City of Brass

Episode 6

This was the sixth game set in the City of Brass. I ran it for five players at the Windup Space in Baltimore. Two players were new to the City of Brass. The other three were returning players.

Characters present:

  • Someplace, male tiefling paladin
  • Russelfin, male gnome monk
  • Keg’Alog, female half-orc barbarian
  • Sut, male dwarf fighter (looks like coal), was a demolitions man for the Masons Guild, messed up bad and owes them lots of money for reparations
  • Wrench, male half-orc bard, horns player in a failed band called Formicide

NPCs encountered

  • Hengritte, a comrade once addicted to spirit potions, who still wants to visit her spirit dragon, also a vampire victim
  • Hatha, a woman the comrades met in the market; she has bite marks, too
  • The PCs from last session, particularly Kethin, the half elf bard

New problems

Mijktar returns all bloodied and beaten. He says Esven is dead. Someplace was very concerned about this and wanted to do something about it, but the rest of the comrades weren’t as urgently interested. Someplace did manage to convince Mijktar to hang out and heal, and not go rushing back for revenge. He says that he was beaten up by a Blackguard.

(IGNORED)

Hengritte has bite marks on her neck. When asked about them, she didn’t seem to know they were there. She doesn’t remember much about last night, but that’s often the case for her. She insists she was sober last night, though. The comrades suspect a vampire, though none of them really knew that vampires were real before now.

They decided to investigate the vampire bite first. Canvassing the neighborhood was fruitless. They wandered down to the triangle market and asked around there, and managed to find another woman, Hatha, who had bite marks on her neck. She also remembers nothing about it. She thought they were nuts, with all the talk of vampires and whatnot.

They scared off Hatha, unintentionally, and she left her groceries there. A bit of fast-talking and a Friends spell made the street vendor more susceptible to Wrench’s persuasion, and the comrades made off with a few chickens and other foodstuffs before the vendor got his wits back (and was furious). Everyone ate well that day.

Later on, searching for signs of a vampire in the neighborhood, Someplace happened to be looking in the right place at the right time (or wrong time, depending on how you look at it), and noticed a handsome, fanged man skulking in a window of a tall, run-down tower. Someplace pretended not to notice and kept going down the street, so as not to tip off the vampire.

Russelfin stayed and kept an eye on the tower, but he was tailed by a robed man later on. The comrades confronted and intimidated the man tailing them, found out he was probably doing the vampire’s bidding, and sent him back with the address of the leader of the Betters. The poor man was so frightened by the thought of failing his master that he wet himself.

A plan is hatched

Sut suggested that they blow up the tower. They hatched a plan to steal explosives from the Masons Guild supply depot and set off a controlled demolition of the tower to kill the vampire inside.

After much deliberation, they tried to break into the supply depot, half a day’s travel across the city. Their plan involved disguises and Wrench impersonating a manager, who happened to be a human woman, and who happened to be out for the day. They quickly came up with a new plan to Charm one of the guards and talk their way in. That didn’t work either. Then the other guard got suspicious and they Charmed him, too. They told them about the vampire, and failed utterly. They eventually went home, tails between their legs.

(FAILED)

Old Problems

Hengritte’s is still prostituting herself. She wants to earn money for spirit potions to go visit her spirit dragon friend. Someplace tried to intervene but doesn’t seem to have convinced her. He did learn the name of her “handler” (pimp): Alem. Mixia knows Alem, as they’re both Blackguards, but Mixia doesn’t seem to be involved in prostitution.

Someplace heard that three other comrades (Kethin, Roland, and Pete) had held Hengritte against her will and had beat up Grog, so he went to confront Kethin, hearing he was their leader. He grabbed Kethin and threw him against a wall, but Kethin just snapped back with his signature Charm spell. Someplace suddenly felt great amicability towards Kethin and the two had a nice talk about Hengritte’s well-being for 55 minutes, then Kethin disappeared quickly.

Kethin had tried to lure Someplace out into the street away from the eyes of the Commune so that Roland could get into position to do something, but Wrench threw a—nevermind. Wrench saw the ruse and tapped Roland on the shoulder to keep him from doing anything shady.

(NO CHANGE)

Morale

Three of the five comrades failed their Morale checks!

