Virgin DM Monologues: Next Day Delivery, Haul Your Old One Away

Welcome to the recap of the seventh session of my Eberron game, which took place on Tuesday, January 5, 2010.

To recap, our adventurers had recently solved the mystery of the Arcane Academy of the Esoteric Order of Aureon, killing what was possibly a rakshasa that was disguised as a professor in order to infiltrate the campus.  To thank the adventurers, the headmaster offered them a week of free training on the campus in addition to the payment they’d receive through Globe.

Evan had no interest in this training and wanted to spend the week searching for his mother, Evangeline, who he had not seen since he was orphaned as a young boy during the war.  Here’s what happened…

For all his searching over the week, Evan came up with nothing but dead ends. Most people claimed they didn’t know her. Some claimed they did know her but hadn’t seen her since just before the Mourning.

One particular elderly woman Evan found in Forgelight Towers refused to open her door – “the neighborhood hasn’t been safe in years, son, I hope you understand” – but whispers through the peephole door that Evangeline took lute lessons from her for a time and in the months before the Mourning, she just wasn’t quite right.

“She had a beautiful light in her eyes,” the woman said. “I asked her if she had children, and she said that the gods had other plans for her. She would have made a good bard, Evangeline. Such a soft and pretty voice – like silk. But the arcane arts were her calling, not music. She was a talented sorceress, or so I was told. We didn’t speak of such things. But… in the last few months of the war, she was different. Missed a lot of lessons. Was very irritable and rude. Didn’t seem like the Evangeline I knew. And then, just like that, she stopped coming altogether. That was… oh, maybe a month before the Mourning? My memory isn’t all too sharp these days…”

Evan asked her further questions, but the woman didn’t know anything more. She passed Evan a hard candy through the grate of the peephole door and wished him a good day.

The next couple weeks are rather uneventful.  Kava had little work for the party, so they were able to spend time resting, practicing their martial arts, learning and perfecting new spells, and getting acquainted with the various taverns in the city.

Beatdown wasn’t terribly interested in the latter, but the party found some very tasty (and very not-so-tasty) eateries in their exploration, which seemed worth the effort. Eru’s musical stylings garnered the party many a free meal and Jelly had to turn away many a free (and suspiciously bubbly) drink from strange men. Brick, Beatdown and Evan even devised a way to make some coin from tavern owners – Evan pointed out the pickpocketing thieves, and B&B subdued them.

Cyd carried the tiny book they retrieved from the ghosts in the library and he occasionally pried it open to peek, only to be blinded temporarily by the light inside. Being generally distrustful of magic types since his Arcane Congress days, he was wary of asking anyone at the Arcane Academy about it.

***

For lunch today, the party goes to the Silver Stone, located not far from the Arcane Academy, tucked back in an alleyway that somehow escaped their notice all week. Stones set into the walls shine like mica, giving the entire common area a bright glow. The tavern has one long table, four small round tables, and eight stools at the bar. As they walk in, the serving girl gestures to them that the long table is available. They head there to sit down.

The serving girl comes over to their table and tells them the day’s specials are roast beef kebabs, fried duck with cheese, and steak rolls. For dessert, they have lemon bars.  The party places their orders.

Brick: I’ll have a lemon bar.

Server: You look like one with a big sweet tooth.

Brick: I’ll have TWO.

It’s lunch rush, so the Silver Stone is pretty crowded, but the party begins to get a feeling like they’re being watched. Evan slips away from the table to investigate, hiding himself skillfully in the crowd. Eru pulls out his lute and begins to strum and stroll, keeping his eyes and ears open for clues.

Evan finds a table of wizards from the Starlight & Shadows order who are openly mocking the situation that happened two weeks ago at the Aureon order’s academy.

“Didn’t you hear about the stuck-up Aureon wizards got infiltrated?”

“Oh yeah, it’s a riot, isn’t it? All their by the books, goodytwoshoes ways and they couldn’t protect themselves from one of their own professors.”

