Thursday, 2 February 2017

III.25: Spirit of the Couatl

Dungeon World and Mythic overlap on mechanics for deciding what the next scene is. I had been letting both have a say about it for a while, but I think that is messing with the party a little too often. So I started rolling Mythic only when I feel like it. Perhaps, instead, I will try rolling one or the other.

This time, let’s roll Mythic.

Mythic GME Chaos Rank: 6
Scene setup: d10=8 (unchanged)

Okay, the ”player” side wants the next scene to be the lizardfolk gathering. I think that’s fine: Vaalyun spent moves to get access to an airship, and the others have freed themselves from the Blackscales. I have not been making Nyseris roll Navigate out here: they know the jungle well.

Make Camp(party): Several times, on the journey. Everyone heals up.
Commune(Anaya): Words of the Unspeaking, Sanctuary

Vunal di Gemuth, Q’barra
Nymm 18, 997 YK

On the trek back, the group kept an easier pace than the Blackscales had set, as Nyseris and both Templars needed time to recover from the ordeal. The jungle here was often trackless, and the group spent many hours pushing their way through thick foliage in the deep jungle. Being far from civilisation meant that they were hard to find, however, and they encountered nothing but fauna as Nyseris led them back west.

It was four days later, in the morning, that they sighted the airship. Floating fifty feet above the forest canopy, the body of the ship looked much like the underside of a seafaring vessel, but encircling the midsection of the ship was a ring of turbulent air glittering with barely-contained energy—the captive air elemental that kept the vessel aloft.

Defy Danger(CHA)(Vaalyun): 2D6(5 1) +2 = 8 Partial success.
Worse outcome - outward journey only, House Tharashk know of the journey.

The ship’s presence here was expected. Before they left Newthrone, Vaalyun had given Anaya a scrying stone, enabling him to communicate with her at a distance. He had contacted them the day after they had defeated the Blackscales, and arranged to rendevous near the site of the lizardfolk gathering.

Weapon of the Exorcist(Esthana): Infused with Good and Law and is recognised as such by all those who see it.

Esthana and Anaya emerged into the clearing in the forest, which Nyseris had suggested as a meeting place that could be easily identified from the sky. Above, they could see figures looking over the side of the vessel, though it was hard to make out if they were sailors at this distance. Esthana drew her sword, silver fire running up the blade, and waved it as a signal that they had arrived.

Blur the lines between magic and technology: feather falling rings are a common magic item in Eberron.

There was no sign that the ship would lower a rope, however. Instead, they saw a figure climb over the side and simply drop. Before they had fallen more than a few yards, light bloomed around them, which coalesced into hundreds of small, feather-like shards of light, surrounding them and slowing their fall. The figure drifted down slowly and landed lightly in the centre of the clearing. As the light dispersed, they could see that it was Vaalyun.

He turned to them as they approached. The elf wore his usual green jacket, embroidered with hydra’s heads—no cloak was needed in this humid jungle climate. Esthana thought he looked a little tired.

“It is good to see you Vaalyun,” said Anaya warmly. “We have missed you in our travels. Perhaps we had more need of you out here than we realised.”

“Well met, Lady Anaya. I have rued your absence a few times myself. I am used to the risks of my work, but the dangers of the jungle are at least easier to identify. Lady Esthana, Nyseris,” he added, nodding to the others in turn.

“Did you have any trouble getting here?” asked Esthana. Looking up, she saw that the airship was departing.

“House Lyrander owed me a favour. They have an airship stationed at Newthrone now, and are working with House Tharashk to map the jungle.”

“House Tharashk is stepping up its operations, then,” said Anaya, shaking her head. “We may not have as much time as we thought. Let’s get to the gathering place. We are long overdue, and I fear that the lizardfolk chieftains will not unite against Tharashk unless we are there to testify to the great danger that threatens them.”

Spout Lore(Nyseris): 2D6(3 6) +0 = 9 Partial success.
Vague, not immediately useful

They arrived at the Vale of Eberron by midday. Although Nyseris had never been there, they had heard many tales of it and knew how to get there. According to the tales that Nyseris had heard, the site was the most sacred site to the gul siksta tribes, and had often been used as a meeting site forty years ago, when the tribes were at war with the young human nation of Q’barra. It had not been used for such a meeting for at least twenty years, the ranger told them.

Esthana was uneasy as they approached the Vale. If the site was sacred to the lizardfolk, they might be reluctant to admit outsiders. And, though she trusted Nyseris, the rest of the lizardfolk were still not their allies yet; she would not forget that the Cold Dragon tribesfolk had abandoned her after the ambush. They did not value outsiders much, it seemed.

Discern Realities(Esthana): 2D6(3 1) +1 = 5 Failure!
Offer aid from an enemy, or opposition from an ally: The lizardfolk they meet are from a tribe that really doesn’t like outsiders

They made no attempt to conceal their approach, and before they reached the top of the ridge on the south side of the Vale, they were spotted by scouts. A patrol of five lizardfolk, bows at the ready, stood ready for them at the top of the ridge; their shared colouring—blue with orange over the head and back—marked them as all being from one tribe. All but one nocked arrows as the travellers approached, and one shouted a challenge in Draconic.

Nyseris replied curtly, then said to the others, “They ask who we are.”

“Lady Anaya, Templar of the Silver Flame,” Anaya said, then looked to Esthana.

“Lady Esthana, Templar of the Flame.” Esthana was still unused to giving her title and answering for herself; but the Flame had sent her on this mission, and her part was more than using her sword now.

Nyseris repeated what they said in Draconic, or as close as could be translated into that language. One of the lizardfolk snorted and shouted something back; one did not need to know Draconic to know that they had not been believed.

Anaya wants to be admitted to the valley; leverage is that they are servants of the Flame.

Parley(Anaya): 2D6(5 1) +1 = 7 Partial success.
Evidence required
Cast a Spell(Light)(Anaya): 2D6(4 4) +3 = 11 Success!
Weapon of the Exorcist(Esthana): Infused with Good and Law and is recognised as such by all those who see it.

Anaya sighed, and held her hand aloft. After a moment silver fire sprung up around her glove, its pure light driving back the shadows cast by the jungle canopy. The lizardfolk stared dumbstruck at the light.

Esthana reluctantly drew her sword. Let’s hope they take this the right way. As she did so, silver flames covered the blade, the light matching that from Anaya.

The leader of the patrol said something, and Nyseris translated. “They will escort you to the chieftains, who will decide whether we are worthy. They say that you go on at your own risk; no guarantee of safe passage is given, if the chieftains decide that you are unwelcome here. This tribe does not like outsiders, I think,” Nyseris added.