Commune improvements

Russelfin spent some time moving the junk from the courtyard into one of the junky inside rooms. He has plans to turn the courtyard into some kind of marketplace or concert venue or something.

(IMPROVEMENTS: 1 XP)

Jobs and other commitments

No one held down a job this time.

Awards

Keg’Alog, Russelfin, Someplace, Sut, and Wrench each earned 1 XP.

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Episode 5

This was the fifth game set in the City of Brass, and the first FOUR-HOUR game. I ran it for three players at a private home in Laurel, Maryland. All three players were new to City of Brass, but we’ve gamed together a lot before.

Characters present:

  • Kethin MyFel, male half elf bard, snake charmer, seeking his abusive father (who illegally “breeds” half-elves) to confront him.
  • Roland, male dark elf rogue, forgery expert.
  • Pete, male human cleric, pirate “enforcer” who is faithful to the storm god.

NPCs encountered

  • Pliya, female human (skinny, rakish, wild hair), storm god adherent
  • Hengritte, a comrade addicted to spirit potions
  • [PC] Grog, a male half-orc barbarian who funds Hengritte’s habit so she won’t sell to kids

Random problems

The Kickstone blacksmith is calling local elves nasty racial slurs. They did nothing about this.

Old Problems

Hengritte’s spirit potion addiction is making her behavior worse. She’s prostituting herself. Grog is facilitating her addiction.

The group found Hengritte and Grog laying on their usual rooftop spot. Hengritte was zoned out, probably visiting with her spirit dragon. Grog was halfway there. Pete stayed on the street while Kethin and Roland climbed up to confront them. Things got nasty and a non-lethal fight broke out, ending in Grog getting beat up and knocked out.

A group of three Brass Clubs wandered by at the wrong time. Kethin made an illusion to distract them and cause them to run off to investigate a strange noise. They did return and fast-talking caused them to believe everything was Grog’s fault. The Brass Clubs dragged Grog off and left him for dead in an alley.

They spent the next week trying to break Hengritte’s addiction. They essentially kidnapped her and made her sleep in the commune. When she would try to get away, Kethin would charm her magically. They took turns babysitting their captive for a week, using cure wounds on her to break the addiction cycle. At the end of the week, they failed to convince her not to go back to her spirit dragon, though. (RESOLVED Hengritte’s prostitution issue, 2xp; PARTIALLY RESOLVED Hengritte’s addiction issue, 1 xp)

The Masons. The mason surveyors showed up again. Actually, Roland (a dark elf familiar with the city’s sewers) identified the surveyors as part of the Scrapers Guild, an arm of the Masons responsible for the sewer systems.

They learned of another comrade’s lie about a deed and decided to make it true. Roland forged a couple fake deeds and the group hatched a plan to plant one in the Records Court. Kethin cased the place, loosing his snakes into the crowded hall to create a distraction, and he learned where the deeds were kept, but not the filing system. Kethin met the Head Scribe of the Records Court, an imposing woman wearing robes and some kind of ceremonial bronze necklace. She referred to “Seekers,” who presumably can find stuff in the stacks through magical means.

Later, they returned at night. Kethin distracted the guards (and charmed one of them) while Roland slipped in via the shadows. (Poor Pete was stuck back at the commune, babysitting Hengritte.) Eventually, the uncharmed guard figured out what was going on and drew a sword, and combat broke out.

Using the combat as a great distraction, Roland defeated the magical security protecting the deed sections of the stacks. He dodged the protective gaze of the floating eye security system. He studied the filing system and dropped the deed into the right place!

Then Roland got out in a hurry, so he could help Kethin, who was badly hurt. Roland backstabbed and killed the fighting guard. The other guard will understand what happened once his charm wears off.

Unfortunately, Roland forgot to clear the sand he used to disarm the runic traps! It’s unclear what will happen as a result of that. (COMPLICATED, 1 xp)

Fire Temple Priests. The two firebrand priests returned, harassing everyone who came near the commune. Pete create a magical fog cloud to obscure the priests and intimidate them into leaving for a while. They’ll be back. (COMPLICATED, 1 xp)

Morale

Everyone made their morale checks. Pete used his cleric’s charisma to aid the morale of people at the commune.

Jobs and other commitments

Kethin spent a number of days doing his snake charming act in the streets, making anywhere from 7 to 15 sp per day.