“Ridiculous, isn’t it? I hear they got saved by the new kids from Globe. Was a big fiasco with the headmaster nearly dying and that group of students burning up in the fire. I’m telling you, if this happened at the Starlight & Shadows school, we would have kept hush hush about it and hired a Thuranni assassin. Take care of things quietly.”

“WHICH IT WOULDN’T!”

“Well, of course it wouldn’t! We’ve always been the best and brightest in Khorvaire.”

They clink glasses and laugh jovially.

Evan pops out from the shadows and into an empty chair at their table to confront them. They slap their coin on the table and teleport through the wall and out of the building.  Just as Evan is realizing they’re all gone, his chair begins to vibrate.

All six chairs from the wizards’ table have come alive and are attacking. Patrons run out of the restaurant screaming.  The first chair makes a beeline for the serving wench, swinging through the air. She expertly ducks out of the way, a sign that the Silver Stone probably has its rough-and-tumble moments.  She ducks behind the bar with the owner.

Brick picks up one chair and uses it to smack another chair, sending splinters everywhere. The party hurls insults at the chairs (as if the chairs had the intelligence to understand):

“You’re made of particle board!”

“You came from IKEA!”

The chairs are pretty tough, despite their furniture-like nature.  Brick gets knocked down by one and while she’s on the floor, Beatdown takes the opportunity to make a funny:

“Looks like Brick is weak against wood!”

But karma gets the beat of Beatdown later in the fight, when he has to berate Evan:

“Ow! You enforced a threat on my HEAD!”

This party has a weird dynamic. On the one hand, they like each other. On the other hand, they have no problem using each other for collateral damage.

Cyd’s player: “I’ll center a Scorching Burst on Brick.”

Jelly’s player: Doesn’t that burn Brick too?

Cyd’s player: Yep, good thing she keeps getting knocked prone.

As the final chair splinters into kindling, the adventurers notice Kava’s assistant trembling at the door. He holds out an envelope. “Umm… um… Ms. Velderan wishes me to deliver this to you… Umm.. so… here.” He puts it on the table closest to the door and runs away.

In the envelope is a gift certificate for Redstone’s Fine Furnishings, a magical furnishing shop in the Redstone District of Upper Dura.  It’s for ten thousand gold. The note reads: “To furnish your new home. Remember, sometimes the seekers are also sought.

Weird. The party isn’t sure what to make of the note, but hey, 10k gold isn’t bad.  They speak with the owner of the Silver Stone, asking him about the wizards. He says they aren’t troublemakers. In fact, they almost always teleport through the walls to avoid trouble.  As long as they leave their coin on the table before leaving, he doesn’t mind.

“Proprietors! We have slain six of your chairs, would you like us to slay the rest?”

- Beatdown Machine

They consider chasing down the wizards, but since the owner seems to be insisting they aren’t troublemakers, they decide perhaps to go furniture shopping first. There is consideration given to buying dressers, hiding themselves in them, and shipping themselves to the Starlight & Shadows school. Beatdown is SURE that this method has never been used before.

***

The towers of Redstone are of a beautiful red marble, red granite, and brick. Upper Dura’s walkways are perfectly swept and they soon realize why as a small street sweeping cart whizzes by you, held aloft by a tiny elemental.

They meet the shop owner, Finneus Tribble, who is very short, even for a gnome, with a head of light brown hair that looks like he toyed with some lightning energy. He tugs at the lapels of his suitjacket and speaks in a booming voice.

AH YES, KAVA’S PETS! BRILLIANT! I’VE BEEN LOOKING FORWARD TO MEETING YOU! ESPECIALLY THE LOVELY LADY – I’VE ALWAYS HAD A THING FOR HALF-ELVES – IF YOU ASK ME, YOU GOT THE GOOD HALVES. YES YOU DID!

