumped to have some hirelings, especially dog ones. This is the first time that the party has gone after extra help.

So Jewel wanted to recruit three doggerlings, promised a comfortable bed and plenty of food. We figured that was more than sufficient to attract some potential recruits. The only specific kind of dog she was looking for was a small, ratter type, so we rolled for that first. Next she came across a grisly mongrel who preferred payment of the physical kind (Jewel declined and repeated her food and shelter offer). Last was a soft, well-groomed, pampered looking dog. He had escaped from his owner, bored of the easy life,and wanted adventure. Jewel was able to convince all of them (roll roll roll!) and our first doggy hireling first was so far a complete success.

The human party members, especially Viggo, were coming fused by the sudden appearance of three strange looking dogs but Jewel told them to go over and lick hands and wag tails prompting Claus to praise her initiative in getting help and a big round of meat for all.

After that, they bee-lined straight for the neighborhood surrounding the abandoned tower, looking for an inn as a base of operations. They found The Bird's Cup, a reputable looking inn with a stable for their horses and place for their wagon. Jewel and her new posse stayed in the stables, Caleb stayed with them (he and Jewel are "best friends" per the class), and everyone else went inside. They had during the breakfast rush and discovered that this particular inn's specialty was eggs. There were tons of dishes with chicken eggs at the heart but also some plates coming out with pheasant eggs, quail eggs, and even Ghallian hen eggs.

Of course the real special, offered up to the table, was eagle eggs direct from the Dwarfgrave mountains! The proprietor's daughter had fetched them at great personal danger to herself. This was enough to draw in Claus, who had been ready to save some money on regular chicken eggs but now wanted to "taste the danger." While bonding over danger eggs, Claus told the waiter that they were on an architectural research mission from the university in Universitätsstadt (great name Vegas, thanks again). Then he gave the lad 15 sp to calm his fears and then another 15 sp to convince him that they certainly had all of the proper approvals from the lord and the church; that there was no need to mention this to anyone else; and that the party would very much like for this waiter to find some friends who'd like some extra money. The waiter agreed and said he's have something by dinner.

They passed some time, waiting for nightfall. Viggo canvassed the city with a crude sketch of his mark, Einrich Fassbinder, but had no luck. Claus and Caleb, however, passed the time in a more fruitful and exciting manner.

Claus had done some research and found that there were at least 36 possible solutions to the problem of Caleb's dead little boy! The least complicated one should only cost about 40,000 sp and have a "moderately okay possibility of success." The notes and tomes that Claus showed the giant farmer were scratches, nearly gibberish, but the magic user's voice carried hope and encouragement.

Caleb: "Really? I'll do anything to make my little boy come back!'
Claus:" Do you have any pieces of him left?"
Caleb: "Yes actually, I have a lock of his hair, is this enough?"

Claus made some notes, calculated costs, and then made some drawings. There was a progression apparent of a tiny piece of flesh becoming a tiny humanoid, then full grown humanoid, crazy illustration around its head, then little cartoon drawing of Caleb and a little boy. On the next page was someone who looked like Caleb with a goatee and a little boy, then a picture of goatee Caleb looking confused and the little boy is gone.

Claus narrated the progression, explaining the theory of the multiverse accepted within the academic establishment (probably heretical in the Church). The plan is to clone Caleb's little boy from his flesh to create a vessel and then find another, overlapping universe where the little guy never died. Take the vessel, take the essence from this other-little boy and "boop!" bring him into the vessel. He'd be exactly (for all intents and purposes" like Caleb's little boy, with memories of him to boot and no trauma! Start saving now!

Not all of the rest of the party took to this idea with the same fervor as Caleb, however.

Tenkos: "All the pain you're feeling now will happen to someone else in another world"
Claus:  "I.. um... hrm. Great thing is that he's already felt this pain, so maybe there will be some pain and confusion in another world but in the grand balance of things there's no change at all!"

Jewel has an amazingly insightful point about collapsing the multiverse in an infinite sequence of Clauses stealing other little boys...

But unfortunately she's a dog! Everyone just think she agrees when she starts barkety-barking. "Don't worry girl, we'll get him back! I miss him too." Caleb said we'll go and dig up the body if we need it! Claus clarified that we're not raising up the body, so it's not necromancy! Caleb didn't care though, necromancy included, just wants his little boy back. This farmer will go to any lengths to get back that little guy!

Sidebar: At first I thought this was just a really clever idea that Claus' player came up with, really getting into it! Then he explained to me that it's basically a description of the clone spell, which was even more awesome. That meant that Vegas took the time to go through spells and try to find something outside of the game, which is really lovely.

