The wizard Doddoddod sends his apprentice and a gang of adventurers to rescue Lady Glasston's missing grandson, Arnest. But who will rescue Arnest from the adventurers?
- Graf (26 Sept 2008 - ?)
- Halford (? - ?)
- covaithe (? - 13 July 2009)
- covaithe, then garyh
- Palindrome, human wizard played by KenHood. 26 Sept 2008 - ?, died
- Tander, human cleric played by nerdytenor, 26 Sept 2008 - ?, died
- Woe Chinua, human fighter played by Dunamin, 26 Sept 2008 - present
- Tristan, (26 Sept 2008 - ?), played by hafrogman, dropped due to missing player
- Atreus D'torian, human rogue played by Atriden. ? - present
- Hacker Brass, gnome bard played by KenHood. ? - present
- Kathalia, elf druid played by nerdytenor. ? - present
Doddoddod assembles Palindrome, Woe, Tander, and Tristan in his impressive Golden Hall to meet with Lady Glasston, an important -- and reputedly very wealthy -- aristocrat. She reveals that her grandson, Arnest, has been brooding and fixated on unhealthy things, such as the Screamer, an enigmatic anonymous paper published in Daunton. A few weeks ago, he disappeared and has not been seen in his usual haunts since. In what seems unlikely to be a coincidence, the Screamer ceased being published shortly before Arnest disappeared. The party press Lady Glasston for details, especially about the Screamer, taking amusement from her obvious discomfort in discussing it. Despite this, she agrees to provide them with a portrait of Arnest, and to make available the servant who saw him last, some three weeks past. She also mentions that he has spent time recently with a certain peculiar elf girl.
Lady Glasston is reluctant to allow the party access to her home, but, driven by visions of unattended valuables, they insist. She leaves, and the party decide to give her a few hours to recover from the interview. Meanwhile, they go to Marco at the Dusty Quill to acquire a magically copy of the last issue of the Screamer. Marco has a copy, that he claims is the last available, and acts reluctant to part with it; clearly a bargaining ploy. Woe and Tander inquire about other customers who might be interested in the Screamer, while Palindrome shoplifts a packet of gorgon blood inks. Palindrome manages to convince Marco that Millienas D'rawth is a serial killer who is hunting down anyone who possesses a copy of the Screamer. Marco eagerly agrees to "loan" his last copy to the party until the situation has been dealt with.
He also admits that he gets his Screamers from a gang of street kids, mostly halflings, called the Roots, operating out of Undergrowth. They supply the raw Screamer issues, and Marco (among other scribes around the city) preserves the writing by magic and sells it on to wealthy customers. Usually the Screamer appears in multiple locations around the city, so there are other suppliers, but the last issue appeared only the the Roots' territory. Marco also says that the L'irkash family tried to buy all the copies of the last issue, to suppress an unflattering story. They failed, and another wealthy family paid to have a large quantity of fake Screamers made, presumably to stir up trouble for the L'irkash. In examining Marco's copy, Palindrome notices a spot with a subtle magic aura. Oddly, the area appears to be blank. The party returns to Doddoddod's tower to discuss their options and rifle his library for clues about the mysterious blank spot on the Screamer. Palindrome comes up with three likely books. Haflod's Magical Writing asserts that all hidden text is meant to be read, so there must be a key. Vaithe's True Writing: The Beginner's Lexicon is a bewilderingly complex theoretical tract, and Yarg's Decrypting the Hidden, a more practical handbook with detailed instructions, but of which only a censored version is generally available. The Daunton library contains an original copy, in the restricted area. The party split up.
Palindrome heads to the Daunton library and manages to con his way into the restricted stacks, where Lazlo, an assistant librarian, brings him Yarg's original field notes, which the library has been collecting for a while. Yarg appears to have suspected the existance of somekind of magical shroud or veil in place in Daunton's interior, which Yarg intended to pursue later. There are also a few passing references to a wizard named Karrimon, suggesting without elaboration that he was killed by "agents". Lazlo recalls that Karrimon was a member of the Crossroaders, an adventuring party of days gone by, whose other members included a warforged and a swashbuckling type. He thinks that some of them may still be living in Daunton. As a diversion to try to steal things on his way out, Palindrome fakes being possessed by a spell hidden in Yarg's notes, and casts Scorching Burst on the table. The Library's protections kick in, and his spell backfires, burning him badly. He does manage to slip Yarg's notes into his pocket, but cannot steal anything else.
