- The elves have come out of the forest with an extremely large quantity of silver dragon scales. Baron Plunkett, Drax’s father, is worried that such a large haul of magical treasure could bring unwanted attention to Dunsany, not the least of which because that many scales represents a strategic asset. If the scales were to be sold in the town Auction Hall, it would be best if the transaction was discreet.
- A party of young humans, led by the scion of House Valemar, has managed to enter the town, and has bunked up for the night at the tourist trap hotel. (There are two nice inns in town, the one for visiting wizards who aren’t looking for trouble, and the one for visiting idiots who are). This wouldn’t be so bad by itself, but if the kids managed to buy or even know about the scale cache and reported back to their parents, the results might be catastrophic.
Jamalla the halfling has managed to attach herself as a ‘guide’ to the human group, and is awoken in the wee hours of the morning by a young man named ‘Marc’. It seems the lad is complaining about a case of bad gout, and would very much like to see an apothecary…at 4 in the morning. Jamalla is suspicious of the man’s motives, and so spins him a yarn about how the only medic open this early would be in a rough part of town, and she’d like to bring along some muscle. So, she leads Marc to the barracks, where the shift officer on notice for informants is Harmattan.
Jamalla tells Harmattan about her suspicions, and so he wakes Galeon and prepares his battle dress. Outside, Marc is flabbergasted that two dragonborn in full armor are needed to see the doctor, and subsequently changes his story from gout to syphilis. This revelation doesn’t elicit much sympathy, and as officers Galeon and Harmattan feel honor-bound to take Marc to see the medic to prevent his social disease from spreading. Jamalla leads the group to the town hag, which surprisingly is in a quite nice part of town.
Jamalla, Harmattan, and Galeon wait outside while Marc goes in to the medic’s shop. We…didn’t exactly tell him who he’d be meeting, so after the inevitable retching noises (a hag is, after all, notoriously ugly), Marc is able to unburden his trouble to the apothecary. In particular, Marc is set on purchasing some ‘Red Tincture’. Galeon, on hearing this, is reminded that Red Tincture is a red powder that works best when suspended in a liquid. Also, it is like aconite, in that in certain doses it has a medicinal benefit, but in sufficient strength can kill outright. The hag agrees to sell Marc the substance (but later dutifully reports the sale in the morning). The trio form a plan of action: Harmattan will go and fetch a quantity of cayenne pepper from a restaurant while Jamalla and Galeon will march the young Marc back to his hotel room. Later, Jamalla will perform some officially-sanctioned second-story work, and switch Marc’s Red Tincture with pepper.
Now, the only restaurant open this early is the Red Deer, Dunsany’s resident whorehouse of the strange. Jamalla gives Harmattan a note for a hobgoblin courtesan she happens to know, and he goes off on the errand. When Marc gets out of the apothecary, he is concerned about Harmattan’s disappearance, but is fed quality lies and sunshine by Jamalla. An hour or so later, Jamalla breaks into Marc’s room to make the switch. The transfer is successful, but Marc wakes up anyhow. This time Jamalla’s silver tongue fails her, but Marc is more concerned about the safety of his poison vial. Since the switcheroo already happened, Marc sees that his package appears to be safe, and only chases Jamalla out of his room. Now the only thing to do is to find out who drinks a big glass of pepper juice in the morning. I love it when a plan comes together.
At a suitably social hour, Valemar and his cohorts arrived at Dunsany House for a small get-together with their peer, Drax. During a critical moment, Marc passes a cup of tea to his Lord Valemar, who promptly chokes and gasps from the strong pepper flavor. Marc cries out, ‘Poison! This devil has just poisoned my lord! Guards! Guards!’, and so on. Wise to the conspiracy (having been briefed of last night’s acitivities by Jamalla), Drax allows Valdemar time to recover a little, who pronounces that he is fine, but that he would like a glass of water. Drax then convinces the assembled party that if indeed he is the poisoner (or whatever, by this point), that he should be made to drink a similar glass of tea that Valdemar drank. Drinking the tea, Drax finds that it is indeed poisoned, but only with cayenne pepper, to which his fiendish blood renders him happily immune (resistance to fire 5 and counting, folks!). Drax details the whole plot at this point, going so far as to grab Marc’s cayenne pepper vial and accuses him of being the attempted poisoner. A-ha! Marc grabs for his honor, and the two join in combat.
The two trade blows (Marc with his sword, Drax with a succession of pots and trays), until Jamalla sneaks up behind Marc and deftly removes one of his kidneys with her smallsword. Harmattan and Galeon join the fray, and Galeon subdues Marc with a breath of draconic ice. Harmattan pulls down one of Marc’s friends with a few well-placed punches (eventually), and Jamalla actually wrestles with another. Eventually the conspiracy is rendered harmless, and Valdemar offers his confused thanks. Dunsany is summoned, and he orders the traitors into separate cells in the basement, as well as healing treatment for Marc.
The conspiracy quickly unburdens itself of the following facts:
- The group was recruited by a shadowy figure named Avernus following an ill-fated attempt at cheating during gambling. Shocking: alcohol was involved.
- The plot was indeed intended to implicate Drax as poisoning Valemar. Marc was intending not to kill Valemar all the way, but he probably would have screwed up the dosage.
- The original poison (the one Marc would have used instead of bothering a stranger at four in the morning for gout medicine) was accidently stolen by an innocent member of Valemar’s party.
With those revelations, the session is concluded. Stay tuned!