Last time, our heroes attracted a lot of attention, so much attention that their hostel was staked out by two separate parties. They opted to camp outside of town for the night.
Lucia suggests just leaving, but Gleador wants to look around and see what’s happening in the city of Templeton. He remembers observations he had in the previous days to see how he could safely scout around. Local wildlife that he could shapeshift into include soaring birds drawn the the updrafts around the volcano, and stray dogs, mostly terrier breeds as opposed to the hound mutts in Fairmeadow. The City Watch and Campus Security are different organizations, and there was enough bureaucratic confusion yesterday that he imagined there may be chain-of-command problems, and multiple organizations working without talking to each other.
Gleador uses his new chimera power to turn into a falcon with bat ears and flies into the city. He circles the hostel and sees a City Watchman staking the place out. He wheels towards the collage to see what’s up, and notices thick clouds of smoke from the city north of campus. A large building and two small dwelling are engulfed in flames, and several nearby buildings are threatened. City Watch are keeping crowds of onlookers and displaced residents away from the buildings. The level of panic indicates that there’s probably no one trapped inside. A City Watchman with impressive robes arrives, forms a cloud in his hands and spreads it over the tenement house next to the burning building. Rain soaks the tenement house, preventing it from igniting. Gleador flies near Dead Stanton’s office to listen in. Stanton is complaining to Simmons about the meeting that just ended with Professor Mag
GM note: Say your NPC names outloud before the session. I wrote “Prof. Mamag” in my notes, but saying “Mamag” is just goofy.
Stanton gestures with the records of Mag’s research and equipment. “There’s nothing in here like those adventurers describe, and nothing that would get the Mayor’s office involved. The Mayor himself asked me to drop the investigation! What is going on here?” Gleador makes a mental note to get those records, then returns to camp and reports to Lucia.
Lucia & Gleador decide to go to the Dean’s office, question him, and maybe acquire Mag’s records. They make sure to only enter college campus, not the rest of the city. Apparently the City Watch and the Mayor are looking for them. As they walk along, they are hailed by Selene. She met Gleador at the rest stop along the road from Fairmeadow. She asks how they have been and they say they’ve almost been killed and there are conspiracies against them. She’s shocked. They ask about the college keeping prisoners, which is another shock to her. She does mention that she rents a room in a giant house of 20 students, and one of them was arrested yesterday. City Watch all over. Our heroes correctly guess that it was Rott, who tried to kill them. Selene is shocked to hear that about her housemate. They weren’t close, but he would sometimes make breakfast for the house. He could have poisoned them at any time! They press her for his friends and habits. She didn’t keep track of his friends, since there are so many people in the house, but in the past year he’s been quite generous, buying rounds of drinks and so on. Not easy to do on a grad student’s allowance. Our heroes ask again about Oolite. Selene doesn’t know about it, but the school library is the place to find out, and she’s happy to escort them there. Finally! All they really wanted was to look up this mysterious word!
Selene escorts Gleador & Lucia into the library. She tells the door guard, “They’re with me. I’ll make sure they don’t break anything.” Gleador is not sure she will be able to keep that promise. They go to the librarian, a male Elf with blond hair pulled back in a high ponytail. He’s standing at his desk, but the desk needs to be accessible to Dwarfs, so his area is recessed a few feet in to the ground. After hearing their query, he takes off his glasses and whispers a few Elvish words to them and the word “Oolite”. He puts his glasses on and looks around the room. His glasses start to glow when he looks at certain books. This library is set up like the one in Beauty and the Beast. Very high shelves with catwalks and tight spiral staircases to access higher shelves. There are also dumbwaiters, probably to carry loads of books. The librarian (his name is Lindolan) emerges from behind his desk, rising to 6’3″ as he takes the ramp up to the normal floor. He’s missing his legs below the knees and is “standing” on a little automatic cart that looks a bit like a Segway. He rolls to a dumbwaiter, rises to the catwalks, and uses a wand to pull books off the shelves into his arms. Back at his desk, he flips through them and explains.
Oolite is a family name. It was a respectable business with a mine off to the south (he marks it on our heroes’ map) that supplied metals. The mine’s output suddenly increased, then dropped to zero, and the family faded away in disgrace. Lindolan suspects that they neglected safety protocols to increase output and there was some sort of accident. Gleador ask about robots or living statues. Lindolan suggests the fiction section. There are books about sculptors so skilled their creations came to life, a copy of Pygmalion, lots of fanciful stories. Gleador pulls out the strange coin. Lindolan gasps. He recognizes it immediately. It’s a coin from Saarland, which until 30 years ago was a great city of the Elves north of here, in the forest. It was prosperous and peaceful, until, in a single night, it was sacked and burned. The survivors scattered, leaving an abandoned ruin, and anyone who has its wealth must be a robber. Gleador assures Lindolan that this is evidence, and they have it on loan from the sheriff in Fairmeadow. Lindolan wishes the coin could be returned to one of Saarland’s survivors, but does not insist.