Pete found a job at a sailor’s bar down on the docks. It pays 15 sp per day, but if he misses work, he’ll probably be fired. He did have to take care of a bunch of drunken, rowdy sailors and beat up their leader. His boss tipped him with a free dinner and good ale that evening.

Roland apparently has most of his starting money and wasn’t worried about finding work at this time.

Awards

Kethin, Pete, and Roland each earned 5 XP.

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Episode 4

This was the fourth game set in the City of Brass. I ran it for just two players at The Windup Space, both new to the campaign. I was slightly worried about how it would work with just two, but it went well.

Characters present:

  • Locke, male human rogue, professional bookie, hiding from Blackguard operatives from another city district.
  • Cade Foxglove, male halfling rogue, amateur herbologist, whose father was involved in a coalition against the Nunah noble family

NPCs encountered

  • Nepaner, male human, Locke’s Fixer contact
  • Vay, female elf, Cade’s Fence contact
  • Darun, male human, leader of the Betters who wants to shut down the commune

Random problems

The Betters show up to inspect the commune. A group of six Betters knocked on the door, waiting to be let in to inspect the place.

Six Masons guards show up to clear out the place. They were hired by the Betters to do the dirty work.

Cade ran to delay the guards. He demeaned himself a bit with Halfling street antics, keeping them entertained for ten minutes to give Lock time to get his own plan in action. Locke broke into a neighborhood apartment where kids lived so he could steal their underthings and toys. Wait, it’ll make sense in a minute.

Then Cade and Locke let the Betters in, planted the kids’ stuff in the leader’s (Darun’s) pockets, and eventually convinced the Masons guards that Darun was abusing children. Then Cade insisted that he had the deed to the place, and everyone left.

The Betters plot was COMPLICATED (1 xp). The Masons guards plot was RESOLVED (2 xp).

Drugs. Cade and Locke were very interested in the chemical recreations offered by the City of Brass. Cade did find some wild Sandweed, a mild sleeping herb, growing in the courtyard of the commune. Locke found a dealer who would sell him some Calea, an addictive speed drug.

Old Problems

Esven and Mijktar are missing. Locke and Cade decided to investigate the whereabouts of the missing brothers. Asking around town, they ended up at the apartment of Selia and Mixia. Selia seemed not to be worried about her brothers. Mixia wasn’t there, but Selia told the comrades where they could find him: at Kicks, the local dive bar.

Cade tracked down Mixia in his corner booth at Kicks, and bought Mixia his expensive (2 sp) drink, then sat down to talk to him. Mixia claimed not to know anything about Esven and Mijktar, but was probably lying. Cade lied to Mixia about his mission, and Mixia cornered the Halfling in the booth and stuck a dagger against his ribs. Cade changed his tune and told Mixia his purpose. (UNRESOLVED)

Morale

Cade failed his morale check. He gave a speech to inspire the commune and it was terrible, lowering everyone’s spirit.

Jobs and other commitments

Cade founded the Hand of the Dandelion, a spur-of-the-moment organization focused on rejuvenation and random acts of beauty. He convinced two NPC comrades—Sizayn (male) and Zakraj (female) to join and put them to work clearing debris from one of the commune rooms. They fed these two suckers for the time it took to clear the room. They also barred the gate with a piece of spare lumber.

Awards

Locke and Cade each earned 4 XP.

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Episode 3

This was the third game set in the City of Brass. I ran it for four players at The Windup Space. Two had played in the campaign before; two were first-timers.

Characters present:

  • Grog, a half-orc barbarian
  • Gravel, a dwarf fighter
  • Spitz, a dragonborn rogue
  • Kow, a human monk

NPCs encountered

  • Hengritte, the young human woman who lives in the commune and is addicted to spirit potions
  • Izor, Hengritte’s friend, a young human man
  • Kens, the foreman in charge of the quarry, and Gravel’s patient boss

Random problems

Hengritte is still addicted to spirit potions. This escalated a bit. She came to Grog for money to buy potions. Grog followed her to her dealer, watched her spend Grog’s 10 sp on 12 potions, and confronted her when she got to her rooftop. She and Izor lied and said they only bought 10 potions. Grog forced the issue, made Hengritte cry, and collected ten potions, leaving them two. (CONTINUED)

Hengritte and Izor are prostituting themselves. The pair were seen dressing in sexy-but-sad clothing. It seems they’re starting to sell themselves for funding. This was only temporarily staved off when Grog funded Hengritte this time. No one has talked to her about it. (UNRESOLVED)

Holy Lantern priests invite the commune to dinner. This seems like a gift! The entire commune visited the big Fire Temple and sat in a large, round tent on pillows and ate a lovely “Mediterranean-style” dinner off brass plates. The cost was listening to a priest sermonize and proselytize for a couple hours.

