It's been a couple months since this session, so apologies for the sparsity of commentary. However, I think it was roughly the one year mark of playing, so yay for that! Session 16, and the longest running campaign I've ever been in. Cool, cool.
Anyway, I had far different plans for this session than what actually happened, namely because I reached out to a guy a few of us had previously played with and let him join. That'll change things.
The most interesting part of this was watching the players try to figure out an in-game reason to be interested in this new guy. They saw an obvious crime. They knew they had time to help. And, yet, they were hesitant to butt in.
It was both annoying and pretty decent role-playing.
The Scout's Tracking was the key. W'ranan needed that to quickly find Annabelle, so it made sense for the heroes to offer help. That said, it was too difficult to find starting tracks. I had to drop some NPC ex machina on the situation.
Fight went well, and I had a pretty neat plan for the bad guys to escape. Which utterly failed because the Nethermancer didn't have Ethereal Darkness in a matrix. The three guys that ran down the steps were supposed to disappear into the darkness and have the steps close behind them, almost like they teleported away.
In retrospect, the players would have run outside and the sticky Windling would have followed anyway. Oh well. I didn't account for the tiny Weaponsmith chasing after the two enemies. Death wish, much?
We had to wrap up the fight from the previous session. I hope the players got a sense that these were the plan-ahead type enemies rather than run-of-the-mill baddies. I mean, they had a secret trap door and escape tunnels! The latter was something I had to put together to help him get away and keep the persistent windling from getting skewered.
Then the players were chatting and readying to leave, so I had to kinda push them into searching the room. Loot! C'mon, guys! Loot! That actually backfired a little because the PC I was cardboarding looked around as a hint that the others should do the same. Instead they thought he searched everywhere. Oops.
The highlight (for me) was tricking W'ranan into jumping from the rope bridge. I figured Wind Catcher was a big reason to pick Air Sailor, so I wanted to give him a chance to show off. Even if, ultimately, he had no idea where to go and had to wait for the rest to catch up anyway.
Annabelle ties into major plot lines that will ultimately come to fruition much, much later. It'll be fun to see those play out. It'll also be fun as the players realize the real reason she was kidnapped. With the dead horse they already have some idea that their initial human trafficking theory doesn't make perfect sense. Clearly she was specifically targeted.
I thought I went a little overboard on her reaction to the death of her horse, but I wanted to emphasize the connection Cavalrymen have with their mounts. I doubt it was super clear, but she went from confident, sassy fighter to weeping maiden rather quickly. I'm retconning in my head a little with this next statement, but some of that almost certainly has to do with why she was being targeted as well as the trauma of being kidnapped, of feeling helpless not once (with herself) but twice (with her horse, now, too).
For those wondering, no, nothing happened to her while held hostage, aside from the drugging (which is bad enough). I try to stay clear of that.
And now for the session I planned for two sessions and two months ago. I'm just thankful a couple players were willing to go witness a hanging. Writing it was somewhat emotionally taxing. I suffered! So must they!
The key is that Roth, soon to be Roth the Compassionate, is a future key player in some high-circle events. I wanted someone to witness his creation! Mynbruje got plans for that boy.
Well, I do.
As a Questor of Mynbruje, his focus will be on not only justice but compassion and redemption. That will extend beyond Namegivers and to the Passions themselves. And for those that need another hint: horrichalcum.
I've been dying to do that plotline ever since I came up with it years ago. Search the forums for a link to the old forums for more info, if you're curious.
Regarding Sean seeing Annabelle still woozy, that's because she has 3 blood wounds from a thread item literally shoved into her pattern, hiding there. The ultimate smuggler's compartment. And why she was being targeted. I'll drop some stats for the item (Mordu's Lockbox) later, but it's a plot device, so it isn't fully fleshed out.
It'll come to a head soon, and we'll see if the players grill her about all this. The little item Valteri didn't notice was a symbol of Ishkarat. Annabelle has something inside her Iopos doesn't want to get away. That Swordmaster will show up again shortly. And not when the players are going to be at their best.
We'll see how it goes.
What's she hiding? Well, if you don't want to know, I'll hide it behind more spoiler tags.
Iopos has been researching ways of harnessing the ash from the wastes to spread the corruption. Talk of dispersing it from airships and the wind currents around Travar point to that being the likely first target. However some discussion on how to spread it in Throal are also present.
Something I forgot about was uncertainty regarding Names of simple thread items. So a spell matrix ring, for example, I was just going to call it Spell Matrix Ring, but in the moment I realized that (1) that's boring and (2) the Key Knowledge is knowing it's Name so it probably meant to be more unique.
We spitballed some Names and settled on the one we did because one of the players had recently gone through a gem museum or something. Regardless, I'm still unsure if generic Names are intended or if every Thread Item has a unique Name. Thoughts?