|Session 05: The Great Gamlet Gamble|
|Real World Date||June 21st, 2014|
|Game Date||March 18, Year 0|
|Enemies||The Nightingale Bandit|
|NPCs||Nox, Adreyan, and a host of thespians|
Session 04a: An Inn-Based Interim
Session 06: A Bardic Barrage
The Party goes to the library to find out more about the late head bookkeeper's final moments, but does not learn anything interesting. Vic leaves the party due to illness after an angry librarian curses him. A cameo appearance by a player character from another campaign is made. Tahlarien talks down to Emilie, and seeing that no one comes to her defense, Emilie becomes offended and decides to quit the party. Tahla follows Emilie and the two girls attempt to repair their relationship. Emilie agrees to rejoin the others at the theater. The group makes a list of suspects out of the employees of the theater and signs up to audition that night for the upcoming show, Gamlet. To pass the time until then, they go to the monastery in hopes of finding Lanaea. Unfortunately, Lanaea knows she has been found out, and will not be returning to the monastery. Adreyan offers to show the party to Lanaea's sleeping chambers, where they discover that she regularly slept with a large spherical object beside her. Audition time rolls around, and while snooping around for clues, the party also manages to land jobs with the company, save for Namfoodle, whose crippling stage fright ruined his audition. An actor leads us backstage, only to reveal that she is The Nightingale Bandit in disguise. Hired swords fly in through the windows, and thus cornered, the party prepares for battle.
The Party wakes up, each suffering from the plague of morning. Nam is incapable of function, having not had his coffee. Tahla is hungover from the previous night. Vic smashes his face into several walls and objects on his way downstairs. The party chooses to go to the library to figure out what the late head bookkeeper was researching/hoarding. Once there, the librarian – a dwarf named Nox – says the bookkeeper checked out several books on local history. The party looks at the record, but he had only checked out mundane books that Isaac had seen in the bookkeeper’s office the previous day. Nox asks the adventurers if they have seen a man named Carl. They haven’t. They looked for elven history, but all the books were written by ignorant humans who speak of the elves as if they are bizarrely complicated children. The party does, however, find that the elves were known to erect temples to flora and fauna. This could explain the heron imagery in the catacombs. Emilie and Isaac agree that this is probably where the original order of the monks got the idea for their symbol. Discouraged, and offended by Nox’s statement that there are no elf-written books because elves cannot write, the party leaves. Afterwards, they realize they should probably have asked about this “Carl” person. Yet while in the library, everyone but Vic had annoyed or insulted Nox in some way. So Vic tries to go in, but Nox gives him a faceful of magical Nox-ious gas (huhuhuhuhuhuhuh) which reduces the cleric to prolonged vomiting. Carl, a player character from a previous campaign directed by Namfoodle’s player, shows up and goes inside to receive a reprimand for being tardy. The cameo is appreciated, but leads the characters no closer to understanding the disappearances around Creston.
The party gets into a big social justice tiff as Kal refers to Tahla’s eternal cattiness as characteristic of all women. Tahla fights back viciously, but harasses Emilie when the latter tries to join in. Rather than defend herself against Tahla’s unreasonable put-downs and accusations, Emilie determines that it is a better use of effort to simply leave. So she does. Vic is feeling so ill that he has to leave the party (and the session). Isaac and Namfoodle tell Tahlarien to make things right before Emilie leaves Creston, after which point they may never find her again. Tahla concedes. Emilie heads back to the inn, but sees an old lady posting another “GODS ARE ANGRY” poster on the callboard, and her attentions shifts. Emilie takes the flyer and follows the woman into the forest. She seems to be homeless. She smiles sweetly as Emilie approaches. Emilie asks what we are supposed to do since the gods are apparently angry. The woman hands Emilie a pamphlet. When Emilie asks what organization the woman is affiliated with, the reply is “the ones.” Emilie thanks her and leaves. Tahlarien, who has been tailing the girl, drops out of a tree and scares the crap out of Emilie. She tries to apologize for her behavior but can’t seem to help wording everything in an accusatory way. At last, Tahla reveals that she feels threatened by Emilie. She is used to being the only useful woman in a group, and so she sees Emilie as a natural rival. Emilie too sees Tahla as a rival, but does not admit this at this time. After a long, awkward discussion that is half hug and half choke-hold, Emilie and Tahla agree to start anew and to stop disrespecting one another. Tahla says she will do her best, to which Emilie replies that if Tahla’s best is still shitty, Emilie has the right to break off the agreement.
Meanwhile, Isaac, Kal, and Nam go to the theatre in hopes that The Nightingale Bandit has visited recently. Their plan is to act as if they are seeing a show so that they can investigate the house to find any evidence that may have been left behind. Nam sees that the company is holding auditions and figures that being involved with the show would let the party infiltrate the house more effectively. Without consulting the others first, Nam tells the first employee he sees that Isaac is an amazing actor. Isaac is immediately asked to audition. He tries to back out, but Nam and Kal make him out to be extremely talented but very modest. Isaac at last succumbs and agrees to audition for the part of Golonius in Gamlet. Nam jumps on board as well, and takes sides for the lead role and the gravedigger. Kal says he can tap, and will audition for a dancing role. His cat, Studmuffin, has always dreamed of being an actor ever since Kal thought it up five minutes ago, and so the feline tries for the part of Gorick’s skull.