One last question. Has Lindolan heard anything or read any stories about gelatinous people? A dwarf appears and leans on the desk. “Gelatinous people? I’ve never heard of such a ridiculous thing!” It’s Flint! Flint, the metallurgy student apparently mixed up is some scheme that got our heroes trapped in the laboratories. Flint who they last saw running down the hall away from them. They thought he’s be caught and killed by his former accomplices, but here he is. Flint would love to talk to them about gelatinous people, perhaps at the study table just over there? Our heroes excuse themselves from the librarian and Selene. Gleador would love to chat with Flint, but following Flint into places hasn’t worked out well for them, so he suggested they chat outside. Flint agrees and they go out and sit on a bench.
Flint says, “I’m very grateful that you released me, but you have something that belongs to me, and I want it back.” Our heroes don’t remember taking everything from Flint. Flint apologizes for the confusion, and reveals that he is Andro, the “gelatinous person” they were talking about! Lucia immediately checks his alignment: not Evil.
GM note: The revelation could have been cooler. Here’s what I should have done. “Flint is wearing a hood. He grabs his head and twists it 180-degrees, revealing Andro’s face on the back of Flint’s head” Instead Andro mushed some facial features with his hands to show that he could change his appearance. Boring!
Our heroes have a million question for Andro, but he really wants that amulet they took from him. He’ll let them keep the 200 gold as a reward for freeing him. He’s split between leaving town to ensure he’s never caught again, or staying and punishing the people who captured him. Our heroes are tempted to help him, since they like rooting out evil. Gleador figures they have about a day before they become unwelcome in town. Andro says that he prefers a slow, methodical, safe approach to revenge. Perhaps their styles clash to much to co-operate. They have some evidence that they want to get from the Dean. Andro should not come with them looking like Andro or like Flint, since people are looking for both of them. If Andro will meet with them later, they will return the amulet. Andro agrees and points out a statue in the distance. “Meet me there.” He leaves.
Gleador and Lucia head for the Dean’s office. Simmon’s shows them in quickly, since the Dean is dealing with the ruckus they started. Dean Stanton says that the Mayor wants our heroes to meet with him at City Hall right away. They ask why the Mayor is involved. Stanton’s not sure. Our heroes say they released a prisoner, the Mayor doesn’t want Stanton to look into it, but Professor Mag’s records (still on the desk) don’t say anything about a prisoner, or anything shocking. Mag had several rooms reinforced for keeping dangerous specimens, like the giant amphibious mole from the Sapphire Islands, or that weird jellyfish wit hte mind-affecting spores. Nothing about keeping people. Gleador wants to tour Mag’s other rooms to make sure that there are no other prisoners. Stanton refuses. The last time our heroes were in the labs they destroyed a lot of property, and no one else knows anything about this alleged prisoner. Gleador threatens to spread rumors about the college’s secret prison. Stanton is sure the college’s reputation can withstand two strangers with no evidence. He asks them to leave, since he’s very busy cleaning up their mess. As they go, Lucia tries to grab the book of Mag’s records. She fails and Stanton yells for help. Our heroes try to flee, but Simmons blocks the door and summons Campus Security. Simmons is 4’4″ facing a 5’0″ knight in full armor and a 6’+ Elf, but he tangles up their feet and Stanton jumps on Gleador’s back. They stall long enough for 3 Campus Security guards to arrive. One bops Lucia with a Somnaboffer. The padded club doesn’t hurt at all, but the impact releases sleeping gas. Lucia coughs and jerks back. Simmons is kneeling behind her and she topples over! Gleador slams the door on the three guards and locks himself, his ally, and the two academics in the office. (A half-turn on a small gear extends a toothed bar to lock the door. Very find craftsmanship. The action feels very nice)
Our heroes remind Simmons and Stanton that they are locked in a room with two very dangerous people and their security is outside. Give us the book and give us safe passage off campus and we won’t harm you. Stanton agrees. He unlocks the door and orders the guards to escort the adventurers out. Lucia and Gleador set off quickly, forcing the shorter dwarves to hustle to keep up. They arrange to pass the statue where Andro told them to meet. No one is there, but there’s some graffiti near the base. Gleador is scandalized by this vandalism of art and suggests that the guards should be cleaning this statue and tracking the perpetrators instead of escorting him. The guards are unconvinced, despite his appeals to Art, but our heroes stall enough to read the graffiti, which gives another landmark and a time: sunset. The guards deposit them at the northern border of campus. That’s near the fire that Gleador saw this morning. Our heroes investigate.
