Gritty fantasy - in a city rife with crime, corruption and dark magic



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Cursed!
Genet’s appearance continues to go down hill. His hair is growing all over and his body reaks. We decide to ask Rafe if he would guide us to the sorcerers guild so that we may ask them for help lifting the curse. Refe tells us that Tabika Faye is the best sorcerer to lift the curse. He then tosses out some flowers into the street. Genet picks them up with the intention of giving them to Tabika. The rest of the group asks around and learns that Tabika Faye has a shop on the border on the slums.

Tabika tells us that she is the one who cast the curse. She did so at the behest of Varla Codsbellow was she walks around Genet, admiring her work. She asks Genet if, in addition to the hair, smell, and deformed appearance, if he is also impotent. Genet asks if she will lift the curse, but Tabika will not lift the curse until Varla tells her to do so. She gave Varla a “token” that must be used to lift the curse.

Tyla goes to Varla’s to ask if Varla has seen him recently. Tyla explains that Genet has fallen on hard times and is in great need. Would Tyla please meet with Genet? Varla is reluctant as she is now seeing someone. She also seems unaware of anything that may have happened to Genet. After some back and forth she agrees to meet Genet discreetly.

Ricky finds out that the carriage of Ustov Cordovna has been stopping by Varla’s for visits. Could Cordovna be having an affair with Varla? The group stakes out Varla’s house and waits to see what happens. Meanwhile Genet walks up to Varla’s back door to try and speak with her. She feels sorry for Genet and says she will meet him at Tabbicas in the morning to ask her to lift the curse. Later that night, Cordovna’s carriage stops by Varla’s, and a man (not the barron) gets out and speaks with Varla. The man looks like surprised as though he was supposed to pick her up and she refused.

Varla meets us at Tabika’s shop early in the morning. The beautiful Tabika arrives soon after complaining about getting up so early. She is happy to remove the curse, but cannot do so unless she has the green glass bead she gave to Varla. Varla says she gave the bead to a red haired lad. The group reaches out to their contacts to try to identify the red haired beggar. We eventually learn that the red haired beggar, Lan, fled last night to the slums. He was afraid someone was after him so he left to find safety.

We find lan holed up in a shack in the slums of Lankhmar. Flossin knocks on the door and asks to buy the green marble. Lan, speaking through the door, asks for ten rilks plus one extra rilk for each of his ten friends. Flossin refuses and grows to twelve feet in height and breaks down the door. Genet whips up a crowd of locals, in the spirit of the Crimson Vale, to stop the ruffians in the shack. Tyla convinces Lan and the ruffians that they are outnumbered and it would be in everyone’s interest if they gave up the marble. Lan’s friends leave him and he gladly accepts two rilks for the marble.

Tabika breaks the marble and lifts the curse. The curse will take a day or so to fully dissipate. After a full recovery, Genet stops by Tabikas and offers to help her determine if all of the side effects of the curse have been lifted -out of scholarly interest.. She kindly refuses the offer.


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Behind the Masks

We retreat to Rafe’s place where he examines the mask using the knowledge of magic and the “Omnibus Arcane” text as a guide. He learns that the aquamarines on the mask are associated with scrying. Rafe suspects the mask may also have properties of mind control. It is not cursed, but rather a device of control initiated by a “controler”. Perhaps the mask must be attuned to both the wearer and the controller?

Ricky tires on the mask. Genet snuffs out the light in the room and asks Ricky if he can see in the night -he cannot and nothing else seems to happen. When Genet relights the candles, the mask seems to disappear and Ricky cannot remember wearing the mask. Even though the mask cannot be seen, Margon can feel it on Ricky’s face. Ricky’s voice is strangely...feminine...when the mask is on. Rafe confirms his suspicion that the mask must be attuned to both the wearer and the controller. Genet suspects the controller can both see and hear through the mask and suggests the mask be placed in a dark, quiet spot. Rafe places the mask in a lead lined box.