Meanwhile, Woe, Tander, and Tristan take to the streets, looking for rumors. They discover various bits of trivia about the Glasstons, the Roots, the L'irkash, and D'Rawth. They return to Doddoddod's tower again and meet up with a rather scorched Palindrome.
Palindrome, with more time at his disposal now, reads Yarg's notes again and comes across an anecdote describing hidden messages unlocked with a specific combination of prestidigitation effects. Palindrome tries a number of things on their copy of the Screamer, but without results.
The party make their way to the Glasston residence. Palindrome deliberately vandalizes the perfect cobblestones of the street, and glibly talks himself out of trouble with the nearby guards respond promptly. Encouraged, Palindrome tries picking the lock on the front door of the Glasston house, but is foiled by its superb craftsmanship. The housekeeper, Miz Dodridge, lets them in and demonstrates a sense of humor by exchanging banter with Palindrome. Dodridge can't remember much about Arnest's elven girlfriend, and sends a girl, Adie, to fetch her from her home. Meanwhile, the party question Spinthresh, the tutor, who has been holed up in his room for days with a terrible headache. The party torment him with lights and loud sounds for a minute, then find a faint magic aura around his head. They try to heal him, but without success. When he attempts to speak of the elven girl's background, pain shoots through his head and he can't go on.
Adie returns and reports that the elven girl was not home, but there was a dead warforged there instead, with one of his eyes missing, and writing in blood on the ceiling. Adie can speak the elven girl's name, but for some reason the party can't remember it a moment later, and feel the beginnings of a headache. The party drop their questioning, and Adie takes them to a room at the Golden Snowflake, a boarding house and social hub for the young elite. There, the scene is as she described it: a prone 'forged, spreadeagled inside a circle of runes drawn in blood, with a similar circle repeated on the ceiling. The corpse is largely intact, except for one empty eye socket. Palindrome deciphers the runes as draconic writing, saying "Betrayer, traitor, leech and fool. I execute you for the honor and vengence of the Crossroaders, my friends, my brothers. You brought about our doom, took our prize, and hid like a snake while we suffered for your misdeeds. You have damned me so I will damn you. Go to hell @#%%#%%^."
The party surmise that this must be the body warforged member of the Crossroaders, perhaps killed by the swashbuckler. Palindrome examines the body, and finds dozens of deep puncture wounds on the back. Woe and Tander look around and find some Weird Root hidden in a planter. While they are looking around, two beings with blurred forms burst through the door, announcing "Now you die. Nobody sees the Clan. Give us the eye and your deaths will be swift." A fight ensues. The creatures turn out to be bugbears, and they give the party a nasty beating before being overcome.
- Doddoddod, a wizard, Palindrome's reclusive mentor.
- Lady Glasston, matriarch of the Glasstons, one of Daunton's Founding Families.
- Arnest Glasston, Lady Glasston's missing grandson. Reputed to have strange tastes...
- Spinthresh, a tutor and assistant to the children of the Glasston family.
- Marco, a hunchbacked halfling. Owner of the Dusty Quill, a shop of arcane miscellanea near Scholar's Plaza. It is often closed until noon, wizards being generally not fond of early mornings.
- Millienas D'Rawth: A retired adventurer, now crippled and badly scarred, with an interest in the Screamer. There is a rumor that he is working on a play, and has been out gathering stories for that.
- The L'irkash family. Another noble family, but not quite old enough to be one of the Founding Families. They have commercial shipping empire, and are quite wealthy, but have fallen on hard times recently. In part, it's because their famous luck seems to be running out, and in part it's due to rumors of demon worship. Another family, the Haverfalls, are pretty happy about their misfortune.
- Vim'gra't, senior librarian at the Daunton Library. A crusty old tiefling who's heard every excuse in the book. A bit arthritic, which sometimes tempts him into sending junior librarians to do jobs he should do himself...
- Lazlo, a young and rather talkative half elf assistant librarian.
- Yarg, a wizard and former apprentice of Arga the Black. Author of Decrypting the Hidden, and various other texts, some of which are considered quite dangerous.
- Karrimon, another wizard, and acquaintance of Yarg. He was an adventurer, a member of a party called the Crossroaders. Yarg's notes indicate that he was killed by "agents", but do not know the fate of the rest of the Crossroaders. Yarg's notes imply that he was in possession of Karrimon's ritual book after his passing. Many of these references carry a derisive edge, and Yarg clearly seems to believe Karrimon to be an inferior practitioner.
