Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
The Favorites of Selune - Skin Deep - Session 8

In the previous session the Favorites of Selune had returned to the Duchy of Faywyr as ambassadors for the svirfneblin, giving them the opportunity to investigate who had turned them into svirfneblin during their previous stay there.

This session was a mix of two main things: Their diplomatic negotiations, and their investigation. The group had to attend several official functions, like a cocktail party, a negotiations session, and a banquet in their honor. But they also had some time to roam the town of Plumton freely and investigate their two clues: The bellows they had found, and the dark grey powder which had been blown by the bellows into their room and caused their transformation.

The bellows had a maker's mark from leatherworker Master Dynrod, which they had previously encountered. So after some discussion they went to him with the bellows and with some story persuaded him to reveal who had bought it. That turned out to be not much of a problem, as Dynrod had sold the bellows to a stranger he didn't trust much, and had found out later that the stranger's name was Honrak, and that he lived in the pension of the widow Jocea. So the group got all the information on the buyer. Via the security guard of the seamstresses' guild they hired a few men to keep watch on the pension, but it turned out that Honrak was never seen leaving the premises and led a very secluded life.

At the various official functions they talked with members of the court, including Princess Taidra, which they had begun to suspect of involvement in the story. While the princess was only ever seen to be charming, the players suspected her of having a motive to bring down the prince with the assassination of his lover. While the Duchy didn't have a clear law of female primogeniture, the princess was the first-born, but the duke apparently favored the prince as his heir.

In the negotiations with Prince Ular and the other negotiators of the duchy, the players made progress in dispelling the safety concerns of the duchy, where there were still a lot of people afraid of a not clearly specified "Underdark menace". Only after the negotiations the sorceress in the group started to wonder whether those negotiations had been watched secretly by somebody. So under guise of a rendezvous with the minister she seduced, she searched the room during the banquet, found places where somebody *could* have hidden and listened, but no special secret door or listening devices.

As promised the high priest of the temple of Selune introduced the adventurers to the guildmaster of the alchemists' guild. That was an elderly man, with burn marks on his beard and clothing, but eager to praise the various capabilities of his guild to the "ambassadors". He told the group that his guild has several different faculties, from the alchemy of fire (his domain), to the preparation of love potions. He even mentioned that in the basement one alchemist named Yengo was working on necrotic alchemy, like trying to raise the dead. He invited the group to visit the guild the next morning.

After the banquet there was some discussion whether the group should watch the alchemists' guild inn order to prevent anybody who had seen them discussing with the guildmaster to intervene before their visit there. But in the end they decided to just go there early and go to bed. In fact their investigation had not gone unnoticed, but the response wasn't the one they had expected: Instead of intervening at the alchemists' guild, Honrak came to their room in the middle of the night in order to assassinate them. That put the group in a tactically worse situation than if they had gone after Honrak in his lodgings. Fortunately they had put up a guard, and it was the dwarfen fighter who stood guard when Honrak came through the window. But everybody else was in their beds, and not wearing armor.

I ruled that it takes a full round to don armor, so the rogue and the druid, who both have melee attacks spent one round doing that, while the ranged and caster members didn't bother with armor. Unfortunately it was already rather late when we started that fight, so after the surprise round and two full rounds of combat we decided to stop the session and finish the fight next year.

I vaguely remember wiping a party in 2nd edition with one of these "attacked while sleeping" things.
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