Monday, May 14, 2012

Second Session Overview - Knickerbocker City

Yesterday we gathered in the conference room at my office again to continue the Swashbucklers of Atlantis game.

We chatted a bit about movies (mostly Avengers) and finished lunches that were brought and dived in with the following day after the events of the previous session (see the two posts below).

The group took the ferry to Knickerbocker City and enquired as to the location of Crooked Street, learning that it was just off Broad Way and one street over from Straight Street.

Heading to the area, Killian and Bottle stop off in the Black Bull Tavern on Straight Street for a bite of lunch and a stout drink, while Ardeth decides to wander the length of Crooked Street to see what he can learn and see what number 18 looks like.

Crooked street, which meanders a bit (amazed, aren't you?) due to it being more of an overlarge alley than a proper street, and buildings of varying sizes fronting (or backing to) it.

There are a number of tenements, small residences, the back door to the Black Bull, and the Theatre beside it, an apothecary, what is obviously the rear entrance to a 'ladie's dormitory' with a rose colored lens on the lamp by the entry, an old man sitting upon a stoop idling away, a couple of rooming houses, a place (number 16) called "The Cabinet of Curiosities" with a very poorly stitched and stuffed creature that was obviously supposed to be a Chimera in the window, and number 18, a stout building with no windows on the ground floor and the lintel of the main door bearing a number of Aegyptian hieroglyphs, and to Ardeth's Sight, flickers of potent magicks, which Artdeth assumed to be wards of some type.

Ardeth wandered the remaining distance down to the end of Crooked Street, where it opened onto Bowry Street and had a look at the businesses on that end of the street, before wandering back up with the intent of speaking to the old man.  Stepping aside to allow a loaded wagon to pass, Ardeth made his way to where the old man sat, peeling an apple.

Introducing himself as 'Clem' he gave Ardeth a slice of apple and a run-down of the neighborhood gossip. . .

From the skinny, pale old man with the walking stick who ran the Cabinet of Curiosities and always took his walk about the neighborhood at night, the 'Actresses' who lived in the house next to the theatre and supplemented their income in the worlds oldest profession, including with the Persian who lived next door to the Cabinet, Mawtan Al Habari, as he introduced himself.   Clem said Habari had all kinds of things shipped in, big statues of sandstone, fancy boxes that looked a bit like coffins and lots of fancy cabinets and furniture.   Said he had some big, quiet fellas that helped him around the house, wore robes and wraps around their heads, said Mawtan had called them "Bed ones", whatever that was.  Said that Habari also ships stuff out, figured he must deal in that kind of stuff, said a wagon had left just a bit earlier, that Ardeth had probably passed it.

Ardeth thanked the man and started to leave, the old man told him that if he was looking for a place to stay, the boarding house next door was him, just let him know.


Back at the Tavern, Killian and Bottle realize that the majority of the customers are apparently actors from the neighboring Theatre, as they are sporadically working on lines as well as working on large quantities of alcohol.   A couple of more ladies come in, starting towards the actors, but making a detour to Killian and Bottle when they see new faces.    Suddenly the center of attraction from the ladies and some of the actors, Killian and Bottle buy the ladies a drink and talk about the area, learning of the pale man from the Cabinet and that the girls know Mawtan.  When asked "what's he like?" by Killian, one of the girls giggles and says "Being whipped."   They learn that the troupe is performing 'A Midsummer's Night Dream' that evening and are invited to attend.  The director tells him the woman playing Titania is actually a fae.  Before they can get further in the conversations, Ardeth comes in and tells them that they need to follow him.

They race down to Bowry and look for the slow moving wagon that Ardeth had seen earlier and thinking they see it in the distance, dash down Bowry in the direction of the docks.  Once they are sure that the wagon they see is the one they want, the group proceeds to follow it to it's destination at an easy walk.    Upon arriving at the docks, the wagon driver goes aboard a ship being loaded, and Ardeth asks for a distraction so he can look at the crates.    After admonishing Killian to put away the pistol he drew from his coat pocket, Bottle walks just past the ship and to where dockworkers are preparing a load for the next ship.   Walking up to the largest man and asking, "Have you ever been to Nacogdoches?" and punching the man in the nose.  He proceeds to grapple with the man, drawing the attention of everyone nearby.