Anaya and Esthana stepped forward with Nyseris, but then the lizardfolk’s commander spoke again. “They say, what of the elf? Those of the Flame may pass; passage is not granted to him,” repeated Nyseris. Vaalyun was right behind Esthana, but was not trying to be inconspicuous.

“Tell them that I am Vaalyun d’Phiarlan.” Vaalyun spoke with the usual air of assurance that he always had with strangers. “House Phiarlan has acted as intermediaries and diplomats between the nations of Khorvaire for over three thousand years; my ancestors assisted negotiations between the dragonborn and the lizardfolk thousands of years ago. I am not the first of my House to enter this place.”

By Hospitality Sustained(Vaalyun): You can always find shelter and rest in a settlement, due to your House’s reputation

I might not have let most Houses exercise this move outside of the human civilisations of Khorvaire, but House Phiarlan predates human settlement, so I think this is reasonable.

Nyseris translated, and the lizardfolk argued amongst themselves briefly. They seemed satisfied, however, and their leader curtly gestured for the travellers to follow them into the Vale.

Change the environment

The Vale of Eberron was unlike any part of the jungle that they had yet seen. There was less foliage close to the ground here and the trees were more widely spaced, opening up their view of the valley even from ground level. There was a broad waterfall at the head of the valley, and the Vale was laid out like a great bowl below it, with the river running through its centre.

Show the devastation of the Last War: Esthana is a veteran.

From this viewpoint, they could see that a great many lizardfolk were bivouacked in the valley. Esthana’s thoughts flew back to another place and time; she had been returning from a patrol to the encampment at Keldan Ridge, and reinforcements during the day had swelled the camp by the time her unit returned that evening. Thirty thousand Cyrean soldiers; how many died on that ridge the next day? It was an old memory, best forgotten. Those that died in the battle had been the lucky ones, perhaps, as they escaped the devastation of the Mourning that destroyed Cyre. The Flame watches over us.

Spout Lore(Nyseris): 2D6(3 5) +0 = 8 Partial success.
Vague information, not useful

The gul siksta lizardfolk camp here, though, was only around five thousand, Esthana guessed—but still an impressive sight, after weeks spend in the thinly populated jungle. This was only an assembly of chieftains, she reminded herself: hopefully a war could be avoided here. “There has not been such a gathering for at least thirty years,” breathed Nyseris, looking at the scene with awe.

Familiar Prey(Nyseris): 2D6(6 1) +1 = 8 Partial success.
Vague information

They were headed towards the river, and in the centre of the river was an island with some sort of stone arena erected upon it. It appeared that this was their destination. Passing between the campfires of some lizardfolk tribe, they reached the riverbank, where the commander of the patrol commandeered a raft to carry them over to the island. Esthana saw Nyseris looking into the water of the river and, following their gaze, saw that there were crocodiles in the water; Esthana had seen one or two such creatures in their weeks in the jungle, but these were larger, eight or nine feet long. They seemed to ignore the lizardfolk, but Esthana felt as if their eyes were following her and her companions.

“Do you think the lizardfolk will be easily persuaded, Templar?” asked Vaalyun.

Discern Realities(Anaya): 2D6(2 3) +3 = 8 Partial success.
What is about to happen here?

“No, but I hope persuasion is not required. They are uneasy about allowing outsiders into their council; they have watched this jungle for thousands of years, and humans are the greatest threat to their existence here. But the Flame brought us here, and we are its servants, as are they: I hope they will believe us about the danger hanging over Q’barra.”

Spout Lore(Esthana): 2D6(1 2) +0 = 3 Failure!
Reveal an unwelcome truth
Have some of the chieftains already departed? 50:50 (The heroes are rather overdue to this meeting; but OTOH the lizardfolk aren’t in a hurry, it’s an ancient meeting site.).
Fate d100(71)=No
Are the chieftains already at each others’ throats? 50:50 (Some of them made deals with House Tharashk, others would consider that a betrayal).
Fate d100(97)=Exceptional No!

Ah, they have already decided something, and it’s not what the heroes wanted.

They disembarked on the far side, and were marched into the arena; the lizardfolk paraded them into the arena at spearpoint. Treating us like captives, Esthana thought. This might be more difficult than Anaya imagined.

The arena itself was a circle, about thirty yards across, surrounded by an ancient stone wall. Inside it was a simple ring of stone benches around an open space. Around a hundred lizardfolk chieftains and wise ones sat in this circle in council, and all turned to look at the outsiders as they were escorted into the centre of the arena. Most looked on with curiosity or surprise, but several jumped up with angry gestures.

Kii re nomenoi munthreki dronilnra tenpiswo?” shouted one chieftain.

Nomenoi iri re vi laraek orn ixen” said the commander of the patrol. There was some discussion amongst the chieftains. Esthana recognised Teegwul of the Emerald Water tribe amongst them, and Xeirgoulus of the Cold Dragon tribe; though she could not understand their discussion, she could see that they had some friends here.

The council seemed to reach a decision, and their guards were dismissed. “We are permitted to address the council,” said Nyseris in Common.

Portray a fantastic world

Anaya has some experience talking to people in positions of power, and she understands a little of the politics of the lizardfolk at this point.

Anaya stepped forward and began. “Leaders of the Cold Sun Alliance, I thank you for your invitation to this gathering. As you know, the orcs, humans and allies of House Tharashk have been entering your domain, this great jungle of Q’barra, and stealing the sacred dragonshards that mark your territory. These dragonshards are part of the seal that keeps your ancient enemy, Masvirik, imprisoned below us; should Tharashk be allowed to continue its mining, the prison may break and a great evil will devour your lands. We implore you to unite in your ancient duty and repel the invaders of House Tharashk, denying them all access to the jungle.”

A few of the lizardfolk understood Common, but most waited for Nyseris to translate. One of the chieftains—with the same red-and-blue colourings as the patrol, Esthana noted—stood up and spoke.

The chieftain looked down on them with a sneer as they spoke. Nyseris translated: “We need no outsiders to tell us of our ancient duties. The Cold Sun Alliance has protected this jungle long before any human came to this place. The humankin are our enemies in this; there is no reason to listen to this one’s words.”

Teegwul stood, and addressed them. After a few calmer words in Draconic, he turned to Anaya and addressed the group in Common. “We thank you for your assistance in this matter, Anaya. Some in the gul siksta had lost our way, and some activities of the humankin were ignored that should have been barred. But we are agreed now that these incursions must be stopped. The chiefs of the humans have broken their agreement with us, and we will drive them from these lands.”