Genet heads to the Cordovna’s hoping that with his new appearance, the staff won’t recognize him. Genet asks one of the Cordovna’s staff if they would check to see if either the Lady or the Baron have made any recent purchases of jewelry or gems.

Ricky inquires with his thieves guild contacts if they could make a replica mask for him. They say they can if given the right materials.

Margon sees two of the city watch walking by Rafe’s house. One of the watch point towards Rafe’s house and then walks up to the front door and lightly rapps on the door. Margon walks up behind the watch members and, shrieking about bats in the man’s hair, tries to “swat” them away from the man’s hair. His real motive is to feel the back of the man’s head for the strap of a hidden mask. Margon does not feel any straps or a mask on the guard.

The watchman, Gafne, tells Rafe he cannot trust the rest of the watch. He says Frimp was complaining about how the city wasn’t treating people right. Later Frimp seemed more determined to make change and met with some other guards. One of them, a watchman named Jark, handed out some masks and then they all started acting weird -missing check-ins and acting strange. To make matters worse, the murders began happening after the guards had the masks. In addition to Frimp, Jark, Slaggen, and Carson had masks. Gafne is worried there may be other guards involved and so doesn’t trust anyone on the cities watch.

The next day Rafe heads to a gem merchant and introduces himself as Genet. Rafe asks if he has any large aquamarines in stock. The merchant says it would take a while (a few days) as the supply is low. He used to have some but they were all purchased and it is hard to keep large ones in stock. Armon Barrows purchased most of his supply few weeks ago. Unfortunately Barrows had an accident and will no longer be buying -his body was seen being pulled from the river by the city watch a few days ago. The merchant offers to buy any large aquamarines Rafe may have.

We interrogate Frimp. Frimp received the mask from Jark. Vermillion Viper complaining after a few beers. There was a guy, merchant, nicely dressed, curly blond hair, left handed, and smooth talker, speaking about getting together to do right by the people -give them food. They met the guy a few times by his warehouse down by the docks.

Carson kills Frimp and leaves the guardhouse before we return. We instruct the remaining guards to check anyone for masks when they show up at the guardhouse.

We head to the docks and the warehouse Frimp described. The warehouse used to belong to Vannik. The warehouse is empty. There are more signs the warehouse used to belong to Vannik. Genet later confirms that Vannik sold the warehouse some time ago to a fake enterprise -a dead end.

Akami and the guards checked Jark and Slaggen. Slaggen and Jark resisted arrest. Their masks began to glow and then burned them to death before they could be captured.

We decide to go to the Vermillion Viper to find a blond, curly haired, left-handed, merchant.
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Ruminations #9: Revelations
So the secret is out, sort of. I need to make sure it does not go further. Rafe seemed non-plussed about the revelation but Flossin is so up and down... I hope he takes my warning seriously. I wouldn't harm his family if he spilled the beans, but Billy... There is a lot more at stake than my reputation if the information gets in the wrong hands.
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The Fatal "Park of Pleasures"
Rafe identified three texts from Vannik’s library. “Omnibus Arcane” provides +1 to knowledge arcana rolls. “Prescribed Arrangement” provides -1 casting modifier when casting rituals. Third book is too difficult to decipher (for now). Rafe took these into his possession.

Madam Vobrey says some of the “workers” from the whores guild have been killed. They are now avoiding working in the park and other dark places.

Dunner Hayseed says there are no signs of trouble. Harvest was fine so no reason for the price spike in grain, other than manipulation by the grain guild.

Genet’s eyebrows and hair have been growing and looking unruly. A curse? His appearance has definitely taken a turn for the worse.

A scream is heard from the Park of Pleasures. “Murder. It’s happened again!” The dead body of a bravo with a dueling sword is found in the park. The body of Garns, member of the city watch is found near the bravo. His throat is slit and his sword is still sheathed. There are drag marks in the grass near the body. It appears his body was dragged from near a tree. A quick look reveals four total bodies. One is a merchant and an innkeeper’s wife. The deaths didn’t happen at the same time. One witness claims to have seen glowing eyes in the woods. None of the other witnesses saw the glowing eyes.

