The party: Lucia the Brave the Heir, Dryden of Conwall the Collector
Lucia and Dryden are inside a hidden library. Centuries ago, when Lucia’s ancestors decided that their kindgom should become the Forgotten Lands, some librarians who did not wish for all their knowledge to be forgotten left their home and founded this library. At the bottom of an extinct volcano’s caldera, they collected lore about creatures of darkness. An evil warlord besieged the library, intent on capturing its secrets, but two legendary heroes broke the siege, giving the librarians within time to encase the library in a magical impervious shell. One hundred and two years later, who should break the shell and reach the inside but the rightful Queen of the Forgotten Lands! Only one ghostly librarian is left, but she has issued Lucia a library card and is ready to answer her questions.
GM note: Fellowship has a move for getting information from people, and a move for learning about the world, but asking a librarian to recite information about the world is somewhere in between. As a compromise, I let the players ask questions from both the Look Closely and Speak Softly list, but reduced the number of questions from three to two.
Lucia wants to know about vampires. Vampires feed on the blood of the living. Sunlight harms them. Like with Zombies, if a Vampire bites you a little, you become one, but if one bites you a lot, you die and are consumed. Vampires don’t age from the time they are turned. Since they have long lives and consider normal people as livestock, they tend to be shadowy manipulators. th ghostly librarian floats through stacks of ancient books, pulling some out with poltergeist powers to illustrate her points. Here’s a portrait of a noble rumored to be a vampire. Here is a report of a battle against vampires.
The librarian doesn’t know anything about Werewolves. She doesn’t even know about the Moon, That appeared after the library was sealed away.
Dryden wants to know where to find magical items. The librarian says that following the river to the north all the way east to where it flows into the sea, there’s a small settlement housing a magical tinker. She also heard word of a mine south and east that made a large effort to open new shafts, then suddenly went quiet. Perhaps they found something powerful and didn’t want anyone to know. Lucia thinks that might be the Oolite mine.
GM note: I told Dryden’s player that something was going to pop out of a big specimen jar and get Dryden. Would Dryden knock it off the shelf, or open it and look inside? Dryden would definitely open a specimen jar and look inside!
Dryden notices a large specimen jar on a shelf that is completely black. It’s impossible to see what’s inside. He pops the lid open, looks inside, and finds a Creeping Shadow! The specimen jar is clear, like a normal jar, but completely filled with a malevolent shadow creature. It emerges from the jar and pours over Dryden’s body like some horrible black jelly! The goo stiffens and begins to operate Dryden’s limbs like a puppet! The librarian quickly informs Lucia of the Creeping Shadow’s power to control the bodies of others, and its weakness to bright light and fire. Lucia draws her sword and tries to scrape the Shadow off of Dryden and put it back in the jar. Shadow Dryden grabs her arms to stop her, and as they wrestle, they smash into a pile of ancient books stacked up to the ceiling.
Hundreds of tomes collapse on top of them! At the end of each shelf in the library is a sign warning “Do not remove books without a library card.” Lucia was given a library card, since she is the queen, but Dryden does not have a card, so he has violated a magical taboo! The penalty is teleportation. He appears outside the library at the top of one of the staircases leading down from the rim of the caldera. Great news! In the sunlight, the Creeping Shadow begins to dissolve. Bad news! This is the staircase damaged in the fight to save the library long ago. There are no stairs under Dryden’s feet, and he falls! He grabs his rope gun and throws a line to save himself! back inside the library, Lucia’s library card means she can stay and be crushed by a huge pile of books! She rolls away and the heap only strikes the ghostly library, who floats out of the pile untouched. She’s quite upset. This will take hours to clean up. Alas, Your Majesty, the library is closed and you must leave now. Books start floating back to their proper places. the librarian has no arms under her ghost’s sheet, but she has telekinesis.
As Lucia leaves, she asks if the librarian has any message for home. The librarian would like to re-establish contact with the home branch, but normal messenger hawks are afraid of ghosts. Lucia will tell the main library that this branch is open once more, and they will figure out how to get in touch. They do have the accumulated knowledge an the entire civilization. Lucia crawls out of the crack in the library’s shell and finds Dryden still swinging back and forth on his rope, since that’s the most entertaining action available right now. They ponder their next move. Dryden wants to assemble some magical traps to kill Dr. MacLeod, the Vampire mad scientist who is trying to destroy the moon. Since all vmapires are evil. they won’t feel bad about killing her.
GM note: Dryden’s player remembered a detail from Fairmeadow Fair, when he played a different character, so he played it like Dryden remembered a story that Lucia told him, since Dryden wasn’t there.
Dryden asks Lucia about the sundial in Templeton. It focused and re-directed the sun’s rays, so it’s basically a death ray for vampires. Lucia sees how useful it would be, but remembers that she did not leave Templeton on good terms.
There are lots of options. Now that she’s queen, Lucia could demand an audience, but with whom? The mayor is gone. Dryden would be fine because they don’t know him. Lucia could wear a disguise. They could go elsewhere to gear up, maybe that settlement on the river. Maybe they should just go fight Dr. MacLeod now, before she can try to destroy the moon again!