Esthana turned to look at Anaya and Vaalyun.

“That sounds like a declaration of war to me,” said Vaalyun; he looked concerned as he glanced around the arena. He raised his voice to address the assembly. “I am Vaalyun d’Phiarlan. It has been long since one of my House has been admitted to your councils, and I thank you for the opportunity. Do I understand correctly that you are set for war against the humans of Q’barra?”

“You understand, phiarlani” said Teegwul. “The humankin agreed not to invade our lands again, but their actions now violate that agreement.”

“There are many groups amongst the humans,” said Anaya. “The group that threatens the jungle is just one. To strike at all the humans because of the actions of one group is unjust. You made peace with the rulers of Q’barra, and that peace is not lost yet.” As she warmed to her speech, the Templar grew more impassioned, stepping forward and meeting the eyes of the chieftains as they watched her speak. “It is possible to stop these incursions without the loss of so many innocent lives.”

Parley(Anaya): 2D6(6 3) +1+1 = 11 Success!
You have persuaded the council to reconsider; some chieftains want to explore alternatives here.

Dungeon World does not have the tools of a system like Fate for structured conflicts, so a lot is left to the GM in this sort of situation. I do not intend to have this whole scene ride on one role, so I’m making up steps as I go.

Several chieftains stood up, shouting angrily in Draconic; Esthana got the impression that they were little interested in the lives of humans. But others were arguing against them. Nyseris said, “The council was decided, but now there is disagreement; many want to find an option that avoids war if they can. The lives of the humankin are of little concern to the tribes, but I think they will hear you out.”

As the discussion died down again, Teegwul addressed Anaya again in Common. “Tell us–s how we might stop these incursions without violence.”

“I serve the Flame, and would die alongside you to see Masvirik remain in his prison if I must,” said Anaya. “But the humankin are numerous, and the resources and weapons that they bring from afar would inflict great losses upon your people. We must not fight all of them, lest the strength of the lizardfolk be spent and the jungle be left unprotected. Only House Tharashk is our enemy in this.”

“But this Tharashk is in Newthrone,” said Teegwul. “We must strike there to stop them. And, as they are humankin, the others will fight with them.”

“If you attack Newthrone, yes. I ask you not to. Instead patrol the jungle and stop their incursions.”

“The jungle is vast. One stops raids by killing the raiders.”

Parley(Vaalyun): 2D6(1 4) +2 = 7 Partial success.
Evidence required

Vaalyun risked all to get the map, and now he can use it.

“If the raiders know the jungle, then that is true,” said Vaalyun. The elf now stepped forward to join Anaya. “But Tharashk is not from Q’barra, and does not live in Newthrone: they come from the Shadow Marches, two thousand miles west of here. They work from crude maps of the jungle that they have made, going to sites that they have have scouted out as being rich sources of dragonshards.

“I stole into the guildhouse of House Tharashk in Newthrone, and took a copy of their map.” The elf produced a paper from inside his jacket, holding it up to the gathering. “This shows where Tharashk is operating in the jungle: their main sites, their bases and lines of supply. Any wise commander knows that knowing your enemy is the means to victory—with this knowledge, you can destroy Tharashk’s operation in the jungle.”

Vaalyun walked forward, handing the map to Teegwul. Teegwul and the other chieftains seated there examined it, and Teegwul stood again, addressing the gathering in Draconic. Anaya and Vaalyun turned back to the others.

“What are they saying?” said Vaalyun

“Teegwul says it is a poor map—that our enemies have poor knowledge of the jungle,” said Nyseris. “There is discussion, but many are agreeing with you.”

“Is that all that we need, then?” asked Esthana. “They should be able to protect the jungle now?”

Fill the characters’ lives with adventure Reveal an unwelcome truth

Also, this is where we reveal a little of the information that Vaalyun got from his Life of the Party move in Newthrone.

“For now, yes,” said Vaalyun. “But this is only this year’s map; Tharashk will change their operations when the lizardfolk start killing their expeditions. They have an airship, now, so they can ferry expeditions over the heads of lizardfolk patrols. It may not be enough.

“And Tharashk has political power too. Tharashk may persuade the King to start a war, based on the attacks on its operations; it has brought a great amount of trade and money to Newthrone, which brings it great influence there.”

“We must be honest with the lizardfolk,” said Anaya. “There are dangers, but they are not inevitable; they must give us the time to persuade the King to honour the peace.”

The council seemed to have calmed again; Anaya and Vaalyun turned back to them. This time it was Xeirgoulus that addressed them.

“We hear your words–s, phiarlani. We thank you for this map, and will use it to destroy the Tharashk patrols that enter our territory. But there are still many at this gathering that say that one does not kill a tree by cutting the branches–s.”

“You are right,” said Anaya. “The dragonshards will only be safe if the humankin in Newthrone choose to honour their agreement with you. Tharashk has an airship, which you may have seen in the skies above the jungle; they will try to establish new operations to replace those that you destroy.

“You have my word, as a Templar of the Silver Flame, that I will return to Newthrone and defeat those that organise these expeditions. We will persuade the rulers there to honour their agreement.”

After Nyseris translated, there was more discussion amongst the chieftains. The red-and-blue coloured chieftain addressed a question to Anaya, and Nyseris translated. “Why should we trust you, humankin? You touch the Silver Fire, so you bear no evil, but it would still be surer for us to strike at the source of this infestation and destroy it.”

Parley(Anaya): 2D6(4 6) +1 = 11 Success!
You get it

“Give me time. If I fail, then you should do what you must—and I will aid you in it, if I can. But the peace should be honoured, if it can be.”

The chieftain nodded, and answered. Nyseris translated: “You will have your time.”

The party rolled well enough that they do not really need this, but I had the idea as a way for them to persuade the lizardfolk and I like it enough to do it anyway. This, if they succeed, will make the lizardfolk solid allies rather than mistrustful ones.

GM move(soft): Give an opportunity that fits a class’ abilities

“I have one more request.” Anaya turned as she spoke, once again addressing the entire gathering. “The faith of the gul siksta—their service to the Silver Flame—must endure not for a month, or a year, but for the thousands of years to come. Your sacred duty here, to contain Masvirik and his servants, driving them from the face of Eberron, is eternal. Much time has passed since the dragons gave you this charge, but that faith must never falter. I think it is time that the chieftains of the Cold Sun Alliance spoke with the Flame for themselves.”

As Nyseris translated, Esthana saw that most of the lizardfolk were baffled by the statement. Esthana stepped closer to the cleric, and asked, “Are you sure, Anaya? Is that even possible?”

