So, when we left our intrepid adventurers, they had just found a secret temple below the city and had got knocked about by its guardian daemon. Now, it is the middle of the night and they had just resurfaced through a man hole in a back street.
The players and characters were;
Ed – Thorgrim – Dwarf Scholar
Amy – Llewellyn – Wood Elf Warrior
Andy – Thorn – Wood Elf Scholar (wizard’s apprentice)
James – Deem – Dwarf Warrior
Alan – Yvette – Human Ranger
Amy was badly hurt and there some of the others had taken wounds. And they all smelt bad.
A single town watchman had been left to await their resurfacing and, wrinkling his nose, directed them to the Temple of Shallya for healing. As they limped across town, Ed noticed that the Chaos moon, Morrsleib, was much larger than it should be for the current astronomical cycle…
In the Temple, they were greeted as hobos, with a large nun putting blankets round them and giving them soup – having been through the sewers and battered about, they looked and smelled like tramps, and when they started blabbering about daemons the nun responded ‘oh, we have wild and woolly ones here!’ (think of that scene in Scrooged when Frank Cross wanders into the church).
They finally managed to point out that Amy was badly hurt and, finally, they received proper medical attention (such as it is in medieval times).
Come morning, they immediately went to the Town Hall to report the secret temple and claim their reward, and hit a wall of bureaucracy – the three-legged goblin had been caught and killed in a warehouse on the other side of town. Thanks for the effort, guys, but no reward.
Alan was clearing thinking about threatening violence on the clerk, but thought better of it. Instead, they persuaded the clerk to look into things a little deeper, who told them to come back the next day.
Coming out of the town hall, they bumped into Doctor Malthusius, the owner of the goblin. He regretted their efforts had amounted to nothing, but held no grudges. He offered them to come back to his tent outside the town and have a brandy and smoke. They promised to see him later that day.
Ed wandered off to the Temple of Verena to consult their library. He was joined by James but, considering James could not read, his use was always going to be limited. Ed discovered some obscure passages about the Chaos moon growing larger but nothing really helpful.
The meeting with Doctor Malthusius was pleasant enough, but only added to the players’ worries. The Doctor had been told the same story about the goblin being killed by the militia on the other side of town, but had been mystified by the official’s reluctance to turn over the body – after all, he could have had it stuffed and still have an exhibit. When the players told him about the temple below the town, he was doubtful at first but it began to make a certain sort of sense. He did not want to get involved further (he was a business man after all) but suggested they visit the Temple of Verena (check) and the Merchant’s Guild for more information about happenings around Bogenhafen.
Thus, it was off to the Merchant’s Guild. However, the players debated about their approach and decided that simply wandering in asking about daemons and the like was not going to get them far. So, they concocted a story whereby Alan would pretend to be the representative of Ed, who would pretend to be from a wealthy family of dwarf traders. All well and good.
They managed to get entry into the Merchant’s Guild, and ended up sitting in an office across from a senior member of the guild, one Friedrich Magirius. Magirius was less than helpful with their enquiries about how to break into the stone and wine market (he was not keen to see his own monopolies ruined) but when, among their careful probings, they mentioned the Ordo Septenarius, a phrase they had discovered in the hidden temple, Magirius perked up – he explained it was a charitable organisation among the merchants and had nothing nefarious about it at all. In fact, if they joined him for dinner, he would happily explain everything. A date was set later that evening.
Meanwhile, the players had managed to figure out that the secret temple they had found was directly beneath the offices of the Steinhager family, a powerful merchant family. Sniffing a powerful enemy, they decided to walk in, with a similar story they had used at the Merchant’s Guild.
They managed to blag their way into the office of Franz Steinhager (they missed the fact that his initials matched those monogramed onto a handkerchief they had found in the temple), who quickly dismissed their (rather poor) attempts to wheedle information out of him. However, Alan was quick enough to spot a parchment on his desk that had the symbol of the Ordo Septenarius on it (or, at least, a similar symbol they had seen in the temple). There was more to see but, unfortunately, Alan cannot read either, and no one who could was quick enough to spot the parchment before Franz moved it.
As they left, they were called into another office by Franz’s brother, Heinrich. Heinrich basically wanted to know what their meeting with his brother had been about, and was not about to take the players’ relative cluelessness into account. He presumed they were joining with his brother to make a move that would force him out of the business, and so suggested, in a very round about way, that Franz could suffer an ‘accident.’ A large amount of money was mentioned, and Andy and James gave this idea at least a little thought…
By this time, they were ready to meet Magirius again at the Golden Trout, a very upmarket club for ‘gentlemen.’ So the players were going to fit right in, obviously…
Magirious refused to discuss more than general events over dinner but, as the brandy was passed round, he explained the Ordo Septenarius was an organisation designed to allow wealthy merchants to contribute to charities without being accused of using wealth to curry favour. It really was that simple (and, to be fair to Magirius, it was what he really believed!).
Of course, the players did not believe a word of it, and in the end Magirius threw up his hands and gave up trying to convince them,. He bade them a good evening and left – as he departed, they noticed a scrap of parchment fluttering away from his cloak. Leaping upon this, they read (well, two of them did…) that Magirius was due to report to a house belonging to a man called Teugen later that night. Some quick questions led them to find out that the Teugen’s were another powerful merchant family.
They decided to stake out Teugen’s house. This was in a wealthier part of the town where there was a rather large park. The ears of the elves and Alan (a Ranger) pricked up at this and cries of ‘Concealment – Rural!’ rang across the table). The others positioned themselves at various intervals around the house and tried to look not so shabby that they would be moved on by the watch. As the night went on, they watched coaches arrive (and Magirius leaving from his house just across the park from Teugen’s), men enter carrying bundles (actually their robes for a ritual), and the gates close.
After staring at the closed gates for a while, they began to get bored. Then Alan piped up – he remembered the scrap of parchment he had seen in the Steinhager offices and decided it was critical to their investigation. If Steinhager was at Teugen’s house, then maybe the offices were empty…
In the next episode, there will be a break-in, cold-blooded murder, extreme buffoonery on a roof, and a framing for murder!