WE HAVE PLENTY IN THE STORE THAT YOU COULD PURCHASE WITH YOUR GIFT NOTE. ALL SORTS OF WONDERFUL WONDROUS THINGS TO OUTFIT THE HOUSES OF THOSE WITH THE COIN TO BUY! YES YES! GO, LOOK AROUND! I’LL BE IN THE BACK IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS! FINEST GOODS IN SHARN, HERE AT REDSTONE’S FINE FURNISHINGS! FINEST GOODS IN KHORVAIRE!

They ask Finneus if he sells magical chairs. He says no, he just sells normal chairs. They ask if he would know people who could make normal chairs into magical chairs and he says that perhaps he does, but he doesn’t share confidential information about his clients. Eru sweettalks him for a bit and Finneus says he’ll go in the back and look it up. Maybe he can have someone contact them about it.

Finneus leaves them to explore the store (aka Adventurer’s Vault 2, lair items). As the adventurers are browsing, the store suddenly plunges into total darkness. Even the windows  of the tower aren’t visible anymore.

“NOT THE USUAL, I ASSURE YOU,” Finneus booms from the back of the shop. “TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES!”

The party tries many ways of shedding light in the area, and find even their magical light sources aren’t bright enough to illuminate the shop.  Jelly casts one of her radiant spells and the burst of light is just long enough for Brick to notice something with wings in the rafters.  A pack of drakes descends on the party.

With no way to see their attackers, the adventurers are getting pretty worried. Suddenly, Cyd gets the strong urge to pull the book out of his pocket. When he does, it gets searing hot, flies out of his hands, hits the floor and opens, creating a zone of bright light that pierces the magical darkness, exposing some of the drakes.

Eru the bard kicks the magical book, burning his foot, but getting it over to where Jelly and Evan were being attacked. The party kills the smaller drakes, but a large one lurks in the darkness and keeps clawing at them.  Having heard Eru’s cry of pain when he burned his foot on the book, Cyd is smarter. He summons his mage hand and uses it to move the book to expose the large drake.  Jelly notices that her radiant spells are much more effective in the presence of this book – awesome!   Once the large drake is killed, the book closes and quickly returns to room temperature.

Finneus comes out from hiding and is very nervous. He doesn’t want people knowing about this incident since they’d probably be afraid to come to his store and he can’t afford to lose any business. He tells the party that he’ll double their gift certificate amount if they’ll just keep their mouths shut about the drakes.  The party agrees to keep quiet.

Happy, Finneus goes back to his regular self, touting the perks of buying from Redstone’s Fine Furnishings. “NEXT DAY DELIVERY! HAUL YOUR OLD ONE AWAY! WON’T FIND A BETTER DEAL IN SHARN!”

While the party shops, Finneus chats up Jelly. He’s enamored by her since she’s an actual half-elf and not one of the Khoravar. He asks her if she’s going to be celebrating Brightblade next week. He tells her (and the rest of the party, since he’s so loud) about the festivities and all the great contests for archery and fighting and battle prowess. Oh, and the gambling! There’s great gambling too if you’d rather gamble than fight.  Evan and Beatdown immediately lock eyes from across the room.

Evan: You bet on me for archery and I’ll bet on you for fighting?

Beatdown: Sounds good!

The party is very curious about this book of theirs. It appeared when they killed a ghost in the library. It has magical light in it which makes it impossible to read. And now, they’ve realized it can compel the person holding it to open it, it can cut through magical darkness, it gets too hot to hold but doesn’t burn, and that it somehow enhances radiant powers.

And most importantly… were the drakes sent to kill the party or were they attracted to the magical book? What about the chairs? Is this the work of the Starlight & Shadows wizards or is something bigger in play?

But that’s a story for next week…

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About e

Since 2008, E. Foley of Geek’s Dream Girl has been helping geeks from around the world find love. She writes amazing online dating profiles for her fellow geeks and guides them through the perilous waters of the dating scene and out the other side. She's totally proud to report that she's even caused a couple geek weddings! She lives in Maryland with DaveTheGame, her adorable cats, Mr. Peanut & Don Juan, and Titania, Queen of the Cocker Spaniels. (Email e, or follow @geeksdreamgirl on Twitter.)

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