“I believe it is. Perhaps it is this jungle, touched as it is by the Flame, but my connection to the Flame feels stronger than it ever did in the Five Nations. The Flame has spoken to both of us before—I think I can make it manifest in this place.”

Spout Lore(Esthana): 2D6(4 6) +0 = 10 Success!
Useful information

Esthana looked around at the ancient stone arena surrounding them, sitting in the great bowl of the Vale of Eberron surrounded by jungle. It could hardly be more different from the Cathedral at Flamekeep, the only place where she had ever seen the Flame manifest. But, while the worship of the Flame in the Five took place in grand churches, the Church was built to serve the Flame; the Flame transcended any church or even the Church itself. In a moment of insight, she realised that, if the jungle was imbued with the strength to contain Masvirik, then this place was its focus. Perhaps Anaya can truly do this.

“Our wise ones gain visions from the Silver Fire, cleric,” Xeirgoulus said, “but the Fire never speaks to us in this world. What you s–suggest is not possible.”

“Derkrkaza,” Anaya said, turning to the side. The wise one of the Emerald Water tribe, that the group had met at Xemdaresh, was one of those in attendance at the council. “Join me.”

Derkrkaza stood, and moved to stand before Anaya. The lizardfolk looked sceptical. “What do you think you can do, cleric? The power of the Fire can be channelled in the waking world, but not its thoughts; only in dreams does it share those.”

“Anaya can do it,” said Esthana.

“Hold out your necklace,” Anaya asked.

Derkrkaza still wore their necklace of frosted pink dragonshards. They removed the necklace and held it out to the cleric.

Anaya grasped the necklace, holding it aloft. As had happened before, at Xemdaresh, the shards began to glow, then blaze, with silver light. The arena was bathed in the soothing radiant light of the Flame.

“Eternal Flame, come forth and show your servants the light!” said Anaya.

Cast a Spell(Words of the Unspeaking)(Anaya): 2D6(2 5) +3 = 10 Success!
With a touch, you speak to the spirits within things.

This is a level 5 cleric spell, the highest level that Anaya can currently cast. And we have established that the spirit within the dragonshards is the Silver Flame.

A pillar of silver fire burst from the shards, spreading outwards and reaching upwards. Anaya withdrew her hand and stepped back as the blaze expanded outwards and rose, the tips of the flame reaching fifty feet up into the air. Esthana dropped to her knees without thinking, and Nyseris and many of the lizardfolk chieftains did the same on seeing this manifestation of power.

The Flame, though it did not dim at all, became translucent, and revealed within it was a long serpentine form, with wings and a scaled body. It was a couatl, or at least the spirit of one, Esthana saw: one of the creatures of light that sacrificed themselves to form the Silver Flame, at the end of the Age of Demons.

“We hear the servants of the Flame,” the creature said. It spoke in its own tongue—Draconic, Esthana presumed—but somehow she understood it anyway.

“Is Masvirik safely imprisoned within Khyber?” Anaya asked. The spirit within the fire faced Anaya, and she stood only a few feet from the flames, addressing it boldly.

“Masvirik is held by us within Khyber,” the spirit answered. “There is no safety in the imprisonment of such great evil: eternally it struggles against our strength that holds it there. Our strength has waned over the ages, and the overlord grows impatient to be free. If it is ever freed, these lands would be consumed by demons once more.”

Anaya turned to look around, and said “Does the council have questions for the Flame?”

Xeirgoulus stepped forward and asked a question in Draconic. Nyseris, kneeling beside Esthana, translated for her: “How should we strengthen the Flame to hold this creature?”

“The shards of the Flame in this jungle hold our essence,” the couatl replied. “They are the seal that gives us strength. They must be protected.”

The red-and-blue chieftain asked a question. Nyseris translated for Esthana: “Should the Cold Sun Alliance wage war on the humankin of this land, to protect the shards?”

“The Flame burns that which it cannot cleanse. Only those that would harm the Flame and its followers should be destroyed.” The couatl’s voice drowned out all else when it spoke, but it was calm and soothing, like the light of the Flame that surrounded it.

The couatl turned back to Anaya, who still stood close before it.

“Know further, our servant Anaya, that we have felt the presence of rakshasa within these lands once more. These evil creatures will spread their corruption, turn allies into enemies, and seek to break the prison to free their overlord. You must root out this evil.”

Anaya nodded. “I serve the light.”

“It was in this vale, one hundred thousand years ago, that I gave my life to the Flame.” The creature in the flames seemed to pause for a moment. “And now I must return to it. The Flame watches over you, our servant Anaya.”

The flames receded, dying down to nothing in a few seconds. Only the necklace of pale frosted dragonshards was left behind, lying on the ground where the vision had stood.

End of Session(party): We changed something substantial about the world—the Cold Sun Alliance has been renewed—so I think that counts as learning something new about the world. +1 XP to all.

Anaya: 0 failures, session goal; at 12XP, so levels up.
Esthana: 2 failures, session goal; at 13XP, so levels up.
Nyseris: 0 failures, session goal; at 1XP.
Vaalyun: 0 failures, session goal, alignment goal met (used his House to help himself); at 12XP, so he levels up.

Anaya, Esthana and Vaalyun all take level 6. This is the level at which the more advanced advanced moves become available (but not yet for Esthana, who multiclassed).

Level Up(Vaalyun): +1 Dex; Lordly Caliber: bonuses to recruiting hirelings. This established mechanically some things that I was perhaps already giving him in game: he clearly has some authority within, and acting for, his house now that he runs a chapterhouse.
Level Up(Anaya): +1 Cha; Random Voice of Authority: bonuses to hirelings
Level Up(Esthana): +1 Wis; Random Interrogator: Use Str for Parley when using threats of violence

Sunday, 22 January 2017

III.24: Raiders' End

Jungle, near Haka’torvhak
Nymm 14, 997 YK

Okay, the key roll here—does Esthana catch up with the Blackscales before they reach Haka’torvhak?

Hunt and Track(Asmure): 2D6(2 3) +2 = 7 Partial success.
You follow the creature’s trail
Scout Ahead(Esthana): 2D6(4 2) +1 = 7 Partial success.
You get the drop on whatever lies ahead

Yes. Both rolls are only just enough for the partial success, but they got it.

Let’s see how Anaya’s doing.

Defy Danger(CON)(Anaya): 2D6(6 1) +1 = 8 Partial success.
Tell them the requirements or consequences and ask: Lose the chainmail or take a penalty

Anaya accepts the penalty Sick for a -1 to Con rolls.