Gravel was especially interested in the discussion of the Temple’s ability to improve people and give them purpose. A cleric took special interest in Gravel and gave him a small brass holy symbol on a string to wear around his neck. “You need to turn your life around!” was the Holy Lantern’s repeated slogan.

Kow argued with the priests about the nature of the world. The Earth Gods that Kow worships believe in a cyclic universe: ash to ash. For a while, he had a large crowd of people interested in his contrasting view of the world, but he lost a lot of them when his “you all become dirt when you die” message wasn’t as alluring as the Holy Lantern’s “if you’re good, then you live forever after death” message. He kept six followers, though, and he’s promised to meet them at the small Earth Gods shrine in the City once a week and share his message of … well, whatever?

(RESOLVED)

Old problems

The Holy Lantern firebrand preacher returned to the commune. This time, with another priest. Gravel went out and apologized and that made things a lot better, but wasn’t quite enough, since the preacher is harboring some hate for the sorcerer, Menges Krawe. Gravel said he’d bring the sorcerer to the temple to talk to them. The preacher asked Gravel if he promised, and Gravel could feel a magical charge in the air, but agreed. Gravel has made a magical Oath now. On the bright side, the preachers left. (RESOLVED)

Surveyors measuring the commune block. The rich folks dressed in black were back with their surveying tools. They pounded iron stakes into the pavement and put up thin twine between them, cordoning off a street at a time. The four comrades tried to get a closer look at what the surveyors were recording in their notebooks but were stopped by four large guards.

Spitz and Kow decided they had to have a closer look anyway. They tried to sneak through the building across the street to bypass the guards and directly access the surveyors. Kow got through but Spitz got caught by an angry tenant. Spitz double-timed it back out the way he came, but then climbed to the roof and got a good look onto the street below.

Kow walked right up to the surveyors and asked what they were doing, and got a look at the papers. He saw a detailed map of the block containing the commune building and a wax seal of some familiar sigil of a flat shovel. So he swiped them.

It didn’t take long for the leader of the guards to have a sword pointed at Kow’s neck. The guards were about to drag Kow away when the roguish dragonborn Spitz slid off the roof, grabbed one of those iron stakes, and charged in behind a guard, slamming him with a dragon-electrified metal conducting slam to the testicles. The distraction gave Kow a chance to do some wicked parkour move that freed himself long enough to run to the door he came through—only to find it locked. Again he was grabbed by guards, ending up being suspended by his ankles and carried by a couple guards around the side of the building into an alley.

Kow managed to keep fighting despite his odd predicament and could have escaped, but he really wanted another look at those notes, which he’d dropped back where he’d been grabbed. Curiosity killed the Kow, or nearly so. He didn’t get the notes. He didn’t get away from the guards. He didn’t get killed, but he did get the living crap beat out of him in that alley and it will take him some time to heal.

Spitz also fought the good fight, but eventually decided that the better part of valor was running into the commune and hiding. Luckily, Grog had heard the commotion from Hengritte’s roof, eight blocks away, and he ran across the roof tops toward the commune, only to misjudge the distance in an alley jump and slam into a wall, getting a bit bloodied. He eventually arrived on the scene and tackled two of the guards to the ground, but also ended up getting beat up. (CONTINUED)

Jobs and other commitments

Kow picked up six followers of the Earth Gods and he promised to teach them his ways at the city’s small shrine once a week.

Gravel has a job breaking rocks at the quarry. He works for Kens, the foreman, who seems to have a soft spot for the slow, but hard working dwarf. Gravel missed a day of work because of the Temple visit, but arrived an hour early for work the next day. In that hour, Gravel moved a lot of rocks from here to there, but it turned out that he’d undone a lot of the previous day’s work. Kens was mad and made Gravel make it up. That meant a 10-hour work day instead of the usual 8-hour day, which meant Gravel was exhausted and extra hungry by the end of work.