- Joss Van der Mark, a young officer fresh out of the military who still tends to behave as if his remains in the forces. He is considered to be trustworthy and competent, but better at looking shiny than getting things done in the watch, which often requires getting down and dirty - as it were. He has a bad reputation with certain watchman due to allegedly snitching upon Captain West - a beloved elder statesman of the watch - for corruption. From his decorations he now appears to be the Lieutenant Deputy of this district.
- Miz Dodridge, Housekeeper for the Glasstons. "a matronly women weary a straining maids outfit, that presumably must have fit once."
- Adie, a maid in the service of the Glasstons. "A doe faced girl with wide innocent eyes." Referred to by several NPCs as mentally challenged.
- Cobblestop, the arcanists ward of Daunton
- Doddoddod's Tower, the arcanists ward of Daunton
- The Golden Snowflake, a boarding house in one of Daunton's more affluent districts. It is a upscale establishment frequented by the sons and daughters of nobility and some wealthier merchants. It typically houses people for months rather than days renting out furnished aartments and is considered a hub of the social scene amongst the younger nobles. Streetwise 15:
The guards have a tacit understanding that many of the nobles who stay at the Golden Snowflake use Weird Root on a regular basis. Since the nobles cause lttle trouble and keep to themselves the guard have never been greatly worried about the problem, though a few of the dealers are arrested occasionally when more pressing matters are not at hand.
- The Screamer a gossip/scandal newspaper, published anonymously on paper that is enchanted such that the writing disappears after being read. Mysteriously stopped appearing not long after Arnest's disappearance.
- The Roots, a gang of halfling street kids operating out of Undergrowth. They are involved in the delivery of the Screamer. Sometimes there's an adjective, like the Resurgent Roots or the Resilient Roots. The are a bit greedy, but consistent and reasonable. They aren't all halflings, only about half, but the halflings act as faces. They don't get involved in the normal gang scuffles, but they somehow seem to hold their territory anyways. The one time in recent memory when another gang started trouble with them, the other gang simply disappeared, one by one, until the few survivors departed for Bacarte in disguise.
- gorgon blood ink: Quite hard to get since the traditional source, gorgon communities on the edges of the sunken mire, seem to have banded together. They're selling collectively now and the price has gone through the roof -- just when wealthier girls are starting to use them to write notes to each other (the paper under the ink turns to stone, which, apparently is a novely worth paying a great deal for).
- The last Screamer:
- Brunt lies!
- Hidden L'irkash wedding ritual.... cultists summon elemental abomination, and offer younger daughter as payment!
- Brunt lies again!
- "Elite" squad of guardsmen shake down halfling streetdwellers, real crooks lounge nearby. Why are they laughing? SECURE BECAUSE OF BRIBES!
- Brunt wastes tax money, and MOCKS the gods.
- Priest: Brunt's sacrilege dooms Daunton to more dark days.
- Slum-dwelling Jade refugees, convert to local religions, but ONLY FOR FOOD!
- There is a short article where where every word begins with 'b' (and the writer has apparently not been troubled to make up new words as when there was nothing appropriate); the first line reads
- Brunt's boluminous bunions burst balefully! Blasphemous bundles bring bawdy brotestations.
- Hand drawn eye-like markings have appear near two articles, The L'irkash wedding ritual, and "Elite" squad.
- Wierd Root: Weird root is a narcotic hallucinagen, think fairly strong cannabis, either chewed or smoked. It enhances the senses and renders a person more empathetic whilst dulling their reaction time and creating distorted, but generally pleasent memories. It is regarded in much the same way as cannabis is in the U.S and U.K. Shredded Weird Root is commonly found in cigars, particularily Old Benjimens which are renowned for being comprised of virtually nothing else - so much so that going to see Benjimen has become accepted slang for both buying root from a dealer and going somewhere to indulge. It is popular with the sort of young nobles who hang around the Golden Snowflake. Mechanically - for this game only unless stated otherwise - Weird Root gives a +2 bonus to Perception, Insight, and Diplomacy, but gives vulnerability to all attacks - due to the heightened senses pain is far more debilitating. Memories are also blurred with everything generally being considered beautiful and exotic, this has little real effect, but in certain situations might prove inadvisable.
- 150 xp each for roleplaying, awarded here.
- Woe finds Wierd Root worth 50g, here.