It was only a few hours since dawn, but the jungle was already stiflingly hot. Anaya could not know how far the Blackscales had taken them, but they must be more than a hundred miles from Newthrone now, in the deepest part of Q’barra’s jungle. The cleric would have given much for a sea breeze right now, anything to relieve the thick, humid jungle air.

I will let them get a little healing, but not the usual half of their hitpoints per rest because they are not getting to rest properly.

On this morning, however, the lizardfolk had not set out at dawn. Neeate and three others waited restlessly around the campfire, and even the two lizardfolk guarding Anaya and Nyseris seemed distracted.

Anay shifted a little closer to Nyseris. “We are not doomed to die here. The Flame is with us, even now, wherever we go.”

Nyseris shifted only slightly. The ranger was strong, but was still in much pain from their burns. Anaya had not been allowed to heal the ranger or herself, of course. “The Flame is with us,” Nyseris replied weakly.

“There is no darkness that cannot be pierced by the light. The Flame would never let them free their master.”

One of the Blackscales said something in Draconic, and Neeate snapped back a reply. Anaya looked to Nyseris questioningly.

Discern Realities(Nyseris): 2D6(5 3) +1 = 8 Partial success.
What happened here recently?

“The others–s were meant to return,” Nyseris whispered.

Half of the Blackscales had been left behind on the previous morning, so their captors were a far smaller group now than they had been before.

“What were the others doing?” asked Anaya.

“Hunting,” said Nyseris. “Not for food. Pursuers.”

“Then the gul siksta are tracking us—trying to free us?”

Defy Danger(DEX)(Esthana): 2D6(2 4) +3 = 9 Partial success.
Turn their move back on them: the sentry cries out as you kill them.

There was a shriek from somewhere out in the jungle. All the lizardfolk sprung to attention; the two guards looked up to scan the jungle. Neeate said something in Draconic, calling out to the jungle.

Does Neeate stand and fight? Unlikely (Taking the cleric and running would be more prudent and stick to their mission).
Fate d100(6)=Exceptional Yes!
Discern Realities(Anaya): 2D6(1 3) +3 = 7 Partial success.
What is about to happen?

Just one cry; is it Esthana out there? Anaya shifted slightly, peering into the jungle around them.

Defy Danger(DEX)(Esthana): 2D6(6 6) +3 = 15 Success!
Deals d10 (6) + d6 (1) = 7 damage, 2 piercing: another Blackscale scout dies

That’s both scouts down.

The guards might simply kill the prisoners here, or use them as human shields.

Defy Danger(CHA)(Anaya): 2D6(4 4) +1 = 9 Partial success.
Turn their move back on them: The Blackscales are not paying attention to you, but that leaves them free to all face Esthana

Another cry of pain from the jungle, closer this time; a lizardfolk cry, Anaya thought. She did not want to draw the attention of the guards—they might kill her rather than let her be freed—so Anaya kept quiet and still, trying to be ready while still appearing subdued.

Neeate shouted something defiantly, and the remaining six lizardfolk—their guards included—grouped up around their leader, spears at the ready.

Esthana’s sword has the property “infused with Good and Law and is recognised as such by all who see it”, as well as burning with silver flame; and Esthana has killed the entire ambush party that these lizardfolk left waiting for her. I am giving her a chance to just scare them so much that they turn and run.

Defy Danger(CHA)(Esthana): 2D6(6 3) -1 = 8 Partial success.
Worse outcome: only two Blackscales run

The shadows of the clearing flickered, and a moment later Esthana stepped into the clearing. The flames engulfing her sword seemed brighter than ever, its raging light illuminating Esthana’s plate mail. Two of the Blackscales, tough warriors that were over a foot taller than the Templar, threw down their spears and fled east into the jungle immediately; the others took a step back, clustering fearfully around Neeate.

The Templar’s sword was immaculate, but the rest of her was a grim sight. Esthana’s plate was stained with blood, dirty and rended in places. Her gaze momentarily dropped to meet Anaya’s, but then she began advancing again, watching the Blackscales closely.

Hack and Slash(Esthana): 2D6(3 3) +3 = 9 Partial success.
Deals d10+d6=8 damage, takes d8 (7) +3 = 10 damage, 7 after armour

Neeate pointed and screamed something, and the remaining lizardfolk charged. Esthana parried away the first spear, and cut down the lizardfolk wielding it, but with no shield arm she could not fend away so many attacks; one spear found a joint in her plate and drew blood, and Esthana staggered back.

Cast a Spell(Cure Light Wounds)(Anaya): 2D6(6 5) +3 = 14 Success!
Heals for d8+6=13
Cast a Spell(Cure Light Wounds)(Nyseris): 2D6(2 1) +1 = 4 Failure!
Reveal an unwelcome truth: too weak to act in this fight

Anaya is at 17/17 HP but restrained; Esthana is at 8/26 HP; Nyseris is out of action.

Seeing Red(Esthana): 2D6(1 1) +1+1 = 4 Failure!
Separate them: Neeate is now going to do what they should have done in the first place, and flee with Anaya

“Now Nyseris!” said Anaya, seizing the moment to draw on the Flame. She hoped she would be strong enough to free herself from the bonds now that the guards were busy; the energy of the Flame flowed into her, and she felt her fatigue and pain fade away. She began to struggle with the knots holding her hands.

That caught Neeate’s attention. The Blackscale leader ran over, hurriedly untying the rope from the tree, and hauled Anaya to her feet forcefully. Anaya felt invigorated, however, and resisted the creature towering over her; she stepped around the lizardfolk and shoulder-barged them into the tree, winding them.

Hack and Slash(Esthana): 2D6(6 3) +3 = 12 Success!
Deals d10 (8) + d6 (5) = 13 damage

21 total damage on this group (and no armour, because of her Signature Weapon’s piercing +2) means 3 out of 4 are dead and the last is nearly done. The Fighter is good at her role.

Defy Danger(STR)(Anaya): 2D6(6 5) +0 = 11 Success!

The next move was Anaya’s alignment at creation: risk yourself to heal another.

Cast a Spell(Cure Light Wounds)(Anaya): 2D6(6 5) +3 = 14 Success!
Heals d8 (6) +6=12 HP

Esthana is at 20/26 HP. Those were some good rolls.

“Esthana!” Seizing the moment, Anaya ran over to the other Templar. Esthana had cut down two more of the lizardfolk, who lay bleeding and scorched on the ground; the one remaining Blackscale was still stabbing at the Templar, more in fear than hope. Anaya reached Esthana and laid a hand on her shoulder, and silver light enveloped them both as the Flame’s healing restored the Templar.