Tahlarien returns with Emilie: the picture of sisterhood (hair-pulling and all). Tahlarien becomes excited by the promise of stardom and agrees to audition for Gophelia’s stunt double in the drowning scene. Emilie elects not to audition. Emilie tells Isaac about the encounter with the old woman and remembers the pamphlet. She reads it aloud. It talks about how the current civilization is against the will of the gods. 1. Interracial couples will be punished by the gods once offending individuals reach the ethereal plane. 2. Elves, gnomes, extra-planar beings other than gods, and giantfolk are all inferior to all other demi-humans. 3. Anything that has been cooked is inedible and evil. 4. The interior magic of every being heals all ills. No magic or medicine is required to heal any wounds or sickness ever. 5. Everyone should be able to carry wands.
The party summarily agrees that this woman is off her rocker and needs not take up any further space in our minds.
By now the party has met the theatre staff. Because the Nightingale Bandit is an expert at disappearing, the party cannot rule out any of them as the suspect in disguise.
- Sylvia: an actor in the company. Very friendly. Comes on to Isaac a bit.
- Kale: a dwarven dancer. Least likely to be the NB.
- Gavin: young human performer with long black hair – closest appearance to NB. Top suspect!
- Augold: a bald human performer.
- Michelle: a somewhat clumsy technician.
Isaac shares his suspicion of Gavin with the party, but clarifies that it’s only a hunch. Tahla says she respects his hunches more than some others’, and looks at Emilie. Emilie points out that that doesn’t make any sense because she hasn’t even shared any hunches with the party, ever. Tahla then gives the party the exact same excuse she gave Emilie an hour before, and claims that she isn’t always like this. At this point, Emilie makes a mental note that Tahla is not and cannot be a friend, and promises herself that she will start renting her own room at the inn tonight.
In the hours before the auditions, the party goes to the monastery to aid Nam with his Lanaea-reading plan. Tahla is surprised to hear that Emilie tracked Lanaea and learned what she did about the Maenad. She immediately assumes that Emilie was caught in the act and everything is ruined. Emilie is proud to have the party’s support in that she was completely successful in hiding from Lanaea. Adreyan is looking chipper and offers the party lunch. Lanaea is not in the dining hall. The party members attempt to memorize their lines for the audition, sans Emilie.
The party chooses to ask Adreyan if he knows where Lanaea is. For some reason they let Tahlarien ask him. She decides the appropriate tactic is to butter him up sexually before asking this basic question. It goes very badly. However, Adreyan remains composed and says that Lanaea will probably not be returning to the monastery now that the monks know about her affiliation with the Bandit.
Dessert comes to the table. It consists of a rich molten lava cake and a dollop of ice cream. Emilie refuses it although her desire for it is clear. She says she is on a diet. Kal happily helps himself to her serving as well as his own. Nam tells Emilie that she is the last person to need to be dieting, while Tahla offers part of her own dessert. Emilie is genuinely grateful to Tahla at first, but insists that she doesn’t want the dessert. Tahla repeatedly pushes the treats on Emilie, causing Emilie to become panicked and uncomfortable. Tahla then implies that Emilie is dealing with a serious eating disorder and should seek help. Embarrassed and offended, Emilie’s moment of good feelings about Tahla evaporate, along with any guilt she ever felt for disliking the half-elf.
That’s right, folks. We made the obligatory dining hall scene into a plot element.
Adreyan agrees to lead us to Lanaea’s deserted sleeping area. Nothing is really out of the ordinary; save for a spherical indentation in the bed, as though she regularly slept around a large round object.
It’s getting late, so the party heads back to the theater to put their plan into action. On the way, Tahlarien discovers that most of the town disappearances have been happening to exclusively monks. This is why there are not many in the monastery right now.
At the theater, Namfoodle casts Detect Magic in the area to try to find traces of the Nightingale Bandit. He only finds one magic aura. It appears to be a strong aura from Sylvia. In truth, she is using an illusion spell to alter her appearance. Is this because of cosmetic reasons? Or is she not what she seems?
Emilie gets a job as a spotlight operator. As she waits in the rafters for the audition to start, everything seems normal – save that Sylvia has retreated to a corner and is staring at Namfoodle. Does she know that he cast that spell?
The party auditions. Everyone does fine save for Nam, who has crippling stage fright and does not get a part. Tahla claims that she cannot find motivation in the flimsy, ditzy character of Gophelia, and asks if the character’s personality can be changed. The director agrees, even though Tahla is only auditioning for a stunt double position. Emilie nearly kills someone by spilling burning lantern oil from the rafters. Oops. But she still is kept on as spot op, because Michelle desperately needs more hands on deck. Really desperately, apparently.
After the auditions, Tahla approaches Sylvia. She bluffs, saying that she receives too much unwanted attention at the tavern and would like a more private place to live for the duration of the production. Sylvia says that she actually doesn’t have a place to live at the moment and is sleeping backstage in the theater. Tahla still shows interest in living with Sylvia, so the latter offers to give the party a tour of the space. As soon as we come backstage, the lights go out. Isaac turns on his earpiece to light the room, and we see what Nam saw when he Detected Magic: a slightly tall, not-so-pretty woman with stringy hair and plastic features. Sylvia puts her fingers to her mouth and whistles. Through each window, a bandit breaks in to contain the party. Under this disguise that had been amplified by illusion magic in the previous room, was The Nightingale Bandit himself. Sylvia does not exist. The Bandit removes the wig and prosthetics and gives Namfoodle the stinkeye. “You caused me so much trouble.” He demands we hand over the tome of time magic. Isaac pretends to concede and reaches into his pack. But he withdraws a scroll of Invisibility and casts it on himself. The Nightingale Bandit whistles quickly, casting a cloud of glowing particles that blinds all the party members except for Emilie and Tahlarien. Even more problematic is that Isaac, though still invisible, is now covered in powder and can be seen quite easily.
The party prepares to fight!
- Vic's player had to leave for his job midway.
- What became the end of this session was supposed to happen about fifteen minutes into it, had the players followed the DM's expectations.