After dinner, the proprietor of The Bird's Cup offered some delightful complimentary custards to the group. The waiter brought them out but there were two women tagging along behind him. He introduced Wiebke Bott and Sandra Scholl then took his leave. Wiebke was willing to work as a linklady and Sandra as a guard. They haggled a bit, Claus upgraded Wiebke's pay so she would be willing to haul goods too, and they made plans to go out around midnight. The late departure was due to the fact that the "Church was explicit that we were not to alert the townspeople of any possible thing to be worried about while working in the daylight."

They approached the tower at midnight with a bare crescent of a moon, winding their way up the sloped path to the first obstacle. The Church had barricaded an early archway up the path with concentric diamonds made out of holy woods, restricting entry.

[picture of the tower, closeup of the wood]

Jewel and Buddy, the ratter that she recruited, squeezed their way through a corner and continued up the path. They came to the main tower door, crossed with chains and sealed with locks, but didn't see any tracks besides their own. They went back down to the rest of the party and Jewel's player had to leave the session a bit early so from here out there's no extra doggy angle.

After debating what they can do with the wooden planks Caleb got Weibke to help him tear it down "gently"with the intent to replace the wood once they are done exploring. They were mostly successful, only slightly damaging some of the innermost diamond of jobi wood in the process.

The three locks on the door were daunting (Barthelm has more Tinkering, I think), but Viggo had just learned some (2 in 6) and had a go at it. Shockingly, he rolled all 1s and popped open the large padlocks quite easily, "quietly stunned that it worked that well." Everyone else was incredibly impressed by Viggo's supernaturally smooth skill.

They sent in Fuckhead (he'd been trying to hump Jewel all session) to check out the entryway. He pissed on the door, then went inside, where they could hear him pissing on the floor. They got inside, had a look around in the shadows, and then closed the door before lighting the torch.

Light discipline! I was very impressed.

They saw some bars without much space, no doors, and some discolorations behind them. They tapped on the floors looking for hollows and saw that the next door was smashed, barely on the hinges, with a broken knob.

They opened the door and they went into the next room. The main feature were two stone statues, one of the Church's god Gesu, and another of a large cowled figure. They spent a fair amount of time investigating the cowled statue. It was taller even than Caleb, large as he is, and was so finely sculpted that it looked more like fabric than stone. The cowl hid an optical illusion; it appeared solid but in reality was completely hollow inside! Claus convinced Wiebke to put her hand inside but nothing was observed to happen. They looked for a maker's mark but could find nothing. Claus tried to pull the coat rack off the wall as well, looking for secrets, but it turned out to be a normal coat rack.

There was only one other door out of this room and everyone was terrified of it except for Viggo; he quietly but confidently opened the door into the next, larger area of the tower. They found a bunch of spoiled food and a large barrel of lamp oil ("Ooh, i bet that's worth some money!"). The most noticeable piece was a large, ornate chair on a dais, covered in shit. Literal shit, like someone went and specifically pooped on the chair. Fuckhead, despite his bluster, refused to go up on the dais with the chair. It was about this time that the party became more convinced that the place was assaulted SWAT style.

Leaving the chair for now they went through a door on the inner wall and into what appeared to be a kitchen. There was some more spoiled food but the main point of interest was a skeleton slumped over and into an empty wash basin. "I check its pockets!" Claus immediately rifled through the robes and boots of the skeleton to no effect. Caleb then checked the skeleton in more detail, looking for signs of trauma to the bones. He discovered that the tips of the finger bones were chipped and worn down. Disturbed, the farmer examined the wash basin in more detail and found a slight catch. He grasped and pulled, opening a compartment along the top of the basin.

Inside was an intricately detailed box made out of a dark wood that they'd only seen before inlaid on the dais chair from the other room. The reader might recognize it as ebony, but the party knows nothing of that.

What's in that box?

Everyone was terrified to reach in and touch the box, let alone open it, except for Viggo. The bounty hunter strode over, grabbed the box, and popped it open. There was a click, and the box opened to reveal the most ornate and gorgeous pistol that any of them had ever seen. It seemed be to functional as well, with one shot loaded and five in reserve. The party reasoned that the skeleton must have known the pistol was there and that they were scraping for the catch to get the pistol out and save themselves.

Sidebar: Did not take advantage enough of environmental rolls or check Weibke's torch for duration. Sloppy. This sloppyness continues on into the next session, too. Disappointed.

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