Hack and Slash(Esthana): 2D6(5 5) +3 = 13 Success!
d10 (2) + d6 (1) = 3 damage, which is enough to kill the last lizardfolk warrior

Refreshed, Esthana made a sudden lunge, dodging past the lizardfolk’s spear and running them through. The silver fire that had surrounded her seemed to flow off of her down the blade and into the creature, burning the Blackscale as they fell to the ground.

Neeate ought to run—only Esthana is in a good position to pursue, and it would not be so hard to outrun someone in ful plate in a jungle—but I did get that exceptional yes earlier.

Neeate was standing by the campfire now, staring at the two Templars defiantly. “What manner of warrior are you, that can kill all my s–soldiers so easily?” the lizardfolk hissed.

“I am a Templar of the Silver Flame,” Esthana replied simply; she held up her sword, still blazing with silver light and untarnished by any sign of blood.

“Your gods are old and tired, human; the power I serve has stood in your flames for thousands of years, yet shows no burns. I fear you not.” Neeate, already wielding a sword, picked up a spiked shield from among the supplies around the campfire; Anaya saw that embossed on the shield was a depiction of a dragon.

Let’s try it again.

Seeing Red(Esthana): 2D6(6 6) +1 = 13 Success!
What here is hidden? Neeate does actually fear that sword, after seeing it cut through all of their soldiers.
What here is useful or valuable to me? You note the position of the campfire, the trees, etc. Plus the camp will contain loot, supplies. Hold 1.

+1 for acting on the information, of course. That is why Esthana needs to use her Seeing Red whenever she can in a fight.

Hack and Slash(Esthana): 2D6(4 2) +3+1 = 10 Success!
Deal d10 (5) + d6 (1) = 6 damage, piercing 2 armour

Nonetheless, Neeate eyed the sword warily as Esthana advanced, edging away from the Templar. Esthana swung the sword wide to one side, and the lizardfolk parried aggressively with their shield—and then Esthana kicked the lizardfolk in the knee, causing them to stumble into the remains of the fire. Before they could recover, Esthana made the killing stroke, driving her sword up into the lizardfolk’s throat. Neeate stared, shocked, for a moment, before dropping lifeless to the ground.

“Watch the eyes next time, not the blade,” said Esthana, as she sheathed her sword.

Make Camp(party): heal

Loot from the Blackscale party:

  • far from home so 19 rations (one per enemy);
  • for the sorceror, magical: Random wand of locate animals, and d8=7 gives d4 * 100 = 400 gold pieces.
  • for Neeate, divine: the black-dragon embossed shield that Neeate carried, and d6+2+d4 = 8 gives a 500gp item of art.
End of Session(party): Anaya and Esthana met their alignment goals; and they looted a valuable treasure from Neeate so +1 to all for that.

Anaya: 0 failures, alignment goal; at 11XP.
Esthana: 1 failure, alignment goal; at 10XP.
Nyseris: 1 failure; at 11XP; level up.

Level Up(Nyseris): Cha +1; Random Viper’s Strike: +d4 damage if attacking with two weapons

III.23: Stealing Through Shadows

Newthrone, Q’barra
Nymm 12, 997YK

Mythic GME Chaos Rank: 7
Scene setup: d10=9 (unchanged)

Favoured in House(Vaalyun): Tell them the requirements or consequences and ask: You have to do something for your House to get it

I rolled on the Mythic GME to get ideas for the task to do. 2d100=98,41 = Overthrow Advice. Hmm, that makes me think that the victim here is Taliesin, the royal advisor. Interesting—he was a friendly NPC.

Vaalyun stood before the mirror, waiting patiently for the contact. He was in his new appartments, on the top floor of the new chapterhouse; the rooms were still rather bare, as few luxuries of the Five were available in this frontier nation. Vaalyun had little to admire but the mirror itself as he waited; made from a sheet of pure mithril, its edge was finely moulded to appear as a series of snakes, their serpentine forms forming a circle framing the mirror. The serpentine mirror was a device used by House Phiarlan’s shadows to communicate over great distances; while House Sivis provided similar services for a price, House Phiarlan did not trust its secret communications to another House.

Vaalyun was dressed in his formal house robes, the hydra’s heads embroidered in red on the robe seeming to glow slightly in the lantern light. Appearances were everything in Vaalyun’s line of work, and that applied equally to dealings within the House; while agents of House Phiarlan—the Shadows—were intended to work together to strengthen the House, they also competed for influence, and so one would often have to trade to get what one wanted.

The reflection in the mirror flickered and faded, and was replaced by the image of a clean, well-presented study, yellow painted walls contrasting with blue curtains. Standing at the centre of the image was now another young elf, perhaps sixty hears old, wearing a dark blue doublet and trousers. The room and the clothes seemed like human fashion to Vaalyun, and he supposed that Folas had gone native during his assignment to Sharn.

“Folas, it is good to see you,” said Vaalyun, though his tone was formal.

“Vaalyun,” said Folas, his image standing relaxed in the mirror. “I hope your new venture in Newthrone prospers?”

Discern Realities(Vaalyun): 2D6(6 2) +1 = 9 Partial success.
Who’s really in control here?
Tell them the requirements or consequences and ask: neither of you knows what the other wants; either of you could end up in control, depending who plays their cards better

Too relaxed, thought Vaalyun; he wants something from me. That was hardly unexpected, as Folas would only have responded to Vaalyun’s call for assistance out of curiousity or need.

Vaalyun gave some superficial details about the establishment of the guildhouse here and the situation in the city, and the conversation continued for a few minutes on this harmless topic, before turning to the true business at hand.

“As I described in my request, I require a translation of certain documents that have come into my possession. Do you have a suitable translator available?”

“I do,” said Folas. “What are these documents?”

“They come from an associate of House Tharashk; I am seeking to understand their activities in the city better.” Vaalyun saw no great harm in revealing this much to a fellow Shadow, and it was important that his associate did not use anyone associated with Tharashk to perform the translation. While Vaalyun had no problem lying to other Shadows if the situation called for it, sometimes staying close to the truth was easier.

“I see.” Folas seemed satisfied. “However, you understand that I have my own assignments to see to. If you could offer me assistance in another matter, it would allow me time to arrange this for you.”

Parley(Vaalyun): 2D6(5 3) +2+1 = 11 Success!
You make the trade, on your own terms

“I am in the middle of establishing a new chapterhouse, Folas,” said Vaalyun. “Naturally we will attend to House business as time permits.”