Rafe checks with the Mages guild. The guild says the curse at Corbin’s party worked well without admitting any guilt. Afreet the Unanointed and Tabbica are two guild members who are interested in curses. Tabbica has a shop near the Marsh gate.

We decide to set a trap in the park using Genet as bait. Margon sees one of the guards break off from one the patrols and circle around to get behind Genet in the darkness. His eyes are glowing a pale blue light. Margon jumps down out of a tree and knocks the assailant out. The assailant was wearing a black mask with silver stitching.

Before we can call the guards, we hear one of the guards call out there had been another murder near the merchant’s stalls in the park. One other murdered body is discovered that night in the park.
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Vannik's End
Mrs. Marchiiti says a representative of Lord Hammond wanted so see Lyssa perform. Ricky offers to pass the information along to Lyssa saying she has retired for the evening. Later Ricky goes to Lyssa’s tent to change...into Lyssa. Lyssa goes back on stage for an encore performance.

A beautiful older woman in a colorful dress was speaking to Tyla. She speaks with an accent from one of the eight cities and asks to buy all of the orphans and bring them to her estate. Tyla is flabbergasted that someone would want to buy “his” children into bondage. Genet intervenes by implying that the orphans carry disease and high persons such as herself should keep their distance.

Rafe and Flossin investigate the brazier that produced the green fog. They find some magic rocks that were placed in the brasier that caused the ill green fog. The rocks are broken but still hot. Rafe uses a dagger to pull a couple of them out of the fire. Flossin determines that the rocks were cursed and deliberately placed in the brazier with a specific purpose. In order for the cursed rocks to cause the transformed humans to attack Corbin’s family, they would have required something from the intended victims. Curses such as this are possibly the work of the Mage’s guild.

Garns of the city watch tells Flossin he should stop by the Park of Pleasure and investigate. The park may have a serial killer that needs to be stopped. Almost one death a night! Garns asks Flossin to meet him at the park in four days.

Margon chases after Yorabba and the transformed merchant Vannik. Margon catches up to Yorabba as she lifts up an iron street grate and exits the sewer. She tells Margon that Vannik escapted. Undeterred, Yorabba insists that Margon come with her to Vannik’s estate to wait for his return. The estate has a short fence that is easily climbed by Yorabba and Margon. Once inside, they search around and find that the house is a bit run down and some of the finery has been sold off. In the library are a number of odd curios. Perhaps if either one of Yorabb or Margon were versed in the magic arts they might have learned more. As it is, the library appears well used. On Vannik’s desk is a small chest with various coins. Margon helps herself to these. Yorabba tells Margon that she hears guards coming. She intends to stay behind, hiding, and wait for Vannik to return. She suggests they kill Vannik, recover the potion, and burn the body. Margon goes one step further and suggests they burn Vannik’s estate along with Vannik.

The rest of the party meets at Vannik’s to loot the place. The estate is surrounded by the city guards. We convince the guards that we are there to investigate and to keep any citizens, especially nobles, away. Genet finds Vannik in the basement, gets the drop on him, and knocks him out. Meanwhile upstairs, the rest of the party run into each other in the dark. Flossin knocks out Margon thinking she is an attacker.

When Vannik wakes up we question him. Under Anga’s bed is a purse for running the household. We find that he had sold off most of his valuables to fund his research into immortality. He is not a wizard himself but thought he could hire one when he learned how to prolong his life. One option is a rumored bowl that if filled with lifeblood, that lifeblood would be transferred to the bowl’s owner. The other is a tome spoken to be lost below the city -lost during the rat war. The tome is rumored to make you immortal and has something to do with the gods. Vannik has no idea where the tome is other than possibly in the sewers. He denies any knowledge of the green, transformative, fog.
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