Grog is still buying the potions from Hengritte whenever she wants a fix. That’s a 10-silver-piece expense, 2-3 times a week, so everyone is wondering when Grog’s money is going to run out.

Awards

Grog, Gravel, Spitz, and Kow each earned 4 XP.

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Episode 2

This was the second game set in the City of Brass. I ran it for a handful of players at The Windup Space.

Characters present:

  • Grog, a half-orc barbarian
  • Keg’Alog, another half-orc barbarian
  • Russelfin
  • Someplace, a tiefling

NPCs encountered

  • Mixia, the blackguard collector, and the ugliest man alive
  • Tallow, an 8-year-old boy who lives on the street, occasionally steals or begs, and who knows where you can get spirit potions

Random problems

The Betters want to inspect the commune. Nothing happened here, but expect it to be in the forefront soon. (UNRESOLVED)

Mijktar and Esven didn’t come home last night. The group searched for them, but didn’t find them. Another night went by without sight of them, and the commune members are worried about the two pugilist brothers. (UNRESOLVED)

The Kickstone locals are upset about Hengritte selling spirit potions to their kids. The group looked for Hengritte in the usual places but couldn’t find her. Eventually, they talked to Grog’s friend Tallow, who led the group to a rooftop where Hengritte seemed to be sleeping. Further investigation proved she was in fact awake in the spirit world and flying around on some kind of spirit dragon. One of the half-orc barbarians babysat her, stole (and imbibed) a small potion himself, and was able to interact with the dragon. Someplace used evil tiefling curses to “scare straight” some neighborhood teens. The group made a terrible deal where they’d purchase Hengritte’s potions from her to keep her funded for her habit. (RESOLVED, for now?)

Rich dudes are surveying Kickstone. They have armed guards. There was a brief confrontation, but the party mostly steered clear of these people. Tallow did steal a money pouch from one of the surveyors and two guards gave him a good chase. They’d have caught him but one of the half-orc barbarians made it very clear how bad of an idea that was, and they decided to tell their master that they lost the kid in the alleys. (UNRESOLVED)

Awards

Grog, Keg’Alog, Russelfin, and Someplace each earned 2 XP.

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Episode 1

This was the first game set in the City of Brass. I ran it for a few players at The Windup Space.

Characters present:

  • Eyen, tiefling bard
  • Menges Kraw, sorcerer?
  • Gravel, dwarf
  • Lucien

NPCs introduced

  • Rosiel, the aristocratic vocal coach, friend to Eyen
  • Mixia, pronounced (“mit chya”), the blackguard collector, and the ugliest man alive
  • Selia, the girlfriend of Mixia, but also sister to Esven and Mijktar
  • Corus, a manager at the laundromat, a horned tiefling

Random problems

Mijktar got in a fight with Mixia, the blackguard thug. The party looked into it. There was some testosterone-laden posturing on the staircase with the brothers, which turned into a beer-heist in a fenced-in backyard behind a bar. The theft was thwarted by an orc-dog of some kind, and a curious bartender. Mijktar may have overstated the case of his fight with Mixia, who obviously is a far better combatant than the entire party combined. Mixia appears to be a fairly nice guy, when he’s not “taking care of” problems. He has some kind of horrible birth defect or curse that makes him extremely unpleasant to look at. (RESOLVED)

Someone left a black pouch tacked to the front door of the commune. Is it a demand to pay the Black Tax? The group asked around town to understand what the bag means to them and how much they might owe, eventually settling on a figure of about 5 gold pieces a month for the commune. They took the bag to Mixia, who said it wasn’t his, and therefore it wasn’t legit, and that he’d “take care of it.” (RESOLVED)

A Holy Lantern preacher is spouting fire and brimstone at people outside the commune. There was a very reasonable confrontation that turned into a very unreasonable handful of spells being thrown around. A sleep spell eventually quieted the preacher long enough for Gravel to bash his head to extend his unconsciousness long enough to drag the preacher off. They left him behind a bar. (CONTINUED)

Awards

Eyen, Menges Kraw, Gravel, and Lucien each earned 5 XP.

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