Folas looked away for a moment, probably to mask his frustration. But he turned back and said “Very well, you will get your translation. But I expect my business to be attended to as soon as you are able.”

“What business is that?”

“There is an official in Newthrone who has been causing difficulties for some associates of mine. He is a royal adviser I believe, an elf by the name of Taliesin. I need a local agent to plant some documents in this adviser’s office.”

Investigate(Vaalyun): 2D6(3 1) +2 = 6 Failure!
Influence a powerful institution: some group is trying to destabilize Q’barra by getting this royal adviser dismissed. And Vaalyun does not remember that this is the adviser that gave Anaya information before.

“Very well. That should be possible to arrange.”

By that evening, Vaalyun had his translation, thought it gave him more questions than answers. As he walked to the Keep that evening, refreshed by the cool sea breeze at dusk, Vaalyun was quiet and thoughtful. On other occasions he would talk, of nothing important, to his bodyguards as they escorted him through town; but, having spent his day dissecting evidence stolen from the Tharashk guildhouse, Vaalyun decided to stay quiet. The half-orc was watching him closely, as usual, and he did not want to give anything away.

Give everyone personhood

He had expected the translator to be a half-orc, but it had turned out to be a young halfling—a student from Morgrave University, Vaalyun supposed. Sharn was a such a cosmopolitan city that it should be no surprise that the university there offered such opportunities.

Past conflict, present intrigue

Vaalyun had found the book in the commander’s office in the Tharashk guildhouse; since it had been kept with the expedition maps for Tharashk’s operation, Vaalyun had supposed that it must be important. The translator revealed that the book mostly consisted of a legend from the age of monsters, telling of an invasion of outsiders from the plane of Xoriat that overthrew the ancient goblinoid empire that preceded the Five Nations. Vaalyun had heard this legend told amongst the elves, though it predated House Phiarlan’s move to Khorvaire.

Spout Lore(Vaalyun): 2D6(4 3) +2 = 9 Partial success.
Vague information

But the book’s premise was new to him—that the invasion had been defeated by an Orcish druidic cult that sealed away the Xoriat portals, trapping the aberrations in Khyber. The book was a religious text, in fact. The design on the cover—a circle of arcane runes obscured by a tangle of vines—was the sigil of this cult, the “Gatekeepers”. It was a record of their fight against the outsiders, urging followers to remain vigilant against any weakening of the seals that kept the aberrations from the surface of Eberron.

Vaalyun wanted to deduce more, but:

Investigate(Vaalyun): 2D6(2 2) +2 = 6 Failure!
Front(House Tharashk): Influence a powerful institution: Tharashk has leverage over the army commander in Q’barra

Okay, so the next scene is going to be at the Keep, where Vaalyun is sounding out the rulers of Q’barra to see where they stand on House Tharashk’s operations.

Life of the Party(Vaalyun): 2D6(2 2) +2 = 6 Failure!
You gain useful information.
Event: NPC Action(Lords of Dust): d100 (83) = Assist, d100 (1) = Goals
Front(Lords of Dust): Attack indirectly, through intermediaries

I picked a front to move randomly here, rather than an NPC, as it seemed to make more sense. As I have not worked out anything for the Lords of Dust yet, now is the time to do so; the DungeonWorld front type Demon Princes (impulse: to open the gates of hell) seems most fitting.

Random assassins are... dwarves. Okay. And I have an enemy type in mind as well.

The bodyguard leading the way suddenly stopped, breaking Vaalyun’s train of thought. They had passed the centre of the city and were climbing a street away from the bussle of the marketplace. The orc put a hand to the battleaxe at her waist, and Vaalyun saw hooded figures ahead of them. One was reaching into the sleeve of their dark cloak; Vaalyun dodged to one side instinctively as the figure made a quick motion, and a dagger flashed past, narrowly missing Vaalyun’s neck.

Defy Danger(Dex)(Vaalyu): 2D6(2 4) +1 = 7 Partial success.
Monster move(Spellthief): Use a character’s power against them

Fortunately for Vaalyun, these assassins aren’t from House Tharashk (who do not know that he is their enemy here yet), so his bodyguards actually help. Offer Aid from an Enemy, or Opposition from an Ally. Tharashk is a good name in mercenaries, so let’s give them +1 quality, Warrior, Athletic. But 0 loyalty, they are here for the money only. 2 armour, d6 damage.

Bodyguards, Do Their Thing(Vaalyun): 2D6(6 3) +1 = 10 Success!
d6 (3) +1 = 4 damage

There were three of the assailants ahead—all dwarves, Vaalyun guessed from their stature—and the other two now drew swords while the thrower drew another dagger, angling for another shot. The orc bodyguard already had her battleaxe in hand, and with one forceful upward cut cleaved the chest of the first swordsman open, blood spraying over the cobbles as he collapsed to the ground.

The other bodyguard pushed past Vaalyun to stand beside her companion, and Vaalyun hoped for a moment that they could handle the matter themselves. But then he shook violently as an itching started in the dragonmark down his side. He had never felt the mark like this except when he invoked its power—and then his horror mounted as he realised that his power was at work, as his own shadow began to move, rising from the cobbles of the street to stand beside him, reaching with one hand towards its chest: towards where Vaalyun kept his own dagger.

Defy Danger(Dex)(Vaalyun): 2D6(5 3) +1 = 9 Success!
You dodge away from the attacks, but Separate Them: not close to your bodyguards

The assassin group consists of: two regular thugs (one dead already); a nightseeker (from the DungeonWorld Codex, an assassin throwing poisoned knives); and a spellthief whose move is to use the characters spell-like abilities against themselves.

Volley(Vaalyun): 2D6(4 5) +1 = 10 Success!
Deal 2d4 (1 3)=4 damage, you kill it

Vaalyun danced backwards as the shadow lashed out, sharp-edged darkness slicing past his chest. Vaalyun silently thanked the Host that the street was not busy, and the bodyguards were keeping the other assassins occupied for now; though the shadow was fast, this was not Vaalyun’s first assassination attempt, and he could move quickly enough to evade one opponent. Sensing that it wanted to drive him towards the shadows of of the buildings on one side, where it would be less visible, he ducked under the next blow and rolled down the street, coming up behind it with wand in hand. The shadow flowed effortlessly towards him but, before it could close with him again, a searing blast from the wand struck its head, and the shadow dissolved into black motes that fell to the cobbles.

Bodyguards, Do Their Thing(Vaalyun): 2D6(2 5) +1 = 8 Partial success.
Deals d6+1 = 5 damage, Monster move(Nightseeker): poison

One of the bodyguards is down, put to sleep by some assassin’s poison. But she nearly took out the nightseeker.