Ardeth attempts to pry open one of the crates with his dagger, snapping the blade.   Killian lends his to the efforts, lifting the lid a small ways, but bending the blade of his dagger a great deal.   The first crate contained urns, the one that Ardeth chose to open smelled of olive oil.  Pushing the lid closed, he looked to see if a pry bar might be on the wagon.  One was, and he used that to quickly open another crate, that contained folded silks, possibly clothing or curtains.   He reached deep into the box and encountered something smooth and rounded.  Pulling it near the top, revealed a skull,  with three eye sockets.  Quickly stuffing the skull back inside and closing the crate, he looks at the shipping label which reads "Lady Catherine Salisbray, Whately Manor, Whately Village".Heading towards Bottle and the fight, Bottle sees them coming, pushes his opponent away and says, "I'm sorry, I guess you weren't ever in Nacogdoches" and walks off from his bewildered opponent.

They return to the Black Bull to plan.  Killian and Ardeth go to check out the Cabinet of Curiosities and meet the owners, Count Orloff, a large eastern Europan man and his brother, Dimitri, who is quite pale and somewhat cadaverous of appearance.  They learn a bit about the Orloff's neighbor, Mawtan.  Orloff says that he is fairly certain that Mawtan is a necromancer.   He shows them around his little museum of the Macabre and unusual and offers to tutor Ardeth in magical arts should he be in need of a teacher.   The two of them leave and return to the Black Bull, where the theatre manager tells them that his troupe must leave to get ready for the nights performance, but that he'll leave their names at the door and reserve three front row seats for them and invites them to join the troupe backstage after the performance.

As they discuss Mawtan, the bartender comes over and tells them that he thinks Mawtan may be heading to Barrow Island that evening, as he saw him and one of his 'servants' pass by earlier and has heard that the man goes to Barrow Island on a regular basis.   He tells them of a friend of his who has a small boat and is familiar with the island, named Tony Napoli.  He gives the group a note for Tony and wishes them well.

Returning to the docks, the group find Tony and his crew and ask about a ride to Barrow Island.  They ask him if he has seen Mawtan, and Tony replies that Mawtan and one of his men left in a long boat just a short time before, heading to the island.  Tony has seen him go that way quite often.

A price is agreed upon and the boat heads to the island as the sun goes down and rain begins to fall.  As they reach the island the rain turns into a full fledged thunderstorm, but ahead they see a sickly green glow around the crest of a hill.   Heading up the hill, they crest it to find Mawtan casting a spell and a dozen animated corpses around him.   As they watch the corpses begin to meld together, forming an ever-increasingly large single creature.   Ardeth quickly counters the magical energies being used to form the creature and the spirits of Ardeth's ancestors, clad in the armor of ancient Aegypt, race forward and begin pulling the creatures out of the mass, tossing them aside until there are 12 individuals rather than one large one.   Bottle shoots one of the Corpses with his rifle, which he loaded with Salt as well as a ball, and strikes it in the head, causing it to collapse and melt away in a putrid puddle.
Killian takes aim and shoots at Mawtan, striking him in the throat and snapping the chain that was holding a glowing Ankh around his neck, which falls into the mud.

Mawtan flees over the crest of the hill, holding his wounded neck, Bottle and Killian begin to shoot zombies that are between them and the fleeing Mawtan, while Ardeth, having the straightest access, runs around the end of the zombies and over the edge of the hill, where he meets two bedouin bodyguards, each wielding a nasty looking Kopesh.  

Hearing the exclamation of surprise from Ardeth, Killian runs to help him, while Bottle realizes that the corpses are ignoring him and walking in a straight line away from where they are currently.  With a shrug, he goes to help with the living and much more aggressive threat from the bedouins.   

With the bedouin bodyguards occupied by his companions, Ardeth continues on after Mawtan, causing his foe to slip and fall in the mud.  Killian and Bottle follow quickly behind after dealing with the Bedouins, Killian attempting to take a shot on the run and managing to slip in the mud and fire a shot into the sky.   Ardeth catches up with Mawtan who reveals that the corpses are for "The Dark Lady Salisbray" and then dies as Ardeth rests his staff upon Mawtan's wounded neck.

Ardeth and Bottle quickly get in the longboat that Mawtan had used to come to the island and row it back to where Tony and his crew are waiting.   As the corpses blindly follow the boat, Killian uses this to his advantage to place his gun to the back of their heads and shoot them as they walk.  Once Tony's crew joins the fray, the corpses are quickly dispatched and Tony is very happy to be presented with a second boat for his operation.

The group returns to Knickerbocker City, where they rent rooms from Clem, get quick baths and changes of clothing.  Killian and Bottle head to the Theatre where they hope to catch the last of the play and the entirety of the party afterwards.  Ardeth takes the keys he found on Mawtan's corpse and heads for 18 Crooked Street.

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