As they approach, they see that the large building’s roof is gone, but the stone support pillars are still intact. The two smaller buildings are gone. The tenement house is singed on one side and soaked, but intact. There are City Watch patrolling. Our heroes approach, even though City Watch staked out their hostel and work for the Mayor, who is suspiciously interested in meeting them. Two guards notice them and demand that they come to City Hall immediately. Gleador stalls and asks impertinent questions, but the guards are insistent and draw their hammers. Gleador continues not complying, so he gets hit! Four more guards approach. Gleador is shocked — shocked! — that City Watch would hit someone peacefully making conversation. He and Lucia are making significant eye contact, wondering if they should fight, leave, or comply. City Watch swing at Gleador again, and our heroes fight back! Gleador’s doing OK, but they’re wearing him down. Lucia’s armor makes her almost impervious, and she rapidly drops four of them. Our heroes are fighting to disable, not kill. The remaining guard flees, and our heroes are left with a crowd of terrified onlookers.
Our heroes have gone loud on campus and in the city. That guard is sure to bring more. they must flee. But first, Gleador grabs a bystander and quizzes him about the fire. “What burned, and why?” This was Mister Bill’s Tack Shop. It sold horse & carriage equipment. The small dwellings adjacent were where Mister Bill and his workers lived. Fortunately, they weren’t around, so no one was injured. Gleador and Lucia are satisfied and leave. The poor Dwarf lets out a panicky gasp and staggers away.
Lucia picks minor streets to avoid patrols and doesn’t lead them down any dead ends. Gleador keeps an eye out for City Watch. A pair of guards look down a cross-street just as our heroes pass a block down, and the chase is on. Lucia dives into an alley, but it’s a dead end. Gleador sees a clear route and starts down it, hoping to split the pursuers. Knowing the terrain, they opt for the easier prey and both go down the alley. Gleador reverses course to block their escape. Once in the alley, the guards find they are out-matched. Lucia drops one and injures the other. They demand answers. He’ll talk if he can do so from the mouth of the alley, so he can flee as soon as he’s done. They ask why the mayor is after them. The guard had orders to bring them in alive if possible, as they were involved in important security and defense matters. Gleador asks, “Do you have to bring in a lot of people ‘alive, if possible'” He answers “No, no. I mean, alive is assumed!” Gleador asks if Templeton’s laws are equitable. “We don’t pick on Elves, if that’s what you mean.” They let him go with a message for the Mayor: “If you want to talk to us, meet us at the rest stop on the road to Fairmeadow in three days” That rest stop is enchanted. None make cause harm while lit by the campfire’s glow.
Lucia & Gleador leave town (they were only a few blocks from the border!) and go to the campsite from last night.They scheme to watch the road and see if the Mayor actually goes towards the rendezvous. near sunset, Gleador turns into a falcon-bat again and goes to the new spot specified by Andro’s graffiti. But Andro could look like literally anyone! Gleador sees four students loitering near the statue. A pulse of echolocation reveals a female Dwarf with a mohawk & mohawk beard that is significantly denser than the other dwarves. Gleador perches in a tree and squawks. Several students glance up, but the mohawked one keeps staring and tentatively waves. Gleador swoops down to one of the paths leading away from the statue and drops a note. The mohawked student retrieves it, nods to the falcon, and heads out.
Gleador flies back, reasonably sure that contact has been made. A while later, the mohawked dwarf arrives. :Lucia wants to be sure and asks what the swarf expects to get from them. The dwarf says she is owed an amulet, which was taken from right there. She drives her finger into her leg up to the knuckle, then removes it, leaving no wound. That’s Andro all right. Gleador, of course, has many questions. How do we get ot Saarland? Follow the road to Saarland, obviously. How old are you? I don’t know years, but the first thing I remember was the Sea Viper spreading his kingdom onto land in the south. How did they capture you? I’m tough and i’m slippery, but I have limits. Lucia says that’s the sort of vague answer she expects from someone so slippery. Andro is glad to be free, and hopes that our heroes can help her, but she really wants her amulet back. Our heroes tell her about the rendezvous with the Mayor. She doesn’t know about the rest stop, but she knows the road to Fairmeadow. She is disappointed that the rest stop is literally a safe haven. They give her the amulet, and the records about Mag. Andro picks out names of other professors and says this will be very useful. Andro leaves, and our heroes once again camp outside Templeton, which is much more dangerous than it was 24 hours ago.