Seekers of the Ashen Crown week 9: The journey begins

As the party remained locked in battle with Lady Dannae and her remaining zombies, a closer look revealed that “Lady Dannae” was an illusion over a monstrous, undead creature of some sort.  Jak quickly followed up Kayde’s attack with one of his own, but only served to further enrage the wight.  Frustrated, unable to escape Lestok’s entangling substance, and gravely wounded, she did the only thing left in her power: she psychically scooped the gnome out of the fireplace and sent him crashing through a window, still on fire, to the ground two stories down.  Kayde and Jak continued to try to take her down while Quentin recovered enough from a nasty spell backlash to rejoin the fight.  Meanwhile, Lestok retained enough presence of mind to activate his featherfall token, and gently floated to safety.  Still on fire, he studiously ignored a well-placed rain barrel and began to climb a trellis back up to Nephret’s apartment.  The flaming inventor came barreling back through the window to find the party still in battle, and launched himself at Lady Dannae, wrapping himself around her leg and setting fire to her and the sticky stuff she remained trapped in.  That distraction proved to be what was needed for Jak to finally dispatch the creature, dragging his dagger through her guts (and perhaps deliberately splashing a little on Kayde).  Kayde dealt with the remaining two zombies, and the fight was finally over.

The party got to searching the trashed apartment for any sign of Prof. Nephret, dead or alive.  They found nothing but her promised notes and journals in the secret compartment, but Jak spotted a scrap of paper with another note on it in Nephret’s handwriting declaring that Lady Dannae was actually Demise of the Emerald Claw.

By then, it was late at night.  Jak was anxious to return home to make his last goodbyes to Jonah before leaving Sharn in the morning, while Lestok and Quentin made a very late library visit to try to discern where the professor might be, but were unsuccessful.  In the morning, the party met up once again at the Citadel to see Captain Kalaes for their final briefing.  He told them that Yeraa’s party from Kech Volaar had arrived in Ardev the day before and would be traveling overland to the Six Kings, though he advised the Orien trade route as the safer option.  He didn’t seem surprised that the Emerald Claw would be after the Ashen Crown, and asked the party if they had any final questions.  Lestok’s main concern was for Prof. Nephret’s safety, and at his and Quentin’s request, Kalaes promised to put reliable Watch officers on the case in the event that she was still in Sharn.  On the way out, Jak took another private word with the captain, asking how he was to make contact with the undercover Lantern, Tik.  Kalaes relayed his instructions and wished Jak luck, and he rejoined the party to go see the quartermaster before making their way to Lyrandar tower.

Lyrandar tower was an impressive place.  With Quentin lost in old memories, he and Jak grabbed a drink together before making for their ship, the Eminence.  Captain Mag d’Lyrandar greeted them aboard, directed them to their cabins, and they began their journey to Ardev.

During the day’s travel, everyone got up to something.  Quentin and Lestok continued working on their plan to “improve” the Eminence’s speed and efficiency, though Quentin was more interested in improving Lestok’s environmental suit in an attempt to propel it through the air and replicate the effects of a featherfall token.  As they worked, he regaled Lestok with stories of a ghost ship of House Lyrandar that he’d heard as a child.

After that project was completed, Lestok somehow managed to gain access to the engine room and observed a fluid on the machinery that seemed to keep its moving parts from wearing out.  Collecting some, he spilled a little on a piece of metal and proceeded to cut himself quite badly.  Surmising that the fluid had helped make it sharp, and remembering eavesdropping on Jak’s conversation with the quartermaster regarding better weapons, he started formulating plans for a new alchemical concoction.

Kayde, meanwhile, decided to try to make a new friend.  A pretty deckhand caught his eye, and he tried to win her over, but was shut down.  His pride injured, Kayde decided to get petty and enlisted Lestok to help him prank the deckhand instead.

Jak also decided to try making new friends, with greater success.  Pulling a bottle from his pack, he went in search of off-duty sailors, and found them gambling.  Welcomed to their table, Jak shared his drink and tried his luck while pressing the sailors for stories.  They happily shared their experiences in exchange for Jak’s wagers, and by the end of the night – down five galifars and a bottle of cheap whiskey – Jak had learned of good routes to take to the Six Kings, good camping spots along the way, and been given warnings about raiding groups along the border.

With that, the party settled in for the night, and continued their journey to whatever awaited in Ardev.

Behind the Scenes

  • That fight against two zombies and one half-dead wight? Half a session. Our rolls were historically bad, and so were the GMs! We used bennies. He used bennies. It was just this bizarre stalemate of bad odds.

  • A question I frequently see pop up in tabletop spaces is, “how can I make travel interesting?” Savage Worlds has an answer to that, with a mechanic called Interludes. The way it works is, every player draws a card, and they get to choose a backstory, downtime, or journey element of the story to play out, depending on what suit their card is. Lestok’s interlude was looking towards his next skill learned on advancement. Jak’s was answering the prompt of finding something that benefited the party on their journey. I love interludes, and whenever we get the opportunity for one, there are usually more people wanting to do one than the GM has time for!

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