Discern Realities(Vaalyun): 2D6(6 6) +1 = 13 Success!
Who is really in control here?
What happened here recently?
What here is hidden?
Volley(Vaalyun): 2D6(2 1) +1+1 = 5 Failure!
Deal damage: d6=2 damage, 1 after armour

Without thinking, Vaalyun looked back across the street to the shadowed front of the buildings where—and saw in the shadows there another cloaked dwarf staring at him. He controlled it—somehow he took my power. Vaalyun raised his wand to fire again, but the figure shifted slightly and the elf felt a stab of pain as a crossbow bolt stuck into his armour just over his heart.

Volley(Vaalyun): 2D6(4 2) +1 = 7 Partial success.
Put yourself in danger, deal 2d4=4 damage

The crossbowman was moving now to join the other dwarves. Vaalyun glanced over and saw that one of his bodyguards was down; she lay at the feet of the dagger-throwing dwarf, who was leaning now against a lamppost with an obviously severe cut to his leg. Vaalyun raised the wand again and fired; the purple bolt of energy cut through the air, catching the thrower in the side and knocking him to the ground.

Bodyguard, Do Your Thing(Vaalyun): 2D6(6 1) +1 = 8 Partial success.
Deals d6=2 damage, takes d6=5 damage (4 after armour)

The other hireling, the half-orc is at 2/6 HP; the remaining thug assassin is at 1/3 HP. The spellthief is doing fine though, and he is the one to follow up on the put-yourself-in-danger from just now. Show signs of an approaching threat

The first shadow I gave only 1 HP, the same as Vaalyun’s power would give it on a partial success. But this time, let’s give it 6 HP, the same as the bodyguard it is taken from would have. In exchange, since this shadow is tougher but slower, Vaalyun has time to back up and take another shot.

Volley(Vaalyun): 2D6(5 5) +1 = 11 Success!
Deals 2d4=5 damage

It’s at 1/6 HP.

Defy Danger(Dex)(Vaalyun): 2D6(5 1) +1 = 7 Partial success.
You dodge, but lose the wand: Use up their resources

Vaalyun felt his dragonmark itch again. As he looked on, a shadow seemed to creep up from under the fallen bodyguard, until the dark form stood seven feet high, towering over Vaalyun. As it drew a shadowy battleaxe from the side of its dark form, Vaalyun fired another shot, arcane light arcing from the wand into the centre of the darkness. The shadow seemed staggered but pressed forward, swinging its axe; Vaalyun barely managed to roll aside in time, and in his haste he dropped the wand, leaving his best weapon lying in the street.

Bodyguard, Do Your Thing(Vaalyun): 2D6(5 5) +1 = 11 Success!
Deals d6=4 damage.

That’s enough to finish the remaining thug and the spellthief.

Vaalyun glanced down at the wand, now lying between the cobbles, the orc warrior’s shadow looming over it. Grabbing for it was too dangerous, so he drew his own dagger, backing away as the apparition advanced. He was about to make a desperate lunge when the shadow, on the point of making another swing with its axe, suddenly seemed to come apart and faded away into the twilight. Vaalyun looked around and saw his other bodyguard, the half-orc, had felled the last two assassins. The shadow must have lost form the moment its controller was killed.

The street was mostly deserted; the few locals must have fled into their houses, so there were only a few passers-by standing off at a safe distance from the fight. Vaalyun ignored them, quickly retrieving his wand and slipping it back under his jacket. He had got away with hardly any injuries, despite the frantic battle: just one small puncture in his jacket marked where the crossbow bolt had tried to reach his heart. Fortunately the tailored leather jerkin that he wore underneath had stopped it from inflicting anything more than a minor cut.

Spout Lore(Vaalyun): 2D6(1 3) +2 = 6 Failure!
Reveal an unwelcome truth

The half-orc was leaning over her companion now, so Vaalyun went to join her. The orc was lying on the ground unconcious, but there was only a small cut to neck just above her armour: no blood or other cuts were apparent. Yet she did not move when the half-orc shook her.

“Poison,” said Vaalyun. “These were not regular street thugs; that one, at least”—pointing to the one that he had blasted with his wand—“had more than greed and a sword. Poisoned knives are a common enough mode of assassination in the Five Nations.” That one had thrown the first dagger, straight for Vaalyun, making the target clear enough.

The half-orc shook her head. “Borgakh would have been insulted to be felled by such a coward’s weapon.”

“We avenged her.” Vaalyn gestured towards the crumpled body of the assassin; the front of his jerkin was scorched from the blast of energy. “I will be at the Keep for the next three hours, attending the dinner there; take the time to get your friend back to the barracks. I’ll speak to the watch commander at the Keep and there should be no trouble for us.”

Discern Realities(Vaalyun): 2D6(4 1) +1 = 6 Failure!
Front(Lords of Dust): Turn an Organisation: The Lords of Dust have another agent in Newthrone, working to turn the government in favour of giving Tharashk a clear run at the jungle. Reveal an unwelcome truth

Vaalyun moved to the crossbowman, the dwarf that had somehow gained control over his mark. The assassin lay dead, blood still pooling where he had been run through by the half-orc’s sword. There was nothing to mark him out as being possessed of any unusual power, and a search of his pockets revealed nothing of interest. But Vaalyun had never heard of such a power before, and clearly an assassin posessing such a unique skill would be able to command a high price. Whoever had hired him must be powerful, or at least wealthy. Vaalyun shook his head slightly, but gave no other sign of concern; he stood up, straightened his jacket, and resumed his walk to the Keep.

Above the Law(Vaalyun): Self-defence would be a sound argument anyway, but Vaalyun has better: his extra-legal status as a member of one of the Twelve Houses means he would have to do something very bad indeed before anyone would dare arrest him. He will have no trouble at all for this.

Let’s resolve the dinner offscreen. Vaalyun gets two things that he wanted: Michnas is introduced to regime officials and, in return, is Vaalyun’s ally for now and will aid him in return. And, he gets information (Carouse gives you one thing even on a miss) about the political situation in Newthrone that will help later, and which I will fill in later.

Rest(Vaalyun): All HP back for the next day
End of Session(party): Vaalyun used his House position to help himself again, +1 XP

Vaalyun: 6 failures, alignment goal; at 11XP.

That is a lot of failures in one session. Vaalyun himself got away relatively unscathed, but we have established that Newthrone is no longer safe for him and that the party will face resistance from another rakshasa once they return here.