GM note: That little settlement is now Port Fennrick, and the tinker no longer lives there. The librarian’s information is 100 years out of date. Lucia’s player mentioned the very meta strategy of waiting and hoping another group of player characters would kill Dr. MacLeod first.
They decide to head back to face MacLeod immediately, and since it’s on the way, they stop in at Lady Evelynn’s house again. Jayce, the butler, recognizes them and prepares the same rooms that they used a few days ago. Lady Evelynn is not busy this evening and invites them to the sitting room and asks about their travels. They carefully do not mention the library full of secrets of creatures of darkness, since Lady Evelynn is a terrifying and cruel woman with a living shadow. they say that Goblins are coming out of their underground city because a Dragon has taken over and is looking for challengers. Lady Evelynn has heard about dragons. The history books all sing of their power, wisdom, and benevolence, because the Dragons hired all the historians. Dragons think they are better than everyone else and Lady Evelynn doesn’t want some new Dragon tells her what to do. They also mention the strange light near the moon. Lady Evelynn noticed them as well, and leads them to an observation dome on top of her mansion where the moon is visible. Four bright lights surround the moon and as they watch, they notice that the lights are moving! Three of the lights streak across the sky in different directions, but the fourth seems to headed right for the mansion! The unidentified flying object hurtles over the horizon just to the south, and after a few seconds, the room shakes. Lady Evelynn, usually very calm, looks genuinely shocked, but recovers quickly and says, “Sugar’s Crossing. I hope it hit one of the other mills.”
This whole moon plot just got a lot more dangerous! Dryden begins an impassioned speech! He and Lucia know who caused this disaster and they are working to stop that person. He implores Lady Evelynn to allow them to use some of the artifacts that she has in her collection. Perhaps there is something that will help us kill the mad scientist vampire who is trying to destroy the moon! Lady Evelynn is instantly on her feet, furious. “You dare come to me, to use my treasures, to kill my dear friend Diana?!” Two large, diamond-shaped blades erupt through Lady Evelynn’s housecoat, one of each shoulder. With a quick circular motion, the blades cut off her housecoat, revealing that they are on the ends of 10-foot-long ribbons which Lady Evelynn controls as easily as her own limbs. The outfit Lady Evelynn wears beneath her housecoats is more form-fitting and suitable for the fight that Dryden just started.
Lucia and Dryden consider retreating, but don’t want Dr. Diana MacLeod to be warned of their intentions. They have to stop Lady Evelynn here! Lucia steps forward to engage, but Lady Evelynn has two blades to Lucia’s one sword, and a serious reach advantage. Will, Lucia’s bodyguard, dives in and takes a blow meant for Lucia, letting Lucia get the upper hand momentarily. Dryden reaches into his cloak and retrieves space-warping, gas-spewing bolas! Each end of the metal cord has, not a rock or metal weight, but a combination rock, gravity field for extra weight, and incapacitating gas! These three components continually grow and shrink in turn, so the weapon is very unbalanced and difficult to wield. Dryden maneuvers to throw the bola and entangle Lady Evelynn’s ribbon-knives where they emerge from her back. With all her attention on Lucia, Lady Evelynn doesn’t see the attack coming, and is enveloped and knocked to the ground. The gas expands rapidly, putting Lady Evelynn to sleep and threatening to knock out Lucia, who holds her breath and leaps away.
Jayce, waiting at the door like a good butler, heard the commotion and ran in to assist his mistress. He tackles Dryden to the ground. Lucia gets up and brandishes her sword at Jayce, demanding his surrender. Jayce shoves Dryden at Lucia and runs for the door to raise the alarm. Dryden uses his rope gun to entangle Jayce, then drags him into the gas cloud around Lady Evelynn to put him to sleep.
This escalated out of control! Dryden really thought that evil people would hate each other. Lucia reminds him like-minded evil people also join forces. What do they do now? If they leave someone in the gas for too long, they’ll die. The gas’s effect expands and contracts, like the restof the space-warping weapon. It expands for 12 hours, at which point the victim is at perfect rest. Then it contracts for 12 hours, so at the end of 24 hours, the victim dies. She is pretty evil, so maybe that’s OK. They could drag her off somewhere to conceal her, but if she’s lit by a bright light, her shadow will appear, and maybe the shadow will not be unconscious! Could they drag her into town and have her arrested? She runs one of the biggest businesses in town. She has a lot of clout. Deliver her to one of her rivals, like the le Grinds? The le Grinds aren’t too nice either. If they leave her in the observatory, she’ll be exposed to the sun when it rises. They’ve never seen hour outdoors, so maybe she’s a vampire and she’ll just die. They determine to go look at Sugar’s Crossing real quick (something big did just crash/explode there) and come back in about 12 hours to pull these two out of the gas. They put a “do not disturb” sign on the door of the observatory and Dryden puts a trap on the door to make extra-sure. The trap takes on the color of its surroundings, and if anyone touches the door, a force-field will immobilize them.
GM note: I asked them not to ransack the mansion, since there’s another group of players who entered the mansion earlier in game-time, and we haven’t run another session together yet. that session, in the future of real-time, will be in the past of game-time. That’s confusing enough. Please avoid time-paradoxes!
They leave Lady Evelynn’s estate, with the very believable and true excuse that they must go see what happened to Sugar’s Crossing.