Tobold's Blog
Sunday, February 19, 2017
 
Zeitgeist: Digging for Lies - Session 2

In the previous session the constables of the RHC were sent to supervise security at the Kaybeau Arms and Technology Exposition. There they got involved in an incident where a young mage apparently inadvertently had summoned a bunch of extra-terrestrial monsters. This session started in the middle of the fight against those monsters. With a fresh approach the players this time managed to get some movement into the fight, while previously they had been very dispersed. That proved to be a winning strategy, and although the fight was hard, they won it without losses.

During the fight one thing had happened: One of the NPCs helping the constables was Rock Rackus, a "docker" street artist of considerable fame who was trying to shoot the monsters with his diamond-encrusted golden pistol. However he wasn't that good of a shot, and had accidentally struck and killed one innocent bystander. Another NPC ally, dwarf sharpshooter Kvarti Gorbotiy, loudly proclaimed that to arriving local police, who proceeded to arrest Rock Rackus. The constables considered intervening, but the local police claimed that it was their jurisdiction. When the press arrived the group followed the earlier advice of their boss to try to not appear in the papers, and retreated with the young mage who had summoned the monsters into the shooting range tent.

The young mage, Simon Langfield, had apparently started the incident by using his new staff at the shooting range. Every time he used his staff, the staff turned into solid gold and summoned a monster. But as the first monsters had been summoned just outside the tent, he hadn't even noticed before the third monster, and when attacking one with a magic missile from his staff had summoned a fourth. Simon hadn't intended any of this, and showed very remorseful and eager to help the constables. Asked about the staff, he told them that he had received a tip in a tavern that if you went to the trinket stand at the fair and asked for a "anniversary gift for my wife Ethel", you received for a handful of gold pieces a little box containing a paper with instruction where and when to meet a black market arms dealer called Kaja Stewart. That is where he had bought the staff at about 20% rebate from the normal value.

The constables remembered Kaja Stewart from being on the wanted list in connection with their previous case, Kaja having been an employee of Mayor Reed Macbannin. They knew that the mayor had had a large safe with magical protection in his office, which was found empty after the fire in the mansion. The staff might well have come from there. A history check also told them that in pre-historic times a people only known as "the Ancients" had lived, and while they were primitive and used mostly stone tools, they also had a lot of solid gold weapons, with historians unsure of how the Ancients would have crafted those. At the suggestion of the constables, Simon Langfield volunteered to make another trip to the trinket stand and get another rendezvous with Kaja Stewart.

The constables confiscated the staff, and Aria was visibly trying to keep the staff for herself, asking Simon to not mention the confiscation of the staff in his interview at the RHC the next day. However while the constables then went and checked out another clue, on coming back to the gun range they saw Simon talking to a lady dressed in black. Approached, the lady disappeared skillfully into the crowd. Simon said that she was RHC too, having shown him a golden RHC badge (the players only have bronze ones). She had asked him about the staff, and in particular about the confiscation of it. So ultimately the group decided that it was wiser to declare the staff as confiscated good when they got back to the RHC.

At the RHC they were told that the HQ had a visit from Lord Viscount Inspector Nigel Price-Hill, the head of the RHC from the capital, and his entourage. Apparently the lady in black was part of that entourage. Lord Price-Hill was introduced to the group and told them that due to the corruption they had revealed with the mayor, there were now investigations at all levels to see how widespread the corruption was, and that the lord was conducting an audit of the RHC in Flint. That didn't bode well for them, because in their investigation they hadn't always proceeded by the book and had relied on help of several different criminal elements, like the mafia boss Morgan Cippiano or the eco-terrorist Gale. But the constables decided that their best defense was feigning innocence and remaining silent. We'll see how that works out. Aria trying to misappropriate the staff while already being observed by the auditors won't help. :)

The next morning the group was asked to transport the corpses of the monsters to the Battalion, which was not only the place where they had trained to become RHC officers, but also the place that had the cities most knowledgeable experts on exotic monsters. Up to know the origin of the monsters was uncertain, other than they had a connection to the staff, and no similar monsters had ever been reported in history. After this task the group started to prepare for their meeting with Kaja Stewart in the early evening, planning to ambush her. At this point we ended the session.

[DM's note: It's good that we stopped here. The written module presumes that the players would approach Kaja posing as weapon's buyers. But my group often isn't all that subtle. Stopping here gives me the opportunity to plan how the encounter should be set up with this more heavy-handed approach.]

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