Seekers of the Ashen Crown week 7: Down to business

In Captain Kalaes’ office, Jak pulled him aside privately to confirm how much the others could know about the true nature of his and Kalaes’ work for the Citadel. Kalaes informed him in no uncertain terms that they were not to know of the Dark Lanterns’ involvement, then left to get their briefing materials.  When he returned, he filled them in on their mission: a journey to the mountains northwest of Graywall, to retrieve another piece of the Ashen Crown under the ancient Dhakaani monument known as the Six Kings.  They were to join up with a Kech Volaar dirgesinger named Yeraa, the leader of an expeditionary force whose first wave had tried and failed to retrieve the crown fragment now in the party’s possession.  Amongst her number was a changeling named Tik, a Dark Lantern infiltrating Yeraa’s unit undercover as a hobgoblin warrior.  The party was given two warnings: first, that members of a rival kech were pursuing Yeraa’s party, and were to be considered enemies who cannot gain a piece of the crown at any cost…and second, that Yeraa intended to “deal with” the party after their work together was done.  Kalaes told the party to sort out what cover story they want in order to approach Yeraa, and Jak was able to convince the party of the merit of Lestok’s idea to present themselves as a Morgrave research expedition.  With that, Kalaes informed them they’d be leaving Sharn in three days, giving them time to prepare, make goodbyes, and tie up loose ends.  Quentin was glad that this would still give them time to meet with Gydd Nephret, the researcher who they had first brought Ashtura’s blade to, and who had told them to return in a couple of days for more information.

Before that meeting, however, the party found themselves with a free afternoon, and they parted ways.  Kayde was determined to source a bag of holding, and spent his entire afternoon trying to get a lead.  Arguet went to check in with his captain at House Deneith.  Before leaving the Citadel, Jak stopped in to see his old friend Alan, the Dark Lantern quartermaster who handles the “special orders.”  To Jak’s surprise, Alan seemed pleased to see him, and got him measured up for a new suit of shiftweave.  And then, there was Quentin and Lestok…

Lestok, pleased that his idea to impersonate a Morgrave team had gained traction, was quite concerned about getting proper identification papers.  He had the foolproof idea that something to forge papers with could be “borrowed” from the office of his arch-nemesis, Lenard in the alchemy department…and somehow, he was able to convince Quentin of the wisdom of this plan.  Jak seemed bemused, but did not try to discourage them.  The two set out for Morgrave, and hatched a scheme to convince the school that there had been an infestation of Divalian fleas, allowing them to slip into Lenard’s office without suspicion in order to “fumigate.”  The members of the alchemy department bought Lestok’s ruse, helped by Quentin stirring up some dirt particles to look like fleas milling about, and they quickly shut themselves in Lenard’s office with Quentin keeping watch.  Though he was planning on “borrowing” letterhead, Lestok found an even better prize: a Morgrave seal, which he pocketed.  They then considered how to leave without raising suspicion, but not before Lestok pulled a few thumbtacks off the bulletin board and left them on Lenard’s chair.  With a sign in the door and a puff of fumigating gas helped along by Quentin’s magic, the pair boldly left the same way they’d entered the school: through the front door.  When they met up with the party the next day to meet with Professor Nephret, Lestok was eager to share the tale of his success…at which point Jak broke the news that he’d requisitioned a proper forgery at the Citadel, like a responsible agent.  Quentin was a little taken aback that he’d gone to all that trouble for nothing, but Lestok was easily convinced that his little prank was indeed a story for the ages.

When the party met with Gydd Nephret at the appointed place, Jak was alarmed to find her in the company of two Aereni elves, a woman and a man.  The woman introduced herself as Lady Dannae Ulyan, and Jak quickly took the party aside to impress on them the importance of saying nothing, and letting Lady Ulyan do all the talking – after all, Prof. Nephret was supposed to have kept their find a secret.  Everyone agreed, and Lady Ulyan and Prof. Nephret explained that what was now the Ashen Crown was originally an Aereni artifact that she had great interest in collecting.  Lestok was unable to keep all his excitement about some of the tomb’s contents to himself, and while the professor seemed interested in the shrunken head he produced, Lady Ulyan remained unreadable.  Eventually, she offered the party 3000 galifars for Ashtura’s blade, which were refused.  She did not attempt to argue or bargain further.  With that, Jak hastened the meeting’s end, and the party left Prof. Nephret to her studies.  On edge and with his danger senses tingling, Jak informed the party that he was bringing the news of Lady Ulyan straight to Captain Kalaes, and the group parted ways again.

Behind the Scenes

  • Jak levied his Connections edge (King’s Dark Lanterns) into that free suit of shiftweave. Not too shabby, Jak.
  • Lestok and Quentin’s downtime prank was played out as a mini dramatic task! For those unfamiliar, a dramatic task is a type of encounter in which the GM adjudicates that the party has to accrue x successes before y failures. Raises (rolling 4 more above the target number, which is also typically 4) count as multiple successes, and players can use their turns to support another player for a bonus to their own roll. The best part about dramatic tasks though, for me, is the players narration of what and how they do with their skills!

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